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Kartikey Tiwari, a trained Electrical Engineer, is now a student at IIM Kashipur after topping CAT with 99.01 Percentile. He credits his success to regular studies and strengthening basic concepts during preparation. Although, he worked really hard and expected to crack the exam but he never knew it’ll lead to securing 99+ percentile in CAT, one of the most competitive MBA entrance tests. Overwhelmed after the results, Kartikey says giving dedicated hours everyday towards preparation and having access to study material from coaching institutes helped him achieve the top spot.
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Kartikey’s result is an example of hard-work and dedication for all the aspiring management students who would be appearing in CAT 2017. In this interview with Careers360, he talks about how he strategised his preparation for the exam.
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Read the full interview below:
Careers360: Congratulations on your admissions to IIM Kashipur. What was your overall and sectional score in CAT 2016? Any other exam you had appeared for, please share the score for the same.
Kartikey: Thank you so much for the wishes. I’m overwhelmed with the result. Here it is: 99.01 percentile. I did not appear for any other exam apart from CAT.
Careers360: Talking of sections, which was the most challenging and easiest section in the test?
Kartikey: The most challenging section for me was Quantitative Aptitude (QA) and the easiest one for me was Verbal Ability (VA).
Careers360: Please share your preparation journey. How did you strike a balance between your academic life/professional and preparation for an entrance exam?
Kartikey: I was giving four hours to my preparation everyday and tried to strengthen the basic concepts. Taking out four hours from my schedule everyday wasn’t too difficult. And, especially when you’re targeting something like IIM. Time was not an issue for me as I was driven by my dream.
Careers360: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary for aspirants to bag the top rank?
Kartikey: I joined T.I.M.E. and it turned out to be very helpful for me as it helped correcting my basics. Also, guidance from experienced professionals are always worth it.
Careers360: Please share your specific section wise strategy for VARC, DI & LR and QA.
Kartikey: For VA & RC – I read newspapers like The Hindu and Business Standard. Also, use coaching material for practice. Practice a lot for RC section to get the feel of it.
LR & DI - Go for Coaching material and one can refer few books like Pearson but practice regularly.
Quant (QA) – Use coaching material and practice a lot.
Careers360: How did you tackle the challenging sections and topics?
Kartikey: If you’re not able to understand anything, take coaching. Go to respective professor and ask questions. No matter how silly they are. Get your doubts cleared.
Careers360: What is the significance of mock test in your success? When did you start taking mock test and what was the frequency?
Kartikey: Mock Tests are very important. It helps you formulate a strategy for the exam. Low scores should be a wakeup call here. Analyse the mocks thoroughly and focus on the areas you’re weak in. Make a separate copy of your mistakes and try not to repeat them in future.
Careers360: How did you get the mock tests analyzed and how did you modify your strategy after that?
Kartikey: I made one separate copy for mock analysis. I used to note down my mistakes and revise them regularly so that I do not repeat those mistakes in future.
Careers360: What was your time management strategy for section wise preparation vis a vis exam day?
Kartikey: Always solve the easy questions first or the ones you’re confident about. I did VA & RC section first as I was confident about it. For LR &DI, I skimmed through all the questions and solved the easy ones first. Same goes for the quant section. One should solve the easy ones first to save time.
Careers360: How did you utilize the features like calculator and non-MCQs in CAT?
Kartikey: Using calculators is like a trap. It is time consuming. Avoid it if possible. Non-MCQs are a must go. These questions are the one which make a difference in the end.
Careers360: What were the topics of WAT and GD at B-schools you had appeared for? Also, mention the PI questions you were asked.
Kartikey: Almost all question asked in WAT were related to current Affairs. Questions related to my college, politics, social awareness, maths etc. were asked during PI round.
Careers360: Any suggestion that you would like to share with aspirants?
Kartikey: Study with extreme focus and Mock analysis should be the priority. Low scores should wake you up.
