CAT 2018 toppers

CAT 2018 Toppers List will be released by IIM Calcutta in the 2nd week of January 2019 with the CAT 2018 result declaration. MBAUniverse.com will publish CAT Topper Interview with the toppers preparation tips for CAT exam.

 

CAT toppers list with 100 percentile has been on the rise for the last 3 years. A total of 20 candidates have scored an overall 100 percentile in CAT 2017 as against 16 two years ago. Two women candidates and three Non-Engineers are amongst CAT 2017 Toppers. To help CAT 2018 aspirants, MBAUniverse.com has gathered CAT toppers Interviews with the CAT exam preparation toppers strategy. It will broadly guide the CAT 2018 aspirants on CAT toppers strategy on how do toppers prepare for CAT; CAT topper online preparation strategy; last minute tips from CAT toppers, Role of Mocks in CAT preparation by toppers among others.  

 

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on CAT Toppers.

  • Shashank Heda

    Exam score : 99.99 percentile

    Shashank belongs to Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan. He attributes his success to his parents and teachers. Shashank is a B.Tech in  Electrical Engineering (Hons.) with Minor in Computer Science from IIT Gandhinagar.  He had gained 11 months of work experience with Texas Instruments to his credit before joining IIM Bangalore. He loves sports along with his studies and has keen interest in Athletics especially in Sprinting & Swimming. 

    For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Shashank Heda about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow

     

    What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2015?
    I began CAT preparation in July 2015. In my case, apart from the test material, analysis of mock test results was a key source of learning throughout the four months before the exam

    How did you prepare for each section QA, VARC & DILR? What study materials and books did you use? 
    I referred the material that I received from my coaching centre for sectional preparation. A few mistakes many people do is referring to multiple books/material for a topic but the strategy should be comprehensive and not exhaustive.

    Also, one must not spend too much time on a single topic. Joining a test series helps a lot in analysing the areas that need more focus. Major resources for the exam include coaching centre material (to learn the theory), mock tests (to analyse section-wise performance and to improve time management) and chapter-wise mock tests.

    For interview preparation, reading newspaper, forming a rational opinion on important global/national events/policies, complete knowledge of recent happenings in the areas of your personal liking (for example, hobbies) etc. is helpful.

    Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
    In my case, the scope of improvement in VARC was more when compared to other sections. Thus, I spent more time in solving passages and did detailed analysis of that section’s result in each mock test.

    How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
    The mock tests make it very easy for a person to find his/her areas of improvement. Advice from my experience:

    -CAT pattern changed in 2015 and the total time available for each section was restricted to 60 minutes. Formulate the strategy as per the CAT format for the year. In my case, the focus was to reach the last question of the section by the time 60 minutes allotted to it were over. It involved attempting/skipping a question (and coming back to it later if time permitted) after estimating the time the question would probably take.

    -Analyse the mistakes in each section. Identify the gaps. Go back to the test material if you are not able to solve questions from a particular chapter (conceptual issues are seen mostly in QA and sometimes in VARC).

    -Check if all ‘Easy’ and ‘Medium’ difficulty questions were attempted. There might be something wrong with time management/question selection if most of the questions that were attempted belong to ‘Difficult’ or ‘Very difficult’ section. This would imply that the time spent in solving two ‘Very Difficult’ questions could have been better utilized in solving three ‘Medium/Easy’ nature questions.

    -Concentrate more on weaker areas. Look for the problems that were of ‘Easy’ nature and took more to solve time than usual. Learn the approach to solve them. This is because arriving at the answer in minimum possible time is more important than just finding the answer.

    Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?

    I received test material from my coaching centre and joined its test series as well but did not join the regular classes. Personally, I feel that the most important aspect of a coaching centre is its faculty and peer group. For any doubt/problem, try resolving it with peers, if any to save time. Otherwise, make a list of your doubts and interact with the faculty. Concentrate more on learning the approach than arriving at the answer.

    Other than CAT, which exam did you appear?

    None

    Which institutes did you apply for admission?
    I applied to IIM A, B, C, K and L.

    Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
    Last minute preparation involved revision of complex QA formulae. I feel that no preparation is needed for DILR and VARC on the CAT day as there is not much that can be done for those sections in short-term.

    Test taking plan developed over the time through analysis of mock test results. The focus was not to cover each question of the section in the specified order but to reach the last question of the section by the time the duration for the section ended. For a few candidates, the exam centre may not be the first preference that was filled in CAT form. Plan the travel in advance to avoid last minute anxiety about reaching the centre.

