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CAT topper Akshay Mehndiratta, owes his incredible 100 percentile to a meticulously planned preparation routine, managed skillfully along with his hectic work schedule. In this interview with Careers360, Akshay, also a graphic designing enthusiast, shares his CAT experience and preparation strategies to support future CAT takers.
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A chemical engineer from IIT Delhi, Akshay devoted his weekends to clearing his concepts as well as taking mock tests. He now aspires to get through IIM Ahmedabad to pursue his MBA in Finance.
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Read the excerpts of the interview:
Careers 360: Congratulations! How are you celebrating? Were you expecting this score?
Akshay: Thank you! It is indeed an achievement, but still, there is a long way to go before I can reap the rewards of my results. Currently, my focus is to clear the WAT and PI rounds. I do have a big celebration scheduled for the weekend. I was expecting a good percentile, somewhere in the range of 99.7 and more, but getting the perfect percentile was like a golden moment for me.
Careers 360: What is your sectional and overall percentile?
Akshay: In the Verbal Ability section, I got 99.80 percentile, 100 percentile in LRDI and in QA it is 99.75 percentile.
Careers 360: How was your exam taking experience? Which were the toughest and weakest sections according to you?
Akshay: My initial thoughts were that the test did not go as per my expectations since I considered Quantitative Ability as my biggest strength and I had missed quite a lot of questions. This was not the case while I was taking the mock tests. After going through the reviews of the exam, I realised that I had done fairly well. Verbal Ability was the easiest of all the sections.
Careers 360: How did you prepare for CAT? Did you opt for mock tests? How much time did you give for your preparation?
Akshay: Since I am working, I used to get time to prepare only during weekends. I used to work on the Verbal Ability section and other weak areas on Saturday. On Sundays, I used to take mock tests and analyse it comprehensively. I followed this routine from June onwards.
Careers 360: Which is your preferred IIM? Which specialisation are you interested in?
Akshay: I aspire to get admission in IIM Ahmedabad. Though it is too early to say anything, but fingers crossed. I would like to have a specialisation in Finance.
Careers 360: How is your preparation for the next rounds of admission?
Akshay: For the future rounds, I have enrolled with some of the coaching institutes. There are still two months left for the interview process to commence. I have a fair idea about the process from my classes. Let’s see how it works out.
Careers 360: Were you active on social websites during your preparation?
Akshay: I was quite active on the social media platforms as it helped me to de-stress. I was active on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Careers 360: What are the tips that you would like to give those who plan to take up CAT the coming year?
Akshay: It is important to identify your weak areas as early as possible and start working on it. In the initial days of preparation use some good materials. Once you start taking the mock exams and test series, then there should be improvement. Take as many mock tests as possible as it will help in maintaining consistency, devising correct strategy and improving accuracy.
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You have to score a minimum of 99 percentile to get at least one good IIM call as your academics are not good. You could get a call from new IIMs if you score 99 percentile as the top tier IIMs will not give you a chance due to your poor acads.
Colleges you could look for are like IIM Nagpur, Kashipur, Shillong, etc. These colleges if you study well will provide you with a good package of 10-12 lpa.
Hope this helps. Thank you.
You will not be able to get any good business school like top IIMs, MDI, IIFT, or FMS. However, you can still get a good MBA tier 3/4 college if you increase your percentile to 98 percentile.
However, according to your grads, you must not be disappointed if you don't get a call at 99 because your marks are not good.
Hope for the best. Thank you.
Eligibility for CAT is graduate in any discipline from a recognized university with 50% aggregate, for SC/ST/PwD it's 45%.
So, people from any background can apply for CAT, provided they have required aggregate at their graduation level against their category.
Now, coming to the syllabus for CAT, there's no specific syllabus for CAT, one needs to rely on past years sample papers to get a fair idea about the pattern and weightage given to each topic and section.In general, questions are mostly from middle school level English and Mathematics.
There are mainly three sections in CAT-
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation which includes topics such as Tables, Graphs, Data Caselets, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation, Syllogism etc.
Quantitative Aptitude which includes topics such as Geometry, Algebra, Time and Work, Mensuration, Number System etc.
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension which includes topics such as Sentence completion, Questions based on reading comprehension, Para-jumbles & para-summar, inferences etc.
To know the detailed topics, kindly go through the following link-
Honestly there is a difference between just finishing the syllabus and preparing for selection in cat. See you can finish the syllabus if you'll work really hard in one month but trust me only unless you are extraordinary you won't be able to get selected for iims or other good colleges. But don't loose hope you should fight till last.
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