CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

Updated By Yash Dhamija on 23 Sep, 2020 19:00

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CAT 2020 Exam Pattern (Changed)

CAT 2020 will have a time duration of 120 minutes as compared to 180 minutes earlier. There were speculations regarding will there be any changes in the CAT 2020 exam pattern and this is the only change that has been introduced. Candidates must be aware of the exact exam pattern of CAT 2020 to know what exactly has to be prepared for the entrance examination.

CAT 2020 Exam Pattern Infographic

Changes in CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

CAT is an exam conducted in the online mode. The CAT question paper contains a total of 100 questions. Two types of questions appear in CAT -- the Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) and the TITA (Type In the Answer) questions, which are of the non-MCQ type.

The questions in CAT are divided into three sections:

SectionsNo. of QuestionsMarks AllocatedTime Duration
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension3410240
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning329640
Quantitative Ability3410240

Candidates will get 40 minutes per section in the CAT 2020 exam. CAT does not allow you to switch sections in the middle of the question paper.

Getting familiar with the exam pattern and increasing your efficiency is an important step in the exam preparation process. Following is the detailed pattern of CAT that will help you in your preparation.

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Highlights of CAT 2020 Exam Pattern

Some of the major highlights of CAT exam pattern 2020 can be checked below.



Test Duration

120 minutes

Number of Sections


Total number of questions in the exam


Each question carries

3 marks

Marks deducted for each incorrect question



CAT 2020 Type of Questions

CAT exam comprises mainly two types of questions i.e. multiple choice questions (MCQ) and non-MCQs.

MCQs – These type of questions will comprise the text that you have to read and find the answer. You will be given four options from which you will have to choose the correct answer.

Non-MCQs – These will comprise question text that you will have to read in order to understand the question and type your answer in the box provided on the screen.

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Expected Number of MCQs & TITA Questions in CAT 2020

Name of the Section

Number of MCQs

Number of TITA Questions

Quantitative Ability



Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension



Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning






Time management throughout the exam and maintaining a good solving speed is important to score well in CAT exam. Proctored mock test will help you in understanding the pattern better. 

Points to Remember:

  • In each section, some questions may not be of multiple-choice type. Instead, direct answers will have to be typed on the screen. Also, the use of the basic onscreen calculator for computation is allowed. The calculator is provided on the screen of the exam window to ease up calculations during the exam. Computations can be done by scrawling the mouse on the screen on the computer.
  • Candidates will get exactly 60 minutes for answering questions in each section.
  • Switching from one section to another while answering questions in a section is not allowed.
  • To understand the format of the test, candidates are advised to work on the tutorials, which will be available on the CAT 2019 website.

CAT 2020 Marking Scheme

Each question in CAT 2020 will carry three marks and one mark will be deducted for every wrong answer. This marking scheme is applicable only for multiple choices questions. For Non-MCQs, there is no negative marking and the marks allotted to every question is three.

* On the basis of the understanding of the detailed CAT 2020 exam pattern, one can estimate the time required to prepare for CAT exam.

CAT 2020 MCQs Vs TITA Questions

The CAT 2020 exam pattern comprises of both MCQ and non-MCQ questions, which are called TITA (Type in the Answer Questions). Here is the detailed division of marks for MCQ and non-MCQ questions in CAT 2020.

Name of Section

Total number of Question

Total number of Multiple Choice Questions

Total Number of TITA Questions

Quantitative Aptitude




Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning 




Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension 




How to Tackle TITA Questions in CAT 2020

TITA Questions or Type in The Answer Questions are non-MCQ type questions in which a candidate has to type in their answer using an on-screen keyboard in the CAT exam. TITA questions were first introduced by IIM Ahmedabad in 2015 as non-MCQs in which direct answers are to be typed in on the screen. TITA is not an official name for these questions and has only caught on as an acronym after their introduction.

Solving TITA Questions or non-MCQs in CAT requires a different mindset and strategy than MCQs. Previous test results have shown that the accuracy of candidates in the TITA questions in CAT is lower than that in MCQs. Hence, candidates have to approach these questions much more carefully. While there is no negative marking for TITA questions in CAT, they can be more time-consuming to solve and hence still cost you marks in the exam.

Tips to Solve TITA questions in CAT

When solving TITA questions, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

  • Always be aware of the time consumed when solving TITA questions. Keep a close look at the clock and make sure you don't get carried away and spend more time than necessary.
  • Guesswork is a bad idea when solving TITA questions. Even though it will not cost you any marks if you attempt incorrectly, it might waste your time. Work through the question and try arriving at the correct answer before you attempt.

