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CAT syllabus and Other MBA Entance Exams Syllabus

cat syllabus

CAT Syllabus – Verbal Ability:

We are often surprised to see that students tend to confuse MBA entrance syllabus with CAT syllabus. There are many MBA entrance exams in India. Some of the prominent ones are: CAT, NMAT, IIFT, XAT, SNAP, TISS, CMAT and MHCET. Each exam has its own pattern and to some extent its own syllabus. But, while there are many things unique to each exam, there are certain things that are common to all exams. For instance, directly vocabulary based questions are not seen in CAT and XAT but are very common in IIFT, SNAP, and NMAT. On the other hand, regardless of the difficulty level, Reading Comprehension is there in all the exams. Here is the detailed analysis of the VARC section of each exam:
We will start with the VARC syllabus of the biggest of all MBA entrance exams: CAT

See Also:

How to improve accuracy in Reading Comprehension to 100%

Over the past three years, the Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section of CAT has been consistent with respect to pattern and syllabus. We have seen 34 questions in this section, 24 of which are from Reading Comprehensions and the rest are from Verbal Ability. Thus we can say that CAT exam gives the greatest importance to Reading Comprehensions (RCs), more than that given by any other MBA entrance exam. The RCs are of two types: one short and the other long.

The long RCs are of about 500 words, while the short ones are of about 300 words. The long ones have 6 questions each and the short ones have 3 each. Thus we have three long RCs and two short.

Watch: How to improve CAT Reading Comprehension

The CAT syllabus for Verbal Ability section comprises of questions primarily from three broad areas: TITA Parajumbles, Odd Sentence, Summary and Paragraph Completion. In total, there are ten questions from these areas, with maximum questions from TITA parajumbles, followed by questions from Odd Sentence, Summary and Paragraph Completion. We have seen that the VA questions of CAT are tougher than the RC questions. So an aspirant must work on his RC skills to stand a good chance in this exam

Watch: How to Solve TITA Parajumbles

Verbal Ability Syllabus for IIFT exam:

The Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section of IIFT has two subsections, one that has only RCs and the other that has Verbal Ability. The Verbal Ability section of IIFT is full of questions from basic grammar and vocabulary, which are the two scoring areas. Also, there are simple questions from Parajumbles, Figures of Speech and Fill in the blanks. An aspirant with good vocabulary and sound grammar concepts can score well in this section.
The RC section of IIFT is slightly different from that of other exams. Here the RCs are long and full of direct questions that can be answered directly from the passages. There is more of speed reading than comprehension required from the student to score well in this section.

Verbal Ability Syllabus for SNAP exam:

The Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension section of SNAP is replete with questions from basic vocabulary and grammar. This exam gives the least importance to RCs. But sometimes vocabulary and grammar can be a bigger challenge than RC, because unlike RC skills vocabulary and grammar take time to develop.

Verbal Ability Syllabus for XAT exam:

If we go by the past few years papers’, then XAT VARC is the toughest of all exams. It has fewer questions than what comes in any other exam, and there is a good balance, with 50 % of questions coming from RC and the rest from VA. XAT is the only exam in which you must have a good understanding of CR concepts because there are a few questions that come from this particular area. There are two or three questions from other topics such as Parajumbles, Para completion, Summary and Fill in the blanks.

Verbal Ability Syllabus for NMAT exam:

NMAT exam is completely driven by speed, because the time given is less, and the no of questions are quite high. The good thing with NMAT is that it has many questions from direct vocabulary, and these questions are often repeated. A student with good vocabulary skills can effortlessly score well in this section. Also, this section has a good no of questions from grammar-based fill in the blanks, which are easy and less time consuming. The ideal strategy should be to attempt all the vocabulary and grammar based questions in the first round, and then come back to the RC and CR questions in the second round.

Verbal Ability Syllabus for TISS & MH-CET exam:

TISS and MHCET exams are of lower difficulty. They have questions from RC and VA; the RCs are long and the VA has a good no of questions from basic grammar and directly vocabulary. Aspirants having good speed are likely to do well in these two exams.
Thus, we see that apart from CAT, most of the exams test vocabulary and grammar. It would be impractical for the aspirant to ignore vocabulary.

To help students struggling with vocabulary, Bodhee Prep has come up with a free course that tries the vocabulary issues. The course is free for all. You may log in and work on your vocabulary:

FREE Online Vocabulary Course

Quantitative Ability Syllabus:

CAT syllabus for Quantitative Aptitude is same for all other  MBA entrance exams. Also, with a lower difficulty of the quant section in recent CAT papers, the difficulty level for all exams is also at equal parity.

The entire CAT syllabus for Quantitative Ability for these exams can be categories in the following section:

Number system:

This section covers mainly the following topics: Basic understanding of numbers, Divisibility rules, Remainders, HCF and LCM, unit digits, factorization, base system.


plane geometry concepts of triangles, circles, and quadrilaterals mainly dominate this section. The concepts of cuboid, cube, cylinder, cone, and sphere are the other important areas from geometry.

Watch: Tough geometry Problems for CAT


This section is very vital for all MBA entrance exams. almost 40-50% of the questions from Quantitative Aptitude section appears in most of the exams including CAT exam.

The major topics from the area of arithmetic are: Percentages, Ratio and Proportion, Averages, profit loss and discount, Mixtures and alligation, Work and Time, and Time speed and distance. Among all this, the sound understanding of percentages and ratios is very important as many questions from other areas of arithmetic can easily be solved by the simple application of percentages and ratios.

See Also:

AM-HM Concept – Time speed and Distance


This remains one of the tough section to crack for students from the non-maths background. The major topics from algebra are : Linear and quadratic equations, basics of functions and graphs, progression, and questions pertaining to finding the maximum or the minimum value of the expression.

Watch: Tough Algebra Problems for CAT

Modern Maths:

Everything else which does not feature in the above four categories is dumped into this category. The major topics are: Permutation and combination, set theory, and probability etc.

See Also:

Stars and Bars method – permutation and combination

Set Theory Maxima Minima Concept

Logical reasoning and Data Interpretation Syllabus:

For CAT exam, there is no standard category for this section.

But, from our observation of recent CAT papers, we can categorize cat syllabus for LRDI as follow:

  1. Fixing the missing numbers and splitting the numbers
  2. Games and Tournaments
  3. Maxima Minima set theory / Venn diagram
  4. Data arrangements / matrix based (tabular form
  5. Linear and circular arrangements
  6. Sequencing and arrangement

How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT

For MBA Entrance Exams other than CAT, there are other categories of Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation which often appears.

Logical Reasoning :

Number series, Letter & symbol series, Statement, and argument, Logical Reasoning problems, Alphabet test, Passage, and conclusions, Blood relations, Direction sense test, Coding-decoding, Number Ranking, Making judgments, analogy, classification, series, cause and effects,  syllogism, input & output.

Data Interpretation:

Bar Graph, Line Graph, Table form, Pie Chart, Venn Diagram

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