Adarsh Srivastava, student of PGPM 2018-20 batch at MDI Gurgaon scored 98.99 percentile in CAT 2017 despite being a working professional. Sending the message to CAT 2018 aspirants not to give up inspite of odds, Adarsh is of the view that failures will pump you up in your CAT preparation journey. Adarsh scored a percentile score of 95.65 in Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC); 92.68 in Data Inpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) and 99.42 in Quantitative Ability (QA).
Apart from MDI Gurugram, Adarsh converted call to IIM Indore-Mumbai campus and the new IIMs. Adarsh also appeared in XAT 2018 scoring 99.8 percentile and IIFT 2017 wherein he scored 95.99 percentile. However, Adarsh preferred to join MDI Gurgaon as he found it the best choice.
Adarsh hails from Gurugram in Delhi NCR. He lives in a joint family. His father works in Private Service and his mother is a homemaker. Adarsh is an engineering graduate from NIT Kurukshetra in Electronics and Communication. He has working experience of 11 months at EXL Services at Gurugram.
Adarsh loves playing Cricket, watching cartoons and solving mathematical puzzles. Adarsh shares with MBAUniverse.com his CAT preparation journey for the benefit of CAT 2018 aspirants:
MBAUniverse.com: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): I started my preparation from July. Since, I also did job along with preparation, so I used to give 5-6 hours during weekends and 1-2 in weekdays. I took 2 mocks each week and then giving whole day for analysing that. I also wrote some shortcuts which would be helpful in future. And in other days, when I didn’t write mocks, I took sectional tests, or solved questions of a particular section from Study Materials
MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): Every day I targeted at least one RC since the proportion of RC is maximum. And once a week, I practiced para jumbles, Odd one out
MBAUniverse.com: What was your preparation Strategy for Quantitative Ability (QA)?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): I had prepared my own quant formulas sheet. So, I used to update it whenever I came across any shortcuts or innovative solution. And since it was my strongest section, I used to solve questions whenever I got free time even during office hours
MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Section in CAT?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): This section requires lots of patience. I used to take at least 10 mins to solve a set. My focus was to solve the entire set initially. I watched video solutions of the sets and looked for the approach for different types of sets
MBAUniverse.com: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): My weakest section was VARC. I never got confidence whenever I attempted RC questions. My accuracy was very low. So, to improve I started solving at least one RC each day of different topics just to get aware of how to approach different topics. Also, I joined online course for English to improve my performance and gradually the accuracy started to increase.
MBAUniverse.com: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many Mocks did you attempt before the exam?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): Mocks play an integral role in any aspirant’s preparation. Firstly, it helped me to revise the concepts and that too in a virtual exam like setup. Mocks tested all my 3 sections and how I handle each section, it also tested my patience for three hours. By analysing it, I got to know about my weak and strong areas. And most importantly, it made me familiar with the style of the actual exam. I gave around 30-40 mocks before CAT exam.
MBAUniverse.com: Did you Self-Prepare or attend a Coaching Centre?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): I took Test Series of IMS and BullsEye and took English online course by Iquanta. I did self-preparation because I was very thorough with the topics. I just needed to improve upon my current skills. As I was weak in VARC section, hence I opted for online course. Attending a coaching centre was according to me time wasting because the pace with which they teach is slow for a person who has already given CAT earlier and know some topics.
MBAUniverse.com: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): when I got to know that my CAT exam is in morning slot, I started waking up at 6am just to make myself ready for the D-day. I took easy mocks just to boost confidence, didn’t solve tough questions, and revised quant formulas. The night before exam, I watched Dumb and Dumber movie just to calm myself and free my mind of any stress. I tried to remove the anxiousness on the exam day because that could hamper my speed and focussed on one section at a time.
MBAUniverse.com: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2018
Adarsh (CAT Topper): Don’t lose hope and be confident about your preparation. I never scored 98+ percentile in all the mocks which I appeared for. But that didn’t let me lose confidence. I knew I am well aware with all the concepts, I have to just maintain my equanimity during the exam because many people due to exam pressure loses confidence. For the preparation part, do give mocks at least twice a week and its analysis is equally important. Give 2-3 hours analysing it, see what are your weak and strong areas and work upon them accordingly.
MBAUniverse.com: Did you face any weak moment when you self-doubted your preparation and scared failure? Please narrate it, if so.
Adarsh (CAT Topper): , there was a time when I wasn’t scoring well in mocks. For straight 5-6 mocks I was getting below 95%ile. After so much hardwork, the results weren’t showing up. A sense of negativity grew up in the back of my mind. I already did blunder in CAT 2016, and I was now thinking same will happen in 2017 too. But, yes failure do pumps you up. I made sure I didn’t lose confidence in me and to overcome it, I stopped giving mocks for few weeks and started again with basics which helped a lot.
MBAUniverse.com: What kind of personal struggles/challenges you had to face while preparing for these exams?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): I was lucky that I didn’t face any personal challenges. My parents were very supportive and stood by my decision. Even office colleagues knew about this and helped me in office work so that I don’t feel any pressure. Hence, the preparation journey went smoothly.
MBAUniverse.com: Who was your support system all this while? Apart from yourself, who do you want to share the credit with in your success?
Adarsh (CAT Topper): My parents supported me a lot in my preparation. There was no pressure for them. They were in favour of my decision. Though it is a small thing and most of the parents does so, but it boosted huge confidence in me.
MBAUniverse.com: What are your aspirations for your future? What do you want to do after graduating? Where do you see yourself 5-10 years down the line?
Adarsh (CAT topper): I am looking forward to be a part of BFSI industry. After graduation, I would like to be a part of this industry where I want to gain more subject knowledge, expose to different business conditions, develop my core-competencies and maybe after 5-10 I will be leading a team and making strategic decisions for the company helping in its growth.
MBAUniverse.com: One interesting/unique memory/incident that you can recall related to your CAT preparation
Adarsh (CAT topper): Let me share one funny moment happened with me. When I got to know that my CAT exam is in morning slot, I started waking up in morning early to get used to it. The mocks also I set the time for 7am. I went to the test centre for giving mocks. No one was there. The 1st section is VARC, the most boring section for me. I didn’t realise while reading the paragraphs, when I slept and I woke up 30 minutes later, and the section time was almost ended. Instead of attempting further, I went home and slept but made sure this never happened again as obviously I didn’t want to sleep in the actual exam.
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