CAT Exam Pattern 2024 [Updated] – Check CAT Paper Pattern, Total Marks & Marking Scheme

10 April, 2024
Artika Shan

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will release the CAT 2024 exam pattern which could remain the same as last year’s CAT exam pattern. The CAT exam pattern provides candidates with an understanding of the structure of the question paper and scoring system for the CAT exam.

The CAT 2024 will be conducted in online mode and the dates will be announced. According to the CAT exam pattern, the question paper, usually carries a total of 66 questions with 3 sections (VARC, QA, DILR). 

The CAT exam pattern has been modified several times in the past years by conducting IIMS. However, since 2015, the CAT exam pattern has remained unchanged in terms of total marks and total duration. Besides, the CAT exam pattern helps individuals devise test-taking strategies.


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What is the CAT exam pattern?
CAT exam patterns are designed annually by the organization that administers the examination to evaluate a candidate’s aptitude for resolving mathematical and reasoning problems. According to the exam pattern, there are three exam portions including DILR, VARC, and QA. 

  • The CAT VARC section will include 24 questions and a weightage of 72 marks. 
  • The CAT DILR section will comprise 20 questions and a weightage of 60 marks. 
  • The CAT Quantitative Aptitude section will consist of 22 questions and a weightage of 66 marks. 

Overview of CAT Exam Pattern 2024 (Expected) 

Below is the CAT 2022 exam pattern given below for your reference, as the CAT 2024 exam pattern will be slightly altered. 

Components Details 
Total questions in the CAT exam  66
Total marks  198 
Total CAT exam sections  3
CAT exam duration  2 hours 
Mode of Paper  Online only 
Question Types  MCQs and Non- MCQs (TITA) 
CAT Exam-Making Scheme  +3 For correct answers 

 -1 For Incorrect Answers 

 0 For Unattempted questions 

CAT Exam Section names 1. Quantitative Aptitude 

2. Reading Comprehension & Verbal Ability 

3. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 


There were 66 questions on the exam last year, and the total examination time was 120 minutes, along with a 40-minute sectional time limit. According to the CAT exam pattern, officials can assess a candidate’s logical and mathematical abilities with ease. If the candidate intends to take future exams, they should become familiar with the CAT exam Pattern 2024. 

CAT exam pattern & exam mark distribution (Expected)

Here is a detailed analysis of the latest CAT marks distribution based on last year’s exam pattern:

SectionMCQsNon-MCQsTotal No. of QuestionsCAT Exam Duration
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) 21 3 24 40 min
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) 14 6 20 40 min
Quantitative Ability (QA) 14 8 22 40 min
Total 49 17 66 120 (2 hours)

CAT Exam Duration
CAT sections have a fixed time limit. The following are the sectional timings and slot-by-slot information for the most recent CAT Exam Pattern:

CAT Exam Sections CAT Sectional Time 
VARC 40 minutes 
QA 40 minutes 
DILR 40 minutes 
Total 120 minutes 

1. Morning session: 8.30 am – 10.30 am
2. Afternoon session: 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm
3. Evening session: 4.30 pm -6.30 pm

 Quantitative Aptitude – CAT Exam Pattern 2024 
CAT Quantitative Aptitude consists of numerical-based questions drawn from various math topics. Besides, there will be a total of 26 questions in this section this year according to the CAT exam pattern 2024.
Below are the maths topics including:

 1. Basic Arithmetic
 2. Number system
 3. Algebra
 4. Geometry and Mensuration
 5. Modern Maths

Tentative marks distribution graph of Quantitative Aptitude topics:
Below is the tentative marks distribution graph of quantitative aptitude topics: 

  • 10-14 questions related to arithmetic are repeated in the exam every year. 
  • 6-8 TITA questions (Non-MCQs) will require candidates to type their answers.
  • With the proper practice of the syllabus topics, the CAT quantitative aptitude section is easy to moderately difficult.

VARC  CAT Question Paper Pattern 

Candidates will be tested on their English language skills and their ability to interpret paragraphs and understand the core ideas. However, this year, there will be 26 questions in the VARC section of the CAT exam. Meanwhile, in the CAT exam section for verbal ability, 8 questions will be included this year.

Below is a list of the key areas in the verbal ability section from which questions will be derived:
1. Sentence correction & completion
2. Para Jumbles
3. Summary-based 

There will be 5-8 TITA questions included, for which no options will be provided and candidates will be required to type their answers. Besides, there will be a high degree of difficulty in the reading comprehension section and the verbal ability section of the CAT.

Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – CAT Exam Pattern 

The purpose of this section of the CAT exam pattern is to evaluate the candidates’ ability to interpret data and their ability to understand logical assumptions. Moreover,  the data interpretation and logical reasoning section will include a total of 22-24 questions.

The CAT logical reasoning section will consist of 18-20 questions. Meanwhile, the questions will vary from inequalities to symbol operations, direct sense tests, etc. Besides, the questions of this section are easily solvable and hence it is highly-scoring. 

It is difficult and time-consuming to interpret the data. However, the candidates should be able to comprehend the data sets thoroughly so that they can answer the full set of questions. Meanwhile, the data interpretation on the CAT should be conducted cautiously as a single mistake may result in candidates attempting all questions from each set incorrectly.

Slot-wise highlights for MBA (Expected) – CAT Exam Pattern 2024 

  • DILR: Data Interpretation: 14 questions, Logical Reasoning: 10 questions, All in sets of 6 and 4 questions. 
  • VARC Section: 4 RC passages with 18 MCQs, VA – 8 Non-MCQs are subdivided into para summaries, context sentences, and para jumbles. 
  • QA: High on arithmetic, other on log, geometry, roots, and algebra, etc. 

Key points to keep in mind for the CAT 2024 Exam Pattern

  • The exam is a computer-based test. 
  • The use of an onscreen calculator is allowed for the computation during the exam. 
  • The CAT exam will be conducted in three slots of 2 hours each on a single day. 
  • The CAT exam will be of 198 marks in total. However, the candidates cannot switch between the sections. 
  • The onscreen clock will help candidates to keep a tab on the time during the exam. 
  • For each incorrect answer, 1 mark will be deducted.
  • The sheets of paper are provided for rough work. The same has to be submitted at the exam center as soon as the exam is over. 
  • The candidates are not allowed to start their test before time and are allowed to log in only after the invigilator’s announcement. 
Evolution of CAT exam pattern over the years
CAT exam patterns have been modified several times over the years.
Below is a table that provides an overview of how it has evolved over time.
YearNumber of QuestionDifficulty LevelCAT exam time durationConducting Body
2022 66Moderate2 hoursIIM Bangalore 
2021 66Moderate to High (Expected)2 hoursIIM Ahmedabad 
2020 76Moderate to High2 hoursIIM Indore 
2019 100Moderate to High3 hoursIIM Kozhikode 
2018 100Moderate to High3 hoursIIM Calcutta 
2017100Moderate3 hoursIIM Lucknow 
2016 100Moderate to difficult3 hoursIIM Bangalore
2015  100Moderate to difficult3 hoursIIM Ahmedabad 
2014  100Moderate to Easy2.50 hoursIIM Indore 
2013  60Moderate to Easy2:20 hoursIIM Indore
2012 60Moderate to Easy2.20 hoursIIM Indore
2011 60Moderate2.20 hoursIIM Calcutta

The CAT exam pattern has been changed multiple times.

CAT contains three sections such as: 

  • Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

Each year’s sections are the same. However, there is also no difference in the CAT exam pattern marking scheme.

FAQs – CAT 2024 exam pattern 

1. How many sections will be there in CAT 2024?
The CAT 2024 will comprise three sections:
a. Section 1:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
b. Section 2: Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
c. Section 3: Quantitative Ability

2. Is there a negative marking in CAT and will the CAT pattern change in 2024?
Yes, a 1 mark will be deducted for each wrong answer. However, the CAT exam pattern might remain similar to last year and there could be no change.

3. What is the marking scheme for the CAT exam?
According to the CAT exam marking scheme, the candidates will get +3 for every correct answer. Furthermore, each incorrect answer will result in a deduction of -1.

4. How many non-MCQs are there in each section according to the CAT exam pattern?
There is no information provided by the IIMs regarding the number of non-MCQ questions. However, depending on the section and the year, they may differ

5. What are the total marks for CAT and is it a difficult exam?
CAT is considered to be the most difficult MBA entrance exam in India. However, the difficulty of the exam is anticipated to be moderate to high. Meanwhile, the CAT total mark is 198.

CAT 2024 is a computer-based test (CBT) divided into 3 sections of 66 questions VARC, DILR, and QA. Each section will have 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the exam paper will have MCQ and SAQ and most questions will be MCQ-based.  This guide on CAT paper patterns will help the CAT aspirants to get familiar with the latest patterns and prepare accordingly. The courses CATapult Xclusive Live 2024,  CATapult SLP Plus 2024, and  CATapult SLP 2024 are a great way to prepare for CAT and get a high score. So for effective preparation for the CAT exam, candidates will have to refer to the latest CAT syllabus 2024 when it is available for reference. The candidates can also refer to the CAT syllabus 2024  for effective preparation.