About the Test

There is no definitive pattern of CAT. The exam pattern changes every year. But to get acquainted with the style of CAT a candidate must follow through the patterns of previous years and through that an idea of CAT pattern can be gathered.

A synopsis of CAT duration and pattern for the year 2014

  • The medium of the test was the English language for all candidates
  • The test had 100 number of questions in total; divided into two broad sections,
    • Section 1: Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation (50 Questions)
    • Section 2: Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning (50 Questions)
  • The order to answer the question is not a mandate; the candidate chooses the order of answering the questions (even out of sequence). Candidates could toggle between questions and sections
  • A on screen timer helps the candidate keep track of time and help in optimal time management
  • During the exam candidates are not allowed to leave the hall before the completion of the full time duration of 170 minutes
  • The total duration of the CAT 2014 was 2 hours and 50 minutes. The time was increased from the CAT 2013 when it was 140 minutes
  • The marking scheme of CAT 2014 was as follows:
    • 3 points were awarded for each correct answer
    • 1 point was deducted for each wrong answer
    • No rewards or penalty for leaving any question unanswered  
  • Along with the timer to help aide the candidate in optimal management; a panel was also a part of the CAT 2014 interface that kept track of the questions status, colour marks were used:
    • Green – Answered questions
    • Red - Unanswered questions
    • White - Questions not viewed
    • Violet - Marked for review
  • CAT 2014 also had a panel for other details like profile, instruction, question paper and the submit button. The submit button was made active (enabled) only after the full expiration of the test duration of 170 minutes
  • No specific tutorial was made available before the exam. To have understand the portal and its functions candidates were advised to go through the tutorial from the CAT 2014 website on their own in advance to have been able to use the portal optimally.

An overview of CAT duration and pattern for the year 2013

  • The medium of the test was the English language for all candidates
  • Total test duration : 2 hours 35 minutes; this includes a 15 minutes optional tutorial
    • Test tutorial : 15 minutes
    • Test duration : 140 minutes
  • The test has two sections that had to be attempted separately with a time bound of 70 minutes for each. Once a section was completed the candidate couldn't go back
  • Each section had questions that tested the candidates
    • Verbal ability
    • Quantitative ability
    • Data interpretive ability
    • Logical reasoning
  • Candidates could attempt any section. But one section had to be completed in entirely.
  • CAT 2013 had a total of 60 questions. Each section had 30 questions
  • The candidates were advised to go through the tutorial before the exam, even if they had seen it on the CAT 2013 website before
  • To aid the candidates in time management a timer was on screen throughout the exam. This was important as no wrist watches were allowed in the exam hall.

The candidates are given a full detailed instruction guide after the registration for the exam. CAT candidates tend to be proactive and hence a familiarization with the exam and paper pattern is a good start. The pattern of CAT exam is never predictable. It has been of variant as in 2014 and 2013. And it also has been same without surprises, as in 2013 and 2012.


The information provided here is just for information and not instruction. It is provided on "as is" and "as available" basis. No claims of complete accuracy and reliability are made.