CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Syllabus 2023

  • By Aashruti Bhadoria
  • 16 October 2023
CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Syllabus 2023

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In the MBA admission race, the CAT exam syllabus for 2023 is a crucial factor for those who want to become successful business leaders. One essential part of this test is the 'CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension’ section, which plays a big role in the MBA program. In this blog, we'll explore the details of the CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension syllabus for 2023, helping ambitious students understand how to get into top MBA programs through the CAT 2023 exam.

CAT Exam Overview

CAT Full Form

Common Admission Test (CAT) 

Conducting Institute for 2023

IIM Lucknow

Exam Level


Exam Frequency

Once a year

CAT Exam Timings

  • Session 1: 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
  • Session 2: 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Session 3: 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM

CAT Exam Fees

  • ₹ 2,400 (General category)  
  • ₹ 1,200 (Reserved category)

Eligibility Criteria

Graduation with 50% aggregate (45% for SC/ST students)

Number of Applications

3.30 lakh (in 2023)

Number of Test Takers

2.22 lakh (in 2022)

CAT syllabus

  • Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) 
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

CAT exam mode

Computer Based Test (CBT) with MCQs and non-MCQs

No. of test cities


CAT exam website

Exam helpdesk no.

1-800-210-1088 (Toll Free)

CAT Exam Pattern

The CAT exam pattern typically consists of the following sections:

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): This section assesses a candidate's English language skills, including reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. It usually includes multiple-choice questions, sentence completion, and reading comprehension passages.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR): This section evaluates a candidate's ability to analyse data and make decisions based on it. It involves questions related to data interpretation and logical reasoning.
  • Quantitative Ability (QA): This section tests a candidate's mathematical and quantitative skills, including topics like algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and number theory.

CAT Exam Dates 2023

CAT Registration 2023 starts from

August 2, 2023

Last Date to submit the CAT Application form

September 13, 2023

Availability of CAT Admit Card

October 25, 2023

CAT 2023 Exam Date

November 26, 2023

Exam Pattern of CAT VARC Section

Sectional Time Duration for VARC

  • 53 minutes and 20 seconds for PwD Candidates
  • 40 Minutes for other

Type of Questions

MCQs and TITA Questions (Both)

Marking Scheme for MCQs

  • 3 marks for the correct answer
  • -1 mark for an incorrect answer
  • No marks for unattempted questions

Marking Scheme for TITA Questions

No negative marking

Difficulty Level

Moderately High

Also Read: CAT Exam Eligibility, CAT Exam Pattern

CAT VARC Syllabus

The CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section typically covers a wide range of topics to assess a candidate's English language proficiency, comprehension skills, and logical reasoning abilities. Here is a general outline of the verbal ability and reading comprehension syllabus for CAT 2023:

Reading Comprehension (RC)

  • Passage topics can vary widely and may include literature, science, history, philosophy, social issues, economics, and more.
  • Questions related to the main idea, inferences, author's tone, purpose, vocabulary, and critical reasoning are typically asked.
  • Candidates are expected to read and understand the passage, answer questions, and make logical inferences.

Verbal Ability

  • Sentence Correction: Questions may involve identifying and correcting grammatical errors in sentences.
  • Para-Jumbles: Candidates need to rearrange jumbled sentences to form a coherent paragraph.
  • Para-Summary: Candidates are required to summarise a given paragraph or select the best summary from the options provided.
  • Fill in the Blanks: This may involve selecting the most appropriate word or phrase to complete a sentence.
  • Word Usage: Questions related to vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, and word meanings.

Critical Reasoning

  • Statement-Assumption: Identifying valid and invalid assumptions in given statements.
  • Statement-Inference: Drawing logical inferences based on provided statements.
  • Statement-Conclusion: Identifying conclusions that can be logically drawn from given statements.

Grammar and Usage

Understanding the correct usage of English grammar, including tenses, subject-verb agreement, articles, and prepositions.


Questions related to words and their meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and idiomatic expressions.

Idioms and Phrases

Understanding and using common idiomatic expressions in the English language.

Analogies and Synonyms

Questions that test your ability to identify similar or related words or phrases.

Best Books for CAT VARC

Book Title


Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT

Nishit Sinha

High School Grammar and Composition

Wren and Martin

How to Prepare for Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability for the CAT

Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

Preparation Tips

Preparation for the CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section can be challenging, but with the right approach and strategies, you can perform well. Here are some tips to help you prepare effectively:

  • Read newspapers, magazines, books, and online articles to improve your comprehension skills and vocabulary.
  • Take notes, highlight key points, and jot down your thoughts or inferences. This will help you remember the content and answer questions more effectively.
  • Build your vocabulary by learning new words daily. Use flashcards, vocabulary apps, or word lists to expand your word bank.
  • Take full-length CAT mock tests to simulate the actual exam environment. This helps you get used to the time constraints and question types.
  • Allocate time for each section in the VARC part. Don't spend too much time on a single question. If you get stuck, move on and come back to it later.

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