    Which B-school you decided upon and why?
    I chose IIM Bangalore among the final converts (B, C and K). To decide a B-school, I would suggest participating in city meets held by each B-school after the final results are released. Also, interact with seniors/alumni to find the best fit.

    Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for CAT. 
    For CAT exam, do not focus on a particular subject/topic. Be ready for surprises related to change in CAT format and most importantly, keep calm and believe in yourself.

  • Rahul Gupta

    Exam score : 99.98 percentile

    An Electrical Engineer from IIT Kanpur, Rahul worked for one year as a Software Engineer in Samsung Research and Development Institute Bangalore before cracking CAT 2017 with 99.98 percentile and finally getting into IIM Calcutta.

     

    Rahul hails from Faridabad in Haryana. His father is a Software Developer, mother is a housewife and younger brother is a student of IIT Delhi.

    Q. What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?

    A. When I decided to do MBA, first thing I did was to look at the syllabus of CAT. I realised that it was not a test of knowledge but that of aptitude and speed. Hence, to get familiarity with the type of questions and to build speed, the best strategy that I could think of was to give a lot of mock tests and analyse them thoroughly. This helped me a lot in identifying and curbing mistakes that I made in different sections.

     

    Q. Please share your preparation strategy for VARC section in CAT `

    A. Since this section tests you largely on your comprehension, it helps a great deal if you are familiar with varied topics like philosophy, science, business, technology, sociology and even art. I made it a daily habit to read at least an hour on different topics from various sources like newspapers, books and magazines. I also used to learn meanings of 5 new words daily in order to improve my vocabulary.

     

    Q. How did you prepare for Quantitative Ability (QA) section?

    A.  This was my strongest section, as is the case with almost all engineers. The topics that come in quant are of 10th standard level at best, hence knowledge was never an issue. Only issue was timing which I improved considerably by solving more and more mocks. While analysing the mock tests, I made it a point to keep in mind any tips or tricks that could be used to solve a particular question quickly.

     

    Q. What was your preparation strategy for DILR Section?

    A. This section tests your stamina and perseverance as you have to make sense of a large amount of data in order to answer the questions. Hence, I used to do one set each of DI and LR daily in order to build that stamina. Also, some sets can be deceptively tough or deceptively easy, hence you should be able to choose quickly which sets to attempt. Sometimes, this can prove to be the game changer.

     

    Q. Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?

    A. I was troubled a lot initially by DILR section as I had not encountered these kind of questions before in my life. My speed and accuracy both were below par. The turning point was when I came across ‘The Great Book of Puzzles & Teasers’ by George J. Summers. This is a very fascinating book and contains similar questions as in DILR section. This book piqued my interest towards DILR, I started practising more and as a result, the scores improved.

     

    Q. What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?

    A. Mocks play the most important role in determining whether you end up scoring 90th percentile or 99th percentile. During preparation, there comes a point when everyone is well versed with the syllabus. The differentiator is speed and the ability to choose questions on merit. This skill can be honed by giving more and more mocks. I used to give one mock every weekend. Hence in 4 months of my preparation, I gave around 20 mocks.

     

    Q. Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?

    A. When I decided to pursue my MBA dream, I was working in a software job with not much free time on my hands. For a start, I decided to blindly attempt a past year CAT paper. I realized that it was a generic exam and I knew almost all the topics that were being asked. A look at the CAT syllabus strengthened my belief. Thus, I decided to enrol for an online test series and gave tests every weekend. Fortunately, it turned out to be more than enough.

  • Saransh Garg

    Exam score : 99.98 percentile

    Saransh belongs to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.  He scored 9.6/10 in class 10 and 90.6% marks in class 12. Saransh has completed graduation in civil engineering from NIT Warangal with a score of 7.19 out of 10. Saransh preferred to join FMS Delhi to other IIMs and B-schools that offered him admission.

    Apart from devoting time to study, Saransh has great interest in Cricket, Football, Texas Hold’em poker and watching TV shows. He attributes his success inspiration to his mother, Cristiano Ronaldo – the renowned football player and his willingness to get recognized.

    My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice
    For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Abhay Agarwal about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow

    Q. What was your preparation strategy for CAT?

    A. I came to Delhi for 40-50 days in June-July and I sat through all the Quant modules at ‘Alchemist’ which gave me a base. I started reading to increase my reading speed.

