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The urge to be a part of the prestigious IIM brand made Vershita Srivastava, a B.Com graduate, prepare with a strategically devised plan and crack CAT 2015 with 99.21 percentile. Currently, a PGP student at IIM Raipur, Vershita says that the sectional time limit in CAT is a valuable factor for the students, as it saves time from sectional rotations. She also states that her fear of geometry was allayed by her technique of writing the theorems on paper and reading them at least thrice a day.
In this interview with Careers360 on the series of CAT topper strategies, she further shares that CAT 2016 aspirants must start with their preparations as early as possible to take the best advantage of the time. They must also identify their weak areas and work on them religiously, as every single mark has the capacity to make a huge difference.
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Careers360: How was your experience of taking CAT, since the pattern was changed?
Vershita: The introduction of sectional time limit was a welcome change. A lot of time wastage was saved. Also, the new pattern somehow ensured that marks in one section did not overpower the other sections. I did not find the calculator much helpful because students tend to become dependent on it, which thereby slows their mental calculation ability.
Careers360: Why did you opt for admission in an IIM and not in any of the top B-schools?
Vershita: My decision of joining an IIM came due to its heritage and the kind of exposure and experience that you get from it. The personality development opportunities that you get from an IIM are of altogether a different level and they go a long way in shaping you for the corporate world. Also, IIM comes with a brand of its own. The respect and recognition that you get when people come to know that you are from an IIM make you feel delighted.
Careers360: Since when did you start preparing for CAT? Did you change your preparation strategy after the announcement of the CAT pattern change?
Vershita: With the change in the pattern a change in preparation strategy was necessary. With the announcement of the new pattern and inclusion of ETA questions, we had to answer questions without the help from the options which actually increased the time taken to answer the question. Adhering to the time constraints also required some time to adjust to. Just a little bit of adjustments was what was required, rest the basic level tips and tricks were same.
Careers360: Please share your section-wise preparation strategy?
Vershita: For the verbal part I started with an RC but never did two consecutive RCs, I always sandwiched some grammar questions in between as reading all the RCs in one go can be tiring and may not give optimum results.
Quants was my strongest section, the only point of worry for me in Quants was Geometry, the best way to tackle that is to write all the theorems on a paper and read it thrice daily.
My LR was very strong but I was not that great with the DI part. Since they form the same section I tried balancing any deficiency in one with a high score in the other.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?
Vershita: Since sectional time limits were introduced I did not have to worry about when to switch between sections. There are different ways to approach an exam like CAT, attempting sufficient mocks gives you an idea which strategy is best suited for you. I used the ABC approach to categorize questions which helped a lot in managing my time.
The ABC approach is
A- Abhi karo
B- Baad mein karo
C- Chod do
Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the test?
Vershita: My strong area was Quants and my weakest area was DI simply because it was too time-consuming for me. My observational DI was fine but I wasn’t very comfortable with calculative DI. Since DI/LR fall under the same section I focused my attention to improvise my LR and observational DI to such a level that it would cover any inefficiency in calculative DI thereby balancing the score.
Careers360: Your message/tip for this year’s CAT aspirants?
Vershita: Start your preparations early, the time advantage would help you a lot. Identify your weak areas and work on them religiously, every single mark has the capacity of making a huge difference. Be well prepared with all the topics, CAT can be as unpredictable as it gets. Though you have the option of using a calculator don’t make it a habit because other exams don’t have that option plus mental calculations are always faster than using a calculator.
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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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