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Annant Jain, who secured 99.74 percentile in CAT 2015 and took admission in Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay thinks that CAT is all about speed and logical thinking. According to him, CAT has a basic level of questions across sections. If one assesses the questions well, cracking CAT is a piece of cake. In this interview with Careers360, he shares his success strategies to be a CAT topper and why he opted to pursue management studies.
Annant took CAT as an easy rejection test. For him, it was just a test that rejects students who do not fit in the criteria of having management as an education. His positive attitude towards CAT made him put his focus in all the right directions during preparations, thus securing a high percentile.
Read Annant Jain’s full interview below:
Careers360: What made you pursue MBA from an IIT?
Annant: While working for my previous employer, I got in touch with many consultants from various fields. Looking at the way they work and the skill sets they use to solve various problems, I got inspired to do something similar, and doing MBA speeds up the career growth; it was the main driving force behind my motivation for MBA.
Careers360: How was your experience of CAT, since the pattern changed, the calculator was introduced?
Annant: It was a great experience. Questions in all the three sections were very diverse and were designed in a way to test analytical and logical thinking of the aspirants. In previous editions of CAT, people used to concentrate on LR more and not on the VRC. But by dividing the test in three sections, with a sectional limit, turned out to be a great move, as it made all the CAT aspirants to focus on every section. The on-screen calculator was not very useful. I personally used it for just 3-4 questions in DI, and found it was very cumbersome since it was time-consuming. One can calculate faster on their own instead of entering the inputs and spending time over it.
Careers360: How beneficial are the changes in CAT?
Annant: I believe overall it was great that the officials changed the pattern a bit. The equal weight-age to all sections helps assess candidates in a better way.
Careers360: Share your CAT preparation strategy with us.
Annant: Because of my engineering background I didn’t have any trouble in solving QA questions. Most questions asked in CAT are of the basic level and doesn't require any special attention. I mainly focused on LR and solved questions of various types. I used to solve 2-3 RCs every day and reviewed every answer to see where I was going wrong.
Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas?
Annant: I was very much comfortable with Quant and DI but was weak in RC. I used to solve a lot of RCs. I think rather than solving, the reviews were more helpful. We need to learn from the mistakes that we do. After solving RCs for 3-4 months we should have known every mistake at least once, but the target must be not to repeat them.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?
Annant: We can’t switch the sections in CAT so as such there is no time management formula. The only thing one needs to take care is not wasting too much time on a single question and solving easier questions in the first go.
Careers360: Your message/tip for this year’s CAT aspirants?
Annant: CAT is nowhere close to toughest of school or entrance examinations we have faced. It is all about speed and logical thinking. Study relevant topics and try to solve different type of problems, don't skip any topic as you never know from which topic you might get a question from. Believe me, there are easy questions too, you need to spot the right ones and dedicate your time to those questions. Remember CAT is a rejection test and not a selection one.
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Dear Akshat, CAT is exclusively conducted by the IIMs. So the selection for admission to any of the 20 IIMs is through CAT exam. Unfortunately no other score except for CAT score is accepted for IIM Ahmedabad. You can check their selection process at:
Dear Sai, IIMs look for Diversity factor in Academics. They have a special rating scale for Professional courses like MBBS,BDS, CA, etc. We shall help you with the admission process of IIM Ahmedabad just as an example to show how does the selection process work. There are 3 sections in CAT: QA, DILR, VRC. IIM A has released its 2019 cut off percentiles. Only those Candidates who have scored this percentiles will be shortlisted for further rounds. The cut offs are as follows:
VRC DILR QA Overall
General 70 70 70 80
OBC-Transgender 65 65 65 75
SC 60 60 60 70
ST 50 50 50 60
PWD 60 60 60 70
PWD-ST 50 50 50 60
On an average IIMs need a cut off 90 percentile and more for admission to their colleges. You can check the complete selection process of IIM A at:
Now based on these cut offs top 5 percentile from each Category will be short listed for WAT and PI. So inorder to be able to score these cut offs, you need to know the exam pattern and marking scheme. CAT exam paper can be Categorised into 3 parts:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
NIFT has nothing to do with CAT or GAT. Those are the exams for MBA. NIFT is for admission in fashion courses.
The eligibilitiy is just marks of your 10th and intermediate. The main point is the candidate must have qualified both from a recognised board and must be having PCM as the compulsory subject.
The exam has an age limit to be 23 and there is 5 years relaxation for category reserved candidates.
For more information please check the article:-
Hope it helps!
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