    From September to November, I gave 20-25 mock tests. Each mock paper had different kinds of questions and solving 20-25 of them covered almost every type and pattern, which was essentially helpful for DI-LR section. I had 2 friends who were also preparing for CAT and after appearing in a mock paper, we used to discuss every question and compared the timings. This gave me an idea about my weak areas and while discussing, I sometimes got to know faster way of doing a similar problem. Also my strategy was to kill any kind of nervousness or impatience involved by giving mocks so that it feels normal on the Judgement Day.

    Q. How did you prepare for each section QA, VARC & DILR? What study materials and books did you use? 
    A. For QA, I sat through all the modules in my coaching. Then I solved some chapters in face-to-face CAT to practice previous year questions. Then I gave mock papers and analysed my mistakes and speed after each paper. I used TIME material for formulas in different chapters.

    For VARC, the question paper pattern changed a lot from 2014. There were 24 RC questions. So I started reading articles from different domains to increase my speed. For practice, i relied on mock papers.

    For DILR, I solved face-to-face CAT for previous year’s questions. There are 8 sets of DILR and you get 60 minutes to solve them. So while giving mocks, I focussed on not spending more than 7-8 minutes on a single set.

    Q. Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
    A. I was weak in VARC as you can see my sectional percentile scores. I overcame this through practice and reading.

    Q. How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
    A. The sincerity while giving a mock should be such as if it’s the final CAT paper and there should be no internal and external disturbance for those 3 hours and you should only focus on the screen. Taking Mock in actual test condition will eliminate nervousness; will help greatly in time management; and will give you a lot of confidence. Post mock analysis is extremely important, or else you won’t improve. Lastly, you should give the same mock untimed (without the 3-hr restrain) to realize whether to work on speed or content.

    Q. Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
    A. I went to Alchemist Delhi for a crash course. It gave me a belief and confidence that I can score a high percentile. Also, studying with other students help you realize where you are and how much who have to work to be the best.

    Q. Other than CAT, which exam did you appear?
    A. I appeared only for CAT exam.

    Q. Which institutes did you apply for admission?
    A. Apart from CAT, which in itself is an IIM application form, I applied for FMS Delhi.

    Q. Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
    A. For preparation of the CAT day, I started taking mocks aligned with my CAT timings so as to be more comfortable on the final day. This may seem strange; I appeared in my CAT exam wearing a track pant and a loose t-shirt to go along with slippers to make it like an absolutely regular day for myself. My plan to take CAT was to attempt as many questions as possible (I attempted 92-93) and not getting stuck on a question for more that 2 minutes. While there was a 15-minute wait for the paper to start, I was singing “waving flag” in my head to remain calm and motivated.

    Q. Which B-school you decided upon and why?
    A. I decided upon FMS Delhi. My first priority was IIM-A which I could not convert but post that I prioritized FMS as it is one of best b-schools of India.

    I considered the feedback provided to me by alumnus from my graduation college, NIT Warangal who had gone onto study in IIM C, IIM L and FMS. Also, I believe that the exposure you get in Delhi is better than others.

    Q. Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for CAT 2016.
    A. I would ask all the candidates to remain calm and confident. Do not give up because it’s not as difficult as it looks. Read as much as possible. Also, learn to say no to a question and move to the next as time available is less. Focus equally on all the sections and lastly, I wish good luck to all.

  • Nishant Gupta

    Exam score : 99.97 percentile

    An inspiration for IIM aspirants with non-engineering back ground, Nishant Gupta is a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts- Economics) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. He not only cracked CAT 2015 with 99.97 percentile but also converted the call to many top B-schools including IIMs and decided to join IIM Bangalore. 

    Post his graduation Nishant decided to have some work experience and before joining IIM Bangalore, had to his credit a 24 Months work experience at EXL Services in Business and Financial Research.  Nishant  belongs to Delhi and has keen interest in politics, likes Debating and  listening to music.

    My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice:

    For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Nishant Gupta about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow

    What was your preparation strategy for CAT?
    This was my first attempt at CAT. I had always planned to work for 2 years before going for MBA. I started preparing for CAT in November 2014 through coaching. However, I seriously started studying for CAT from March 2015.

    My preparation involved solving all the material given by TIME, solving some sectional tests towards the end, and giving lots of mock tests as I had also joined the test series. I wrote one mock test per week from May onwards. The biggest thing which helped me was constant practice.

    As I was working, I had very little time to study on my own, so I used to utilize my time on the Metro every day to work. Irrespective of whether I got a seat or whether the metro was very crowded, I used to make it a point to study Quant or DILR or Verbal. This helped me complete my syllabus and also figure out shortcuts to solve questions as I used to solve the Quant questions on the margins of the book.

