Verbal Ability Syllabus for the CAT

Verbal Ability Syllabus CAT

Based on recent CAT exams and the current official mock CAT test online, we can get a pretty good idea of the Verbal Ability Syllabus for the CAT.

Bear in mind that there’s no official CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus. This is because the CAT can change its format from year-to-year. That being said, the CAT has changed very little in the last few years. Based on trends from 2014 to present, the CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus is as follows (see below).

Timing and Number of Questions

CAT Verbal has a time limit of 60 minutes. Within that 60 minutes, you need to answer 34 questions. This gives you roughly 1 minute and 45 seconds per question. However, bear in mind that some questions will take a lot longer than others. So you need to pace yourself not just based on time-per-question, but on question type.

What are the question types on the Verbal Ability Syllabus for the CAT? I’m glad you asked. See the sections below for a description of each question type.

Reading Comprehension on the CAT Verbal Ability Section

The CAT Verbal Ability Section opens up with 24 Reading Comprehension questions. These questions are distributed across five passages.

The CAT Verbal Reading Comprehension passages vary in length. The first two RC passages are both three paragraphs long, and roughly 500 words in length. The remaining three passages are longer, with six or 7 paragraphs and roughly 650-725 words.

As you might have guessed, the shorter passages have fewer questions than the longer ones. The two short passages have three questions each. The longer passages are followed by six questions apiece.

All questions in CAT Verbal Reading Comprehension are multiple choice, with four options; you’ll choose just one correct option.

Summary Questions in CAT Verbal

Summary questions are the least common question type in CAT Verbal. You will likely see only three summary questions in the CAT Verbal Ability section. On the most recent official mock CAT exam, the summary questions appear immediately after the final Reading Comprehension question.

In the CAT Verbal Summary questions, you’ll read a relatively short paragraph, 50-75 words in length. Then you’ll see four different one-sentence summaries of the paragraph. Each summary is numbered. Using numeric entry, you select the best summary.

Paragraph Construction Questions in CAT Verbal

The final seven questions in the CAT Verbal Ability section deal with paragraph construction. You get a mix of two question types: sentence ordering and sentence elimination.

In sentence ordering questions, you are given a set of five numbered sentences. Your task is to put the sentences in the correct sequence, so that they form a coherent paragraph. Using numeric entry, you’ll type the numbers of the sentences in the order they should appear. (For example, if the third sentence makes the best opening for the paragraph, you’d type the number “3” first, followed by the number of the sentence that should be second in the paragraph, and so on….)

In sentence elimination questions, you are once again shown five numbered sentences. However, this time, not every sentence belongs in the same paragraph. One sentence doesn’t fit. You need to eliminate the off-topic sentence. Again, you use numeric entry to give your answer, typing the number of the sentence that doesn’t belong.

Verbal Ability Syllabus for the CAT: A Summary

Here are the basic fact of the CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus:

  • Number of questions: 34
  • Question format: 24 multiple choice questions, 10 numeric entry questions
  • Question types: Reading Comprehension, Summary, Paragraph Construction (sentence ordering and sentence elimination)
  • Number of each type of question: 24 RC Questions (in 5 passages, multiple choice), 3 summary questions (numeric entry), 7 paragraph construction questions (numeric entry)
  • Time limit: 60 minutes

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