How To Balance Work With CAT Preparation – Tips From An IMT Ghaziabad Graduate

“Would I be able to balance my work with CAT prep?”, “Should I leave my job to prepare full-time for CAT?”, “Would I be able to handle pressure at work given such hectic schedule?”

These 3 questions are just a few of the many which come into the mind of working people while preparing for their MBA dream. Back in March 2015, I was faced with a similar conundrum. I was working with an IT firm, where my work timings stretched from 10-12 hours every day, including an hour of commute. I repeatedly questioned myself if I would be able to do it or not. However, worrying has done good to no one ever. I worked on simple math and strategy to make the most out of the limited time I had. I scored 92.xx %ile in CAT 2015 and recently graduated from IMT-G with Marketing as a specialization. Not everything which I wrote below would work, but then everything isn’t a one size fit for all.

Assumptions:  You are a working person who has some basic knowledge about CAT and aware of its syllabus (If not then it’s high time you do), and you have a 5-day working schedule.

  • Let’s do some basic Math:

From April 1 to Nov 15, 2018: there are 229 days or close to 7 and a half months or 32.75 weeks. In this duration, there will 66 days making up weekends which means a total day off. There will be approximately 5 holidays. So you’ve got close to 71 days of full day studies. Let’s assume that you can also take 2 weeks leaves on grounds of CAT prep, this gives you additional 10 days. So, full day holiday count rises to 81 days now. Let’s say you celebrate festivals or go out for trips etc. on 10 days, which means no studies on these days.

So the final count looks like this:

Days with full day leave or holiday for studies: 7

Days for working: 148

Days to enjoy (without studies): 10

  • How to use these hours:

One can’t study simply on weekends and do nothing on weekdays, as it breaks the continuity. I would suggest spending 2-2.5 hours every working day and 6 hours on weekends. The total hours available to you will be anywhere close to 730 hours. If you spend these 730 hours with complete dedication and concentration, the target can be achieved. I used to leave for my office at 10.30 usually every day. I used to wake up by 7 a.m., so that I could study 2 hours every day before office. If you aren’t able to do Quants on weekdays, no issues; allocate your weekdays to LR-DI and Verbal and keep Quants for weekends. Only crucial thing here is: don’t waste a single day, as it takes time to get back to the schedule again.

  • Creating Time:

It is very rare that someone is engaged for complete 7-9 hours which they spend at their work station. While Quant or LR-DI may not be possible at office, one can read some good articles or solve RCs, Parajumbles. Cut short your lunch time by 20 minutes and read the editorial/opinion section of the newspaper.

  • Some Habits that Needs Change:

Monitor your smartphone usage time daily; how much time you spend on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc. If you are a social media addict, you would be shocked. As preparing for CAT while working is like balancing on a tightrope, you must decide your priorities. To change next the next 40-50 years of life, you must dedicate yourself to CAT for next months.

You must control your desire to roam around on weekends, limit time on social media and other non-productive activities.

Always remember: ‘No Pain, No Gain’


Sachin Mandot

Sachin Mandot is an IMT-G Alum (Batch of 2018). With an aim to help MBA aspirants, he has been writing on InsideIIM platform since March 2017.




Nice Sir, for the short inspiring prep , but how did u attempt for mocks n it’s analysis as it require lot of time ,not possible on weekdays for sure ??

Manas Bhageria

Hello. Though my question is not related to the above post, it would be great if you could tell me the actual placement scenario of IMT gaziabad and the quality of learning one can get through it.