CAT 2020 – New Exam Pattern (Changed)

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Can this year get any worse? This is a popular question these days. With pandemic raising havoc, students being forced to study – online/ by self/ at home, people losing jobs, students in the final year having little to no placements and on top of that, the exam you have already started taking mocks for will now have some huge changes. Don’t worry, we have covered all the changes announced so far and also provided preparation strategy tips in the end.

CAT Registration and Form Submission Deadline Extended:

Registration for CAT 2020 will now close at 5.00 pm on September 23, 2020 (Wednesday). There will not be any further extension of registration. This change in deadline along with all other changes are made taking into account the disruptions caused by COVID in past few months.

Changes in Total Time and Sectional Time:

The revised duration of the test will be 120 minutes. Candidates will be allotted exactly 40 minutes for answering questions in each section and they will not be allowed to switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section. The three sections will be the same as in CAT 2019 (VARC, DILR and QA)

New Exam Slots:

CAT 2020 will be conducted on November 29, 2020 (Sunday) in three sessions. This decision must have been taken to reduce the crowd at exam centres. Less test duration will ensure more slots for the same day and more slots will ensure that certain social distancing norms are followed in the exam centres on the test day.

More Updates Coming Soon:

Tutorials to understand the format of the test will be available on the CAT website from October 2020. Other relevant sections of the CAT website ( will be updated by September 20, 2020 (Sunday). For any query that you might have related to the new pattern, you can always get in touch with the CAT official helpline 1800-209-0830 (Monday to Saturday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM) or mail at

Different Possibilities for the Number of Questions:

There are a few different logical possibilities for the number of question in CAT 2020. Of course, the actual details for the same will be revealed in future but for the time being, here are a few possibilities:

  1. Based on CAT 2005 pattern: 30 + 30 + 30 (total 90 questions)
  2. Based on percentage reduction in time: 22 + 22 + 22 (total 66 questions)

To further lessen the number of questions in each section, the paper setters will have to increase the difficulty level of the questions. Considering that the CAT is equally (if not more) concerned about non-engineers, this is less likely to happen.

How should your preparation strategy change according to the new CAT exam pattern:

All the changes that are announced and which will be introduced in future will be applicable to all the aspirants. If something is new, it would be new for all. After all, the exam only cares about your relative score. If the paper is way too difficult and you score low, then it would be difficult for all the candidates, all will score low and it will all be about how well you rank amongst them.

The game is still about 3 things: Conceptual clarity, speed and accuracy all of which can be developed by working on the fundamentals and practising more and more. It is time to focus on studies, everything else is noise.

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