CAT Preparation 2024: Know 10 Tips for Time Management in VARC section

Common Admission Test 2024 ( CAT )

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Exam On: 24 Nov '24

Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content
Updated on Apr 18, 2024 16:04 IST

The VARC section of CAT exam often turns out to be the spoiler for most of the aspirants. Since CAT VARC is dominated by RC passages one tend to lose crucial time in reading and re-reading them. How to save time? Read 10 tips for time management in CAT VARC.

CAT VARC preparation

VARC section of the CAT exam poses challenges to aspirants during preparation because it requires time and patience. During the CAT VARC preparation, it is not enough to read only novels and books. It is important to know how to utilise the knowledge gained during preparation, in the exam. It is important to know how to manage 4-6 RC passages and 10-12 Parajumbles in the CAT VARC section within 40 minutes. 

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CAT exam is all about speed and accuracy. These two are inter-dependent. You can't waste time in order to ensure accuracy and you can't ignore accuracy to save time. Thus, it is very important to have a tried and tested time management strategy before the CAT exam. Candidates can try various time management strategies during the CAT preparation phase. The idea is to figure out the best time management strategy for CAT exam. 

Q:   What is the CAT 2024 exam date?


The CAT exam is always conducted on the last Sunday of November every year so the CAT 2024 exam will be conducted on November 24, 2024. Official announcement of the CAT 2024 exam date will be made by the convening IIM on July 30, 2024. The announcement will be made at the website as well as in all the national dailies across India. We at Shiksha have also notify the aspirants through our communication channels. Registrations cum application process for CAT 2024 will begin from the first week of August and end in the third week of September 2024.

Check below CAT exam dates for last five years:

  • CAT 2023: November 26
  • CAT 2022: November 27
  • CAT 2021: November 28
  • CAT 2020: November 29 
  • CAT 2019: November 24

Q:   Will CAT exam 2024 also be conducted in three shifts?


Yes, the CAT 2024 exam will be conducted in three shifts. Until 2019, CAT was conducted in two shifts and the exam duration used to be 180 minutes. However, in 2020, the number of shifts were increased to three and exam duration was reduced to 120 minutes in order to follow the social distancing guidelines for COVID-19. Since the COVID-9 pandemic appropriate behaviour had to be followed at public places and gatherings, the examination authorities increased the number of exam slots to ensure a limited number of candidates can be accommodated at any exam centre in a given exam slot by following social distancing and seating arrangement with gap. Since then, the CAT is conducted in three shifts - morning, afternoon and evening. In CAT 2024 too, there will be three slots which will be allotted to applicants in no particular order. The CAT exam slot timings will be - 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

Q:   What are the CAT exam slot timings?

CAT exam is held in three slots for the past three years. Earlier it used to be held in two slots of three hours each, but since 2020 it is held in three slots of two hours each. The three slots are conducted between 8 am to 4 pm. The first slot is held from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, the second slot is held from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm and the third slot is held from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. In these three slots, about 2.22 Lacs candidates are accommodated at over 400 test centres in about 150 plus cities across India. The exam slots are allotted to candidates by the examination authorities as per the receipt of applications and candidates cannot request for change of examination slot. They have to give the test in the slot mentioned on the admit card.

One also needs to know the time management strategy for all the three sections of CAT 2024 exam has to be different and in line with the nature of the sections. For example, Quantitative Aptitude is calculation specific so the strategy should be to develop speed in calculation. Similarly, the VARC section has long Reading Comprehension (RC) passages so the strategy should focus on how to read the passages quickly or how to spot key points in a passage quickly. 

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The CAT 2024 exam pattern will be same as last year. The total time duration will be 120 minutes. The VARC section will have 24 questions and the sectional time-limit will be 40 minutes. So, what you need to along with studies in that focus on time management strategy for VARC so that you are able to solve the CAT question paper in the stipulated time.

Also Read:

Work on how to attempt the CAT 2024 question paper with maximum accuracy in minimum time. Which type of questions will need more time? Which questions to attempt and which ones to skip? In short make a plan for sectional time management.

