CAT 2018 Topper Interview: How Amit Bikram secured 100 percentile through self-study
Sreetama Datta, 22 Jan 2019, #CAT
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CAT 2018 Topper Interview: Amit Bikram is one of the 11 successful CAT 2018 takers to have secured 100 percentile. An Aerospace Engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Amit opted for self-study and enrolled only for test series. Hailing from Odisha, he started preparing around six months in advance and followed a systematic process which led to securing the highest percentile in CAT.

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Amit, who idolises Rahul Dravid, plays hockey and football and also loves reading books. Amidst the tough preparation schedule, he used to go out for treks to hills and forts nearby in the Mumbai-Pune region and spend quality time with friends to relax. Amit aims to join one of the premier IIMs, such as IIM AhmedabadIIM Bangalore or IIM Calcutta. He also dreams of pursuing a career as an analyst at a top financial consulting firm.

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Excerpts from the CAT 2018 topper interview:


Careers360: Congratulations on securing 100 percentile in CAT 2018! Did you expect this?

Amit: Well, I was surprised when I calculated my marks after the declaration of the CAT question paper and answer key. It was indeed a pleasant surprise. But by the time the official result came out, I was kind of expecting a good percentile but securing 100 percentile was definitely icing on the cake.

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Careers360: What are your overall and sectional percentile and scaled scores?

Amit: My overall scaled score in CAT-2018 is 235.18 and sectional scores and percentiles are 

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension - 79.59 (99.6), Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation - 60.51 (99.93), Quantitative Ability - 95.07 (100).

Careers360: What are the factors behind your success?

Amit: I would say my focus and desire to work hard in order to secure a good percentile drove me towards this performance. The realisation that there is no replacement for hard work helped me a lot.

Careers360: Tell us something about yourself and family. 

Amit: I have done my graduation from IIT Kharagpur in Aerospace Engineering stream (Dual Degree). I hail from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. My father is a government executive engineer and my mother is a homemaker.

Careers360: How was your exam day experience?

Amit: I was pretty confident on the day of the exam and tried to steer myself away from any anxiety. I love taking competitive exams and no doubt, the positive frame of mind helps.

Careers360: When and how did you prepare for CAT 2018? 

Amit: I started my CAT preparation in May 2018, as I was quite confident of my basics. I focused on intensive practice and solving as many questions as I could during the last five to six months leading up to the exam day. I spent May to June revising my concepts and started taking mocks around July and August, at a rate of one per week and increased it to one every day in the last month.

Careers360: What according to you were the toughest and easiest sections in CAT 2018?

Amit: I felt Quant was tougher than CAT 2017 while VARC section was easier. DILR was slightly easier than last year.

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

Amit: I was weak in both VARC and DI & LR. For VARC, I employed different tactics in separate mocks, getting to know which sequence I should attempt the questions in. For LRDI, all I did was intensive practice and increase my speed.

Careers360: What was your time management strategy with respect to preparation as well as exam day?

Amit: In VARC, my strategy was to complete all the RCs in one go and give as much time as possible to the TITA questions. In DI & LR section, I targeted solving five sets completely out of the given eight, and with time remaining in hand go for the remaining ones. In the Quant section, I was confident that with the amount of practice I had, I could attempt all the questions.

Careers360: Did you take coaching or prepare through self-study? According to you, how necessary is it to join a coaching institute to ace an exam like CAT?

Amit: I didn't take coaching from any institute and the preparation was self-study and discussion with peer group and mentors. I did take test series of IMS and mocks from Career Launcher. I don't believe that coaching is essential to succeed in CAT, but it might be advisable for some aspirants.

Careers360: Have you started preparing for GD, PI and WAT?

Amit: Yes, a couple of months of hard work remain. GD, PI and WAT are the most vital parts for selection into the top B-schools in the country. 

Careers360: What is your dream B-School? After that, what career do you want to pursue?

Amit: My dream B-School isn't any specific IIM. The top three IIMs - Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta would be amongst the most desirable for me. I wish to pursue a career as an analyst at a top financial consulting firm.

Careers360: What are your hobbies? What were your relaxation and recreation methods you followed amidst preparation?

