CAT Exam Marking Scheme 2024 [Section Wise Marks Districbution]

The Common Admission Test(CAT), is a pivotal gateway to some of the most prestigious management programs in India. As thousands of aspirants endeavor each year to crack this exam, a comprehensive understanding of the CAT Exam marking scheme becomes indispensable. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of this marking scheme, offering aspirants clarity and guidance.

The CAT stands tall as one of the most sought-after examinations for MBA aspirants in India. It serves as the primary selection criterion for the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) and several other top B-schools in the country. Given its high stakes, grasping the intricacies of the CAT marking scheme is not just beneficial but essential for candidates.

Objective of CAT Exam

Before diving deep into the CAT marking scheme, it’s important to understand the objective of the CAT exam. It is designed to assess a candidate’s quantitative, verbal, data interpretation, and logical reasoning skills, paving the way for admissions into elite management programs. A good score can open doors to a plethora of opportunities in the corporate world.

Basic Structure of CAT Exam

The CAT exam is segmented into three primary sections: Quantitative Ability (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). The test features both multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and non-MCQs, which are often referred to as Type In The Answer (TITA) questions.

CAT Exam Marking Scheme

The heart of our discussion lies in the intricacies of the CAT Exam marking scheme. Here’s a breakdown:

  • For every correct answer in MCQs and non-MCQs, candidates are awarded three marks.
  • Negative marking: The scheme gets interesting here. For each incorrect answer in the MCQs, one mark is deducted. However, the non-MCQs or TITA questions come with a sigh of relief as there’s no penalty for wrong answers.
  • No Marks Deducted/Allocated: If a candidate chooses not to attempt a question or marks it for review, there is no addition or subtraction of marks.

Read More: How To Get Good Score in CAT Exam 2024?

Deducing from the CAT marking scheme, it’s evident that while accuracy is crucial, strategizing on which questions to attempt could be the game-changer.

Section-wise Marking Distribution Each section in the CAT exam has its distinct marking pattern, rooted in the overarching CAT Exam marking scheme:

  • Quantitative Ability (QA): This section primarily gauges the mathematical and analytical ability of the candidate.
  • Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR): Here, the aspirant’s capability to interpret data and apply logic is tested.
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): This section assesses linguistic prowess and comprehension skills.

Check Also: CAT Exam Marks vs Percentile

Normalization of Scores

Given that the CAT is conducted in multiple slots, each with potential variations in difficulty, the scores are normalized. The CAT marking scheme incorporates this normalization to ensure that no candidate is at a disadvantage due to variances in difficulty levels. Furthermore, post normalization, percentile scores are derived, determining a candidate’s rank among all test-takers.

Tie-Breaking Criteria

In instances where two or more candidates score identically, the CAT marking scheme has a tie-breaking protocol. The sectional scores are given precedence in descending order: VARC, DILR, and then QA. This ensures a fair selection process.

Read More: How to Improve Reading Comprehension for CAT Exam 2024

Strategies to Maximize Scores

Understanding the CAT marking scheme is one thing, leveraging it is another. Aspirants should strike a balance between accuracy and the number of attempts. Prioritizing questions based on difficulty and relying on mock tests for practice can be invaluable. The CAT marking scheme should guide the preparation strategy, focusing on maximizing the score while minimizing errors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

A common pitfall for many candidates is over-attempting without certainty, leading to negative marking. Given the CAT marking scheme, spending excessive time on one question or misinterpreting it can cost dearly. It’s pivotal to remain focused and approach the paper systematically.


The CAT marking scheme is not just a scoring criterion but a roadmap for success in the CAT exam. Aspirants should integrate this understanding into their preparation, practice, and final exam strategy. With a judicious mix of accuracy, speed, and strategy, cracking the CAT becomes a tangible dream.

CAT Marking Scheme FAQs

Q:What is the CAT exam?

A:The CAT (Common Admission Test) is a premier entrance exam for admission into management programs at the IIMs and various other top B-schools in India.

Q:How many marks are awarded for a correct answer in the CAT exam?

A:For every correct answer, whether MCQ or non-MCQ, candidates are awarded three marks.

Q:Is there negative marking in the CAT exam?

A:Yes, there is negative marking. For each incorrect answer in the MCQs, one mark is deducted. However, there's no negative marking for non-MCQs or TITA questions.

Q: What happens if I don't attempt a question?

A:If you choose not to attempt a question, there is no addition or subtraction of marks.

Q: How are scores normalized in the CAT exam?

A:Scores are normalized due to the CAT being conducted in multiple slots with potential variations in difficulty. This ensures that no candidate is at a disadvantage due to differences in slot difficulty.

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