CAT 2017: Important topics for preparation

Although there is no specific CAT syllabus to prepare for, but aspirants must know the important topics to prepare for. This article will guide students to know about the CAT 2017 Important topics for preparations, under each of the sections.

As per the CAT 2017 exam pattern, there are three sections- Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC). Each section of the test has a few important topics which a student must cover. Let us have a look at section wise topics of CAT 2017.


1.   Quantitative Aptitude (QA)

Mathematics, in a way, is a poetry of logical ideas; syncing perfectly with the QA section of CAT 2017, wherein the mathematical questions are based on logics and theories. Solving QA section can be quite challenging for test takers as the difficulty level of this section, based on past years trend, has been of difficult to moderate level.

Students, especially from non-engineering backgrounds, who are not too comfortable in QA, must focus in this section to improve their sectional scores, which will impact their overall CAT percentile.  Raghav Mishra, CAT Topper from IIM Indore supports by saying, “Quant is the key area and having a good hold over this section will help the aspirants crack CAT with good percentile.”

Some of the topics that the aspirants must focus under this section, and which are expected in the test, are:

  • Number System: Ensure that you are clear with the basic concepts of this topic.
  • Arithmetic: Though Arithmetic has a vast number of sub-topics, in the last 3 years, only a couple of questions have featured from this topic.
  • Algebra: Considering this has been one of the most dominant topics in CAT in the last three years, it makes a lot of sense to place extra emphasis on this topic.
  • Geometry: Another topic which has featured quite a lot in the last 3 years.
  • Permutation & Combination/Probability: This is another topic that contributes around 1 to 2 questions to the exam.
  • Miscellaneous Topics: This includes Set Theory, Trigonometry, and Logarithms

Preparation Tips: When you know the basic concepts, you must practice via examples. It is important to follow the concepts learned, and practice each concept by solving simple examples first, and gradually moving towards the difficult ones. Besides learning the concepts for Quant, it is equally important that you do not leave any topic uncovered. One of the important strategies to cover each topic is to make a Day-wise preparation plan and schedule some number of days to prepare for that topic.

2. Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)

CAT assesses the aptitude of logical thinking aptitude of the candidates, and the Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR) section of the test is closest in resemblance to the kind of problems one might face as a manager. This section tests your decision-making ability and speed using limited input. Needless to say, that practice is the key to crack this section. But it is also important to prepare while keeping an eye on the watch. As there is a sectional limit to attempt one section, not focusing on time will only hamper your preparation.


Abishake Koul, CAT Topper from IIM Lucknow, agrees by saying, “For, DI & LR, all types of questions should be bread and butter for you before the exam. This is the section which makes the difference between a mediocre and a good percentile”.


A few topics that you must cover in DI section and that you must prepare are:

  • Data Sufficiency
  • Bar Graph
  • Tables
  • Case-lets
  • Pi-charts

Logical Reasoning is all about understanding the trick hidden in the question. After you are done with your daily preparation, take out time for some brainstorming sessions, like solve crossword puzzles, Sudoku, riddles on blood relations, family tree etc. Some of the topics are:

Preparation Tips: The more you practice the questions from DI & LR, better will you perform. The DI questions for CAT are known for being calculation intensive. Utilize the on-screen calculator to the fullest in this section. Since there is no theoretical aspect in this section, you can only practice to excel the areas. “For LR and DI, I used to practice solving at least 3-4 sets with a time limit every day. This helped me get exposure to a diverse set of problems in both LR and DI areas. ,” says Ishaan Anaokar, CAT 99.39 percentiler and SPJIMR Mumbai student.

3. Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC)

This section is divided into 2 parts, Reading Comprehension and English Usage. The Reading Comprehension area carries around 5 passages followed by 3 to 5 questions from each passage. The English Usage area includes questions on grammar, vocabulary etc. Following are the topics of English Usage to prepare for CAT 2017.

  • Fact Inference Judgment
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Grammar
  • Para Completion
  • Para Jumble
  • Sentence Correction
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Word Usage (Vocabulary)

Preparation Tips:  To prepare for this section, Expert, suggests focusing on grammar and learn 5-10 words each day. “There is no way you can learn hundred words in a day consistently. Ideally, learning about 5 to 10 new words a day (every day for the next 100 day) will help you get richer in vocab by 500 to 1000 words, “he says.  For Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, getting familiar with the type of questions and paragraphs is the key. Make sure that you spend at least half hour every day on this area so that you are either taking a slip test or reviewing one. Reading the editorials of the Newspaper(s) is a very good way to improve the comprehension.

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