How to do time management for CAT 2019 - Expert column by T.I.M.E.
Sreetama Datta, 6 days ago, #CAT
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How to do time management for CAT 2019 - With less than a month to go for CAT 2019, it is high time that the candidates finalize their exam-taking strategy in terms of time management. As three hours is all that the candidate has got, a wise distribution and management of time is a must in order to crack CAT. To help MBA aspirants appearing for CAT 2019 ace the test, here we bring to you how to do time management for CAT 2019. In this special column, MBA expert Ankur Jain, Chief Knowledge Expert, T.I.M.E. Delhi shares the salient features of the exam and how to manage time in each section and questions.
Latest: CAT 2019 admit card has been released by the authorities on October 23, 2019. CAT 2019 will be held on November 24, 2019. Authorities has released the work flow for CAT 2019.

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How to do Time management for CAT 2019

Expert column by Ankur Jain on how to do time management for CAT 2019.

Is the CAT different from school/college exams?

The CAT is radically different from school and college exams. It features a large number of questions in insufficient time thus forcing the aspirant to choose which questions to do and which to leave. The questions’ marks and difficulty level do not correspond with each other which is not so in other exams. So if you spend more time doing difficult questions, you will lose marks. Thus, one must choose less time-consuming questions. Additionally, due to insufficient time, too much focus on accuracy or attempts means that one tends to lose marks. Focus on both simultaneously. The CAT is not a maximisation game, but one of optimisation.

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How should one manage time in the sections?

Before starting a section, spend some time scanning the questions. Scan each question or each set quickly and judge its level. A small button on the top right corner of the screen allows you to look at the entire section in a single go.

In the case of QA and VA, you can start attempting the easiest questions on the spot. Questions that are extremely lengthy or unsolvable should be left altogether. Questions that lie in the middle of these two extremes should be “marked for review”. Once you have scanned the entire section, go to the “review marked questions” option and attempt the marked questions. This will ensure that you have read the entire paper and not left any easy question and that you are not wasting your time on extremely difficult questions.

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In the case of RC, DI and LR, you will need to judge the set as a whole and not just a question. This should be done by focusing on the time required to solve the sets based on familiarity and question type. Scan question types to see which sets contain more of what you are comfortable with and is less time-consuming. In a set, feel free to leave a question out of a set of four questions if it is too time-consuming. Conversely, free to pick up one to two questions out of four in a set, if they are the only doable ones. Many people waste time by thinking that if they have picked up a set, they must finish it completely. They also lose opportunities by thinking that if they have not picked up a set, they must leave all the questions.

How should one manage time in the questions?

Before starting the examination, make sure that you have a clear idea of average time available per question/set in each section and have an exit-time for each question. E.g. if you have 1.5 minutes per question in the QA section, you can begin by devoting a minute initially and at the end of such time, see if you will be able to solve the question in 30 more seconds or not. If not, then drop the question and move forward without worrying. Alternatively, you can solve for 1.5 minutes and then check if you are close to solving. If yes, at most, 30 more seconds may be devoted but then you must drop the question if you are nowhere near solving the question. Having this “stop-loss” strategy, to borrow the terminology from the stock market, will make sure that you do not waste time over any one question. Since it is difficult and impractical to judge time for each question, you can divide the questions of the section and the time available in three to four parts and then devote not more than that time per part. This also ensures that time is not wasted.

For question types that you are good at, don’t have an unnecessary ego about them! Many aspirants tend to have an ego-battle with favourite question types and spend endless time solving them trying to prove to themselves that they can solve it! Move forward if you find a tough question, irrespective of your infatuation with that question type.

How do I manage the time for the TITA (Type-in-the-response) questions?

The TITA questions are attractive to aspirants because they have no negative marks. However, beware of Greeks bearing gifts! These questions have no options and hence these are much more time-consuming. Also because the probability of getting them right is much less, the common mistake is to spend way too much time on them and lose time while not gaining much. Ideally, attempt them towards the end of the section, so that time is not accidentally wasted.

How do I become better at the judgement?

This requires an extensive practice of questions and sets after you are clear with basic concepts. Such practice should be always under time pressure. That will replicate the paper pressure.

Best of luck!

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Questions related to CAT

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What percentile would a CAT score of 50-60 marks be?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019

Shubham, it depends on the total no.of Candidates who have appeared for the exam. CAT percentile is calculated using the formula: P=(R*N)/100, where P is percentile, R is Rank of the Candidate based on the CAT score and N is the no.of Candidates who appeared for the exam. Every correct answer gives you 3 marks. So to be able to get 60 marks, you must have written 20 questions correct. To calculate the percentile, we need to know the no.of Candidates who wrote CAT and your rank based on this score. And we do not have those details and so unfortunately we cannot guess the percentile.


Hey! I am targeting CAT 2019, when can I apply for DU colleges?

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019


FMS delhi  and department of financial studies (delhi university ) is best for pursuing mba courses among mba  colleges of delhi university .

you need to apply separately for colleges. right now fms delhi registration is going on for 2020-2021 session. last date is 25 november.

department of financial studies delhi university registration will open on third week of november tentatively.

some top mba colleges under delhi university

Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies

Deen Dayal Upadhyay College

Gargi College

Maharaja Agrasen College

St. Stephens College

Hindu College

Hansraj College

Kirori Mal College

Sri Venkateswara College

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College


I have less than 50% marks in high school, can I apply for cat,mat and GMAT???

