• Each year CAT is conducted by different IIMs.
  • Previously the format for this examination was offline but in the past few years the paper has become online.
  • A candidate is awarded +3 for each correct answer and -1 for each wrong answer.
  • The scoring is done based on raw score further followed by scaling where the percentile is calculated.


There are four sections in the Common Aptitude Test.

Quantitative Ability

The quantitative ability section in CAT is included to test and analyze the numerical ability and accuracy in calculations. The section of quantitative ability is comprised of the following chapters:

  • Number systems: This unit covers the basic syllabus that is taught in primary standards. The questions asked will be based on complex multiplication and division.
  • LCM and HCF: The questions based on this unit cover the basic Lowest common multiple and factor problems.
  • Percentage: These problems are the basic fraction problems that require fast and efficient conversion of complex and simplified fractions.
  • Profit, Loss and Discount: Basic calculations regarding the cost price , selling price of the article are asked. Complex problems include profit percentage and loss percentage too.
  • Interest: Complex problems based on the traditional interest formulae are asked.
  • Speed, Time and Distance: The problems based on these topics mainly consist of Speed and distance formulae. Train problems are also included from this unit.
  • Time and Work: Time and work problems are another subdivision of the Time and distance problems.
  • Averages: Complexity upgrades the basic average problems to CAT level.
  • Ratio and proportion: These units have interlinks to the other arithmetic units. The questions of this chapter act as the base of the chapters such as percentage, profit and loss, average etc.
  • Linear and quadratic equations: These problems are based on the basic “unknown x” variable problems of the secondary standards. They include binomials and polynomials too.
  • Surds and Indices: These problems include the basic square root or multiple root problems. They include the arithmetic calculations of these numbers.
  • Probability, Permutations and Combinations, Set theory: Majority of the questions asked in CAT belong to this unit. The questions belonging to this unit are asked to test the analytical and reasoning ability of the candidate.
  • Geometry/trigonometry: These questions are based on basic 12th standard mensuration problems.  Questions are based on angular and complex shapes but they do follow the simple geometrical and trigonometric formulae.

Data Interpretation

The problems based on data interpretation are based on the following topics.

  • Tables: These questions are presented in the way of rows and columns. The values are mentioned in a clear and descriptive format. Further calculations are performed on these values.
  • Column Graphs: The column graphs are presented in a way where comparison of the successive years is easily possible.
  • Bar graphs: Another method of Graph problems.
  • Line charts: These graphs are formed along X and Y axes as straight lines.
  • Pie Chart: The problems asked in these methods are depicted as angle percentage distribution.
  • Venn Diagrams: The questions related to this chapter are based on the relation between the different parameters, mentioned in the question.

Logical Reasoning:

  • Numbers and letter series: The questions related to this topic consist of some relevant letter or number series present in the question.
  • Calendars and clocks: They are used to frame the Time or date related questions.
  • Cubes and Venn diagrams: Venn diagrams are used to create the relational problems. Cube problems are based on major relations and are very frequently asked in CAT.
  • Seating Arrangement: These questions relate to some specific pattern that is followed for solving the arrangement problems in any linear or circular arrangements.
  • Blood Relations: The questions based on blood relations are solved by the family tree mechanism.
  • Other topics include, Logical matching and Syllogism.


Verbal Ability

  • Vocabulary: The questions asked from this part are based on synonyms and antonyms
  • Grammatical questions and corrections are also asked.
  • Another set of questions is based on sentence correction.
  • Jumbles Paragraph: In this type of questions, few numbered sentences are given and the candidate is asked to rearrange sentences into a logical paragraph.

Other types of question include: Verbal reasoning, facts, reading comprehension etc.