CAT 2017 Topper Interview: Classroom coaching is not necessary for CAT, says 99.98 percentiler Shikhar Sachdeva
Updated on Jan 15, 2018 - 12:34 p.m. IST by Vikas Gaur
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Even if you know how much you’re going to score after giving the exam, thought of topping the exam usually stays away from the mind. Something like that happened to Shikhar Sachdeva who expected around 99.8 percentile but ended up topping CAT 2017 with 99.98 percentile. A complete family person, Shikhar credits his success in the country’s most competitive management entrance exam to his family. He believes that classroom coaching is not required to crack CAT. He says that coaching takes you to a certain level but the end of the day, practice and self-motivation are the keys of success.

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To your surprise, he’s inspired by Adolf Hitler (as a leader of course and not the genocidal psychopath). In this interview with Careers360, he reveals about his success mantra in CAT. Read on to know more about the topper’s personality.

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Read the full interview here:

 

Careers360: Congratulations on your CAT result. Please tell us something about yourself and your family.

Shikhar: First of all, I’d like to thank you for the wishes. I’m an elder child. Apart from me, my family consists of my parents and my younger brother. My hobbies are playing cricket, watching and collecting movies, and reading. As far as heroes go, as odd as it sounds, I’ve always been inspired by Adolf Hitler, not the genocidal psychopath but the leader.

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Careers360: Please share your overall and sectional percentile in CAT 2017?

Shikhar: My overall percentile is 99.98 (222.81). My sectional percentiles are 98.15 (71.07) in VARC, 99.76 (53.68) in LRDI and 100 (98.09) in QA.

 

Careers360: Were you sure that you’ll be able to score 99.99 percentile?

Shikhar: Not at all. I mean there were two sides to me all through the waiting period. One side was realistic, wherein I was expecting not more than 99.8. And there was another side that was wishing for an amazing result, and that side of me was constantly praying for 99.98. That exact figure. And it’s an amazing coincidence that I got just that.

 

Careers360: How was your exam day experience?

Shikhar: Pretty good. I’d seen engineering entrance exams and CAT by far was one of the best organised exams I’ve ever faced. No technical glitches, no management issues whatsoever. As far as the actual exam goes, I’d given a lot of mocks, so I wasn’t really worried about any eventuality. Quant was my forte, so I knew that even if I had mediocre scores in other sections I could’ve made up in quant. So yes, a tough LRDI definitely didn’t faze me as much as other people.

 

Careers360: What according to you were the toughest and easiest sections?

Shikhar: I felt the toughest section was VARC. It seemed easy at first glance but definitely had a lot of tricks up its sleeves. This prompted a lot of people to answer more questions than were necessary, and hence they accumulated negative scores. LRDI may have had tougher questions on the whole, but everyone expected that, and so it wasn’t much of a surprise. QA was the easiest section. Easy questions using simple concepts. Nothing too tricky at all.

 

Careers360: How did you tackle your strong and weak areas?

Shikhar: I think practice is the key. Coaching will go only so far. After that, it all comes down to your own motivation. What I did was work on my strong areas early on during my preparation. Later on, I focused my attention solely on my weak zone (LRDI) and developed my own unique strategies that helped me counter it, one of which was to go through all the sets, before I attempted even one question. This helped me prioritise on which question I felt comfortable, and which I wanted to leave.

 

Careers360: What was your time management strategy during the test?

Shikhar: There isn’t enough time to do all 100 questions. So one has to prioritize.  Focus on doing questions from your strong areas at first, and later get on to your weak areas. Don’t waste time on a question that you feel you’re not getting ahead with.

 

Careers360: Did you take coaching? How helpful was it? Is it possible to succeed through self study?

Shikhar: I took coaching. I was part of the classroom course at one of the most renowned institutes. And personally, I’ve come to feel that classroom coaching is not necessary for CAT. There are amazing web courses available like iQuanta, at a fraction of the price of the classroom courses. The best strategy for an aspirant would be to take 2 mock series from renowned institutes, 1 booklet series, and then make use of any one web course. I’ve myself found iQuanta to be the best in their domain.

 

Careers360: How your family supported you and what was the biggest source of motivation during the preparation?

Shikhar: They were always there for me. They’ve supported me in all of my endeavours. One of the incidents comes to my mind. I was always a night owl. So during my CAT preparation, I often gave my mocks late at night. So often if I was up till 4 or 5 in the morning, and felt hungry, I could just knock on my parent’s door, and my mom would cook something for me. Not a lot of parents are as supportive as they are.

 

Careers360: What are the factors behind your success?

