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CAT 2019 Topper Interview - Scoring a perfect 100 percentile in one of the toughest management entrance test is like a dream come true. More so if one achieves this fate in the first attempt itself. For CAT 2019 topper, Rishi Mittal, it was an emotional moment when he got the news about scoring 100 percentile as after the exam, he was extremely nervous as he believed that he had not performed up to the mark in verbal ability and reading comprehension section of CAT. The final year civil engineering student at SVNIT Surat, CAT 2019 topper Rishi Mittal, maintained consistency during the course of preparation, solved the questions that were given in the coaching classes, regularly took up mock tests, capitalised on his strengths and tied to overcome his weakness. In conversation with Careers360, Rishi Mittal talks about the preparation tips and also the importance of taking the mock tests.
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Careers360: Congratulations on securing over 100 percentile in CAT 2019! What was your reaction? Were you expecting this?
Rishi Mittal: My first reaction was emotional, to be honest as this is a very big achievement for me, I saw the result with my family which made it even more heartwarming. Later when good wishes and messages and calls started pouring in I felt blessed to have got this result. The day I gave CAT: NOT AT ALL. I was extremely tensed as my VARC section had gone pretty bad, I was confident about the other 2 sections but overall 100 was not expected.
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Careers360: What are your overall and sectional percentile and scaled scores?
Rishi Mittal: My overall percentile is 100 and sectional score and percentile are:
Score VARC 62.58(98.76%ile)
QA 93.85 (99.99%ile)
Careers360: Tell us something about your background.
Rishi Mittal: I am currently studying in final year civil engineering at SVNIT Surat and I am a Mumbaikar otherwise. This was my first attempt and fortunately, it went pretty well. I have been a person who has a knack for mathematics and puzzles.
Careers360: How was your exam day experience?
Rishi Mittal: The facilities at the CAT exam centres were up to the mark and had no technical or non technical issues. This helped me keep calm and focus only on my paper. I went with a mindset to do best what I can not be focussing on marks or percentile. The paper started with an extremely tough VARC section that tested every candidate on their ability to keep calm and attempt every section in a stand alone manner. Since I was able to do that, I got such a result.
Careers360: What was your preparation strategy for CAT?
Rishi Mittal: My strategy was nothing out of the ordinary honestly. I only solved the material provided in the classes, attempted mocks regularly, identified my strengths and weaknesses in every mock, capitalize on strengths and work on weaknesses, and repeated this cycle. By the time CAT arrived I had given around 20-25 mocks which gave me exposure to a lot of questions and DILR sets. Rest it was just being present on the day of the exam and applying all of this properly.
Careers360: What according to you were the toughest and easiest sections?
Rishi Mittal: The toughest section in CAT 2019 was VARC any day and the easiest was none actually but with enough practice, DILR is fairly manageable.
Careers360: What was your time management strategy with respect to preparation as well as exam day?
Rishi Mittal: As far as time management in an exam is concerned in VARC, I tried to limit each RC to 8-9 mins and give 1-1.5 mins per VA question. In DILR, I usually target 10 minutes per set, but in CAT I found the sets relatively solvable so although some sets took 10-12 mins some got solved in 4-6 minutes. So being flexible and adaptive is extremely important in every section. In QA, I usually divide the paper into 3 levels based on difficulty, so I give like 1-1.5 minutes to easy question, 2-2.5 mins to medium difficulty and remaining time to tough ones depending on how many I am able to solve.
Careers360: How helpful was your coaching institute for you? Is it possible to succeed through self-study?
Rishi Mittal: CAT requires the right amount of both in my opinion. As there are thousands of aspirants, self study brings in the difference. But at the same time coaching institutes give you the right base, concept clarity, guidance, etc that one needs to start off and to be on the right track.
Careers360: What are the factors behind your success?
Rishi Mittal: I think the right set of mentors, seniors to guide and friends to support you academically and non academically is very important. Rest all the things like determination, perseverance, honesty, and consistency are a must.
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General- Overall CAT Percentile-85, 10th Percentile-60, 12th Percentile-60
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