CAT 2016 Topper Interview: Mock tests are the reason why I aced CAT, says 99.17 percentiler Sahajdeep Singh
Tenzin pema, 14 Sep 2017, #CAT
Applications Open Now
XAT - Xavier Aptitude Test 2020
Great Lakes Institute of Management

Objectivity, perseverance, logic, self-study and smart preparation were the yardsticks Sahajdeep Singh swore by while preparing for CAT 2016. Not only did he ace the exam but also balanced his career very well with studies. His job as a financial analyst was quite taxing, but Sahajdeep proved it that the right approach is the key. A B.Com Honors graduate from Delhi University, Sahajdeep’s main focus was on taking as many mock tests as possible along with section wise strategy to crack the CAT 2016 exam. Zeroing on his weak areas through constant practice along with utilizing the time at hand optimally proved to put him in good stead right at the onset. Apart from CAT, he also aced XAT with similar preparation strategy.

Latest: Analyse your preparation level with Free Mock Test of CAT - Start Now


Apply to Great Lakes Institute of Management 2020


In an interview with Careers360, Sahajdeep Singh gave a sneak peek into his preparatory schedule for CAT which for many is a hard nut to crack.


Recent Posts:

CAT 2018

CAT Registration 2018

CAT Syllabus 2018

CAT Exam Pattern 2018

CAT Admit Card 2018

CAT Result 2018

CAT Cutoff 2018


Read the full interview below:

CAT Free Mock Test

Analyse your preparation level with Free Mock Test of CAT

Start Now


Careers360: Heartiest Congratulations on your admission to SPJIMR. What was your overall and sectional score in CAT 2016? Did you appear for any other entrance or competitive exam? If so, please share the score for the same.

Sahajdeep: Thank you very much. My overall Percentile is 99.17 and the sectional score is as follows: VARC: 97.22, DILR: 98.96, QA: 96.85.

Applications Open Now
UPES - School of Business
Avail Tuition fee waiver | 96% Students Placed in 2019
SNAP 2019
Pursue MBA @ 16 TOP Symbiosis institutions ,1 Application Form, 16 Institutes.

Yes, I did appear for XAT 2017 where I scored a total percentile of 99.098.


Careers360: Talking of sections here, which was the most challenging and easiest section in the test?

Sahajdeep: The DILR probably was the most challenging section of CAT 2016 as there were no traditional questions this time. Perhaps, in retrospect, they could be aced too, if you have an analytical bent of mind and have practiced similar questions. 


Careers360: How were your preparatory days like? Did you manage to balance your academic/professional life and entrance preparation time well?

Sahajdeep: Having prepared for Olympiads during school, I was accustomed to the type of questions asked in competitive exams. Hence, I decided to appear for CAT 2016 while I was working as a financial analyst. Since my working hours were irregular and depended heavily on the project at hand, I sometimes had to even work overtime till 12 midnight and I only had weekends to prepare. So, I thought of studying at weekends and manage my time effectively. But, as we know, it is easier said than done. After a long tiring week at work, I almost had no energy or motivation to study during weekends, thus, I focused on AIMCATs (TIME test series) to practice and understand the questions. It was always important for me to study with a fresh state of mind, that is why I took a leave during the last two weeks from office to study and gave my all during that time.  


Careers360: Did you join any coaching institute? Is coaching necessary for the aspirants to bag the top rank?

Sahajdeep: Yes, I took test series from TIME. They are quite useful and handy to test oneself in a live simulated test environment with your results being compared with all other TIME students from across India. You get a fair idea of where you stand currently and how much is the room for improvement. However, I believe that coaching classes are not really a necessity to bag the top rank. I have always been inclined to self-study as it makes one think about the possible answers and thereby, eliminating certain approaches based on one’s own logic. Spoon feeding in coaching institutes ruins one’s capability to analyze questions and approach an answer on his/her own.


Careers360: Please share your specific section wise strategy for VARC, DILR and QA.

Sahajdeep: I had a very objective approach for the VARC section. There were 3 RCs with 6 questions and 2 RCs with 3 questions each. So, I used to first go for RCs with 6 questions and then switch to VA. Then, in the remaining time, I used to try the rest of the RCs questions.


