We investigate the sensitivity of the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment (KATRIN) to keV-scale sterile neutrinos, which are promising dark matter candidates. Since the active-sterile mixing would lead to a second component in the tritium β
-spectrum with a weak relative intensity of order sin 2 θ≲10 −6
, additional experimental strategies are required to extract this small signature and to eliminate systematics. A possible strategy is to run the experiment in an alternative time-of-flight (TOF) mode, yielding differential TOF spectra in contrast to the integrating standard mode. In order to estimate the sensitivity from a reduced sample size, a new analysis method, called self-consistent approximate Monte Carlo (SCAMC), has been developed. The simulations show that an ideal TOF mode would be able to achieve a statistical sensitivity of sin 2 θ∼5×10 −9
at one σ
, improving the standard mode by approximately a factor two. This relative benefit grows significantly if additional exemplary systematics are considered. A possible implementation of the TOF mode with existing hardware, called gated filtering, is investigated, which, however, comes at the price of a reduced average signal rate.