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What's New in CAT Exam 2023?

Tiyasa Khanra
Tiyasa KhanraUpdated On: November 26, 2023 11:56 pm IST | CAT
The CAT exam 2023 will be conducted by IIM Lucknow. Find what's new in CAT 2023 including its main highlights, eligibility criteria, and exam pattern.
What's New in CAT Exam 2023?

What's New in CAT 2023: IIM Lucknow was the conducting authority for the CAT 2023 exam which was held on November 26, 2023. Aspirants had a clear understanding of the latest changes in CAT 2023 from the CAT 2023 notification. The CAT registration 2023 commenced on August 2, 2023, and the deadline was September 21, 2023. Candidates who intend to take the CAT exam this year need to be aware of certain key information. The duration of the CAT 2023 exam is expected to last two hours, and the candidates will be evaluated in three sections—DILR, VARC, and QA. Every section of the CAT 2023 will have a specified amount of time allotted for it, and the wrong answers will lead to negative markings.

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The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) administers the highly competitive CAT management entrance exam for candidates seeking admission to a range of MBA courses across the nation. The conducting authority, which is one of the IIMs, makes modifications or changes to the CAT exam pattern, curriculum, or other relevant aspects available in the year leading up to the exam. The article will give you a clear understanding of the latest changes in the CAT exam. 

Also Read:

Common Mistakes to Avoid During CAT Preparation

How to Prepare for CAT VARC

What's New in CAT 2023?

Over the last 5 years, the substantial changes have been noticed in the CAT exam pattern 2023 have been mentioned below:

  • The CAT 2023 will be administered by IIM Lucknow on November 26, 2023.
  • The CAT 2023 will be conducted as a Computer-Based Test (CBT) over a duration of 2 hours. However, it will not be administered as an online exam.
  • The CAT exam this year will include 66 questions, segregated into three sections: VARC, DILR, and Quantitative Ability. Earlier, the total number of questions was 100 divided into three sections.
  • The CAT syllabus 2023 has been revised, and it now includes a variety of questions that include MCQs and non-MCQs.
  • 25–30% of questions no longer carry a penalty.
  • As more questions are focused on Reading Comprehension than Verbal Ability, the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Sections of the curriculum have seen the maximum level of modifications.
  • The Quantitative Ability component of the curriculum has seen some revisions, with an increased emphasis on problems involving Arithmetic.
  • There will be 18 or more questions out of 66 that will have no negative marking. Both MCQ and non-MCQ questions will be asked in the CAT 2023 exam, and there will be no negative marking for non-MCQs. A few MCQs will be converted to questions with no negative marking in the event that any non-MCQs have negative marking.
  • In the CAT 2023 exam, there will be more than 48 multiple-choice questions that will result in a penalty of 1/3 negative marking.
  • IIMs will shortlist applicants for the final admission round based on a minimum qualifying score required by the IIMs, ranging between 70 and 90 percentile, in each of the three sections of the CAT exam. 
  • In addition to having a high CAT exam score in each of the three sections, IIMs favor applicants with strong academic backgrounds diversity, and a variety of professional experiences.

CAT 2023 Revised Structure of Question Paper

Check the table below to gain insight into the revised structure of the CAT question paper.

Name of the Section

Time Limit

MCQs (with Negative Marking)

Non-MCQs (TITA Questions without Negative Marking)

Total Questions

Section-1: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)

40 Minutes




Section-2: Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

40 Minutes




Section-3: Quantitative Ability (QA)

40 Minutes




Total (Overall) 

120 Minutes




Also ReadWhat is a Good CAT 2023 Percentile/ Score?

