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The CAT exam is a national-level exam conducted by one of the IIMs based on rotational policy. More than 2.5 lakhs of MBA aspirants appear for the CAT exam each year. It is one of the most challenging competitive exams in the country.

Then what could be a better preparatory material than the CAT previous year’s paper?

The candidates appearing for the CAT 2023 exam must solve last year’s CAT exam question paper to have a better understanding of the CAT exam pattern. Then accordingly plan a strategy against the challenges they face while solving the paper.

CAT Previous Year’s Paper: Overview

Once the candidate finishes the CAT syllabus, they should practice as many CAT previous year question papers as possible before beginning with the mock tests and the test series. This helps candidates understand the CAT exam paper pattern and structure in a better way as well as enhances their scores.

CAT Paper Pattern

The CAT exam paper comprises three sections and 40 minutes of duration is allotted for each section.

CAT 2022 exam paper had 66 questions in total from three sections namely;

  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  2. Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
  3. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)

CAT Previous Year Paper: Highlights

Number of questions asked66
Total Time Allotted2 hours (120 minutes)
Time Allotted for each section40 minutes for each section
Marking Scheme

+3 for correct MCQ

-1 for incorrect MCQ

No negative marking for the TITA section

Mode of ExamCBT (Computer-Based Test)

CAT Previous Year’s Paper: Important Changes

Before jumping into the CAT important changes, let’s read what has not changed to date.

  • The basic syllabus remains the same i.e. the questions asked are from Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QA).
  • The marking scheme remains the same i.e. 3 marks are allotted for each correct MCQ and 1 mark is reduced for each incorrect attempt. For TITA (Type in Text Answer), there is no negative marking but 1 mark is awarded for the correct answer.

Key Changes:

  • Till the year 2009, the CAT exam was held as Pen-paper based test. From the year 2010, the CAT exam mode changed to a computer-based test.
  • Initially, CAT had 2 sections namely a combination of VARC and LR, and the other section comprised of QA and DI. But after 2014, it changed to have 3 sections.
  • Formerly, the sectional time limit of 1 hour was allocated for each of the 3 sections but in the year 2020, it was reduced to 40 minutes for each section i.e. a total of 2 hours for the CAT exam.


The majority of the renowned colleges have an individual sectional cut-off that aspirants should clear due to which the overall score will not be important. So if the aspirants fail to meet the sectional cut-off, they will not be called for the next round of the admission process.

CAT Preparation

What do you learn from the CAT previous year’s papers?

Pursuing MBA from one of the IIMs is a dream of many and CAT is the only competitive MBA exam to fulfill that dream. Hence, it is very important to understand how to answer the questions of the CAT exam accurately.

When preparing for the CAT exam:

  • Attempt the CAT previous year papers to understand the kind of questions asked and the frequently asked questions.
  • Read the questions properly to get the clue.
  • Begin with easy questions.
  • Identify the best step for answering the individual questions as well as the complete CAT question paper.

CAT Previous Year Paper Analysis: CAT ANALYSIS 2022

CAT 2022 was successfully conducted across the country by IIM Bangalore in three slots. A total of 66 questions were asked from all three sections of the exam. The overall difficulty level was moderate. The exam pattern was similar to CAT 2021.

CAT 2022 PAPER ANALYSIS: Sectional Weightage and Question Break-up

Here is the tabular form of the CAT exam’s sectional weightage. Aspirants should follow the below-mentioned pattern to complete their preparation effectively.

CAT SECTIONTOTAL QUESTIONSMCQsTITADifficulty LevelNet Correct for 99 Percentile


  • Each year the conducting IIM prepares the CAT exam paper.
  • CAT’s previous year papers of 2021 and 2022 had the same exam pattern, total questions, and sectional weightage.
  • The difficulty level of the CAT exam varies from moderate. But compared to slots 1 and 3, the QA section was a little difficult to attempt.
  • 40 minutes were allotted for each section.
  • In CAT 2022 Slot 3, the QA TITA questions were lengthy.

CAT 2022: SLOT-1 Exam Analysis

A total of 66 questions were asked in the CAT Slot-1 exam and the difficulty level was moderate.

