Everything you need to know: VARC Section of CAT 2021

Everything you need to know: VARC Section of CAT 2021

To succeed in your ambitions of acing CAT 2021, you need tons of hours of dedicated preparation under your belt mixed in with lots of hard work.

As there is no official syllabus for CAT, we have prepared the syllabus of CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section, based on the past trends. In this article, you will find information relating to exam dates, features of VARC section, major topics along with expected number of questions, major preparation tips and the best books to prepare for the VARC section of CAT 2021.

CAT 2021 Exam Dates

In this section we have mentioned the details of notification, start and end of registration and other events regarding CAT 2021. For better and timely preparation, you can refer to this table for the tentative dates:

Events Dates
CAT Registration 2021 starts from First Week of August 2021
Last Date to submit the CAT Application form Last Week of September 2021
Correction of CAT application form Fourth Week of September 2021
CAT Mock Test 2021 First Week of November 2021
Availability of Admit Card Last Week of October 2021
CAT 2021 Exam Date Last Sunday of November 2021

CAT Exam Pattern 2021

To form a battle ready plan, it is imperative to be aware of the type of questions asked, total duration, marking scheme and other related information. Such details are provided in the table below for the VARC Section of CAT 2021.

Particulars Details
Sectional Time Duration for VARC ·        53 minutes and 20 seconds for PwD Candidates

·        40 Minutes for others

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

VARC Syllabus for CAT 2021

The very first section in the CAT 2021 exam is the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section.

As per the analysis of CAT experts, last year’s VARC section was tougher when compared to the paper the year before. For this section, candidates should select passages carefully and answer questions accurately, of course. The questions will be of two types: MCQs and TITA. As of now, every year 10 questions from Verbal Ability are asked and the remaining are Reading Comprehension based.

The VARC section will test candidates on the grounds of Grammar, Verbal Reasoning, Error Correction, Facts, inference or judgement, Comprehensions, Vocabulary, Para summary and related topics.

Particulars Details
Type of questions in Verbal Ability Both MCQs and TITA (Non-MCQs)
Type of questions in Reading comprehension MCQs only
Total MCQs in verbal ability 10
Total questions in Reading comprehension 24


Following is a more elaborate list of topics expected in the VARC section:

  • Inferential Logical Reasoning
  • Para Jumbles
  • Summary
  • Contextual usage
  • Idioms
  • One word substitution
  • Sentence completion
  • Misfit/Out of Context sentence
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Vocabulary

CAT 2020 VARC Analysis: Slot 1

Section Number of Questions Level

(RC:3 passages with 4 questions each
1 passage with 5 questions )

(VA: 8 Questions (PS-3, PJ-3 and OS-2))


CAT Analysis 2020 for VARC: Slot 2

Section Number of Questions Level

(RC:2 passages, Jumbled Sentence Rest)


CAT 2020 Slot 3 VARC Analysis

The VARC section was similar in difficult level in all the three slots and had the same segmentation largely.

The bulk of the questions were of medium difficulty with quite a lot of difficult questions thrown in the mix too. There were very few simple questions.

There were 4 passages in Reading Comprehension sections: 2 passages with 4 Qs each and 2 passages with 5 Qs each. Most of the questions were argumentative and application-based. To arrive at the response, Verbal Ability-based questions also required careful deliberation. The only consolation were the simpler Summary, Odd Sentence, and Paragraph Jumble questions.

Exam format of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Questions (CAT 2019)

Given in tabular form are the details of questions asked from the CAT verbal ability and reading comprehension syllabus in 2019 (both slots). Questions from Grammar or Vocabulary topics were not asked last year.

CAT 2019 Slot 1 – VARC Section

Slot 1 Topics Questions Type

·        Cities being environment friendly

·        Use of digital info to restore archaeological sites

·        Capital cities and bureaucracy

·        Language and Culture




5 in each passage



Passage – British Policy 4
Para Jumbles 4 TITA
Misfit 3 TITA
Summary 3 MCQ

CAT 2019 Slot 2 – VARC Section

Slot 2 Topics Questions Type
Passage –

·        Squatter Colonies

·        Digital Colonialism by Google

·        Decentralization of Central Governments

·        British Colonialism










Passage – Language and Cultural Identity 4
Para jumbles (4 sentences) 3 TITA
Out of Context sentence 3 TITA
Summary 3 MCQ

How to prepare for VARC section of CAT 2021: Toppers’ Advice

Every registered candidate wants to make it to into the IIMs but the question is How?

If we take a closer look, we’ll find that a few topics in the VARC section are very important and repeated every year in the question paper in different and creative ways.

Here are some major tips of CAT 2020 toppers that will help the candidates to score well in CAT 2021 Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section:

  1. One important piece of advice from the toppers is to read avidly. Read newspapers, novels and articles on a daily basis. This would enhance your vocabulary and built a an instinctual understanding of grammar.
  2. Carefully solve sample papers of CATto get a gist of the types of questions which are more likely to be asked.
  3. Take the CAT 2021 mock teston a regular basis to gauge the preparation level or to identify the important topics.
  4. Try to add 5-10 unknown words to your vocabulary on a daily basis, along with its synonyms and antonyms.
  5. Focus on Time Management for CAT 2021as this can turn the game around in your favour completely if done properly, and if not, then it can take you down hard.
  6. If you feel bored reading all the time, try watching movies with English subtitles to make VARC section preparation effective and fun, both at the same time.

As promised at the beginning of the article, here are some of the Best Books to gain an edge in your VARC preparation:

Book Title Author/Publisher
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

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