CAT 2023 Conducting Body

Based on the historical rotation of the responsibility for conducting CAT among the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), IIM Lucknow is likely to be the institute that may conduct CAT 2023. IIM Lucknow was established in 1984 as the fourth Indian Institute of Management under the supervision of IIM Bangalore. IIM Lucknow is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and can be regarded as one of the few institutes in India to have this international accreditation. For its academic rigour and overall performance, IIM Lucknow consistently ranks among the top management institutes in India and is widely recognized on a national as well as international level. The institution has a large and active alumni network that is crucial to preserving connections with companies and employers and fostering the professional development of current students.

What's New in CAT 2023: Exam Highlights

No changes have been observed in the main aspects of the CAT 2023 exam till now. The most important highlights of the CAT 2023 exam have been provided below.



Conducting Authority

IIM Lucknow

Exam Purpose

Admission into various postgraduate management programs, such as MBA, PGDM, and other management courses, offered by the IIMs and many other prestigious business schools across India.

Exam Format

Computer-Based Test (CBT)

Exam Sections

Three sections - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA)

Number of Questions



The exam duration is 2 hours (120 minutes). 
Each section has a specific time limit of 40 minutes, and candidates cannot switch between sections during the exam.

Difficulty Level

Challenging and difficult nature
The exam evaluates candidates' problem-solving abilities, analytical skills, time management, and overall aptitude for management studies.

Exam Frequency

CAT is conducted once a year, usually in November or December


Bachelor's degree in any discipline from a recognized university or institute.

Application Process

Interested candidates must register and apply online during the specified registration period. The application process usually starts a few months before the exam date.

Results and Admission

After the CAT exam, results are typically declared in January. Based on their CAT scores, candidates are shortlisted for further selection rounds, such as Group Discussion (GD), Written Ability Test (WAT), and Personal Interview (PI), conducted by individual IIMs and other participating institutes.

Also ReadCAT 2023: Check Out Seat Reservation Policy at IIMs

What's New in CAT 2023: Eligibility Criteria

The CAT eligibility criteria 2023 are expected to be the same as last year. The specific eligibility requirements for CAT 2023 will be officially announced by the conducting IIM, i.e IIM Lucknow, in the notification. However, the eligibility criteria for CAT exam have generally been as follows:



Educational Qualification

  • Candidates should hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline obtained over a span of 3 years. 
  • It is crucial that the degree should be awarded by a university incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a university under section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956.
  • Candidates who completed CA, CS, or ICWA and achieved the necessary percentage can also register for CAT 2023.
  • Candidates may submit an application for the CAT exam 2023 while they are in their last year of Bachelor’s degree.

Minimum Percentage

  • General category candidates must score a minimum of 50% marks in aggregate.
  • Candidates belonging to the SC, ST, and PWD/DA category are eligible for a 5% relaxation and are required to score a minimum of 45% in aggregate. 

Age Limit

There is no age limit for candidates applying to appear for the CAT exam.


As per the Indian government regulations, there are provisions for reservation of seats for candidates belonging to SC (Scheduled Caste), ST (Scheduled Tribe), OBC (Other Backward Classes), PwD (Persons with Disability), and other categories. Specific details about the reservation policy will be provided in the official CAT notification.

Changes in CAT 2023 Exam Pattern

The CAT exam pattern 2023 is expected to be analogous to the exam pattern of last year. 

  • The CAT exam pattern consists of three sections, namely, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). 
  • The exam will be conducted in a computer-based mode over an overall time limit of 2 hours or 120 minutes. 
  • A total of 66 questions will be asked in the CAT 2023 exam. 
  • The total marks for the CAT 2023 will be 198. 
  • Each section has a specific time limit of 40 minutes. 
  • Candidates can navigate between sections and attempt questions in any order they prefer.
  • The application fee that needs to be submitted along with the CAT application form 2023 has been increased to INR 1200 for SC, ST, and PwD category candidates, and INR 2400 for all other categories of candidates.

