CAT Prep : Time Management Strategy for CAT

Time management strategy for CAT

CAT examination format is a mixed bag of expectations for most of the candidates. On one hand the exam-takers are free from the headache of time management between the sections while on the other hand, the flexibility of hiding behind DI in Quant and LR in Verbal is lost. Hence, the verdict is that one needs to do well in all areas to get a good CAT score.


In the season of Mock CATs, multiple aspirants struggle with the problem of low attempts in QA as well as VA in spite of their good knowledge backup. The problem lies in the selection criteria of questions by most of the students. Many students do not choose the right questions and remain stuck up attempting difficult ones that not only consumes a lot of time but also ends up with negative marks. However, during mock analysis or going through the solutions they discover that they haven’t attempted many sitters and easy questions.


The total duration of the exam is 180 minutes with exact 60 minutes to answer each section. The total number of questions is 100, divided into three sections. The three sections are Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC), in that order. Candidates will not be allowed to switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section.

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it. A quote which aptly expresses importance of time management for CAT. CAT notifications were out with major changes in format of exam, one of them being re-introduction of sectional limit of 60 minutes. With this change, aspirants now have to focus on developing a strong sectional time management strategy.

So, here we bring to you some simple rules and strategies one can follow and take care of to increase his/her chances in securing high percentile in CAT :


  • Start with areas of your comfort

The thumb rule of attempting any exam is to start with the comfortable questions as it is expected to be less time consuming. This is the best time management strategy to follow as it lets you not to get stuck with one question and waste time answering that.


  • Don’t get stuck at one point

It is advisable not to get stuck at one point in the examination. Do not stay on one question for more than 4-5 minutes. If you think that you are stuck at one question, leave it, mark it for review and move on to attempt another question in the exam.


  • Keep buffer time to revisit the marked questions

Revision as always is very important for ensuring good percentile. Revise the test after completion of the exam to ensure that you are not leaving any simple questions. For the revision of each section, allot sufficient time at the end. Many CAT takers who have excelled the exam in past mention this strategy as very much profitable in terms of fetching marks.


  • Usage of calculator

Coaching institutes teach multiple short-cuts and students invest most of the time learning the same. Online Calculator will give you the advantage of saving substantial amount of time in Quant and DI questions; so refrain from using shortcuts. This will also help you to refocus on the questions and apply the correct concepts without worrying about calculations.


  • Monitor Time

It is likely that sectional percentiles will be the game changer this year.  So try and ensure that you do not ignore one section completely. Take a 2-3 minutes break every hour – close your eyes, breathe deeply and try not to think much. Restart with a refreshed mind. Look at the CAT as a series of three 1-hour tests, one after the other, wherein you need to maximize scores in each of the section.