Q:   What are the facilities for PwD candidates in CAT exam?

For PwD candidates, facilities in CAT exam include, relaxation of marks in graduation. The minimum score required by PwD candidate in graduation for appearing in CAT exam is 45 per cent aggregate. Apart from that, such candidates are provided scribe service at the exam centre. To avail the service such candidates have to fill the relevant form during registration process. The CAT exam authorities follow government rule viz. PwD candidate which is, 'Person with Benchmark Disability' means a person with not less than forty percent of a specified disability where the specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where the specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority, as defined in The Rights of Persons with Disabilities ACT 2016 (RPwD ACT 2016). The categories of disability are, blindness and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy, autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness, multiple disabilities from amongst persons under clauses (a) to (d), f) other 'specified disabilities' mentioned in 'The Schedule' of the RPwD ACT 2016.

Q:   What are the items to carry on the CAT exam day?

Every candidate must carry a blue/black ball point pen and a few copies of their passport size photo to the exam centre. They must not carry any stationary item other than the pen. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, CAT candidates are required to carry drinking water, hand sanitizer, face mask and gloves along with them. Candidates have to carry drinking water in a transparent bottle and a 100 ml bottle of hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer bottle should also be transparent. Candidates who have diabetes can carry fruits as per medical prescription. No other item will be allowed inside the exam venue. Candidates must not carry bags or valuables as there will be no arrangement for depositing while candidates appear for the exam. Candidates must also not carry notebooks or rough paper to the CAT exam centre. Any candidate found with an unauthorised item will be disqualified.

Q:   What are the dos and don'ts for CAT exam day?

On the CAT exam day, candidates have to follow a number of guidelines which include cooperating with the exam centre staff during identification process, following instructions given be the invigilator and following the test navigation for solving the questions. There are some key dos and don'ts that candidates should follow on the CAT exam day, which have been listed below: CAT exam day dos: 1. Reach the examination centre at the reporting time mentioned on your CAT admit card. 2. Carry two copies of the CAT admit card, one photo ID card, passport size photos and duly filled COVID-19 declaration form 3. PwD candidates should carry the relevant certificates and documents as prescribed by the examination authorities. 4. Carry a blue/black ball point pen for signing the attendance sheet 5. Carry personal drinking water, hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves 6. Cooperate with the test centre staff and follow the instructions 7. While entering the answers, use only the computer mouse. Do not touch the keyboard as doing so will lead to screen locking. CAT exam day don'ts: 1. Do not carry prohibited items such as bags, purses, pencil box, beepers, wrist watch, calculators, mobile phones, electronic devices, scanners, cameras, wireless/Bluetooth transmission or any such communication devices. 2. Don't wear closed shoes, jewellery made of metal, jackets, clothes with pockets, mehendi on palms. Socks are allowed inside it. 3. Don't wear caps, hoodies or jackets/shirts with pockets 4. Don't be late for the exam. The entry gates will be closed 15 minutes before the commencement of exam. No candidate will be allowed to enter the exam centre after that. 5. Don't cheat or indulge in mal practice. You can be disqualified due to any such ACT. 6. Don't create a ruckus inside the test lab 7. Don't leave your seat until the exam duration gets over and the invigilator announces exit.

Q:   Which IIM will conduct CAT 2024 exam?


The top 6 Indian Institute of Management are given the responsibility to conduct the Common Admission Test exam. Each of the top Indian Institutes of Management conducts the exam rotation-wise after a gap of five years. The responsibility to conduct the CAT 2023 was given to IIM Lucknow. Professor Sanjeet Singh had been appointed as the CAT convener. For CAT 2024, IIM Calcutta is expected to be the exam convening institute. IIM Calcutta will be responsible for preparation and conduct of the exam without glitches, in collaboration with TCS  for test labs and centres. The institute will design the question papers, exam pattern and guidelines, as well as manage the conduct of exam and preparation of admit card, answer key and result.