However, the exam pattern is subject to change, and IIM Lucknow may introduce modifications for CAT 2023. Therefore, it is crucial to verify the latest exam pattern on the official CAT website or IIM Lucknow’s official notification. Here is the general exam pattern for CAT:

Name of the Section

Number of Questions


Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

Around 34-36 questions

  • Reading Comprehension: Passages from various topics like literature, social sciences, science, history, and economics, followed by questions to test understanding and inference
  • English Usage and Grammar: Questions on sentence correction, vocabulary usage, grammar rules, para-jumbles, etc.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Questions that assess the ability to draw conclusions, infer, and identify the main ideas from a given text

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

Around 32-34 questions

  • Data Interpretation: Questions based on data provided in the form of tables, charts, graphs, etc.
  • Logical Reasoning: logical puzzles, seating arrangements, blood relations, syllogisms, and other reasoning-based problems

Quantitative Ability (QA)

Around 34-36 questions

  • Arithmetic: percentages, profit and loss, time and work, time and distance, ratio and proportion, etc.
  • Algebra: linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, sequences, and series.
  • Geometry: Questions on lines, angles, triangles, circles, polygons, and solid geometry
  • Number System: properties of numbers, divisibility, factors, multiples, etc.
  • Trigonometry: trigonometric ratios, identities, and heights and distances
  • Modern Mathematics: probability, permutation and combination, set theory, and functions

Marking Scheme

  • Each correct answer usually awards 3 marks.
  • Each incorrect answer will result in a negative marking of 1 mark. 
  • There will be no negative marking for non-MCQs.

However, specific marking schemes may vary from year to year, so it's crucial to check the official CAT website for the latest information on the marking pattern.

Also Read:List of MBA Colleges Accepting 90-95 Percentile in CAT 2023

CAT 2023 Slot Timings

The slot timings for the CAT exam are usually announced by the conducting IIM closer to the exam date. CAT is typically conducted in multiple sessions or slots on the same day or over multiple days. The exact schedule and slot timings are provided to the candidates during the CAT registration and admit card download process. The CAT 2023 exam will be administered in three sessions, as follows:

  • Morning session (Slot 1): 8:30 am to 10:30 am
  • Afternoon session (Slot 2): 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
  • Evening session (Slot 3): 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm

To stay updated on the latest information about CAT 2023 and the organizing IIM, candidates must regularly visit the official website of the CAT exam ( and keep an eye on official announcements from IIM Lucknow.

Related Links:

List of Documents Required for CAT 2023 Registration

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Filling CAT 2023 Application Form

CAT 2023 Study Plan for Students in Final Year of Graduation

IIM Selection Criteria 2024-26

For further information pertaining to CAT 2023, you can post your query through CollegeDekho’s QnA section. For admissions-related inquiries, fill in our Common Application Form (CAF) or call at 1800-572-9877.


Who will conduct the CAT 2023 exam?

IIM Lucknow is most likely going to conduct the CAT 2023 exam. IIM Bangalore supervised the establishment of IIM Lucknow, the fourth Indian Institute of Management, in 1984. The Association of MBAs (AMBA) has recognized IIM Lucknow, making it one of the few institutions in India that has received this international accreditation.

What is the CAT 2023 exam notification?

The CAT notification is typically released by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) a few months before the exam date. The CAT notification generally includes important information such as Exam Date, Registration Dates, Eligibility Criteria, Exam Pattern, Syllabus, Application Process, Admit Card Release, Result Date, and Reservation Policy.

What is the CAT 2023 exam?

The CAT 2023 exam is a highly competitive and standardized management entrance examination conducted in India. It is a computer-based test (CBT) that serves as a gateway for admission into postgraduate management programmes, particularly the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and other allied programs offered by various Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other prestigious business schools across the country. The CAT exam is conducted annually by one of the IIMs on a rotational basis. For example, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, and other IIMs take turns organizing the CAT exam. The CAT 2023 exam will be administered by IIM Lucknow. CAT scores are widely accepted by many B-schools across India, including IIMs and other prestigious institutes.

What will be the mode of the CAT 2023 exam?