The DI & LR section requires a lot of practice. Being good in both DI & LR, I did not have any specific strategy. I just skipped the questions which seemed to involve a lot of calculations to save my time.


For QA, I first attempted all the questions I was confident about. In the remaining time, I tried my hand at other questions which were time-consuming but could be solved by hit and trial.


Careers360: How did you tackle the challenging sections and topics?

Sahajdeep: Don’t be put off by challenging sections. Time is limited hence, utilize it optimally. Solve the easiest questions first and then go about the difficult ones. The way you approach a question is what matters the most.


Careers360: Please share section wise the books and study material you had referred to?

Sahajdeep: I borrowed the course material from my friend provided to him by TIME. Other than that, Google is the new gen God, You can find anything if you know where to look for it.


Careers360: How significant a role did the mock tests play in your success? When did you start taking them and what was the frequency?

Sahajdeep: Mock tests are the reason I aced CAT. They helped me stay in constant practice. I started taking TIME’s AIMCATs around June and took the tests almost every other week.


Careers360: Where and how did you get the mock tests analyzed? How did you modify your strategy after that?

Sahajdeep: The analysis is usually provided in AIMCATs. I looked for solutions to the questions which were wrong or where I spent more than average time. If there was a particular section where I performed badly, I practiced similar questions on the Internet.


Careers360: What was your time management strategy for section wise preparation vis a vis the exam day?

Sahajdeep: For RC/VA, I restricted myself to solving 3 RCs with 6 questions each within 35 minutes or maximum 40 minutes and vested the remaining time in VA. For LR/DI, I had fixed an upper limit of 10 minutes per question and for QA, I kept a cut-off time of 3 minutes per question.


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

Sahajdeep: Operating on-screen calculator is very time consuming and should be used only when too necessary, eg. For calculating exponential functions etc. For some Non-MCQs, if the solution seems time-consuming, and the possible answers are limited, then you can try and take an intelligent guess and move on to other questions to save time.


And finally good luck to CAT 2017 aspirants!


Also Read:

CAT Topper Interview


Stay tuned to for more information on CAT toppers


Get real-time alerts on exam & colleges at your fingertips with Careers360 App!

Click Here to Install or Give a missed call on 08080944727 to get app link.

Applications Open Now

Great Lakes Institute of Management
Great Lakes Institute of Mana...
XAT - Xavier Aptitude Test 2020
XAT - Xavier Aptitude Test 2020
SNAP 2019
SNAP 2019
UPES - School of Business
UPES - School of Business
IMI Delhi
IMI Delhi
BIMTECH - Birla Institute of Management Technology
BIMTECH - Birla Institute of ...
Delhi School of Business (VIPS-TC)
Delhi School of Business (VIP...
View All Application Forms

More like CAT

Questions related to CAT

Showing 7197 out of 7198 Questions

i have got 82 in 10th, 55 in 12th and 68 in graduation what should i score in cat to get good b with avg salary of 8,9lkhs

Rehan Alam Student Expert 18th Oct, 2019

Dear Aspirant,

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.


i have got 90 percentile in cat but my academic scores are quite low 80 percent in 10th,55 percent in 12 from bihar board and 65 percent in graduation from bihar board, would i get good clg

Rehan Alam Student Expert 18th Oct, 2019

Dear Aspirant,

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.


what is the syllabus of CAT exam it stream wise ...? which stream students is eligible for CAT ?

Papeya Dubey Student Expert 18th Oct, 2019


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-


i got failed in ap eamcet.can i get a good percentage in cat now

Aditi Amrendra Student Expert 18th Oct, 2019

See if you have failed in past then its bot necessary that you will fail again or you might get a very good percentile this time.The only thing that is your hand and by which you can perform well in CAT is my preparing with determination and consistency.
All you need to do is just give you best in the studies and then you will surely perform well in CAT.

I hope this helps.

how to prepare for cat in 1 month

Anupam Kumar Student Expert 17th Oct, 2019

Hey there

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.

Check about cat good luck

The question have been saved in answer later, you can access it from your profile anytime. Access now

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

Careers360 App
150M+ Students
24,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books