Sectional Time Management Tips for the CAT Exam

Sectional time management tips for CAT Exam

Sectional Time Management Tips for the CAT Exam

The Common Admission Test, or CAT as it is more widely known, is a difficult test. It not only evaluates your ability to respond intelligently to challenging questions, but also your fortitude in overcoming time limits and pressure. One of the most important components of the CAT exam is time management. The Un-attempted questions during tests due to improper time management for each part can significantly lower the final CAT score.

In light of this, it is crucial for MBA applicants to acquire time management skills in order to properly manage time before and during the exam, which would help them ace the CAT exam. According to trends from previous years, there are typically three sections from which CAT questions are drawn. Therefore, to succeed on the exam, one must follow the sectional time management advice for the CAT Exam. Here are a few pointers for managing sectional time in CAT given by toppers and experts.

Also read: CAT exam preparation guide

CAT Exam Pattern & Marking Scheme


Total Questions No. of MCQ Questions No. of TITA Questions Marks (MCQ) Marks (TITA) Total Marks

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

26 20 – 21 4 – 5 +3, -1 +3, no negative 78
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning 24 20 – 21 2 – 3 +3, -1 +3, no negative


Quantitative Ability 26 20 – 21 4 – 5 +3, -1 +3, no negative


Total 76 54 22


Depending on your areas of strength and weakness, divide your CAT preparation time.

Now that you have thoroughly reviewed the syllabus and exam pattern, you must be able to recognize your areas of strength and weakness. This will help you calculate how long it will take you to finish each section’s syllabus. Depending on whether the individual has a science or engineering background, in which case he or she might have an advantage in logical reasoning, data interpretation, and quantitative skills.

In comparison to the verbal ability and reading comprehension sections, they might require less time to finish the curriculum. The situation would be the opposite for a student with a foundation in the humanities. From January onwards, candidates must dedicate at least two months to each subject in order to master the CAT syllabus by July. Candidates must dedicate two months to each section. One can determine how much time they need for a certain piece based on their areas of strength and weakness. For example, they may be able to finish one section in a month and devote around three months to the other.

Set a Weekly and Daily routine

Candidates must divide their week into three portions, spending two days on each, then spending one day reviewing all three areas and everything they learned that week. One should split the hours in a day on a daily basis based on their degree of grasp. Give each section four hours of your time. Similar to this, establish a plan outlining everything you’ll cover at the start of each week and month. Then, make sure you stick to the deadlines; otherwise, your efforts will be in vain.

Initially, start with the complex topics

Since it takes more time to comprehend these concepts, one should start their preparation by concentrating on the specific issues of each area. As a result, one will initially have plenty of time and be able to devote more time to comprehending the issues they may find challenging. Aspirants can benefit from the plan two to three months prior to the CAT Exam because at that time they will need to concentrate on the simple and straightforward topics and just need to review the more complex ones.

Take mock tests and analyze your performance

The candidate should begin taking CAT mock tests as soon as they have finished their course work and feel confident about it. For each part, candidates can start taking mock exams. The applicants should take the mock test three to four months prior to the exam since it will enable them to gauge their level of preparation and identify any gaps in their knowledge.

Sectional Time Management Tips for the CAT Exam During Your Exam

The sectional time limit may seem like a restriction, but it actually comes as a blessing in disguise for all MBA hopefuls. The difficulty of the time limit that you encounter when taking the CAT Exam is addressed below.

Know which questions to leave

You will succeed the CAT exam if you know which questions to leave and which ones to attempt. It is one of the most important tricks you should have up your sleeve if you want to pass the CAT. You must let go of the rotten eggs in order to move on to the golden eggs, which are easier to crack. It should be noted that simply answering as many questions as possible will result in negative marking, lowering your overall score. Be quick to recognize the difficulty level of the questions that come your way, and invest time in them as needed or simply skip them.

Don’t spend much time on one question

Allow two to three minutes for each question. If you can’t figure out how to solve it, move on to the next question. Given the scarcity of time, with each section of the CAT exam allotted 40 minutes according to last year’s CAT exam pattern, spending it pondering on one question can be fatal. As a result, limit your time to 2 to 3 minutes per question. If you still can’t remember, move on to the next question. Remember to “ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE AT THE TIMER”.

Attempt each CAT section in three rounds

While juggling between sections is not permitted in CAT Exam, candidates switching between questions within a section may reduce their chances of scoring. By dividing each section into three rounds, you can make the process go more smoothly.

First Phase – Answer questions that you find extremely simple and are sure about.

Second Phase – Select questions that you believe you can answer.

Third Phase – Select questions that will take more time and require more thinking.

Also read: How to Prepare DILR section?

Best Guide to Prepare QA section

Quick guide to VARC Preparation

How to Manage Time on CAT Exam Day: General Tips

The countdown begins immediately upon entering the examination hall; aspirants taking the CAT have only two hours to complete all of the questions. It is necessary to manage 120 minutes in this manner. The most important thing is to remain calm and not allow anxiety to take control. Here are some guidelines to follow on the day of the exam.

  • The CAT has a sectional time limit, which means that each section must be finished in 40 minutes. Due to sectional time constraints, only a few candidates can switch to the other section. According to the previous year’s pattern, the sequence is VARC, DILR, and QA.
  • When beginning to solve questions from any section, the student should look through the section and mark which one they will attempt first. Candidates can choose such questions based on their level of strength, interest, or the difficulty of the section.
  • Always read passages or questions thoroughly when taking questions for the RC or DILR section. Candidates get an idea of what set or passages are in it through this.
  • If any particular question is taking longer than your estimated time, it is best to skip it and solve it later if the sectional time limit allows.
  • Allow 2-3 minutes for revision. So that one can review all of the attempted questions in a specific section.

Also read: CAT strategy on Exam day


According to experts, dividing the exam into sections prevents candidates from wasting time switching between them. Because they are only supposed to attempt one section at a time, their chances of achieving higher sectional scores gradually improve. Furthermore, taking a buffer time of approximately 10 minutes for each section aids in saving more time and completing the exam ahead of time.

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