The CAT 2023 exam will be conducted in a computer-based test (CBT) mode. In this mode, candidates are required to take the exam on a computer at designated exam centers. The CBT mode means that the CAT exam is not conducted in the traditional pen-and-paper format. Instead, candidates are provided with a computer terminal at the exam center, where they log in to answer the exam questions presented on the computer screen. The entire exam is administered on a computer, and candidates use a mouse to select their answers for multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and type-in-the-answer questions. The CBT format offers several advantages, such as quick result processing, the ability to provide a random order of questions to each candidate, and minimized chances of errors in scoring.

What is the CAT admit card 2023?

The CAT admit card 2023 is an essential document that serves as a hall ticket or entry pass for candidates appearing in the CAT exam. It is issued by the organizing Indian Institute of Management (IIM) or the examination authority conducting CAT for that particular year. The admit card is made available for download on the official CAT website within a specific period before the exam date. The CAT admit card contains important details about the candidate, including their name, photograph, signature, CAT registration number, date of birth, category, and exam center details. It also includes information related to the CAT exam, such as the date and time of the exam, the reporting time, the duration of the exam, and the sections of the exam. The admit card specifies the name and address of the assigned test center where the candidate is required to appear for the CAT exam.

What are the mandatory documents to be carried along with the CAT admit card 2023?

The mandatory documents that candidates are usually required to carry along with the CAT admit card to the examination center include:

  • Valid Photo ID Proof: A valid photo identification document issued by the government is mandatory. Acceptable IDs may include Aadhar card, passport, voter ID, driver's license, or PAN card, among others. The name and photo on the ID must match the details on the admit card.
  • Passport-sized Photograph: Candidates may be required to affix a recent passport-sized photograph on the admit card, as per the instructions mentioned on the admit card or official CAT website.

Candidates need to carry a printed copy of the CAT admit card, which contains their photograph and other important details. 

What are the important changes in the CAT exam over the years?

The CAT exam shifted from a paper-based test to a computer-based test (CBT) format. The CAT exam introduced sectional time limits. Instead of a single time limit for the entire exam, candidates were allocated specific time constraints for each section. The CAT exam introduced non-MCQ questions alongside the traditional multiple-choice questions (MCQs). To account for variations in the difficulty level across different exam slots, CAT started using a normalization process to calculate final scores. Additionally, 25–30% of questions no longer carry a penalty or negative marking.

What will be the scoring pattern in the CAT 2023 exam?

3 marks will be awarded for each correct answer in the multiple-choice questions (MCQs). For incorrect answers in the MCQs, there is usually a negative marking of 1 mark. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers in the type-in-the-answer (non-MCQ) questions.

What is the minimum eligibility criteria for the CAT 2023 exam?

Candidates must hold a Bachelor's degree in any discipline from a recognized university or institution. Generally, candidates belonging to the General category must have scored at least 50% aggregate marks or an equivalent CGPA in their Bachelor's degree. For candidates belonging to reserved categories like SC, ST, and PwD (Persons with Disability), the minimum percentage required is usually 45%.

Can I choose the order of sections while attempting the CAT question paper?

No, candidates are required to attempt the CAT question paper in the predetermined order and the order is the same for all the candidates. The three options for the order of sections are:
Section 1: VARC, Section 2: DI & LR, Section 3: QA
Section 1: DI & LR, Section 2: QA, Section 3: VARC
Section 1: QA, Section 2: VARC, Section 3: DI & LR

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-Sumit AntilUpdated on November 25, 2023 03:51 PM
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Puneet Hooda, Student / Alumni

Dear student, 

To be eligible for MBA admission in Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi CAT score is mandatory. Candidates who have qualified CAT are shortlisted for a personal interview. Based on cumilative peformance of candidates in CAT and personal interview, they are selected for Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi MBA admission. So, getting admission in MBA without any entrance exam is not possible.  


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Feel free to contact us for any more questions.   


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