    How did you prepare for each section QA, VARC & DILR? What study materials and books did you use? 
    QUANT: I solved all text book exercises, tried to do different sectional tests and extensively analysed mock tests. This was my weakest section so I devoted most of my prep time on studying QA. I also made notes of the concepts and the good questions I found so that I can revise them before the exam.

    DILR: This was a very volatile section for me in mocks, so I practiced a lot to reduce the volatility. This was the differentiating section in CAT 2015, so it was important to give due importance to this section. TIME advanced questions had a good mix of different question types. In addition, I tried to solve almost all practice tests for DILR to increase speed, identify the sets which should be attempted first, and understand different ways to solve.

    VERBAL: This was my strongest section from the starting, so I didn’t focus too much on VA. I solved a few RC and VA exercises, but not too many.

    Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
    I was weak in Quant and I tried to maximise my QA practice to overcome this weakness which I did also. Key was to make this as strong as possible, while maximizing my score in other sections. In the final CAT, while I got 95.8 percentile in QA, I got 99.6 percentile in DILR and 99.7 percentile in VA, both of which were moderately strong for me.

    How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
    Mock tests were very important for me. One strategy I used was to give the tests on weekends, and then analyse them in the night after work when I could not do new things. This helped me utilize my evenings effectively and analyse the mocks.

    Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?

     I went to TIME CP centre. It was an important component in my prep

    Other than CAT, which exam did you appear?
    I appeared for XAT in which I got 99.934, and I appeared for IIFT in which I got 98.57 percentile

    Which institutes did you apply for admission?
    I had applied to IIM A, B,C,L,K,I, FMS, XLRI BM, SP Jain, IIFT, MDI.I converted IIM B,C,L,K, XLRI BM, SP Jain and MDI. I didn’t appear in interview for IIM I and FMS.

    Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
    On CAT day, my strategy was to ensure maximum attempts in VA, and aim for accuracy in DILR and VA. I did not do much last minute prep, just looked at previous year CAT papers and revised quant formulae. Formulae are also important as CAT 2015 had formula based questions as well.

    Which B-school you decided upon and why?
    I finally decided on IIM Bangalore due to its focus on holistic development and renowned faculty. I was very confused between IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta for a long time, but in the end, assessing fit is important. I chose IIMB as I felt it was a better fit for my personality, and I am very happy with my decision.

    Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for CAT.
    Stay focused, stay calm, and keep on working hard even if you get low marks in some mock tests. The process is an important life lesson, even if you don’t get into a B school of your choice. So enjoy it. You would always remember the memories you make on this prep journey, and once you become successful the memories become all the more special. Finally, remember that not getting into an IIM is not the end of the world. Many successful people in this world are non-MBAs

  • Ananth Radhakrishnan

    Exam score : 99.85 percentile

    Ananth Radhakrishnan  is a B.E (Hons) in Computer Science from BITS Pilani. He belongs to Kozhikode and his interests include debating, singing and reading. Steve Jobs is Ananth’s source of inspiration. Ananth scored 99.85 in CAT 2015 and finds the exam not very difficult but it needs better time management and accuracy.  He preferred to join IIM Bangalore although converted call to other IIMs also

    My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice

    For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Ananth Radhakrishnan about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow

    Q. What was your preparation strategy for CAT?
    A. My primary strategy when it came to CAT was to prepare myself in terms of getting timing and accuracy right.  What I always felt was that CAT is not a difficult paper inherently in terms of the topics covered, rather because of the time limit in which you have to complete it coupled with the dire need of accuracy while doing so. To this end, I used to regularly do mock tests (one every 3-4 days), analyse what would go wrong and try my best to mend those mistakes before the next test.
     

    Q. How did you prepare for each section QA, VARC & DILR? What study materials and books did you use? 
    A. In terms of sectional coverage, what I mostly focussed on was getting my quant basics right. I always found it hard to complete the questions within the time limit, and would often have poor relative accuracy as well. Post the mock tests I would complete, I would analyse the topics I was weak in and work on those.

    When it came to LR/DI what I realised was that it was just a matter of getting into the groove of things with practice over time so that was my main strategy for it.

    VA being a relatively more random topic in the sense that it really was hard to prepare for in a quantifiable and tangible manner, so again, learning from the mistakes in the mocks was my primary preparation. I used solely material from TIME to complement my preparation.