CAT Conducting Indian Institute of Management Over the Years:

  • 2023: IIM Lucknow
  • 2022: IIM Bangalore
  • 2021: IIM Ahmedabad
  • 2020: IIM Indore
  • 2019: IIM Kozhikode
  • 2018: IIM Calcutta
  • 2017: IIM Lucknow
  • 2016: IIM Bangalore
  • 2015: IIM Ahmedabad
  • 2014: IIM Indore
  • 2013: IIM Indore
  • 2012: IIM Kozhikode
  • 2011: IIM Calcutta
  • 2010: IIM Lucknow
  • 2009: IIM Ahmedabad

For more information, you may visit the Shiksha Common Admission Test page. ( I hope this will help you.

Q:   What are the items prohibited inside the CAT exam centre?


The CAT conducting authorities have provided a comprehensive list of forbidden objects that are not permitted to be brought to the CAT exam centre. These are the items: Bags, mobile phones, calculators, IPADs, IPODs, Bluetooth headsets, digital wrist watches, laptop computers, and cameras are not permitted within the CAT test hall. Carry no electronic equipment, such as beepers, electronic devices, or scanners. Candidates who have a metal implant, pacemaker, or other medical device in their body must present a medical Certificate to the CAT exam centre. Metal jewellery is not permitted to be worn by candidates. Candidates are not permitted to wear boots, metal headpins, or clips within the test hall after the frisking point. Carry no pencil boxes into the examination hall. Candidates must make their own personal belonging arrangements at the CAT exam centre.

There are two strategies for time management:

Many candidates are unsure how to approach Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) section in CAT. With a majority of the CAT test takers being engineers, many are scared of VARC. This section is often tough and lengthy because of long and dense RC passages.

To help students in time management, has prepared this list of 10 valuable tips on time management for CAT VARC. Read below:

10 tips for time management in CAT VARC section

  1. VARC is the first section of CAT. Read all the questions carefully and start with the questions which easy to solve.
  2. Use a two-step strategy for VARC. Consider Reading Comprehensions (RC) as section one; and the remaining portion i.e. grammar and logical reasoning as section two. Solve these two sections as separate entities.
  3. Try to solve Verbal Ability questions first. VA and Grammar are easy and scoring. Move to RC passages after finishing Verbal Ability and English Grammar.
  4. RCs come with a different difficulty level. They have about 4-5 questions each and are time consuming. RCs in CAT are usually inference-based. Therefore, it is advisable to read a passage carefully in one attempt. Reading over and over again will not help.
  5. Verbal Ability generally consists of lighter questions. Most students like to attempt them first. Accuracy is expected in this part. Therefore, they are called refreshments. Use these questions as fillers during the exam. Try attempting these questions in maximum of four minutes.
  6. In CAT VARC, do not stick to a question. Learn to say ‘NO’ even if you are tempted to attend the question. If you are not able to find an answer, move to the next questions.
  7. Candidates who are not so good with reading should go with the following strategy: Attempt RC and VA questions alternatively. Start with one RC question and then do one or two questions of VA. This will maintain the mood and tempo. Candidates will not lose focus in the exam.
  8. But, if you are confident about your reading speed, start with two or more questions of RC. Once you start feeling stuck or think that you are losing focus, use fillers (VA) questions. This can be quite helpful, as you are done with the lengthy and difficult part of your exam in the first half. The grammar portion, if there is any, works as a refreshment before you move on to DILR section.
  9. The strategy of using fillers between RC questions can also be combined with parajumbles. This too will maintain the tempo in the exam. The combination of light and dense question is really helpful.
  10. For students who do not have good reading skills, go with the strategy of solving easy questions first. However, do not keep dense and difficult questions for the end. You will end up losing marks and time. It is difficult to attempt RCs correctly with an exhausted mind.

Free CAT Mock Test by Shiksha

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These were just a few tips from our side. You can make your own CAT 2024 preparation strategy while practicing. Do not forget to experiment with different techniques while preparing. However, don’t gamble. Do not attempt questions that you are not sure of answering with accuracy. There is negative marking in CAT and you would not want to lose crucial marks by taking chances.

In CAT 2024, keep a check at the clock. Stay calm. Stay cool.

All the Best!

