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Careers360 presents CAT Topper Strategies, where toppers share their strategies for CAT, following which can let you score a high percentile as well. The toppers who cracked CAT 2014 share the factors to focus while preparing and attempting CAT 2015.
Vivek.S while preparing for CAT learned that even the most difficult Quant questions can be solved within 30 seconds if you have the right approach, practice, and confidence. With his knowledge to tackle every section within the duration, Vivek secured a high 99.87 percentile in CAT 2014 and took admission in IIM Trichy.
A mechanical engineer, Vivek wanted to understand and work on business problems more effectively, which made him pursue an MBA degree. During practice, he solved as many questions as possible to eliminate mistakes by consistent evaluation via mock tests. While solving mock tests, his confidence level was so high that he was able to solve any question thrown at him.
In this interview, Vivek shares how your performance in CAT mock tests is a reflection of your strategy and results, to let you know where and how you have to improvise.
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Read his interview below.
Careers360: What were your initial thoughts behind pursuing MBA?
Vivek: 1 year into my first job, I realized that I had to pursue MBA to understand and work on business problems more effectively. I started preparing for CAT and used my free time in the weekends to do the same.
Careers360: How was the overall experience of appearing in CAT 2014? What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2014 as the pattern was changed?
Vivek: The experience was good. I had a solid preparation time of 7 months. I covered the basics in the first 3 months and then enrolled myself for a mock test series. I took at least one mock test every week and spent time on evaluating my performance and improving it over a period of time. The change in pattern did not make much of a difference as I had enough mock question papers in the new pattern to work with.
Careers360: Share your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning separately?
Vivek: Quantitative Ability was my weakest area and hence decided to concentrate on that first. I started from the basics of QA, going through the concepts and solving problems. As for the other three sections, the focus was on practicing as many questions as possible and eliminating mistakes by consistent evaluation.
Careers360: What was your Time Management formula for the CAT?
Vivek: From the mock tests, I found that I tend to spend more time on QA and DI than on VA & LR. So, on the D-Day, since my focus was one attempting as many questions as possible, I made it a point that I would not take more than 2 minutes per question. That turned out to be useful as I was able to maximize my attempts. With Quantitative Aptitude, I identified if the question was quickly solvable within the 30 seconds. If not, I skipped the question even though I knew how to solve. I came back to such questions once I was done with the other questions.
Careers360: What were your strong and weak areas? How did you tackle your weak area in the exam?
Vivek: I was strong in VA & LR. I struggled with QA. I made sure that I went through all the basics in the first phase of my preparation. This gave me the confidence that I could solve anything that was thrown at me and built on that confidence as I gradually improved performance in mocks.
Careers360: How did you prepare for your PI? What are the key factors that influence your selection at PI stage?
Vivek: For PI, I identified different types of questions that can be asked from online sources and compiled answers for them. The key to the interview is preparation and the answers you give has to be thought through. I was ready for any kind of questions that can be asked – Why MBA, questions related to my under grad, my hobbies – among others. Here again, it is the confidence that matters and with a right attitude, one can easily sail through.
Careers360: Your message to this year CAT aspirants?
Vivek: Start your preparation early.The first step is identifying your weak areas and improving on them. Have a schedule that fits you and stick to it. In the far end of your preparation, make sure that you spend your time on evaluating your performance and improving on them rather than learning completely new concepts. Design a strategy that fits you and have confidence that you will do well. All the Best!!
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Your scores are very low and it would be difficult to get good b-schools, I think you should give another try next year. But if you are ready to take up tier 3 colleges, t
here are many colleges which give a call at this percentile too. Based on your overall profile decent colleges give you a call.
But it also depends on what kind of college you are willing to take, like what investment you are willing to do, what kind of place you are preferring, and specifically the ROI i.e. the placement scenario of that college.
Some colleges that i suggest are ISB&M PUNE, IMI KOLKATA, IMT, LEXICON MILES, DSPSR Delhi,etc.
All the best.
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