CAT 2021: Here's the exam pattern and quick tips to prepare

IIM Ahmedabad has released the CAT 2021 notification in which it has mentioned the latest CAT 2021 exam pattern. Know the paper pattern and also quick tips for CAT preparation.

CAT 2021: Here's the exam pattern and quick tips to prepare Representational image (Source: Shutterstock)
Prerna Goel | Aug 3, 2021 - 12:51 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: IIM Ahmedabad has recently released the CAT exam notification as per which the CAT exam pattern 2021 remains unchanged. The CAT 2021 pattern is on the same lines as last year's pattern. The overall duration of the CAT 2021 exam is two hours and the test will be conducted in online mode. The CAT 2021 question paper will comprise a total of 76 questions from Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA).

Common Admission Test (CAT) is scheduled to be held on November 28, 2021, in three test slots on a single day. Despite the postulations being made that the CAT exam structure may be revised as the conducting body is IIM Ahmedabad, which is known for introducing changes every time it conducts the exam, the CAT pattern didn't change.

CAT Exam 2021: Test Pattern and Structure



Sections in CAT 2021

Three sections namely,

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

Duration of CAT 2021

120 minutes

Sectional time limit

  • 40 minutes per section

  • 53 Minutes 20 Seconds for PwD candidates for each section

Total number of questions in 2021

76 (Expected)

Section-wise number of questions

  • VARC: 26

  • DILR: 24

  • QA: 26

Total marks


Medium of CAT exam question paper


Number of answer choices


Type of questions in CAT exam 2021

MCQs and Non-MCQs

CAT 2021 Marking Scheme

  • 3 marks for every correct response

  • Negative marking of 1/3 (-1) for every wrong MCQ response

  • No negative marking for wrong non-MCQ response

CAT 2021 Pattern: Sectional Composition and Key Features

As the CAT pattern of this year is the same as of CAT 2020 one, so the number of questions is expected to remain the same as last year. Here are the details on the number of questions that can be asked in each section of the CAT exam and some of the important features of each section.

Sections of Exam (in order)

No. of questions

Multiple Choice Questions

TITA (Type in the answer questions)

Important aspects





Four RC Passages with 18 multiple-choice questions. Basic topics were para jumbles, para summary, and odd one out.





  • Data Interpretation – 14 questions

  • Logical Reasoning- 10 questions.
    (Sets of 4 and 6 questions)





Focused on number systems and arithmetics. Other contenders were logarithms geometry, roots and algebra






Quick Tips on CAT preparation as per CAT Exam Pattern 2021

  • Each section has roughly equal weightage which indicates that while studying the basics, each section has to be given equal importance.

  • CAT mock tests play an important role in determining the route that the CAT preparation will take. So practice CAT-free mock tests available online daily.

  • Data Interpretation (DI) is considered a bit more time-consuming for many. Start practicing on DI questions at an early phase. Use approximation techniques for quick calculations in CAT exam 2021.

  • If you are not good at VARC, practice reading novels and the editorial section of any newspaper you prefer. Write down the words and make sticky notes. Also watching English TV series of your favorite genre can also help in building vocabulary for CAT 2021 exam.

  • Always refer to the best CAT preparation books 2021 and do not get confused by referring to different kinds of CAT preparation materials as the market is flooded with a lot of them.

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