CAT 2022 Slot-1: Section-wise details

VARC Analysis

Verbal Ability included:

Para Summary3
Fill in the blanks11
Para Jumbles12

No questions from Odd One Out were asked.

4 reading comprehensions were given with 4 questions in each passage making it a total of 16 questions.

The RC part had the the following subject matter:

  • Culture and Religion (Moderate- Difficulty Level)
  • Primitive Anthropology and Buddhism (Easy- Difficulty Level)
  • Philosophy, Stoicism, and Epicureanism (Easy- Difficulty Level)
  • Philosophy, Marx, Foucault, and Habermas (Difficult- Difficulty Level)

DILR Analysis:

The majority of the questions asked were based on Logical Reasoning (LR), and no questions were from DI (Data Interpretation). Here is the detailed analysis of the CAT 2022 DILR section:

Analytical Grid Based5Easy
Routes and Networks5Easy
Numerical LR5Difficult

QA Analysis:

Below are the topic-wise questions asked in CAT 2022 QA section:

  • Arithmetic: 9 questions
  • Number System: 1 question
  • Algebra: 7 questions
  • Modern Maths: 2 questions
  • Geometry and Mensuration: 3 questions

Majorly questions from the Averages and Ratios were asked in the QA section. No questions from Time and Work were asked. The overall QA difficulty level was moderate.


Here is the section-wise analysis of the CAT exam 2022 Slot-2:

VARC Analysis

Total 8 questions from Verbal Ability were asked which included:

  • Para Summary: 2 (Easy questions)
  • Para Completion: 2 (Easy questions)
  • Para Jumbles: 3 (Moderate questions)

A total of 16 questions were asked from Reading Comprehension (RC), 4 from each passage. For the RC passage, the difficulty level was moderate.

DILR Analysis

DI (Scatter Plot)5Easy
LR (Routes & Networks)5Easy
LR (Salesmen)5Easy
LR (FDA & EU)5Difficult

QA Analysis

Questions from Algebra and Arithmetic were majorly asked. Compared to Sot-1, the QA section was a bit difficult to attempt. The topics included:

Number System3Difficult
Modern Maths3Moderate
Geometry and Mensuration3Easy-Moderate


The overall difficulty level was moderate.

VARC Section:

Under the VARC section, 16 questions of RC and 8 questions of VA were asked.

PassagesQuestions Asked
Para Summary3
Para Completion2
Para Jumbles3

DILR Section:

TOPICQuestions AskedDifficulty Level
Bar Graph5Easy to Moderate
Number Arrangement5Moderate
Matrix and Grid5Moderate
Venn Diagram5Moderate-Difficult

QA Section:

TOPICQuestions AskedDifficulty Level
Number System1Moderate


CAT 202266120 minutesIIM BangaloreModerate
CAT 202166120 minutesIIM AhmedabadModerate to Difficult
CAT 202076120 minutesIIM IndoreModerate
CAT 2019100180 minutesIIM KozhikodeModerate
CAT 2018100180 minutesIIM CalcuttaModerate to Difficult


  • By solving CAT exam question papers, the MBA aspirants assess their strengths and weaknesses which further helps them in strategizing their preparation and build confidence for the actual CAT exam.
  • Aspirants get familiarized with the exam pattern, the type of questions asked, and the difficulty level.
  • Aspirants get to know the frequently asked questions.
  • Practicing exam papers also helps in enhancing accuracy and the time management skills.

Stay CAT updated with Ekoching.


FAQs on CAT Question Paper

VARC then DILR then QA is the CAT exam section sequence.

Solving the previous year’s CAT question paper gives you an idea of what you can expect in the actual CAT examination.

Yes, you can switch back to the previous question but within the time limit. Once 40 minutes get over for a particular section, the next section automatically appears on the screen.

Each one has a different learning pace. So a candidate needs to know their strong and weak areas and accordingly schedule a study plan. In general, studying for four hours is sufficient if the CAT exam is six months away.

The CAT exam is moderately difficult to attempt.

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