Akshay hails from Purnea Bihar. He is a B.E in Mechanical Engineering and had a work experience of 6 months before joining MBA at SIBM Pune after scoring 99.97 percentile in SNAP 2015. He has great interest in Playing cricket, watching Bollywood Movies, Listening to music. His source of inspiration is his family.
My exam prep strategy, experience & Advice
For the benefit of MBA aspirants, MBAUniverse.com asked Akshay Kumar Singh about his preparation strategy and advice to do well in MBA entrance exams. Details follow:
Q. What was your preparation strategy for SNAP?
A. My preparation strategy was simple. I wanted to make sure that I spent maximum time on sections where I lagged behind. I knew Quants and Logical were those sections and hence I divided my time accordingly.
I also focused on General Knowledge section as the best thing with this section is either you know the answer or you don’t know the answer. Like the other 3 sections where even after spending time you are not sure about the answer, the GK section consumes less time. Other than this I kept giving mock tests which helped me analyse my preparations closely.
Q. How did you prepare for each section in SNAP? What study materials and books did you use?
A. I would say that keeping things simple is the best strategy followed for any exam preparation. I divided time for each section based on my strengths and weaknesses and strictly followed them.
I was little unclear with the basics so I started with Quantitative Aptitude by RS Agarwal. After brushing up the basics, I moved to study materials of IMS and TIME. I spent a lot of time on these study materials as they were quite diverse and would cover questions from most of the books. I also referred to Arun Sharma’s book for Quantitave Aptitude and Logical Reasoning. For the General Knowledge, I referred Manorama Year Book and of course, the internet was also of great use.
Q. Was there any particular section that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A. Yes, I was weak at Logical Reasoning and Quantitative Aptitude. As I started preparation, I realized that my basics were not that clear. There was no use of just rushing and solving questions as I was getting stuck in every second question. Then I decided to dedicate some time brushing my basics, went back to textbooks of school and stared solving RS Agarwal. I spent major chunk of time preparing for these two sections as I needed improvement on them. I took it in phases and I knew it would happen and after about a month it started getting better.
Q. How can candidates use Mock tests better? What is your advice?
A. Mock tests are very useful, at least for me it was. It helped me analyse my performance. When preparing for these kind of exams, we need some performance measure. When I started taking mock tests, although I was able to solve the questions but the speed was very poor. By taking mock tests repeatedly, I realized how to approach different questions. I was clear about the time I had to spend on each section.
My advice would be to take mock tests but don’t start it too early. Start taking it seriously 2-3 months before the exam and stop it before at least 10 days of the examination, that’s what I did. Analyse it closely enough to identify your weakness and to prepare a strategy and approach for the D-day.
Q. Did you go to offline coaching centre? What role does a coaching centre play?
A. I did go to the offline coaching centre but again I stopped it for some days as I was not able to cope up with their speed. I needed my own time to solve a silly question which I was not getting there and that would lower my confidence. After I matched their level, I went there for some more classes. But of course their study material has lot to offer.
I would say that offline coaching centre offers differently to every individual. It depends on what you are comfortable with. It obviously provides you that competitive environment and many short tricks by many experienced faculties. But only word of caution, please brush up your basics and then go for the coaching centres.
Q. Other than SNAP, which exam did you appear?
A. Other than SNAP, I appeared in NMAT.
Q. Which institutes did you apply for admission?
A. I applied to SIBM – Pune, NMIMS – Mumbai, SCMHRD – Pune, SIBM – Bangalore, SIIB – Pune, NMIMS – Bangalore and a few more
Q. Please share your strategy for the SNAP Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your SNAP test taking?
A. I personally don’t believe in last minute preparation. I just had small notes of important points which I revised the night before the SNAP and then had a nice sleep of 8 hours as I wanted my anxiety levels to be as low as possible and remain calm.
I started with GK section and then moved on to Quant section followed by Logical Reasoning.
Q. Which B-school you decided upon and why?
A. I chose SIBM Pune and there have to be numerous reasons for selecting it. It carries behind a legacy of about 40 years and has been amongst the Top MBA colleges of India consistently.
I was also impressed with the batch size of the college and I would say that it has also played a major role in deciding upon. I thought that the relatively smaller batch size would provide me enough opportunities and good learning experience during my MBA. Last but not the least, I would be lying if I don’t say that campus is also one of the motivator for the same, it was like icing on the cake.
Q. Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for SNAP?
A. Just be calm and work on your weaknesses. Approach matters and hence remain positive.
During my GD-PI round, I was quite impressed by the way entire process was managed by the students. I went back and researched about it and found about the student driven culture which made me think about the learning opportunities available at the institutes.
At most of the institutes we had Case Discussions where a case of two to three pages was provided and we were supposed to provide a solution for the same.
At some institutes we had to deliver an extempore based on a picture or a topic provided by the panels. Some other questions were:
- Strengths and weakness
- Source of Inspiration and why?
- Why bad academics?
- What was your role while you were working?
- Why MBA after engineering?
- Which specialization you would like to take and why?
- Why this particular college?
- Why should we or why should we not take you?
- Most memorable moment of your life
- Biggest failure of life
WAT was different at different institutes. We were supposed to write a small essay based on a small video or on a still picture shown to us. At some it was divided into two parts where one of them consisted of questions like “Describe yourself in two sentences?” or “Strength and weakness” and the other part was again essays on video or picture.
PI started with the familiar question of “Tell me something about yourself?” at most of the institutes.