    Q. Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
    A. Quant was definitely my Achilles’ heel, as it was both the case that I found it hard to complete the section in the given time, as well as the fact that my accuracy was absolutely atrocious as well.

    But like all things, the only way forward is to really put in some good old hard work. Analysing mock results to understand the topics I’m finding hard to manage, and when that step was climbed, finding the topics that were causing me to take too much time really helped. Another important thing is to make sure to not spend too much time on any one question, and to develop your own personal heuristic to judge that while attempting a question

    Q. How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
    A. Mock Tests are literally the biggest help you can get in your preparation. Considering your performance in CAT is relative, at the end of the day that can only be simulated through mocks. So I’d advise you to take Mocks seriously, and attempt them as you would in your final exam. Most important is to analyse your results post the exam, and then keep improving continuously.

    Q. Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
    A. Yes, I went to TIME coaching at Pilani. Coaching centres allow you to get a rough base in every topic before finally starting your self-study, but I’d advise you to not rely solely on it alone for your preparation.

    Q. Other than CAT, which exam did you appear?
    A. Nothing other than CAT.

    Q. Which institutes did you apply for admission? 
    A. Only the IIMs.

    Q. Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
    A.
    The most important thing is to remain calm, and just attempt it like any other exam. One good thing about doing so many mocks was that by the time I took CAT, it literally felt like another mock test! Make sure to arrive early to the venue, and get enough sleep and rest the night before. And I really can’t emphasise it enough, there is no need to panic.

    In terms of how to actually approach the exam, the kind of strategy you use would solely depend on what you are comfortable with. Also, last-minute preparation would be only mocks over the last 2-3 weeks. Do not bother yourself too much with anything on the last night.

    Q. Which B-school you decided upon and why?
    A. IIM Bangalore, because of the wide diversity in terms of your peer group.

    Q. Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for CAT.
    A. Do not worry about CAT. People have made it out to be a bigger beast than it really is. The topics themselves won’t be too hard, so don’t fret over that. Constantly work to improve yourself while preparing, and don’t allow a good mock score to let you rest on your laurels. Don’t study hard, study smart! All the best!

  • Chanchal Gupta

    Exam score : 99.79 percentile

    CAT topper with 99.79 percentile and IIM Ahmedabad student of PGP 2017-19 batch, Chanchal Gupta is a fresher without work experience. She preferred self preparation instead of joining some coaching although she made it a point to join the CAT Mock test series offered by the coaching institute. Chanchal suggests to improve your accuracy level instead of trying to attempt more number of questions in CAT 2017 and ensure to analyse all the mock tests that you have taken. 

     

    Chanchal Gupta is from Indore and has done B.E. in Computer Engineering. Sharing her experience how she prepared for CAT exam, Chanchal advises the CAT 2017 aspirants to clarify all their doubts quickly. Apart from CAT exam, she did not appear in any other MBA entrance test.

     

    Determined to crack CAT with high percentile, Chanchal appeared only in CAT exam and did not apply to any other B-school apart from IIMs. With her right preparation strategy and well devised plan, she cracked the exam with a high percentile.   
     

    My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice:

    For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Akhil Garg about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow:

     

    MBAUniverse.com:What was your preparation strategy for CAT?
    Chanchal (CAT topper): I appeared for multiple mock tests in the last 3 months leading up to CAT. Instead of trying to attempt all the questions, I focussed on improving my accuracy in the questions that I solve.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for each section QA, VARC & DILR? What study materials and books did you use?
    Chanchal (CAT topper): I read newspapers for VARC. For DILR and Quant, I practiced from the books by Arihant, Pearson, TMH

     

    MBAUniverse.com: Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
    Chanchal (CAT topper): I was weak in DILR. Instead of solving all questions of a common data set, I solved only the ones which took less time.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
    Chanchal (CAT topper): The best way to use mock tests is to analyse them afterwards. The mistakes should be identified and worked upon.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
    Chanchal (CAT topper): No. I joined only the test series. Coaching centre helps in maintaining regularity and provides a competitive environment. But it depends on the individual whether he/she requires it or not.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: Other than CAT, which exam did you appear?
    Chanchal (CAT topper):  I applied only for CAT and no other exam.

     

    MBAUniverse.com:  Which institutes did you apply for admission?  
    Chanchal (CAT topper):  I applied for admission to all IIMs. 

     

    MBAUniverse.com:  Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
    Chanchal (CAT topper): I did not go for last-minute preparation. I went with a cool mind.

