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In this CAT topper interview with Careers360, Sanuj Mittal, who secured 100 percentile in CAT 2015 and converted IIM Lucknow call shares that an early start and regular practice led his success. He shares his success mantra and tips for future aspirants to achieve their dream of securing a high CAT percentile and getting admission to their dream B-School.
According to Sanuj, getting familiar with the pattern and preparing accordingly is the key to crack CAT. He started taking mock tests on the new pattern regularly, tackled his weak area and adapted the pattern changes with positivity. This, along with proper time management made him score high marks and achieve his dream of IIM admission. Currently a first year PGP student of IIM Lucknow, Sanuj shares his CAT strategy for future aspirants.
Read full interview below:
Careers360: What made you want to pursue management from an IIM?
Sanuj: There is no definite answer as to what made me pursue MBA from IIM, it has been in the back of my mind since early days of my graduation, so when the appropriate time came, I started preparing for it. As for why IIM, there is no other institute in India that comes close to some of the top IIMs. Therefore, it was really a no-brainer.
Careers360: How was your experience of taking CAT in a new pattern?
Sanuj: The overall experience of CAT was great. The change in pattern had its effect in a way that the strategy to attempt the paper changed a bit as it was compulsory to attempt the paper in a fixed order of sections within stated duration. That change required a bit of practice to get familiarized to. Apart from that, the introduction of calculator didn't really change any of my strategies as I barely used the calculator in any of the mocks or the final exam.
Careers360: Since when did you start preparing for CAT?
Sanuj: I started preparing for CAT somewhere around January and did change my preparation strategy a bit, after the announcement of the changes. I started taking more and more mock tests in the new pattern.
Careers360: Do you think that the change in the pattern, which is followed this year as well, is beneficial?
Sanuj: The introduction of the calculator was one change that wasn't of any help to me and I would not like it to continue any further. For me, personally, it was more of a waste of time to go onto the calculator and perform the calculations. As for the other changes, they were all fine, including the introduction of fill in the blank type questions; though they require some practice to get familiar to.
Careers360: Please share your sectional preparation strategy?
Sanuj: Being an engineering graduate, Quant, and the Reasoning sections were pretty much covered for me, though it still required practicing a lot of questions to improve speed and accuracy. As for the VARC section, reading really helps and so does attempting different types of RC passages. I would say practicing as much mocks as you can must be the preparation strategy.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?
Sanuj: Time can only be managed when you have practiced with enough mocks as you know when to leave a question, or which one to answer first, etc. Exam is not a fight that you have to answer to every question no matter what. Do not give more time on a question than what is ideally required.
Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the test?
Sanuj: Quant and DI & LR were my relatively strong areas and VARC was one area that gave me nightmares. Reading helps in VARC and so does attempting RC passages. An RC passage gives you an overall experience of this section as they contain all sorts of questions including vocabulary, grammar, structure, etc.
Careers360: Your tip for this year’s CAT aspirants?
Sanuj: There is no tip as such to write the test. Just be calm on the day and try to imagine it as one of the mocks that you would take at home or any institute. Do not have any personal grudge with any of the questions and do not go with any preconceived notions that you have to attempt a minimum of these many questions, etc. As for WAT/PI reading newspapers and blogs is very important, so is giving mock interviews. Do not take the interview stage lightly.
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You have to score a minimum of 99 percentile to get at least one good IIM call as your academics are not good. You could get a call from new IIMs if you score 99 percentile as the top tier IIMs will not give you a chance due to your poor acads.
Colleges you could look for are like IIM Nagpur, Kashipur, Shillong, etc. These colleges if you study well will provide you with a good package of 10-12 lpa.
Hope this helps. Thank you.
You will not be able to get any good business school like top IIMs, MDI, IIFT, or FMS. However, you can still get a good MBA tier 3/4 college if you increase your percentile to 98 percentile.
However, according to your grads, you must not be disappointed if you don't get a call at 99 because your marks are not good.
Hope for the best. Thank you.
Eligibility for CAT is graduate in any discipline from a recognized university with 50% aggregate, for SC/ST/PwD it's 45%.
So, people from any background can apply for CAT, provided they have required aggregate at their graduation level against their category.
Now, coming to the syllabus for CAT, there's no specific syllabus for CAT, one needs to rely on past years sample papers to get a fair idea about the pattern and weightage given to each topic and section.In general, questions are mostly from middle school level English and Mathematics.
There are mainly three sections in CAT-
Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation which includes topics such as Tables, Graphs, Data Caselets, Seating Arrangement, Blood Relation, Syllogism etc.
Quantitative Aptitude which includes topics such as Geometry, Algebra, Time and Work, Mensuration, Number System etc.
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension which includes topics such as Sentence completion, Questions based on reading comprehension, Para-jumbles & para-summar, inferences etc.
To know the detailed topics, kindly go through the following link-
Honestly there is a difference between just finishing the syllabus and preparing for selection in cat. See you can finish the syllabus if you'll work really hard in one month but trust me only unless you are extraordinary you won't be able to get selected for iims or other good colleges. But don't loose hope you should fight till last.
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