CAT 2017 Topper Interview: Focus on speed over concepts during CAT preparation, says 99.61 percentiler Avinash Iyer
Avinash Iyer, a fourth-year Chemical Engineering student from one of the most illustrious engineering colleges, IIT Bombay, bagged 99.61 percentile at his very first attempt. A fresher with three summer internships at ICICI, National Stock Exchange and Capital One looks forward to pursuing MBA(Finance) at one of the top three IIMs(A-B-C). An extreme inclination towards Finance domain and a thirst to meet successful professionals led him towards CAT exams. He banked on Maths and English, strategically planned preparation routine which mainly included solving MOCK CAT series. Avinash has already bagged a placement at Citi Corp.
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Avinash, an avid football follower and rock music fan, shares his CAT 2017 exam experience in a holistic manner with Careers360 in this interview.
Read the full interview here:
Careers360: Heartiest Congratulations on scoring 99.61 percentile in CAT 2017. Please tell us something about yourself.
Avinash- Thanks a lot. As far as my education is concerned, I have been in Mumbai for 15-16 years now and did my schooling at Ryan International School at Goregaon. Then, took preparation for JEE and got admitted to IIT Bombay (Chemical Engineering). My Mom is a home-maker while my Dad is a General Manager at ICICI Bank. I have completed three summer internships but do not have work experience per se. Therefore, I am a fresher.
Careers360: What are your overall and sectional percentiles?
Avinash- My overall percentile in CAT 2017 was 99.61. Here are the sectional percentiles:
CAT Sectional Percentile
Verbal & Reading Comprehension
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Careers360: How was your exam day experience? What, according to you, were the toughest and easiest sections?
Avinash-After I stepped out of the CAT exam centre, I was pretty much sure of the fact that my logic section did not go well. I was quite confident about Maths and English sections. My English percentile could have been better though. The ambience at the centre (Kandeveli) was comfortable. The Logical Reasoning section was arduous. I feel in order to invite candidates from diverse academic backgrounds; the CAT exam pattern has been modified since the last four-five years. Also, would like to comment on the pie-charts of the DI/LR section; they lacked clarity which made it even more difficult.
I have command over Maths, a lot more than in English, so I found Maths (QA) to be the simplest of all, but yes, the VA/RC section was pretty simple. The DI & LR section was the toughest and I had to toil hard through the section.
Careers360: How did you prepare for CAT 2017? What are the factors behind your success?
Avinash- As far as the Maths and English were concerned, I was quite confident with the concepts. I was tutored by T.I.M.E for a year and solved all their mock test series. I used to critically analyse each test so as to understand my standing. It is equally important to concentrate on the speed as time is a challenge for CAT.
The factors which primarily led to my success were my family, peers, planning, and practice. Rigorous practice and critical analysis helped me obtain 99.61 percentile in CAT 2017.
Careers360: What was your time management strategy?
Avinash- My strategy for solving the QA section was to skip questions that I knew but would take a long time; tried my hands on the unknown questions and completed the short questions. Then returned to solve the long unattempted questions.
To solve the VARC section, I first took up all the reading comprehension, completed them as they take a substantial amount of time. Then I solved the fill in the blanks followed by jumbled paragraphs.
I did not spend much time on Data Interpretation section as it involved a lot of calculation. My focus was on the LR questions alone and I solved all of them. Some of the questions were quite ambiguous in nature as we could not demarcate questions related to Logic or Data Interpretation.
Careers360: Did you take coaching? How helpful was it? Is it possible to succeed through self-study?
Avinash- I took admissions with T.I.M.E back in July 2016; religiously followed their student programme by attending all the lectures and sessions, barring my internship days. It was helpful indeed as I had to maintain a balance between my engineering classes at IIT Bombay and CAT preparation.
You can certainly opt for self-study. Coaching is just a guiding system. If you have someone who has already been through this process or appeared for CAT, you can also get inputs from him/her. If you know the concepts, work strategically, scoring a decent percentile should not be difficult. But I would suggest taking up a test series to improve your speed.
Careers360: What is your dream B-School and why?
Avinash- I am looking forward to pursuing MBA (Finance) at one of the top IIMs, (Ahmedabad-Bangalore-Calcutta).
I want to do something in Finance domain and have been placed at Citi Corp already. Some say, it is best to gain two years of working experience before taking up MBA, So, in two minds right now. But since I am inclined towards Finance domain, I am interested in joining IIM Calcutta or other top IIMs.
Careers360: Have you started preparing for GD/PI/WAT?
Avinash: I did not start preparing for GD/PI in but just flipping through some current affair pages.
Careers360: Who has been your idol who you look up to?
Avinash- Honestly speaking, I do not have any single idol or hero. There are great leaders you can look up to. But, the one person who has been my constant source of support and inspiration is my father. It is his foresight and guidance that got me here.
Careers360: What are your hobbies? How did you relax amidst CAT preparation?
Avinash- My hobbies include playing chess and listening to music, especially hard rock music.
While exercising Quant questions, I used to listen to old rock music that rendered me motivation. I used to follow Premier Football League very closely and the exciting matches made me happy amidst CAT preparation.