  • Shivam Shrivastava

    Exam score : 99.75 percentile

    A B.Tech in Textile Technology from IIT Delhi, Shivam cracked CAT 2017 with 99.75 percentile. Before joining IIM Calcutta, Shivam has worked  with a professor, on a business idea, from the atmospheric sciences department at IIT Delhi. Later, worked at Geo Miller, an EPC firm, in the Mechanical department as an engineer.

     

    Shivam belongs to Delhi. His father is a Cardiologist, currently practicing in Delhi at Max Hospital, Saket and mother is a house maker

    Q. What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT? `

    A. My strategy for CAT preparation was plain and simple, acing the mock tests and doing whatever might be required in achieving that. The first thing I thought of doing was figuring out my strengths and weaknesses. The best way to do that, in my opinion, was to take a mock test and try to understand my position on the preparation ladder and I did exactly that.

     

    The test obviously didn't go well at all since I was completely new to this, but I got a vague idea about what all I need to put my hard work in. Thereafter, I bought some reputed study material and started solving problems from a wide array of topics from each section, to give myself a feel of what all I can be tested on. Time to time, I increased the difficulty level of the problems I was dealing with. While doing all this, I made sure I never missed a single mock test, and I also took some timed basic sectional tests online to keep myself out of the comfort zone of untimed problem solving. Even at work, if I got a break for lunch, I would make sure to complete at least one half-hour sectional test to keep my momentum going. This also helped me unwind from office stress.

     

    Slowly but steadily I saw improvements in my mock test scores but I made sure to not get overconfident and worked even harder thereafter. I analysed each question, including the ones I got correct, from every mock test. This helped me build strategies on how to get more answers correct, and solve the correct ones a bit faster. All of this helped me make sure, that my CAT examination day was just like any other test day, wherein I focussed on my core strategies and kept my nerves calm.

     

    Q. Please share your sectional preparation strategy for VARC in CAT

    A.  The first and foremost thing I did in VARC was reading. By reading I mean reading any article on any topic that I could get my hands on to. I realised what CAT is trying to test us on is not just our English language but rather our understanding of varied topics and the way we are able to comprehend and interpret new readings from all domains such as philosophy, economics, art, history and science among others. I used to read newspapers, editorials, magazines and other types of non fiction material. I did this from the very beginning and in a few months I could see improvements in my VARC scores. I also solved a lot of sectional tests, especially in the reading comprehension part, to increase my speed. Overall, I tried keeping myself calm before each mock, so that there aren't too many thoughts in my mind that may end up dragging my attention away from the RC sets, which happens with a lot of test takers.

     

    Q. What was your preparation strategy for Quantitative Ability (QA) section? 

    A.  Quant was more on the stronger side for me as compared to the other two sections. But that doesn't mean I took it lightly, at all. I made sure to complete all the topic problems from my study material but I did all of them timed. This helped me boost my performance further in quant, which gave the most crucial jump to my overall CAT score in the final examination. Thus, in a way, I worked hard on my weaknesses, but harder on my strengths.

    `

    Q. How did you prepare for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)?

    A.  DILR is the most tricky and unpredictable section in CAT. No one can ever know what kinds of new problem sets are going to appear in this year's exam. Therefore, what I thought of doing is setting quantitative goals in this section. I thought of completing 200-250 varied problem sets by the time my preparation was complete. And I analysed more and more papers, sometimes the same questions twice, to see the differences in my approach towards the set versus the expert solution, given along the tests. This helped me understand how to go about solving any kind of problem set I might come across.

     

    Q. Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?

    A. Yes, I was relatively weak in the DILR section, reason being that I was relatively new to such questions. Initially I had extremely low scores in this section. It was a little demoralising at first, but then I consulted some of my friends who had taken CAT the last year, and they said that a similar thing happened with them as well. This motivated me to work harder and harder in this section. I made sure that I solved DILR sets on a daily basis and gave this section double the amount of time as compared to the other sections. I analysed the solutions to each set and kept improvising my strategy for these sets. After a couple of tests I could see improvement in my accuracy level in the DILR section. I made it a point to read all questions carefully, thereby avoiding any careless errors that might cost me the whole four question set, and lead to negative marking. While analysing, I made sure not to leave out the tougher problems, which many students do as they feel they don't need to attempt them. But as we can't predict the difficulty level that we might have to face, it is best to be fully prepared. By the time CAT came closer, I was feeling more confident in this area.