Amit: I love playing hockey and football, and while indoors, I am a bibliophile. I would go out on treks to hills and forts nearby in the Mumbai-Pune region with a couple of close friends and sometimes with a bigger group. Hanging out with my friends on the weekends helped me relax and recharge myself mentally.


Careers360: Do you have any idol who you follow?

Amit: I am deeply inspired by Rahul Dravid, former Indian cricketer, for his humble nature, hard work and putting the team needs ahead of personal glory.

Careers360: What is your message for the next year's aspirants?

Amit: My message for the next year's candidates would be to prepare and take the exam in a positive frame of mind and without putting too much pressure on themselves. One has to work out the strategy of what works best for them, rather than trying to implement exactly the same thing that worked for someone else. At last, I would like to wish all the aspirants all the best.

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i m 34 yrs old, having work ex of 5 yrs as an Officer in Ministry of Defence. I wanted to do full time MBA from top IIM-A/B/C through CAT exam. M having poor academics record below 65%, also belongs to Reserve category. is thr any chance for me to get into TOP IIMs, nt interested in Exe-MBA.plz help

Yash Dev Student Expert 19th Nov, 2019
Hello Akash Gupta with this percentage its tough to get into top IIMs but IIMs also consider work experience so I request you to please appear in CAT and give your best as you've less marks in your previous courses so you need to score high in Cat,If a student have 90%in 10th and 90%in 12 and 80%in graduation stand a chance to getting a call from top IIMs even with less percentile in cat around 95-95%tile than you who have score 99%tile.
So yes it's tough to get into top IIMs but still there's hope so do your best.

Feel free to comment if you have any doubt
Good luck

I have 96% in 10th, 92.4% in 12th and 81.1% in Engineering. What percentile should I score in CAT to get calls from IIM Indore, Kozikhode and Trichy(NC- OBC Category)?

Sonali Sahu Student Expert 18th Nov, 2019


your score is good until now. You have did your best all the way. For CAT exam, IIM Consider 90% to get an admission.

For IIM Kozhikode:- 75% for CAT,Sectional Cutoff:- 65% for  10th:- 60% and for 12th 60%.

For IIM Trichy:- 78% for OBC-NC

for IIM Indore :- 80% for OBC-NC

for OBC category there will very less relaxation. But there is high competition but number of seats available is very less.

So you have to prepare accordingly and get an admission.

CAT exam score hold a 45-50 % weightage for admission at IIM Kozhikode. You have so good qualification in the rest. If you put more effort into it then you can get it.

Hope it helps!


when can I apply for CAT and when are the admissions for MBA open?

Ruchika Chauhan Expert 18th Nov, 2019


Common Admission Test (CAT) is the most popular national level management entrance exam. CAT 2019 application process has been completed and the exam is scheduled to be conducted on 24th November 2019.

Application forms were available from 07 Aug, 2019 - 25 Sep, 2019.

Aspirants seeking admission to the MBA course have to appear for entrance exams such as CAT/XAT/MAT/SNAP/etc. After the entrance test, candidates have to apply to colleges for admission.

Check the details about the CAT exam using the link below and do let us know if you have any other queries.

Good Luck!


what is the pass mark of cat exam

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 17th Nov, 2019
There is no pass or fail marks for CAT. For example if you get 70 percentile, it means that ypu have done better than 70% of the Candidates who appeared for the exam.

How I crack CAT examinations for MBA to take admission in IIMs.. I also want to go abroad for further studies after completing my bcom degree but i am confused so much what path can I go for future if I want to earn good money ?? Please give me advice guys..

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 17th Nov, 2019

Ayush, 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.

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.

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.

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.

IIMs shortlist candidates for the interview stage based on their own criteria, which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test, Group Discussion, and Personal Interviews. Performance in the CAT examination is an important component in the admission process. IIMs may additionally use other factors such as the previous academic performance of the candidates, relevant work experience, gender and academic diversity and other similar inputs in shortlisting and ranking of candidates at various stages of the admission process. The processes, academic cut-offs and the weights allocated to the evaluation parameters may vary across IIMs. Now based on your Category, to be shortlisted for an IIM, you should score atleast 85 and more percentile.

Now the IIMs part has been cleared, you need to decide one among MBA in India via CAT or go abroad for higher studies. You cannot be double minded on this. You know your strengths and capabilities and so this should be completely your call.

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