CAT 2019 Topper Interview: Somansh Chordia “Be passionate about your goal”
Updated on Jan 16, 2020 - 5:15 p.m. IST by Himanshu.shekhar
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CAT 2019 Topper Interview: IIM Kozhikode has released the CAT 2019 result on January 4 in online mode. With the declaration of result, a total of ten candidates scaled a perfect 100 percentile with the help of hard work and maintaining consistency during preparation. Careers360 took an interview with him where he shares everything about CAT 2019 along with exam preparation strategy. Somansh focused primarily on methodology and tips that faculty at TIME shared were beneficial to understand how to approach these questions while preparing for CAT. Somansh highlighted, don’t underestimate yourself and keep believing in possibilities beyond logical comprehension. Read the full article to know more about CAT 2020 topper Somansh Chordia.
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Careers360: Congratulations on securing over 99 percentile in CAT 2019! What was your reaction? Were you expecting this?

Somansh Chordia: Thank you. When I calculated the score on 29th Dec, I was very surprised and could not believe it. Then I was expecting a percentile over 99.9, but 100%ile was a surprise and my family and I were very happy.

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

Somansh Chordia: VARC: 80.54 (99.93), DILR: 65.57 (99.88), QA: 89.95 (99.98), OVERALL: 236.06 (100)

Careers360: Tell us something about your background

Somansh Chordia: I was born and brought up in Nagpur, Maharashtra and did my schooling including 11th and 12th there itself. I Then came to Mumbai and am currently pursuing B.Tech in mechanical engineering and am in my final (4th) year. My family consists of my parents and grandmother. My father is a proprietor and my mother is an ABACUS trainer.

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Careers360: How was your exam day experience?

Somansh Chordia: Since I was allotted slot 1, I knew I would be required to start the day early as the center was also far from college. And being an engineering student it was exactly the time in which I usually slept so, a week prior to the day of the exam, I started waking up early so that I am able to maintain the required concentration level.

I knew that I could screw things up by being nervous but I wasn’t very confident about being able to perform on the day so I had decided to adopt a casual approach and just focus on giving my best without worrying about the result. Kind of looking at it as a question a moment and not the entire exam at a time.

Other than this, I had my strategies specific for the sections decided through the several mocks that I had solved. This is important but I knew that depending on the difficulty and type of questions I might be required to change my strategy on the spot so I was prepared for that as well.

Careers360: What was your preparation strategy for CAT?

Somansh Chordia: My basic preparation strategy was to identify my weak areas and practice those topics extensively in a short time so that I am able to recognize the pattern of mistakes and then track my progress through mocks.

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

Somansh Chordia: For me, VARC was the toughest and QA was the easiest.

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

Somansh Chordia: VARC was my weakest section. In the beginning, the methodology and tips that faculty at TIME shared were beneficial to understand how to approach these questions. After that, I practiced a lot of similar questions together to understand the common types of mistakes that I am committing and this gave a major boost. I realized that answering questions in this section just required a change in the perspective with which you view the content. Thinking from the examiner’s perspective and keeping in mind that these are objective and not subjective questions were crucial. After that, I just practiced and analyzed this section through mocks. Still, even till the end, I couldn’t get consistency in getting a good score but fortunately on the day of the exam, this section about which I was the most concerned went very well, even better than any of the mocks. For QA, my main focus was on increasing my accuracy.

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

Somansh Chordia: Since I had to manage Academics, Placements and CAT preparation together, I tried to lower the academic burden by selecting easier electives and focus on selected companies in placements. Also, I ensured that I maintained my efficiency by switching between different tasks whenever I felt saturated. I believe time management is much easier when you are passionate about what you are doing, so simply realizing that makes a lot of difference.

On the day of the exam, especially in DILR, my first strategy was to not to get stuck on any single question and another was to solve the easy questions in the first go so that I am able to go through all of them and don’t miss any easy ones.

Careers360: How helpful was your coaching institute for you? Is it possible to succeed through self-study?

Somansh Chordia: Yes, I had joined TIME. With so much content and guidance available online and CAT being a relatively easy exam in terms of the syllabus, I wouldn’t say coaching is necessary but it certainly saves a lot of time as the experienced faculties help you find out the common approaches taken by students so that you can easily discover what suits you the best. Other than this, what coaching institutes primarily offer is a competitive atmosphere that is necessary to remain motivated to push our limits. But how important this again depends on the individual and if there are friends around you going through the same process, this might not be necessary.

Careers360: What are the factors behind your success?

Somansh Chordia: Being consistent and regular in practice throughout is what benefitted me towards the end.

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

Somansh Chordia: I haven’t started the preparation yet and will be taking the guidance from seniors and the faculty at TIME

Careers360: Which other MBA entrance exam have you appeared/appearing for?

Somansh Chordia: None

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

Somansh Chordia: The top IIMs and after that, I would like to gain some experience and then maybe start something of my own.

Careers360: What are your hobbies?

Somansh Chordia: In my free time I like reading autobiographies/biographies and playing basketball and badminton with my friends.

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

Somansh Chordia: Since there were many things going on in my 7th semester, I didn’t have much time for recreational activities but I ensured that I maintained my efficiency by switching between different tasks whenever I felt saturated.

Careers360: Do you have any idol who you follow?’

Somansh Chordia: I wouldn’t call him my idol but I admire many qualities of Elon Musk.

Careers360: What is your message for next year’s CAT takers?: What is your message for next year’s CAT takers?

Somansh Chordia: I loved the pattern and kind of questions that were asked in CAT. I had realized that the skills I would develop while preparing for the exam would actually be helpful in general in life as well and this had helped me a lot to remain motivated. It’s as simple as if you love what you do, you give your best.

My performance in mocks was not good enough to be extrapolated to a 100%ile finally but everything went too well on the day of the exam. I was much more focused and that reduced my mistakes drastically. What I want to convey is that don’t underestimate yourself and keep believing in possibilities beyond logical comprehension.

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Papeya Dubey Student Expert 22nd Feb, 2020

The next MAT will be conducted in the month of May.

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which books are good for CAT exam

Hrisheekesh Singh 22nd Feb, 2020

Hi Rohan,

In CAT Exam the questions are of a decent level so I recommend you to study from standard books.

These are some of the standard books for preparation of CAT Exam:-

QA Books:-

  • How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma
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LR and DI books:-

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I hope this information helps you.

Good Luck!


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Papeya Dubey Student Expert 22nd Feb, 2020


Following private colleges offer integrated MBA program-

Jindal Global Business School, Sonepat

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Shiksha 22nd Feb, 2020


DSM, DTU for MBA takes only CAT scores. The safe CAT percentile for all the courses is 65 percentile. Although different courses have different cut offs.

Its a below average college. (íts not recommended to join this, but if you don't have any options left then go)

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Mayank Chowdhary 22nd Feb, 2020

Hi Chung!! Hope you are doing well!! CAT is one of the most important exams of our country. CAT was initially started by Indian institute of Management. It is a computer based test. The benefits of giving CATs and cracking it are that you will be eligible to take admission for a graduate management program in colleges across the country. CAT score is considered by a large amount of management Colleges of our country and many students try their best to crack it as it gives them a chance to move towards their management learning goal.

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