     

    Q. What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?

    A.  I feel like mock tests are the most important in one's CAT preparation journey. Firstly, these mock tests are the only way to give ourselves an almost real-like CAT taking experience, provided we take them seriously. When we give an invigilated mock test it helps simulating the actual examination hall scenario, thereby enabling us to get accustomed to it. It definitely helped me on the final day because I was calm and composed before starting the test. Secondly, mock tests give us a chance to try all types of strategies that may occur to us. This helps us in optimising the basics such as how many questions to attempt and which ones to avoid. Finally these tests are in themselves a form of study material. As we are exposed to a hundred new questions in every test, it amounts to more than two thousand total questions, if we consider the average number of tests taken by a serious aspirant. Thus, students who are good with the basic concepts of all sections or others who are repeating CAT, may not need any material other than the mock tests. I attempted about 22 full mocks before the final exam, but I spaced them out evenly so as to give myself some time and scope for improvement. Other than these I took about 20-30 sectional mocks of varying difficulty levels in each domain. I think these should suffice for most aspirants, but others may to need to vary these numbers according to their preparation levels. `

     

    Q. Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?

    A: I joined a coaching centre close to my house to help me with my CAT preparation. One of the main reasons I did this was to get some regularity in my studies. As I was working, my classes were scheduled on the weekends mostly. This helped me stay in the preparation zone week after week and did not let me slip away. Also, these classes help you understand where you stand among other students that might be preparing for the same exams. If someone is falling behind, they can take inspiration from other students and try to work harder, instead of getting demoralised. And if someone is in front, they can be more confident towards their results in the final exam. I benefited a lot in both ways. Also, if I had any doubts in any areas I could consult the faculty on how to approach those areas. Though everyone might not like classroom coaching as much and may want to prepare at their own pace, but I personally found it quite beneficial.

  • Akhil Garg

    Exam score : 99.73 percentile

    Putting a positive note to inspire CAT 2017 aspirants in their preparation journey, CAT topper with 99.73 percentile and IIM Ahmedabad student of PGP 2017-19 batch, Akhil Garg shares his experience on CAT preparation journey which he completed with self preparation. He suggests to improve on your weak areas and monitor the improvement regularly.

     

    One of the key facts about the preparation for CAT by Akhil is that he never went to any regular offline coaching institute to prepare for the exam. However, he suggests to take as many Mocks during your CAT 2017 preparation but emphasizes that without due analysis of Mock, attempting a mock test may not be useful.

     

    Akhil Garg has done B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Kanpur. He is a fresher and got IIM Ahmedabad without any work experience. Akhil belongs to Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh). His father is Senior Manager in THDC Pvt Ltd and mother is a home maker. His interests include playing Table Tennis, watching TV Series and reading novels.

     

    Determined to crack CAT with high percentile, Akhil appeared only in CAT exam and did not apply to any other B-school apart from IIMs. With his right preparation strategy and well devised plan, he scored 99.73 percentile.

    My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice:

    For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Akhil Garg about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow:

     

    MBAUniverse.com:What was your preparation strategy for CAT?
    Akhil (CAT topper): My main preparation strategy was regular practice. I regularly solved questions of each section with time limit, and also gave mocks at least once a week.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for each section QA, VARC & DILR? What study materials and books did you use?
    Akhil (CAT topper): VARC and LRDI section in CAT do not require any specific theoretical understanding, and having a mathematics background I was fairly familiar with the concepts needed for Quant Section. However, I did do some separate preparation for VARC and DI. I wrote down whatever new words I encountered after reading at least 5-6 newspaper articles every day and for DI, I practiced approximation techniques for quick calculations.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
    Akhil (CAT topper): I was relatively weak at VARC. Hence, I focused a lot on reading different articles and novels, conversing in English with friends and even watching English TV series and movies.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
    Akhil (CAT topper): Mocks are not useful until you thoroughly analyse your performance afterwards, understanding where and why you went wrong so that you know which areas to work upon.  Identify your weak areas, plan your strategies and monitor your improvement through future mocks.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
    Akhil (CAT topper): No, I did not go to any offline coaching centre and preferred to adhere to self-preparation strategy.

     

    MBAUniverse.com: Other than CAT, which exam did you appear?
    Akhil (CAT topper):  I appeared only for CAT examination.

     

    MBAUniverse.com:  Which institutes did you apply for admission?  
    Akhil (CAT topper):   IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode and Indore

     

    MBAUniverse.com:  Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
    Akhil (CAT topper): For the most part I chilled out the day before CAT examination, just revising some shortcut formulas for Quant section and vocab words for VARC section. Based on mocks, I had planned which questions I would attempt first and how much time I would spend before moving on to next questions.