Shikhar: The people around me. My family, with all their support. My friends, with all the motivation they gave me to keep pushing forward. And my mentors, who taught me everything I know. Special thanks to Indrajeet Singh, who guided me through my preparation.

 

Careers360: For the first time IIMs released CAT question paper and answer key. Did you find any wrong question/answer? Did you file an objection?

Shikhar: Well there were a few, especially in VARC. But then at the end of the day, VARC is something that is very subjective and open to interpretation. I’m satisfied with the way the entire process was carried out by the organising authorities.

 

Careers360: Please tell us which is your Dream B-School and why?

Shikhar: Well my dream B-School, without any doubt is INSEAD in Europe. The experience of studying in Europe, at one of the best institutions in the world, and the amazing ROI they offer is something unparalleled. Among the Indian B-Schools, I’d love to be a student at IIM Ahmadabad if given a chance. As one of my seniors said, “IIM A is not a college, it’s a feeling”. I’d love to be a part of that feeling.

 

Careers360: What next? Have you started preparing for GD/PI/WAT?

Shikhar: Not yet. I wanted to take a short break from the B-School preparation and just enjoy for a while, and then get back into the game all refreshed, and relaxed. So, I’ll probably be taking a small vacation for the time being.

 

Careers360: Anything you like to say to management aspirants who are preparing for entrance exams?

Shikhar: Don’t take the undue pressure. Enjoy your preparation, and don’t give up on your dreams, ever. Nothing is bigger than your dreams.

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6 Views

i got 86 percentile in jee main 2020 can i get any govt college ? me from general cat

Atharva pandit 25th Jan, 2020

hi hope you’re doing great! Well, it is difficult to predict wheather you will get government college or not as the cut offs vary every year! There are still a decent chances for getting admission in Government but as i said it is just a prediction

you may refer to the link below for further information!

all the best!

5 Views

I got 96.4 percentile in jee main paper 1 2020 and i belong to obc category. what will be my air and cat rank

Devraj choudhary Student Expert 25th Jan, 2020

Hii

Your rank can be calculated on formula

(100-percetile)* number of students appeared/100.

So, your general rank will be around 31300-43200. Generally your category rank will be one-fourth of general rank. Use this link to predict your rank https://engineering.careers360.com/jee-main-rank-predictor

Hope it helps

3 Views

I have got CAT OA-89.83 %ile with VA/DILR/QA 58/85/97 X-91.2% XII-95.4% UG-87.6% No work Ex GEM. Any chances of getting call from IMI Delhi,XIMB and IMT Ghaziabad and converting it?

Sampriti Student Expert 25th Jan, 2020
With your CAT percentile you may not get a call from IMT Ghaziabad, XIM Bhubaneshwar or IMI Delhi as they require a minimum of 90 percentile in CAT.  These colleges consider only the overall CAT scores and not the sectional percentile so it may be a little difficult for you. But you have a pretty decent CAT percentile so you can definitely expect a call from the following colleges, provided that you've applied for them
  • KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research
  • Great Lakes Chennai
  • FORE School of Management
  • TAPMI Manipal
  • BIM Trichy
  • LIBA Chennai
  • LBSIM Delhi
  • BIMTECH Noida
  • IIFM Bhopal
  • FMS BHU and others

These are also very reputed colleges with almost similar placements as IMI or IMT. The academics is also good and they have a pretty strong alumni base.

Good Luck
6 Views

From where how I will take preparation for CAT as beginner? I only know its a entrance exam for MBA and get good college, other I dont know anything thing about it. please help me from first step.

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 25th Jan, 2020
We cannot vouch for any coaching center for any CAT preparation and its success. But what we can do is help you with CAT exam pattern, syllabus and preparation tips.
CAT is an online examination of 3 hours duration.The questions in the exam will be of MCQ and TITA type totaling 100 questions. MCQ are multiple choice questions, for which candidates get multiple answer choices. Each Question has 3 marks and a wrong answer takes away 1 mark. However Type in the Answer questions are exempted from Negative Marking.

CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:

Quantitative Ability
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.

First things first, know the syllabus. And 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 because even Rome wasnt built in a day.


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.

Preparation tips:

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.

Preparation tips:

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.

Preparation tips:

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:
https://bschool.careers360.com/download/cat-ebooks

6 Views

my percentileis 97.26 general cat.female can i hope for addmission in any of top 10 nits branch computer

Devraj choudhary Student Expert 25th Jan, 2020

Hii

Your performance is good. And you may accept admission in NITs with CSE. To predict your college use the college predictor. Us this link https://engineering.careers360.com/jee-main-college-predictor

Hope it

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