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With only a few days left for CAT 2015, aspirants must buck up with their preparations. To support you in your preparations, Careers360 presents CAT Topper Interview, where toppers share their mantra to prepare and attempt CAT to secure a high percentile. In this interview, Sourav Santikari from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research shares the key to success in the Common Aptitude Test.
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An experienced engineer, Sourav appeared in CAT 2014 and secured a high percentile of 99.39, and took admission in his most preferred B-school. According to him, the key to crack CAT is ‘play with your strengths’. If you know your strengths and weaknesses well, you can attempt the test with a confident strategic mind and succeed.
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Read this interview to know how to prepare for CAT in last crucial days.
Careers360: Why did you decide to pursue MBA?
Sourav: I was working in IBM as Systems Engineer. The idea was to move to a more strategic position in the Information Technology sector with roles more inclined towards project management and hence decided to pursue an MBA.
Careers360: How was the overall experience of appearing in CAT 2014? What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2014 as the pattern was changed?
Sourav: As my work was very demanding, the only time I had for preparation was during the weekends. I ensured that I completed the whole syllabus in Quantitative methods, Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning by the end of August. I enrolled for a test series. I took every test with extreme seriousness. I spent at least 3-4 hours analyzing each test on the next day. Even after the format was changed, I gave each and every test diligently and adapted quickly to the new format.
Careers360: Please share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?
Sourav: One of the key aspects of an exam like CAT is that you don’t have to solve it completely to get into IIMs nor do you have to aim for it. For DI and LR, I would suggest the age old rule of PRACTICE. Pick up any study material and solve it inside out .Take a note of good LR/DI questions in your mock and polish them afterward if you are not able to solve it completely.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?
Sourav: I had decided earlier that I'm going to play to my strengths. Even during my practice tests I allotted more time for the quantitative section. I allotted 95 minutes to section 1 and rest 75 minutes for the verbal section.
Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the exam?
Sourav: My strengths were quantitative aptitude, data interpretation, and logical reasoning. And weakness was verbal ability. I targeted only certain topics of verbal ability like Reading comprehension, para jumbles, para completion etc and started building up on those. Since I started my preparation a bit late, I had to make this trade off.
Careers360: How did you prepare for your PI? What are the key factors that influence your selection at PI stage?
Sourav: I chased many of my TIME professors to conduct interviews outside the normal schedule. The key is one should have a plan about his life and how MBA fits into the plan. This belief helped me sail through the interviews. Even after selection there were some decisions that had to be made about selecting the Business school among the converted ones.
Careers360: Your message to this year CAT aspirants?
Sourav: Just keep calm and have a clear vision as to why you want to pursue MBA. Try to take as many mock tests as possible so as to build your strategy for the exam day. Before the exam day it is extremely important to keep your cool and rest properly.
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CAT is a National level Common Admission Test to pursue MBA in IIM's and B schools. The Basic eligibility criteria is one must have passed graduation or final year students are allowed to write the exam. If you meet the above eligible criteria then you are allowed to write the exam. If you are worrying about the Time and how to prepare, if you really start your CAT preparation in February you will have more than 9 months to CAT exam which is far enough to crack CAT exam. So Don't worry 9 Months is a good period of time and start executing your plan.
For the CAT examination, The list of prohibited thing is as follows:
Electronic gadgets including phones, watches, cameras, bluetooth devices etc.
Jewelry with metal in them.
Cholthing items with pockets.
Although it is not categorically mentioned, it is probably not a very good idea to carry metal keys inside the examination hall as the penalty for being caught with prohibited items inside the examination hall is direct disqualification. However, the center will not take responsibility for any item which is kept outside the examination hall. It is advised to take public transport or ask someone to drop you and pick you up again.
The most important college you should apply for is Faculty of management studies, Delhi or commonly known as FMS, Delhi.
It is one of the most premier B school and is at par with IIM-ABC. Moreover, FMS Delhi is the biggest ROI institute that is fees to placement ratio,.
last date to apply for FMS is 25 November. Hope this helps,
CAT exam is the exam of unpredictability. Some students getting 95+ in mocks get only 85 in on the exam day while other who are getting 80 in Mocks end up getting 95 on the exam day.
It is not because of the fact that exam was tough or easier, In Fact most of the mocks are tougher than the actual CAT level. It is just the decision you have made in those 3 hours. So do not worry about the hardship of paper as CAT is percentile based exam and if it is hard, it is hard for everyone.
Hope this helps. Thank you.
If you are asking about the percentage required in your graduation to be eligible to sit in the CAT exam then the candidate has to pass at least their Bachelor's degree with at least 50% (for General Category and for candidates from the NC-OBC caste). For SC/ST and Differently Abled (DA) candidates, the percentage required is 45%.
Hope this helps. If your question suggests otherwise, do let me know in the comments.
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