Soumik Biswas scored an admirable 99.94 percentile in CAT 2013 and secured admission in one of the top B-schools of India- IIM Indore. He had also received final admission offers from 7 IIM including all the new IIMs.

Soumik opens up about the right strategy to be followed by the CAT aspirants, which can support them in scoring a high percentile. He also shares the importance of Mock Tests, practice on regular basis and preparing oneself for the exam day.

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In this interview with Careers360, this ex-IBM India employee shares his preparation strategies that he followed along with his education and work leading him to secure admission where he aimed for.  A fan of old classic Hollywood cinema, Soumik also shares how he used to take his mind off from his studies during the CAT preparation stage.  Read here to know about what approach to be followed in CAT 2014.


Careers360: Why did you pursue MBA? What are your aspirations?

Soumik Biswas: An MBA at an early stage was what I targeted because it served two purposes- a huge up liftmen of my career, and to be able to get a role that involves decision making. I was driven by the fact of being able to get a role with more responsibilities in an organization.

I aspire to get holistic knowledge about management and develop myself as an intellectual within these two years so as I can be a strong competition in the market.


Careers360: Apart from CAT 2013, did you appear in any other MBA entrance exams? How was your performance?

Soumik Biswas: Besides CAT 2013 the only exam in which I appeared was XAT 2014. While my performance in quantitative and verbal sections were good, I had a below cut-off percentile in the decision making section to apply to XLRI, Jamshedpur. It was the only B-School I was vying for through my XAT percentile.


Careers360: Why did you choose to join IIM Indore? Please also name other B-schools which made final admission offers to you.

Soumik Biswas: I applied to IIMs only through CAT exam and my focus was to join IIM Indore. The reason I aim for IIM Indore was due to its right mix of students who are freshers and those who are experienced, which according to me, I could connect more with.

Other B-Schools that made final admission offers were IIM Trichy along with all the new IIMs.


Careers360: What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2013?

Soumik Biswas: I started my preparation with only one strategy, to focus on the mock exams, excellent performance and great speed. Having given CAT 2012, I already knew what criteria to follow, and the kind of questions to be answered. The mock simulations, hence, were very important for me.


Careers360: Do you think that Coaching or Mentoring is important to crack CAT or other MBA entrance tests?

Soumik Biswas: I believe that Coaching is an important factor in cracking CAT or any other MBA entrance tests. This I judge by the time constraint and difficulty level of questions. Even though we are aware of all the topics, doing it in the smarter and faster way is the trick which ultimately makes all the difference. Guidance and mastering these techniques is highly required.


Careers360: How did you manage your CAT preparation schedule along with graduation studies and working hours?

Soumik Biswas: I think preparations for cracking CAT do not require extensive study sessions as long as your basics are strong. The main concern is to develop speed which automatically comes if you are able to systemize your mock test. At around 140 minutes per week from your study and work schedule are enough to let individual focus on CAT preparation and achieve a great score. I use to follow the same study pattern while my studies in graduation and while I was working with IBM.


Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?

Soumik Biswas: My preparation strategy for Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation was mainly stressed on 3 points- speed, technique and choices. A positive approach and reading all the questions in the stipulated time are very important for answering the questions correctly.


In Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning, I focused on scoring maximum marks from these sections as I was confident and well prepared. For this section the focus should be on increasing the reading and vocabulary capabilities.


Careers360: What was your Time Management formula while taking the actual CAT paper?

Soumik Biswas: In the quantitative section, I divided the time in 30, 30 and 10 minute slots. In the first 30 slots, I solved only quant problems. In the next 30, I took up the data interpretation section and the in last 10 minutes I focused on answering the remaining questions. In the verbal section, I first solved logical ability in 25 minutes and kept 30 minutes for reading comprehension.


Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you prepare and what special efforts did you put for improving your weak areas?

Soumik Biswas: My strongest section was quant. Few sections of verbal part were my weakest. So, my preparation strategy was focused mainly on how to improve my verbal part. I made sure I got problems like para jumbles correct and tried to take judicious decisions on sentence correction and other similar problems so that I could avoid negative marking.


Careers360: What is your advice for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2014?

Soumik Biswas: I would advise the aspirants to focus on mock exams as they provide an insight about your preparations and helps you focus on key strategic points like performance, strengths, speed, technique and pattern of questions. A considerable time should be spent in analyzing the performances thereafter. Focus on your strengths and decide on a time management strategy. Also, students should be ready for anything and everything on the CAT Exam day and adapt to the situation.


