CAT Topper Interview - Devise your own strategy to crack CAT, says Akash of XIMB
An ex-engineer Akash cracked CAT 2014 with 98.43 percentile and secured admissions in XIM Bhubaneswar. In this interview series of ‘CAT Topper Strategies’ by Careers360, Akash shares how devising his own strategy helped him crack one of the most coveted MBA entrance exams.
Akash, during his preparation followed his instinct of preparing for the exam in his own pace and method, rather following the stereotype strategies. He chose one topic at a time and solved mock tests strictly based on that topic to get acquainted with all sorts of questions from that section.
Following this strategy helped him get a clear idea of what he had to do and how he had to proceed on the actual exam day. While attempting CAT, he started with easy questions first in Quant and DI section and left the difficult ones to be solved in the end. This way he saved time and was able to complete the entire paper on time.
Read his interview below to know how following your instinct and belief in your strategy can lead you to crack CAT with high percentile.
Careers360: What were your initial thoughts behind pursuing MBA?
Akash: Though I was reasonably good at Science, I came to know that I was not very much interested in making engineering my career towards the end of the second year of my graduation. I was rather more inclined towards the functioning of the brands and how they come up with some unique targeted marketing strategies every time. I found myself riveted to the field and finally I decided to convert it into my future focus area. And MBA was the perfect platform to dive into the subject deeper and to apply it in the practical market situations.
Careers360: How was the overall experience of appearing in CAT 2014? What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2014 as the pattern was changed?
Akash: My CAT was in the forenoon session of Sunday, November 16, 2014, the very first slot of the exam. There were no technical glitches during the exam and therefore the exam ended at the scheduled time 12:20 p.m.
I got to know that the CAT pattern has changed drastically around three months prior to the exam. Now the candidates had to switch between the sections at any time. So keeping all these factors in mind, I had to devise an entirely new strategy to approach the exam. I devised my own strategy, which was to attempt easy questions first. I kept difficult questions for last, so that I do not to waste my time.
I devised my own strategy. This helps as you get clear idea of what you have to do and how you have to proceed.
Careers360: Share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?
Akash: For Quantitative Ability, I used to practice questions from every possible area especially from geometry and numbers under a limited period of time. Data interpretation requires strong hold on numbers and problem solving capabilities. And practice is the only way out. So I allotted around half an hour for charts and graphs related questions regularly.
I was always good at verbal, so I didn’t practice it as much as Quant and DI, but I used to read one or two reading comprehensions daily that constituted major chunk of marks in the exam. For Logical Reasoning, I used to take most of my preparation time as I found it quite interesting and practical too. I solved a whole lot of questions from every available source either online or from books. As a part of my own strategy, I used to prepare for a topic and solved mock tests. This way I was able to learn, practice and remember at once.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?
Akash: Time can be easily managed by taking into account the following steps while attempting the CAT exam:
Always attempt easy questions that will take around 30-45 seconds to solve. Leave reading comprehensions in the first attempt but mark those comprehensions that are relatively short and easy to understand. Also mark the easy DI and LR questions.
In the second go, attempt questions that are doable in around 1-1.5 minutes and do the marked comprehensions. Try to attempt the marked DI and LR questions as well.
If you are still left with some time, try to attempt the left out DI questions.
Careers360: How did you tackle your weak area in the exam?
Akash: My quant was alright except P&C and probability related questions. I was good at verbal too but DI and LR were not that good. So I decided to dedicate more time towards my weaker areas. I regularly solved various types of DI and LR questions from different books and from internet as well. But I left probability and P&C altogether as I knew that I’ll waste too much time on these parts and generally, the exam consisted of very few questions from these areas.
Careers360: After the exam, how you prepared for the PI-WAT rounds?
Akash: I joined coaching for PI-WAT preparation and participated in mock interviews. I introspected myself and knew each and every aspect of my entire life. This know-how is important for the interview questions related to your personal life. I attended several WAT and debate sessions organized by CL and improved my written and verbal communication skills.
Careers360: What was your WAT topic and how did you structure your write up?
Akash: My WAT topic was “Ears are more important than mouth”. The time given was 20 minutes for the write up. The topic was simple but I didn’t start writing blindly without any structural thinking. Firstly I thought about what to write in the first two minutes assimilated my thoughts altogether, thought the most probable starting and ending of the passage and finally started writing it. I completed it in around fifteen minutes. Then I checked whether it contained any grammatical or spelling errors. I submitted it when I was sure enough about my writing piece.
Careers360: Your message to this year CAT aspirants?
Akash: Divide your entire syllabus according to the days available evenly and keep the last month for the online full length practice tests. Study regularly. Make sure you read newspapers along with the CAT preparation as you will not get enough time to cover all the news after the exam. And most important of all, strike good balance between studies and life.
Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:
Stay tuned to www.bschool.careers360.com for more news and updates
CAT Admit Card 2020 - IIM Indore will release CAT 2020 admit c...
Best Books for CAT Preparation - Know About the syllabus, fact...
Best study material for CAT 2020 preparation - Know the right ...
CAT Exam Centres 2020 - Candidates could select at least six C...
CAT 2020: How Vedic Maths helps to speed up calculation? - Kn...
Questions related to CAT
sloved question paper of CAT b.des 2020
Here is the link of CAT previous years question papers with solutions (2017,2018,2019) . Hope this will help you to boost your preparation for the exam.
Hope it helps.
All the best.
i belong to telngana gor 321 marks in neet2020 air289957 can i get b cat mbbs female candidate
Reg Help &
confirm seats under MGMT/NRI Quota,
only NEET qualified.
bookings started for confirm seats
all over india.
My branch is Electrical Engineering and in my college i have very less chance of placements . So what jobs should i go for so that it could be counted as work experience if I want to go for CAT exam ?
For MBA , work experience is not compulsory. You can get into MBA colleges without a work experience. It's like good food placed in a good plate. If you have a work experience you will get a good job or with more package . Otherwise it will depend on your academics.
My Neet 2020 score is 566 . I belong to BC cat. in Tamilnadu. What are my chances in Tamilnadu government colleges??
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 566 marks , you hold a chance to get a seat in a Government Medical College
In Neet 2019, 470 marks for obc category was the cut off marks to get a seat in Government Medical College under Tamilnadu state quota and it was for Government Medical College and Hospital, Pudukottai
With 566 marks also have chances in following govt college under state quota-
*Government Medical College, Omandurar Estate, Chennai
*Government K.A.P.V. Medical College, Trichy
And a few more
Above prediction is on the basis of past year data but cutoff keeps changing every year due to many factors as mentioned earlier, so to have a clear picture of the colleges in which you have to chances and
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
what jobs an engineer can do if he does not get campus placement and want to appear in CAT exam so that his work ex will be counted??
Most IIM's usually gives only 5-15 % of weightage to work experience (major weightage is for CAT score and PI) with points for approx. 24-36 months of work after which they don't count it ( which means work experience of more than 2-3 years will not give you any extra edge during selection)
Since you are an Engineering graduate, it is usually advisable to go for a technical job related to your field not just because it is easier to get but but because it is easier to justify in your CV. CAT values versatility but there is a fine line between versatility and randomness. What I mean to say is that if you go for a job which isn't even remotely related to your field of study then you'd probably be asked for reasons as to why you chose to do that. So if you were to go for a sales job after completing a degree in say, Electrical Engineering, you'd have to to explain your shift in career paths. To avoid such justifications and to to make the most of your CV, go for a technical job or maybe an Analysist position, anything which you can either link to your Engineering degree or to a Management degree.
Best of luck, Good day!