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Dear Akshat, CAT is exclusively conducted by the IIMs. So the selection for admission to any of the 20 IIMs is through CAT exam. Unfortunately no other score except for CAT score is accepted for IIM Ahmedabad. You can check their selection process at:
Dear Sai, IIMs look for Diversity factor in Academics. They have a special rating scale for Professional courses like MBBS,BDS, CA, etc. We shall help you with the admission process of IIM Ahmedabad just as an example to show how does the selection process work. There are 3 sections in CAT: QA, DILR, VRC. IIM A has released its 2019 cut off percentiles. Only those Candidates who have scored this percentiles will be shortlisted for further rounds. The cut offs are as follows:
VRC DILR QA Overall
General 70 70 70 80
OBC-Transgender 65 65 65 75
SC 60 60 60 70
ST 50 50 50 60
PWD 60 60 60 70
PWD-ST 50 50 50 60
On an average IIMs need a cut off 90 percentile and more for admission to their colleges. You can check the complete selection process of IIM A at:
Now based on these cut offs top 5 percentile from each Category will be short listed for WAT and PI. So inorder to be able to score these cut offs, you need to know the exam pattern and marking scheme. CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
The Verbal Ability section and Reading Comprehension has 34 Questions, Data interpretation-Logical Reasoning section has 32 MCQ questions and Quantitative Ability has 34 MCQ questions totalling up to 100 questions. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark.
NCERT books will sharpen your basics and you need strong basics for preparing for any entrance examination. Once your basics are in place, because the time period for preparation is quite less, your preparation should be extensive and thorough.
Quantitative Aptitude covers almost 30% of the CAT question paper. QA can be categorised into Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Advanced Mathematics. Practise chapter by chapter and develop mental calculations. Like practise more of basic summation, subtraction, fractions and tables. Numbers, Percentage, Profit and Loss, Simple and Compound Interest, Ratio, Proportionality, Time-Distance, Time-Work, Mixtures, Averages, Partnership, Permutation and Combinations, Probability, Set Theory, Progression and Series, Line, Angles, Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygon, Circles, Ares, Volume, Height and Distance, Coordinate Geometry, Basic Trigonometry are few important topics.
Because this section involves mathematics and takes most of your time, your focus should be on solving the problems efficiently in the beginning. Even if it takes time, practise upto perfection. Practise as many questions as you can in the conventional way. As and when you get a grip on the subject, you can go for short cuts. Memorise tables, square roots, cube roots, conversion from percent to fraction, etc. Solve sample papers on Mathematics. In the beginning, do not worry about the time it takes. As you practise, you will get the hang of the subject and it will be easier for you.
In Verbal Ability session, command on your English, Grammar, Vocabulary, Understanding of the given paragraph are of more importance. Reading English NewsPaper will also help you in your preparation.
Read articles from time to time. Follow newspapers, magazines, and watch the news channels and browse the internet to keep yourself updated. You will need a lot of reading to help you in the comprehension section. You will need speed to help you in this section and you can achieve that only by thorough practise and reading. Take time to understand the question because most answers are interlinked.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning needs to be practised as much as possible. Comparison of data, Data Analysis, taking clues, interpreting missing data, coming to conclusions and making future projections will be covered under this Category. The questions here are interlinked and so if you get one formula correct, cracking the next few questions will be easy. So it's important to memorise and practise formulae. You should cover topics like Data tables, Data Charts, Bar Diagrams, Pie Charts, Graphs, Data Comparison and Analysis.
As this is the most tricky section, this needs a lot of practise. Solve as many sample papers as possible to get the hang of the section. Make notes when required. Regular practise can help you understand and solve the questions easily as time goes on.
Overall,once you know the syllabus, it's easier from there on.Go through the previous papers to analyse and prepare a comprehensive plan and set priorities according to the importance of different topics across sections. Customise your own study plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Gauge your preparation from time to time by taking mock tests. Solve questions to check your levels of preparation but not to set any targets. Remember, its ok to have cheat days and relax. But make sure you have a plan and stick to it for the next few months
We can recommend a few books for you:
NCERT books to cover the basics from 6th to 10th Class
Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Nishit Saxena
Quantitative Aptitude Quantum for CAT by Sarvesh Sharma
How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT by Arun Sharma
Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Exams by Abhijit Guha
You can also download free downloadable e books at:
NIFT has nothing to do with CAT or GAT. Those are the exams for MBA. NIFT is for admission in fashion courses.
The eligibilitiy is just marks of your 10th and intermediate. The main point is the candidate must have qualified both from a recognised board and must be having PCM as the compulsory subject.
The exam has an age limit to be 23 and there is 5 years relaxation for category reserved candidates.
For more information please check the article:-
Hope it helps!
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