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019
CAT, MAT and GMAT are entrance examinations for admission tio Post Graduation courses. Now as their eligibility criteria, CAT has a condition that Candidates should score a minimum aggregate of 50% in the Graduation. It is 5% for General Category and 45% for Reserved Categories. MAT has no minimum aggregate requirement. Your High school aggregate is not counted for eligibility criteria of these exams. In fact, it is only considered for the shortlisting process.

i have got 50 percent marks in graduation..if i will get good percentile in CAT OR MAT. will i get admission in good college or should i stop dreaming of mba?

Shareef 19th Nov, 2019
No, Never give up. When there's a will, there is a way.
Now, getting admission into MBA is not based on your graduation marks, most of the Institutes only care about your performance in CAT/MAT examinination.
If you a good percentage in your entrance examination, then most of the Institutes don't consider your graduation percentage, where few Institutes need a minimum percentage in graduation.
Don't get tensed about your graduation percentage, you have a minimum percentage which is news for getting admission.
So, don't get tensed about it, just prepare best, and give your best. Best of luck

i m 34 yrs old, having work ex of 5 yrs as an Officer in Ministry of Defence. I wanted to do full time MBA from top IIM-A/B/C through CAT exam. M having poor academics record below 65%, also belongs to Reserve category. is thr any chance for me to get into TOP IIMs, nt interested in Exe-MBA.plz help

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019
Mr. Gupta, each IIM has its own selection procedure. While CAT percentile remains the main criteria, there are other factors as well. Here we shall help you with the criteria, cut offs and the selection procedure. IIMs shortlist candidates for the interview stage based on their own criteria, which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interviews. Performance in the CAT examination is an important component in the admission process. IIMs may additionally use other factors such as the previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience, gender and academic diversity and other similar inputs in shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs.

IIM Ahmedabad:


General: 70 70 70 80
NC-OBC/Trans: 65 65 65 75
SC: 60 60 60 70
ST: 50 50 50 60
PwD-UR,OBC,SC: 60 60 60 70
PwD: ST: 50 50 50 60

10th Rating:

Percent score Rating Score

<= 55 1

> 55 and <= 60 2

> 60 and <= 70 3

> 70 and <= 80 5

> 80 and <= 90 8

> 90 10

The same rating score is used for 12th Science /Commerce Streams. For Arts/Humanities:

Percent score Rating Score

<= 45 1
> 45 and <= 50 2
> 50 and <= 60 3
> 60 and <= 70 5
> 70 and <= 85 8
> 85 10

Work Experience in Months as on July 31, 2019 Rating Score

< 12 months 0

> 36 months 5

Work-experience Multiplication Factor (MF) = 0.20

Minimum cut offs for Average percent of marks scores:
Stream in 12th UR NC- OBC/Trans SC ST PWD PWD -ST

Science 80 75 70 65 70 65

Commerce 77 72 67 62 67 62

Arts & Humanities 75 70 64 59 64 59

From each Academic sectors top 5% from each stream and each Category will be short listed. It might look like:

Category Upper Limit

General 100

NC-OBC-cum-transgender 57

SC 32

ST 16

PwD 6

After shortlisting the Candidates, the selected Candidates will have to go through WAT and PI rounds. Selection at this stage will strictly be based on the shortlisting of the candidates done separately for each Category on the basis of their Final Composite Score. . The numbers selected in different reservation categories will be in proportions mandated by law.

Personal Interview Multiplication Factor (PIF) = 0.50

AWT Multiplication Factor (AWTF) = 0.10

CAT Score Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (CATF_FCS) = 0.25

Application Rating Multiplication Factor for Final Composite Score (ARF_FCS) = 0.15

After the AWT & PI round, admission offers are made by IIMA to successful candidates. The final selection is based on a diverse set of attributes which includes performance in CAT, performance in AWT & PI, academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular achievements, work experience, etc.

General: 80 80 85 90
NC-OBC: 70 70 75 80
SC: 65 65 70 75
ST: 60 60 60 70
PwD: 50 50 50 60
For all the Candidates shortlisted, the 10th and 12th board results are initially adjusted by dividing each such score by 90th percentile score of that board. And then an adjusted score is calculated for the Bachelor's degree for each of the candidates based on the final scores obtained by the candidate are used for the Bachelor's degree and professional degrees. For example,
CAT = 40
10th board = 20
12th board = 10
Bachelors = 20
Gender Diversity = 2
Work Experience = 8
The 40 points for CAT are derived from the performance in each of the three sections as follows:
Verbal & Reading Comprehension - 14 points
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning - 16 points Quantitative Aptitude - 10 points.

OPEN: 75 80 80 85
NC-OBC: 65 65 70 75
EWS: 65 65 70 75
SC: 60 60 65 70
ST: 55 55 55 65
PWD: 55 55 55 65

And the final selection is based on:
CAT 2019 Score 30
Personal Interview 48
Written Ability Test 10
Academic Diversity 04
Work Experience 08
Total 100

What IIMs also look for apart from Academics is the diversity factor. So with your work experience, that might actually work in your favour. So secure atleast 85-90 percentile and you can be shortlisted for any of the IIMs.
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