CAT Exam Syllabus 2017

CAT Exam Syllabus 2017

The new year has just started, and with it, there will be a new CAT. That means it’s time to start figuring out the likely 2017 CAT Syllabus.

Remember, There Is No Official CAT Syllabus for 2017

The official CAT website from the Indian Institutes of Management contains a lot of helpful information about the exam. One thing you won’t find on the site, however, is any kind of syllabus for the upcoming CAT. You won’t find a single past CAT syllabus on the site either.

This is one of the frustrating things about the CAT–officially, there isn’t any syllabus. According to the IIM, the length, content, and format of the CAT are not set in stone, and can change every year.

This seems to suggest that the CAT syllabus simply can’t be predicted. But does that suggestion actually line up with reality? I’m happy to tell you that it doesn’t. The CAT hasn’t changed all that much in the last several years. And the CAT exams from 2015 and 2016 were almost identical.

Based on past CAT content, we can have a pretty good idea of what will be on the 2017 CAT, and how the whole CAT syllabus will look. Below, I’ve outlined the likely CAT syllabus for the coming year.

CAT Exam Syllabus 2017: Timeline

As in previous years, you can expect this year’s CAT registration period to start in early August and end in late September. After you register, the IIM will release a mock test through the CAT website in late October of 2017. This test will be very similar to the real exam you’ll take. The exam itself will be held in early December 2017. After that, you’ll receive your scores in early January 2018.

CAT Exam Syllabus 2017: Format

It seems likely that the CAT will follow the 2015-2016 format for a third year. This means that the test will probably have 100 questions and that each question will be worth one point.

Following the pattern from the last two years, it’s also very likely that the new CAT will have three sections. There will be a Quantitative Ability section with 34 questions, a Verbal Ability section with 34 questions, and a Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section with 32 questions. In the DILR section, you can expect 16 DI questions and 16 LR questions. The exam will take a total of 3 hours, with a one-hour time limit for each of the three sections.

Syllabus for CAT 2017: Content

And now–content! That’s really the most important part of any exam, isn’t it? After carefully looking at the questions on recent CAT tests, I have can give you some educated predictions for the 2017 CAT.

CAT Quantitative Ability

In 2017, CAT Quant should have a similar breakdown to the 2015-16 versions of the test. Among the 34 CAT Quant questions, you should see a roughly equal number of problems in the following categories: arithmetic, algebra, geometry, modern math, and number systems.

In the past, modern math questions in CAT Quant have covered set theory, polynomials, probability, progressions, and permutations & combinations. You can expect these modern math topics to continue trending on the 2017 CAT. Number systems on the CAT will include problems on integer properties, prime numbers, exponents, factors, fractions, and so on. Arithmetic, algebra and geometry should be pretty self-explanatory. (But if you have any questions for me about those sections, just ask in the comments!)


CAT Verbal Ability

CAT Verbal is a little harder to predict. In 2015 and 2016, Verbal questions on the test focused on just two things. There were questions related to reading comprehension and “verbal reasoning.” In the case of the CAT, Verbal Reasoning will include questions where you analyze arguments and other aspects of a text, and answer questions related to content development and idea organization.

There may or may not also be some “verbal ability” questions. This is where the unpredictability of CAT Verbal comes in. Verbal ability didn’t come up on the 2015 or 2016 CATs, but it’s been a common feature of many CAT exams in the last 10 years. So the IIM may choose to reintroduce this question type in 2017.


CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

There should be no big surprises in the CAT DI & LR questions this year. CAT DI will test your comprehension of graphs, tables, and charts. And the LR on the CAT will prompt you to analyze and understand logical patterns.

The Detailed CAT Exam Pattern for 2017

By looking at past syllabi, past CAT papers, and at reports from the previous test takers, we can even predict the full 2017 CAT exam pattern. And Rachel, my fellow Magoosh CAT blogger, has done just that. Check out her description of the CAT exam pattern that’s expected on the 2017 exam.

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