Sectional Time Management Tips for CAT 2018
Aditi Garg, 27 Jul 2018, #CAT

Sectional Time Management Tips for CAT 2018 - Time is precious, use it wisely, is an idiom which perfectly expresses the significance of time management for CAT 2018 aspirants. This year, CAT will be conducted by IIM Calcutta on November 25, 2018, on a similar pattern as that of last year. As the time draws near with few days left for CAT 2018, it is vital to know sectional time management tips for the CAT 2018 exam. This feature is a must read for the aspirants to learn the key factors for developing a sectional time management strategy for CAT 2018. With preparations in full swing, it is time to focus on preparation for CAT keeping in mind the sectional time limits.

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Let us first examine the CAT 2018 Exam Pattern. CAT consists of a total of 100 questions covering three sections, namely Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) and Quantitative Aptitude (QA), in that order. With exactly 60 minutes to answer each section, test takers will not be able to switch between sections. Since the sequence of attempting the sections and the time allotted to each is fixed, the only thing you can work on is using the time for each section to its fullest. This makes it all the more important to know sectional time management tips to efficiently manage time for each section in CAT 2018.

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Expert Gautam Puri, VC, Career Launcher, suggests “The sectional time limits might lead to higher sectional scores of 95 percentile and it is likely that candidates might save time in each section”. Keeping a buffer time of minimum 10 minutes to complete one section while taking mock tests will let you complete the exam beforehand, thus saving the time.


Sectional Time Management Tips for CAT 2018


It is important to build accuracy and speed in a competitive exam like CAT. Take mock test for each section with time limit. Gautam Puri also suggests another way to manage time in the three sections for CAT 2018, "Try to attempt each section in three rounds. In the first round, pick the questions that you are sure about and can solve without wasting time. In round two, pick questions that are an opportunity for you, while in round three, pick the questions that you think you can solve but are time-consuming and ensure you answer all the non-MCQs as they do not have any negative marking."


The first round can go on for 30–35 minutes where you must try to attempt around 15–16 questions. Alongside, keep marking the questions which seem solvable but might take more time. Attempt the marked problems in round two. If there is still time left, go for another stab at the tough questions in round three.


CAT 2017 topper and 100 percentiler, Chhavi Gupta shares her detailed section-wise time management strategy for the exam, which seemed to work out well. She says “Selection of the questions was the first thing I indulged in and devoted five to seven minutes for doing the same. I had answered 24 questions in RC and spent 42-45 minutes as my accuracy level was very high. In general, the accuracy in VA questions was low, so for rest of the VA questions (Jumbled sentences and Fill in the Blanks), I spent nearly 15-20 minutes.


For DILR - I gave five to seven minutes to plan and select the order of the sets. As I could not comprehend the first two sets, just skipped and solved rest of the sets.


Finally, for the QA section, I gave 30 minutes each to the two sets of 17 questions.


I religiously followed my preparation pattern and did not change my strategy on the test day. It is important to let go of a question if it is costing more time.”


Time management tips for the CAT 2018 exam day

  • Don't spend much time on one question - Keep maximum two to three minutes for a question. If you are not able to figure out the way to solve it, move ahead to the next question. As Naman Singhal, 99.93 percentile in CAT 2016 and FMS Delhi student shares, "My strategy was not to spend much time on non-MCQs as these have a high probability of going wrong. I rather utilised the time in solving MCQs."
  • At times, test takers must tend to spend too much time on a time-consuming section like RC. Mayank Raj, CAT 2017 and 100 percentiler shares how he tackled this section. “On the day of the exam, for VARC, my strategy was to focus more on comprehension part than on non-comprehension part. I gave approximately 10 minutes to every passage in reading comprehension. After that I invested the last 10-15 minutes I had left in doing non-comprehension part” he says.
  • Start with your comfortable areas – The thumb rule of attempting any exam is to start with the comfortable questions as it is expected to be less time consuming.Yash ThakkerIIM Kashipur student with 99.37 percentile in CAT 2016 shares his strategy as, “First, I did the Reading Comprehension part in VA & RC sections as it was my strong point. I knew that I could finish RC quickly and move to VA. For Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR), I recommend aspirants to target 15 correct questions if the paper is difficult. And for QA, mark easy questions and solve them first to save your time." Avinash Iyer, CAT 2017 topper and 99.61 percentiler shares his time management strategy which worked out well for him. “My strategy for solving the QA section was to skip questions that I knew but would take a long time; tried my hands on the unknown questions and completed the short questions. Then returned to solve the long unattempted questions. To solve the VARC section, I first took up all the reading comprehension, completed them as they take a substantial amount of time. Then I solved the fill in the blanks followed by jumbled paragraphs” he says. 
  • The art of leaving – Learning the art of leaving is actually one of the most important tricks you should have up your sleeve to crack CAT. You have to let go of the rotten eggs (read: taxing questions) so you go to the golden ones which are easy to crack. 
  • Save time for revision – Revision is equally important for ensuring a good percentile. After the completion of the test, revise the answers to ensure that there are no mistakes. Allot at least 10 minutes at the end of the test for the revision of each section. Tanya Gupta, an IIM Kozhikode student who obtained 99.47 percentile in CAT mentions, “I made sure that I attempted all the questions that I was sure of. After this, I revised my answers in whatever time I was left with.”
  • Go back to marked question in the buffer time - Mark the time-consuming questions for review and revisit them once you complete the section. After a thorough revision, try and solve those questions. "In the first step, I solved all the questions which I could do at one go till the end. In the second step, I attempted those questions which I thought I would be able to do after giving it a try. After attempting all such questions, if there was some time left, I attempted those which I thought were the hardest for me," mentions CAT topper Shubrajyoti Saha of IIM Shillong.

Also Read:

CAT Score Vs Percentile

How to prepare for CAT in 4 months 

Why, When and How to crack CAT Mock Test

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