CAT 2016 Topper Interview: Started mock tests 6 months before the exam, says 99.74 percentiler Anandu S. Mukundan
Updated on Aug 8, 2017 - 10:59 a.m. IST by Tenzin pema
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 A B.Tech graduate from IIT Delhi and an avid novel reader, Anandu S Mukundan decided to pursue MBA during his graduation. Hence, he decided to appear for the Common Aptitude Test (CAT) and started preparations well in advance by enrolling for coaching. Anandu, who secured 99.74 percentile in CAT 2016, credits his success to consistent preparation through mock tests and coaching classes. He also shares how his engineering background helped him in sections like Quantitative Ability. Since he had aimed to join one of the IIMs, he only appeared for CAT and fully dedicated himself to preparing for the exam by identifying his strengths and weaknesses and customising his strategy accordingly. 

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MBA aspirants planning to appear for CAT 2017 will find it useful to note the preparation strategy followed by CAT toppers of previous years. In this interview with Careers360, Anandu, a first-year student of IIM Kashipur, explains his preparation strategy and describes how coaching classes and mock tests played a vital role in his success.

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Careers360: Congratulations on your admission to IIM. Was there any other exam you had appeared for? If yes, please share your score from the same.

Anandu: I had only appeared for CAT as my main goal was to make it into an IIM. I obtained an overall score of 99.74 percentile in CAT 2016.

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Careers360Please share your preparation journey. How did you strike a balance between your academic and professional life and preparation for an entrance exam?

Anandu: I consider myself to be someone with good Quantitative Ability and with my engineering background, I did not have to prepare much for the QA section. I made sure I read as many English novels as I could to increase my reading speed. Fortunately, it was easy for me to balance my academics and entrance exam preparations as I recognised my strengths and weaknesses very early and knew exactly which area required more attention and which required the least.


Careers360: Which were the most challenging and easiest sections in the test?

Anandu: If your preparation strategy is weighty enough, then half the work is done. According to me, the most challenging section was Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning as it was quite lengthy, while the easiest was Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.


Careers360: Did you take any coaching? Do you think coaching is necessary for aspirants to bag the top rank?

Anandu: I enrolled at T.I.M.E. Delhi for CAT coaching. Their exam series was very helpful for me to achieve my current percentile. I would not say coaching is necessary but I would suggest aspirants first recognise their weak areas and then make their decision. If you ask me, I will suggest opting for coaching classes only if you are weak in the QA and DI & LR sections. Otherwise, it is not really necessary.


Careers360: Please share your specific section-wise strategy for VARC, DI & LR and QA.

Anandu: I did not follow any specific strategy for any section. Instead, I followed the simple ritual of solving question after question for the QA and DI & LR sections. For the VARC section, I just read a lot of English novels to help with my reading speed and the parajumbles portion, as I realised RC takes up a huge chunk in that particular section.


Careers360What is the contribution of mock tests in your success? When did you start taking mock tests and what was the frequency?

Anandu: I would say my CAT preparation would have been incomplete without the mock tests, as I started taking mocks six months prior to the exam. Apart from that, I solved at least one sectional mock test daily and took a full-length mock test once a week. Mock tests gave me a lot of insights into the mistakes I was making. I was wasting a lot of time on questions that I couldn’t find the solutions to. So I started giving each question a defined time within which I tried to solve them. If I could not solve it within the designated duration, I skipped the question and would go back later if there was time left.


Careers360: What was your time management strategy for section-wise preparation?

Anandu: I basically invested a lot of time in VARC and DI & LR sections. In the former, because I identified it as my weak point, and in the latter because I wanted to enhance the speed with which I was solving DI & LR problems.


Careers360: How did you utilise the features like calculator and non-MCQs in CAT?

Anandu: I did not use the on-screen calculator as I felt it was more time consuming than manual calculation. And there was no particular strategy for non-MCQs other than to attempt all of them as they carried no negative marking.


Careers360: Please share your detailed experience of WAT/GD and PI.

Anandu: My WAT experience was really good and I believe concluding all your points within the limited time is important in the case of WAT. I didn’t have to give GD. I would say I underperformed in the Personal Interview and I am still trying to work on my interview performance for the future.


Careers360: What were the topics of WAT and GD at B-schools you had appeared for? Also, mention the PI questions you were asked.

Anandu: Differentiating strategy and execution for United Nations was one of the topics for WAT. Whereas for the Personal Interview, I was asked questions related to my reasons to join IIM, my hobbies and general awareness among others.


Careers360: Any suggestions that you would like to share with CAT 2017 aspirants?

Anandu: I would just suggest that they recognize their strengths and weaknesses and work accordingly on each of them. If they can master that, then nothing is out of their reach. I wish every aspirant who will be appearing for CAT 2017 the very best of luck.


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I got 8.6 cgpa in class 10, 77% in class 12 and 7.8 cgpa in my graduation and I am expecting my percentile around 90 in CAT. so what are chances to get a call from IIMs and other top MBA colleges?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 17th Feb, 2020
Hello aspirant,

  • As per the details provided by you, your academics are average for selection into iims. And with 90 percentile it's very difficult for you to get a call from top IIMs. Although you can get calls from new IIMs but the chances are pretty low.. Even don't expect to get call from IITs at 90 percentile.. If you are planning to get into top MBA Institutes then I'll recommend you to sit for another attempt..otherwise you can also take following colleges:
  • Welingkar Mumbai
  • Tapmi
  • Bimtec
  • DTU

All the best

is there any scholorship available for cat top scrores

Shareef 17th Feb, 2020

GITAM Hyderabad Business School has no scholarship facilities for students who have been toppers. CAT is not only the entrance exam that is accepted in this college so CAT toppers or any exam toppers for MBA entrance exam do not get any scholarships. But Gitam College, Visakhapatnam offers merit scholarships and you can check them at:


i would like to know how many times i can give cat exam?

Harshita Sharan Srivastava Student Expert 17th Feb, 2020
Hello aspirant,
You can appear for cat entrance exam as many times you want. The minimum eligibility criteria for appearing in cat exam is as follows:-
In order to be eligible for the CAT Exam, the candidate has to pass at least their Bachelor's degree with at least 50% (for General Category and for candidates from the NC-OBC caste). For SC/ST and Differently Abled (DA) candidates, the percentage required is 45%.

All the best

I am a CAT aspirant & have appeared for CAT, XAT,& SNAP & scored 90%ile. With acads 10th-7.4CGPA, 12th-82% & in graduation(2018)-64% with no work experience due to family problem. Would I able to secure a seat in good college? I have been shortlisted for TAPMI, FORE, IIMV for round one till now.

Manidipa Kundu Student Expert 17th Feb, 2020


its true that iims and some of other top ranked institute shortlisted candidates as per their academic record and  cat or any other management aptitude  test score. see right now which of institute name you have mentioned is also comes under tier 1 college. now you need to focus on your presentation skills, communication approach  to get shortlisted in final rounds. so keep calm and focus on your goal, I think you will surely crack it.


dear sir, I have 67 percentile bin cat, which colleges should I apply??

Shiksha 16th Feb, 2020


You can target a few average collges like IBS Hyderabad, mdi murshidabad, amity noida, NBS Ahmedabad, ITM navi mumbai (good colleges)

Others are: vit vellore, isbr pune, ndim delhi, pibm pune, aims banglore, mit pune, ims ghaziabad, etc

For more colleges visit below link:

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