Read More:

How to crack CAT 2024: Prep tips from 100 percentilers

How to prepare for CAT 2024: Tips from experts

CAT 2024 Preparation plan for verbal ability

CAT 2024 preparation plan for DILR

How many questions to attempt in CAT for 99 percentile

CAT exam: Last week prep strategy for QA

CAT exam: Last week prep strategy for VARC

CAT exam: Last week prep strategy for DILR

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CAT Percentile predictor prepared by helps students to get their predicted CAT percentile on the basis of their expected exam score. So, predict your CAT 2024 score by clicking the link below:

CAT Percentile Predictor
About the Author
Vipra Shrivastava
Senior Manager - Content

Vipra is a massive Breaking Bad fan. When not watching crime drama series, she spends time in updating the list of places she wants to visit and people she wants to meet, but she is happiest in the company of dogs. ... Read Full Bio

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Answered 2 days ago

The table below shows the top MBA colleges accepting CAT score in India along with their total tuition fees:

College NamesTotal Tuition Fee
IIM AhmedabadINR 25 lakh
IIM BangaloreINR 25 lakh
IIM LucknowINR 13 lakh
DMS IIT DelhiINR 11 lakh
IIM KozhikodeINR 18 Lacs - INR 21 lakh


Tasbiya Khan

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a week ago

PUMBA, SIBM Pune, and SCMHRD are a few of the best MBA schools in Pune, with cutoff ranges of 95+ percentile in CAT. A range of 70-80 percentile is offered by BIMM, NIA, and BIIB, three more elite MBA schools in Pune.


Piyush Awasthi

Contributor-Level 6

Answered a week ago

For CAT, less than 80 percentile is not considered a good cutoff to apply to top MBA colleges. However, many B-schools in India accept 60 to 80 percentiles in the CAT for MBA admission. Talking about the BITS Pilani MBA cutoff for 2022, the CAT percentile was 60 for the General AII India candidates.



Rashmi Sinha

Contributor-Level 10

Answered a week ago

Yes ofcourse because to eligible for admission of MBA course you have to be an graduate and want to clear the CAT exam with more than 95 percentale.these two are almost same there is no differences in these two because the exams are related to the same course with different percentale of marks.even



Manoj S

Beginner-Level 4

Answered 3 weeks ago

VTU also accepts CAT score for admission to its MBA courses. However, the cut-off keeps fluctuating based on the availability of seats, difficulty level of exam and the volume of application. In 2023, the round 1 CAT cut-off for VTU was 40 percentiles for the applicants belonging to general category



Himanshi Pandey

Contributor-Level 9

Answered 4 weeks ago

Yes you can surely go for the course of MBA throught CAT exam without any work experience just after you have completed your graduation with having a good score in the exam and you will be eligible for the IIM'S such as Indore, Ahmedabad etc. that are the top colleges in our country from which you c




Beginner-Level 5

Answered 4 weeks ago

For MBA admissions, the North Eastern Regional Institute of Management (NERIM) accepts CAT scores. It is not, however, the sole entrance exam that the institute accepts. Merit-based admissions, the MAT, and the NERIM Entrance Test are also accepted by NERIM.

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Arya Tiwari

Beginner-Level 3

Answered 4 weeks ago

Yes, Adarsh Institute of Management and Information Technology may have alternative admission criteria for their MBA programme besides CAT scores. You should check their website or contact their admissions office for specific information on their admission requirements and procedures.


Arindam Mondal

Contributor-Level 7

Answered 4 weeks ago

Yes, Sanjivani University accepts the CAT exam for admission to MBA. Additionally, the college has some basic eligibility criteria that differ from course to course i.e., if a candidates want to apply for an undergraduate course, they must have completed Class 12 in a relevant stream and if a candid


Jiya Tyagi

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Answered a month ago

Yes, one can get admission into MAKAUT MBA courses without a valid CAT score. Admissions to MAKAUT MBA courses are made based on JEMAT scores. The university does not accept any other exam score for MBA admissions. JEMAT is conducted every year by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology. Th



Shailja Rawat

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