Careers360: Any suggestion that you would like to share with aspirants?
Avinash- I would suggest all to practice and take up test series as much as possible. Try to minimise the use of a calculator as the interface is bad and will also take up a lot of time. While preparing, set your time and try to finish the paper much ahead of time. Speed is something you must focus on.
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Questions related to CAT
460 neet score,obc cat can possibility of get admission in MBBS course
Your profile suggests that your domicile state is Maharashtra
It's quite difficult to predict that whether you will get seat or not as cut off marks for medical colleges keeps changing every year depending upon various factors like number of students that appeared in the exam, kind of marks obtained by them , toughness level of the examination etc.
But when we go through previous data then ,
>>>>> with 460 marks ,
you hold a low chance for an mbbs seat in a Government Medical College
in neet 2019, 521 marks for general category was the lowest mark to get an mbbs seat in Government Medical College, under Maharashtra State quota and it was for Government Medical College and Hospital, jalgaon
You can check the same at
You have chances in deemed universities for mbbs which are listed below along with their neet 2020 , 2nd round cut off :-
----------) SBKS Med. Inst. and Res. Centre, Sumandeep Vadodara:- 446 marks
----------) Yenepoya Manglaore:-436 marks
----------) Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar:- 426 marks
----------) B.L.D.E University, Bijapur:- 387 marks
----------) MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai:- 380 marks
And a few more
To get the complete list of colleges in which you have chances, you can go through our college predictor at
It gives you a personalized report with top college in which you have chances for admission , with the help of predicted colleges you can make better choice while filling your choices of colleges during your counselling
450 score, obc cat, MD anaesthesia, low budget college, good govt/ Pvt college, any chance??
To get a government seat one must score above 525. With 450 you can get in to a private college. As your NEET score is 450. Your Overall Percentile is: 93.39 - 93.89 and when it comes to rank, your Predicted Rank is:89930 - 107080 . Also depends upon last years cut-off. Adding it with 15% All India quota and 85% state quota seats in government colleges.
As per the last year result of NEET UG ,General category aspirants need minimum 147 marks (50 percentile). On the other hand General-PH(129 Marks 45 percentile) and SC/OBC/ST requires 113 marks (40 percentile).
Hope this helps
Wish you luck
my jee rank in obc cat. 29192 can I get cse in hbti
First and foremost,
congratulations on achieving an 29k rank in the JEE . According to recent reports, hbti may not accept admmision through Upsee. HBTI KANPUR is moving its intake to the Jee mains, which is wonderful news because it means more intake. And, based on your ranking, you will very certainly be offered a spot in the second round of counselling.
Visit http://hbtu.ac.in/ for further information.
sir as punjab democile cat. gen sroce 471 can i got best ptv collage in punjab
Hello Yatin. I hope you are in good health. You mentioned your marks but didn't mention the exam you are talking about. Assuming that you have a query regarding NEET UG 2021, I will give an answer based on that. You mentioned you belong to general category. Well, based on your marks, your overall percentile may end up somewhere around 91.59 - 92.09 while your AIR may lie somewhere around 127893 - 160043.
Well, it is quite difficult to predict whether you have any window of opportunity to get government quota seats in private medical colleges in Punjab. Although based on your performance you have less chance to grab a seat for MBBS via All India Counselling as well as State Counselling.
Moreover, you may get chance to grab a seat for B.D.S. under government quota at private dental colleges in Punjab via State Counselling.
You may get admission for pursuing B.D.S. in the following private dental colleges:
- B.J. Singh Dental College Hospital & Research Institute, Ludhiana
- Dasmesh Institute of Research & Dental Sciences, Faridkot - https://www.careers360.com/colleges/dasmesh-institute-of-research-and-dental-sciences-faridkot
- D.B. Dental College & Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh - https://www.careers360.com/colleges/desh-bhagat-dental-college-and-hospital-mukatsar
- SGRD Institute of Dental Sciences & Research, Amritsar - https://www.careers360.com/colleges/sri-guru-ram-das-institute-of-dental-science-and-research-amritsar
To get detailed information on cutoff marks vs rank for Punjab medical and dental colleges, follow this link:
To know your admission chances in medical/dental colleges with NEET Score, to get a personalized report with Top MBBS & B.D.S Colleges and to check course & counselling wise cut-offs of NEET for various state quotas, caste groups etc., I encourage you to use NEET UG 2021 College Predictor:
I hope you find this information helpful.
Thank you and good luck!
for cat exam which is going to held on november 28 2021 is 2 months home preparation is enough to get good score. please suggest me
Home preparation or we can say Revision or Practice is more than enough to score good marks for any competitive exams. You should have a proper schedule and syllabus that is to be cover you should go through last years paper for knowing the pattern of questions, you should go through atleast 10 sample papers for proper practice. Be focused and set a target of how much you want to achieve, so that you can atleast give your best to achieve near to that target. The most important thing while writing an exam or while preparing is to be calm and focused. So be calm and don't panic.
Hope this helps you.
All the best for your exams.
Give your best