CAT Syllabus has remained more or less the same for the last decade but the paper pattern has changed. Before we actually try to understand the complete and detailed CAT syllabus for the CAT 2020 exam, we need to understand the pattern of the paper. Once we know the pattern of the paper, it would be simpler for us to understand the syllabus for CAT. The pattern for CAT exam has remained more or less the same for the past 3 years – CAT 2017, CAT 2018, and CAT 2019. It is safe to assume that a similar, if not exactly the same, pattern would continue for CAT 2020 as well.

CAT 2020 exam would be divided in to three separate sections of 1 hour each.

Section 1 – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (34 questions)

Section 2 – Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (32 questions)

Section 3 – Quantitative Aptitude (34 questions)

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that you are not allowed to switch between sections. The order of the sections has remained the same for the past few years so the same is expected to continue.

Over the past few years, the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section has focused quite heavily on Reading Comprehension. Out of 34, you can expect anywhere from 20 to 25 questions from the Reading Comprehension. The other 10-15 questions would be from the Verbal Ability part.

Given below is the CAT Syllabus and the topics you need to cover for the VA RC section

Reading Comprehension | Different Categories of Passages |

Writing Styles | |

Tone of Writing | |

Types of Questions | |

Reading Skills | |

Types of Passages | |

Accuracy in RC | |

Inference Based Questions | |

Specific Detail Questions | |

RC – The Game of Thrones Way | |

The Articles – A, An, The | Grammar |

Parts of Speech in English | |

Sentence Construction in English | |

Punctuations | |

Modifiers | |

Subject-Verb Agreement | |

Verbs Tenses | |

Sentence Correction | |

Word Usage | |

Verbal Reasoning | Logical Deduction |

Statements & Assumptions | |

Courses of Action | |

Parajumbles (Basic Rules, Extra tips) | |

Para Completion | |

Sentence Exclusion | |

Fact Inference Judgment | |

Syllogism | |

Summary Based Questions | |

Extra Tips for Summary Questions | |

Different Methods for Sentence Exclusion | |

Jumbled Paragraph Questions | |

Basic Assumption And Inference | Critical Reasoning |

Strengthen and Weaken an Argument | |

Paragraph Summary | |

Method of Reasoning and Boldfaced | |

Flawed and Paradox | |

Parallel, Further Application, Evaluate | |

Fallacies and Strong Weak Arguments |

I would like to add that it is unlikely that you would get questions on most of these topics but these are the tools that you would need to prepare and score well in the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section.

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI) has become the most grueling of all sections in the CAT exam over the years. Typically, there are 8 sets with 4 questions each. To score around 90%ile need to do 2-3 sets correctly, whereas to score around 95%ile in the LRDI section, you need to do 3-4 sets correctly. I would like to divide the CAT Syllabus for the LRDI section in two levels.

Level 1 consists of topics that you need to do to build a base.

Level 2 consists of topics on which you can expect actual questions to be asked in the exam.

- Coding – Decoding
- Number Series
- Letter Series
- Symbol Series
- Symbol based Logic
- Number & Alphabet Analogies
- Odd one out
- Direction Sense
- Blood Relations and Family Tree
- Cryptarithmetic (Verbal Arithmetic)
- Inequalities and Conclusions – Coded Inequalities
- Data Sufficiency
- Approximation of Values

- Bar Graphs
- Pie Charts
- Tables
- Binary Logic – True / False statements based questions
- Pan Balance / Spring Balance
- Linear and Circular Seating Arrangements
- Arrangement problems using Tables and Matrix
- Games and Tournaments (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
- Sequential Output / Input-Output
- Logical Conditions (If this, then that)
- Logical Grouping – Questions based on Team Formation
- Critical Path
- Cubes based problems
- Matchstick / Coin picking based problems
- Dice Related Problems
- Order and Ranking
- Quant Based LR Puzzles

As far as CAT syllabus is concerned, probably the Quantitative Aptitude section is the most well defined and the most voluminous as well. Probably, that is the reason a large number of students make the mistake of spending too much time on it. They sometimes end up spending more than 75% of their time preparing for just the quantitative aptitude section ignoring the others. I hope you would not do that. Given below is the structure of the Quantitative Aptitude section. As you can see, I have further divided the Quant part, in to 5 sup-parts:

- Number System
- Algebra
- Arithmetic
- Geometry
- Modern Math

The numbers given in the picture are based on the average pattern of the CAT exam over the last 4-5 years. You can expect a swing of +/- 2 questions in each category. Also, it is sometimes difficult to categorize a question in one sub-topic versus the other, so I have taken some poetic license while doing that.