  • Keep your concepts clear. Having clear concepts is important when attempting TITA questions as you have fewer shortcuts and tricks to solve them as compared to the MCQs.

  • Keep TITA questions for the last. Some TITA questions can be attempted along with the rest of the question paper but it is better to leave these questions for the end. This will help you in time management and prevent any unnecessary wastage of time.

Changes in CAT Exam Pattern over the years

The CAT exam pattern has changed several times over the years. Here are the changes which took place in the CAT exam pattern in the past ten years. Candidates can go through this table and find out the minute changes in the exam pattern which has been made in the past few years. 

Year of Examination

Section Details

Marking Scheme


Total Number of Questions in the question paper

Exam Conducting body that respective year


Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation


Verbal and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation 

3 mark for every correct answer


-1 mark for every wrong answer

2.20 hour


IIM Indore

[Two day Test window]


Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation


Verbal and Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation  

3 mark for every correct answer


-1 mark for every wrong answer



IIM Indore

[Two day Test window]


Quantitative Ability 


Verbal and Reading Comprehension 


Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

3 mark for every correct answer


-1 mark for every wrong answer


No Negative marking for Non-MCQ

3 hours


IIM Lucknow


Quantitative Ability 


Verbal and Reading Comprehension 


Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning

3 mark for every correct answer


-1 mark for every wrong answer

3 hours


IIM Kolkata

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Related Questions

Hi, I am candidate of Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC). can i apply for CAT 2020 from SEBC category?

-noUpdated on September 18, 2020 03:51 PM
  • 1 Answer
Abhinav Chamoli, CollegeDekho Expert

Dear Student,

CAT 2020 does not have any seat reservations for Socially and Economically Backward Students (SEBC). You can find more information about the same in our article on the CAT 2020 seat reservation policy.

Please feel free to write back to us if you require any other information. For help with admission to MBA colleges in India, please fill our Common Application Form (CAF) or call our helpline number 18005729877.

Thank you.


I don't have any old EWS certificate and my new certificate will come after 16th sept. Can I submit the undertaking without any old certificate as of now??

-AyushiUpdated on September 18, 2020 02:47 PM
  • 1 Answer
Abhinav Chamoli, CollegeDekho Expert

Dear Student,

You have to submit any available certificates with the CAT 2020 undertaking. However, CAT 2020 exam dates have now been revised and the deadline to submit the CAT 2020 application form has been extended to 23rd September to help candidates get sufficient time to arrange any certificates.

Please feel free to write back if you have any other queries,

Thank you.


If I am taking bank and SSC railway coaching. Is it helpful for CAT?

-AnonymousUpdated on September 09, 2020 10:26 AM
  • 3 Answers
Shreya Sareen, CollegeDekho Expert

Dear Student,

Yes, the syllabus of banking and CAT exam is almost the same. However, the level of difficulty of the CAT exam is very difficult compared to the banking exam. The SSC or IBPS PO coaching will help you understand the basics of Quantitative Aptitude, Reasoning Ability and English Language. You can directly proceed to solve the advance level questions of CAT exam without going through the basics. The coaching will help you while preparing for other MBA entrance exams such as MAT, CMAT, GMAT or XAT. You can check the detailed syllabus of CAT exam provided here. Besides ...


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FAQs about CAT Exam Pattern

What is the maximum limit to appear for CAT?

There is no limit as such. You can appear for CAT any number of times.

What is the marking scheme of CAT?

Candidates will be awarded three marks for each correct answer and one mark will be deducted for each incorrect answer. The marking scheme is prepared by the conducting body.

How can I answer the questions of CAT?

You can answer the questions of CAT in any order. However, you can not move ahead to the other sections before 60 minutes. Link for all questions will be available on the right side of your screen. You can click on the box to skip a particular question.

What is the sectional time limit in CAT exam?

Maximum time limit for each section is 60 minutes.

How many non-MCQs will be covered in CAT?

Around 25 questions will be non-MCQs. There will no negative marking for these type of questions.

Is there any negative marking in CAT?

Yes, 1 mark will be deducted from the scores of the candidate in case of any incorrect answer. However, no mark will be deducted if the question remains unanswered.

What is the total duration of CAT?

Total duration of CAT is 180 minutes. Candidates will have to complete the exam within the stipulated time.

How many questions will be asked in the Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section of CAT?

Quantitative Aptitude (QA) of CAT will cover 34 questions. Besides this, Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI) will cover 32 questions and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) will cover 34 questions.

What type of questions will be asked in CAT?

The question paper of CAT will cover multiple-choice questions. Candidates will have to select one option from the four choices available. Besides this, there will be some non-mcq questions also.

What is the exam pattern of CAT?

CAT will be divided into three sections namely Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section will cover different type of questions.

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