CAT 2019: Effective Time Management tips to score high

If you are facing difficulties adjusting to the new CAT pattern then follow these effective time management tips to score high in CAT exam.

Effective Time Management Tips for CAT 2019 Exam
Effective Time Management Tips for CAT 2019 Exam

One of the challenging modification brought in CAT exam was the introduction of sectional time limit that makes CAT exam more difficult from other MBA Entrances. While many MBA aspirants have welcomed the move, there are others who feel that this modification will hamper their chances of getting into a good B-school.

Here are a few points that CAT aspirants must remember before appearing for CAT Exam:

1. The CAT 2019 format will consist of three sections that would include 30 to 35 questions per section.

2. Candidates appearing in CAT 2019 will have 60 minutes to answer those approx 30 odd questions in a particular section before moving on to the next section.

Also Read: How to prepare for CAT 2019 without coaching?

3. If we consider basic math in this scenario then an aspirant gets roughly about 2 minutes to solve each question. This might pose as a challenge for the students and also enhance the difficulty level of the CAT exam.

4. Even seasoned candidates who have put their best foot forward during the preparation stage would require 3-4 minutes to answer each question.

While the sectional time limit sounds like a limitation but it is actually a boon in disguise for all the MBA aspirants. As future business leaders, CAT candidates are expected to adopt and evolve to changing times and this is a similar challenge for all of them. If you are looking for a simple answer to tackle this challenge, it all lies in EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT. Below, we have decoded how to handle the challenge of time limit that you face while appearing for the CAT 2018.

Use Sectional Time Limit to Your Advantage


Coming straight to the point, while you might think that sectional time limit is putting an unnecessary restriction on you to choose which questions you can answer first, that is not true. In the earlier format, where candidates could move from one section to another without any limitations, many ended up wasting a lot of time by mentally adjusting to the new section without actually answering more number of questions.

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In a way, the sectional time limit introduced last year in the CAT exam works in your favour by taking away the freedom of choice.

The CAT 2019 format is very simple and straightforward, it gives you one hour to answer 30+ questions. So, instead of treating the entire exam as one 3-hour test, you should treat it as:


Another important thing to keep in mind with respect to the CAT exam format is the number of questions to attempt.

Due to negative marking, it is important for candidates to focus more on the correct answers rather than the number of questions attempted. If you look at it this way, an average candidate would only be able to answer 20 questions correctly. Taking this into account, this increases per question time to 3-4 minutes which is ideal. Under the new sectional time limit, if you are able to comfortably answer around 20 to 22 questions from a section in 1 hour with complete confidence (read: accurately), you should expect to score 98 or 99 percentile.

Attempt non-MCQ questions which do not attract ‘Negative Marking’

Another way in which you can manage your time better for CAT 2019 is by attempting the non-negative marking questions first. Under the CAT 2018 format, each section of the test would include both MCQ and non-MCQ questions. Generally speaking, the non-MCQs do not attract the wrath of negative marking and therefore are considered safe to answer. Therefore, you should first pick non-MCQ questions based on topics of your interest or the ones that you are comfortable of solving first. Once you are through with them, start attempting the ‘difficult’ non-MCQs and set a time limit for each of them. Once done with the non-MCQs, you can pick up the regular MCQs that attract negative marking, again moving from easy and less time-consuming ones to the ones that are difficult to solve and require more time.

The key advantage of attempting the non-MCQs first is that as you are already familiar with the concept on which the question is based, it would be easier to solve the question. On top of that, the lack of options means that there are no other factors at play which may confuse you while attempting to answer the question.

   Patience to Sit for Long Hours


Generally, CAT aspirants are used to short study sessions, as they are recommended by almost everyone including their coaching instructors. Although this practice is very advantageous for preparation phase, it does pose a real problem when it comes to actual CAT examination.

The majority of the CAT aspirants are not used to sitting for 3 hours at a stretch, let alone putting their brains through the rigorous process of solving complex problems. This poses a real threat to your performance in CAT exam, as, despite all the factors in your favour, a simple habit can lead to your downfall. The best possible way to tackle this would be take-up CAT mock tests and solve them under real exam conditions within the stipulated 3 hours timeframe.

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