A common issue while preparing with Number System for CAT is that students are not aware or relative importance of various topics that are asked in Number System. They spend time sharpening their skills to find out the last two digits, or to understand Fermat Theorem to find out the remainders in Number System questions. These types of concepts are not required for CAT Preparation. It is one of the low priority areas of CAT syllabus.

Given below are some of the topics that you should cover in Number System

- Basics of Numbers
- Properties of Numbers
- Divisibility Rules
- Successive Division
- Divisibility and Factors
- Factor Theory
- Highest Common Factor and Lowest Common Multiple
- Finding Out Last Digit
- Finding Out Last Two Digits
- Number of trailing zeroes
- Sum of all numbers formed from given digits
- Special cases of Factorials – Highest Power in a prime, rightmost non zero digit
- Finding out Remainders
- Based on basic divisibility rules
- Based on Binomial Theorem
- Based on Simplifying the Dividend (Single and / or Multiple Divisors)
- Fermat's Theorem
- Euler's Theorem
- Pattern Recognition and cyclicity of remainders
- Wilson's Theorem

- Base Systems
- Conversion of Bases
- Addition / subtraction / multiplication in different bases

As far as CAT syllabus for Arithmetic is concerned, I would like to suggest that you divide it in three parts.

Part 1 – Basic concepts from the syllabus that you need to solve any question

- Averages
- Mean Median Mode
- Percentages
- Ratio and Proportion
- Partnerships
- Simple and Compound Interest

Part 2 – High probability areas of CAT syllabus on which questions can be asked in the CAT 2020 exam

Part 3 – Concepts from CAT syllabus that you should know but are unlikely to be asked in the CAT

- Calendars
- Clocks
- Stocks and Shares

Algebra is probably the most neglected portion of Quantitative Aptitude in CAT syllabus for the simple reason that people do not know what to do in it and where to practice for it. Some students think that they can skip topics like Basic Algebraic Equations and Inequalities because you rarely get direct questions on those in CAT. While it is technically correct, it is still a bad idea to skip these chapters. The reason being that the other questions that are asked in the CAT exam are based on these concepts.

Given below are some of the topics that you can and should go through to get a good grasp on the Algebra section.

- Basics Algebraic Formulae
- Linear Equations
- Quadratic Equations
- Finding out roots
- Maxima and Minima

- Higher Degree Equations
- Inequalities
- Logarithm
- Functions

If you have to look at the most important chapter in Quantitative Aptitude, it has to be Functions. Do not ignore that.

Over the years, Geometry has proven to be the most scoring (most scary for some students) part of the Quantitative Aptitude section. It is the only topic where you can hope for a direct application of a concept or formula without thinking too much about it. Often, you can just draw a diagram or even assume a value to get to the answer fairly quickly. The problem with Geometry portion of CAT syllabus is that quite a lot of students have not studied Geometry at all after class 10th. Even if it was a part of the syllabus, they focused on fancy topics lie Permutation and Combination or Probability. It would take some time to get back in to the groove but every hour that you spend on preparing for Geometry will help you in the CAT exam.

As far as the topics and syllabus for Geometry is concerned, this list below should be helpful

- Lines and Angles
- Triangles – Basic Concepts
- Area, Angles
- Similar Triangles
- Special Triangles (30-60-90, 45-45-90, 30-30,120)

- Polygons
- Circles
- Solids / Mensuration – 3D Geometry
- Co-ordinate Geometry
- Trigonometry

Among the above topics, Co-ordinate Geometry and Trigonometry are low priority areas. If you can spend even an hour on Trigonometry to understand the basic concepts and simple applications of those basic concepts – it should be enough for the CAT exam. You do not need anything more than that. Similarly, as far as Co-ordinate Geometry is concerned – it is a combination of a large number of formulas. If you are good at remembering stuff, 75% of your co-ordinate geometry problems would be solved in less than a minute.

Modern Math is a low priority topic as far as the CAT exam is concerned. It also includes some part that isn't really covered till class 10th Math such as Permutation and Combination, Probability, etc. However, those topics are not that important. What is important is topics like Set Theory. Questions on Set Theory can also be asked in the Logical Reasoning section so it is important that you are well prepared for it.

Given below is a list of topics that are included in Modern Math section of CAT syllabus:

- Sequence and Series
- Binomial Theorem
- Set Theory
- Venn Diagram based on 2 / 3 sets
- Venn Diagram based on 4 sets
- Maxima and Minima related to values in a set
- 'At least n' type of problems

- Permutation and Combination
- Probability