  • Siddharth Srivastava

    Exam score : 99.64 percentile

    An inspiration to working professionals preparing for IIM-CAT, Siddharth has earned 3 years of working experience before cracking CAT 2017 with 99.64 percentile and got admission in IIM Calcutta. With a civil engineering background, Siddharth continued his quest for excellence in CAT preparation, although he had scored 99.27 percentile in his 1st attempt in 2014. 

     

    Siddharth belongs to a modest family with a mix of business, academic and banking environment. He worked for 3 years at Uber but continued his CAT preparation.

    Q. What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?

    A. This was my fourth attempt at CAT, having scored 99%ile in multiple past attempts, I realised that I only needed to get test practice in order and I shall be ready. I attempted almost 40+ mock tests, relying on test series of most major CAT coaching institutes. Maintaining my temperament in the exam is absolutely critical for me and by exhaustive mock tests I ensured that I was doubly prepared for CAT. `

     

    Q. Please share your sectional preparation strategy for VARC in CAT

    A.  I have found VARC to be the easiest section and I tried to max out my marks here. I also tried to finish the section early in mocks and get a small break which allows me to clear my head for the subsequent sections

     

    Q. How did you prepare for Quantitative Ability (QA) Section?

    A. My preparation strategy here used to be attempting 34 questions in 40-45 mins by artificially limiting the section duration. The idea was to build speed and also buy time for some questions which I would not be able to crack in the first attempt

     

    Q. What was your Preparation Strategy for DILR?

    A.  This was the toughest section for me, and I approached it with the ‘Easy first, Medium difficulty next, tough questions last’ approach where I would kill the easy LR and DI sets first and then progressively move ahead. This was very different from Quant and VARC where I was comfortable enough to move around sequentially

     

    Q. Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?

    A.  I was weak at LR despite spending countless hours of preparation. I would employ multiple tactics like option elimination, multiple attempts at the difficult sets after finishing off the paper to ensure I scored reasonably enough to clear cut offs

     

    Q. What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?

    A.  Immense. All my practice and results were down to Mocks ONLY. This year due to personal commitments I could not attempt more than 40 odd mocks but in the previous 3 attempts I had attempted 80-100 mocks each year

     

    Q. Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?

    A. I Self-prepared. I found Coaching adding very little value except to those who need some

    Level of discipline instilled.

  • Abhishek Kumar Pandey

    Exam score : 99.63 percentile

    An inspiration to CAT 2018 aspirants, Abhishek Kumar Pandey has scored 99.63 percentile in CAT 2017. He is offered admission at IIM Calcutta. For the benefit of CAT 2018 aspirants, MBAUniverse.com has brought a round of CAT toppers’ success stories alongwith their success mantra that led them to crack CAT with high percentile. In the series we present the success story and CAT preparation journey shared by Abhishek Kumar Pandey:

     

    MBAUniverse: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?

     

    Abhishek: Because of my background, my basics were already clear and therefore I didn’t enrol for any classroom program for CAT ‘17. For improvement, I wrote ~15 all India Mock Tests of a few coaching institutes. I analysed them thoroughly to learn from my mistakes. RC & QA were my key area of strengths, so I tried to capitalize on them by attempting maximum with decent accuracy.

     

    MBAUniverse: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for each section?

     

    Abhishek:

    1. VARC:  I never prepared specifically for this section. I have had a habit of reading the Hindu newspaper for past 3 years, because of which my reading speed had improved. Also, since it covered almost all genres of texts, RCs of the mocks and eventually the exam became relatively easier to solve. I suppose this was something that helped me in the VARC section
    2. Quant: My background played a major role here. Because of the basics being already clear, my focus was on giving as many mocks as possible and keep a track of all the tricks I found from the solutions. Besides, I also tried to increase my speed and skip the questions that I found difficult.
    3. DILR:  This section has been my Achilles heel (as evident from my CAT performance as well). The key to acing this section, according to me, was the right selection of sets. I would suggest practicing as many varieties of sets as possible and evolve one’s own strategy for this section.

    MBAUniverse: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?

    Abhishek: I was weak at the LRDI section. I tried to improve by solving as many varieties of LRs and DIs as possible and identify the kind of sets at which I was good. This strategy helped in improving my mock scores. However, due to CAT ’17 being quite different and tough in LRDI section this year, my actual exam performance wasn’t as per the expectations.

     

Pages