Careers360: Do you think Recreational activities while performing for CAT are important? What were the activities that you did besides preparing for the exam?

Soumik Biswas: I did not have any fixed time for preparation and recreation. I always gave my Mock exams seriously and spent a considerable time on the results analyzing what improvements can be made. However, I tried to give short exams everyday to be in touch and maintain a level of speed.


I love watching Hollywood classics especially those which have a strong storyline or character performances on a social cause. Stories or strong character portrayals are what I look for in movies. My favorite movie, “Schindler’s List”, to my belief is the best movie made till date on any historical or social issue. Liam Neeson’s portrayal of the character of Oscar Schindler is truly inspiring. And my recreational activities were reading books and watching my favourite movies.


Such activities let you take your mind off from the studies and enjoy what you like. In such way your mind gets relaxed and you are able to produce better results.


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Showing 8307 out of 8307 Questions

is droping a year after BBA for preparation of CAT is good option.

ADIL KHAN Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020

Hi Isha,

Don't take a complete drop instead work part-time/full time and prepare alongside for the Common Admissions test - CAT. Prepare step by step or get yourself enrolled for a weekends program with a good coaching institute depending on your preparation level. This will not only give you an edge over other freshers who will be applying but also will give you an idea on the stream/domain in which you want to pursue your MBA in.

For starters appear for a mock test or do a sample paper and access your preparation level as of now and then decide.

For more information on eligibility/entrance test/admission you can reach out to us.

Hope it helps,



hello everybody please help me i am from up obc category 1. should i get the benefits of state qouta in neet 2021 ?? 2. at least how many marks(rough idea ) i have to score to get government medical college mbbs in up ??

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 1st Apr, 2020

In 2019, under State Quota, 573 marks secured a seat in Bahraich Medical College under OBC Category. That was the cut off. This is in sharp contrast to 429 marks being the cut off in 2018. This is a proof that cut offs change every year. Cut offs change every year depending on various factors such as no.of Candidates appearing for the exam, no.of Candidates qualified, top NEET score and difficulty of the exam. So to be able to secure a seat in any GMC in UP, you need to score atleast 600 and above. Regarding reaping benefits of OBC benefits, if you have all the proof of documents in place, you are eligible for 27% of reservation by the virtue of belonging to OBC Category. To help you with your NEET preparation, we have NEET Knockout packages that you can check at: To help you during admission and counselling, we have


Is it possible for me to get into anyone of the IIMs if I have completed my bachelors degree from a tier 3 college with 85% & have 76% in 10th, 53% in 12th & no work experience?

Manisha Gupta Expert 31st Mar, 2020

Hello Aspirant,

You have an average Academic record so you need to target a little higher percentile than the closing cut-off.

After CAT result, Every Institute including IIM prepares a merit list to call students for next round of interview and WSAT which is based on your aggregate score which comprises of many factors such as CAT marks,
10th 12th and graduation percentage, work experience etc. with different weightages for different IIMs.

If you are targeting to get top IIMs like IIM A, B, C then try to score more than 99 percentile and for new IIMs try to score 95 percentile in CAT Entrance Exam. Other than IIMs, To get into top private colleges like FMS, JBIMS Mumbai, S.P Jain etc. You should have more than 96-98 percentile other than this for other private colleges you can get with 90+ percentile in CAT Entrance Exam.

Good Luck!


what is the Expected cutoff for neet 2020 for cat 3A and also what is the fees

Apoorva Student Expert 31st Mar, 2020

Hello dear student,

This is not how it works . As you need to put a give us the whole information / description of the question for which you want the information. Please tell us the state of domicile because every state the cutoff is very different. So please provide all the necessary details so that we can provide you with the expected cut off .

Thank you


Does anyone has enrolled to Takshzila online lectures for CAT 2020 please mention name.

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 31st Mar, 2020
Hello aspirant,
Takshzila online classes is one of the best options to prepare for CAT exams online. The faculties are really good at the subject knowledge and provides a clear concept clarity. There are various packages offered by the Institute which you can purchase from the following link:-

The level of teaching provided by the faculty is good enough for a serious aspire to crack CAT. For demo lectures you can visit their youtube channel and free resources available on their website.

Good Luck
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