How to crack IPMAT - The IPM Aptitude Test is the portal to IIM Indore’s Integrated Programme in Management (IPM). With determination and a stellar aptitude, Mansi Srivastava of Lucknow secured herself admission in the IPM batch of 2016-18 and aced it with flying colours.
Mansi revealed that she started preparing for IPMAT after writing her ISC examinations. She prepared for the aptitude test using the online mock papers of T.I.M.E. by doing so, she tried to minimize the time taken and maximize accuracy. She also made it a point to review all the errors she had made while solving the mock papers. Keen on becoming a business strategy consultant, Mansi wishes to set up her own consulting firm in a decade or two down the line.
Careers360 was curious to know the success behind the brilliant brain and how she cracked IPMAT followed by the selection rounds of WAT and PI. Read on to know Mansi Srivastava’s success mantra and preparation strategies of IPMAT.
Excerpts from the interview:
Careers360:Tell us about yourself in terms of your academic and family background, work experience etc.
Mansi: I have been in ICSE board all my life. I scored 98.5% in my ISC examination in 10+2 level and secured AIR 5. Before that, I had been the international topper in my SAT examinations, after which I had been accepted in two Ivy League universities (namely, Cornell and Yale). My father is an officer with the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
Careers360: Why and when did you decide to pursue IPM at IIM Indore?
Mansi: I decided to pursue IPM at IIM Indore in 2012, a year after the first batch had enrolled. My father was looking for interesting courses for my brother to enroll in, and that is when he stumbled across IPM. He found it to be a perfect fit for my aptitude and interest. I relate the course to his beliefs too, as the focus on social sciences in a management course really appealed to me.
Careers360: What is your dream career option which you would like to pursue after completing the programme?
Mansi: I would like to become a business strategy consultant. A decade or two down the line, I wish to set up my own consulting firm.
Careers360: Which other entrances did you appear for and what were your scores and percentiles?
Mansi: I appeared for SAT, NPAT, and wrote WATs for St. Stephens and SRCC.
My SAT score was 1560/1600, and my percentile was 99.99.
My AIR in NPAT was 33.
I qualified for BA Hons. (English) and BA Hons (Economics) in the DU Colleges.
Careers360: Very impressive, indeed. Please tell us how and when did you start preparing for IPMAT? Please share your exam preparation strategy in detail.
Mansi: I started preparing for IPMAT after writing my ISC examinations. I prepared for the aptitude test using the online mock papers of T.I.M.E. I tried to minimize the time taken and maximize my accuracy by solving as many mock papers as I could, given the short span of time. I also made it a point to review all the errors I had made while solving the mock papers.
Careers360: Did you take coaching or did you prepare on your own? According to you, how important is the role of coaching institutes in cracking the entrances like IPMAT?
Mansi: I enrolled in the crash course offered by T.I.M.E for IPMAT. Coaching institutions do not have a significant role to play in qualifying IPMAT. The course does not involve specific coaching to be meted out to the applicants. They only need to practise how to answer questions quickly and effectively.
Careers360: How is IPMAT different than other BBA entrances you have appeared for?
Mansi: The only other BBA entrance I appeared for was NPAT. I did not notice any major differences in the patterns of the paper. However, IPMAT was more difficult than NPAT.
Careers360: Which books did you refer to for the exam preparation?
Mansi: I went through the NCERT Mathematics textbooks of Classes 8-10 to aid my preparation.
Careers360: Did you take mock tests? When did you start and what was the frequency?
Mansi: I made sure that I solve a lot of mock papers. I started 15 days before the test and solved one every day until five days before the test when I started solving two mock papers every day.
Careers360: Please share your experience of taking the test. Which was the easiest section and which was the toughest? What was the difficulty level of the test overall?
Mansi: The questions were not very difficult. The verbal section was very easy and I was able to solve it within half the allotted time. The quantitative section tested the time management skills of the applicants, by keeping the easiest questions at the end.
Careers360: How many questions did you attempt from each section? What were the factors based on which you selected the questions?
Mansi: I attempted all questions from both the sections, i.e. Verbal Ability and Quantitative. I answered whichever question I found easy to solve, as there was a penalty of one mark for each incorrect answer. I managed to answer most of the questions, though.
Careers360: Did you face any technical glitches at the exam centre?
Mansi: No, I did not face any technical glitches. The authorities ensured that no glitches occur for the benefit of the test-takers so that they do not lose focus or waste time.
Careers360: Any special time management strategies that you would like to recommend for the aspirants while taking the test?
Mansi: Answer the easy questions first, and do not waste time on a difficult question. Aspirants should keep this in mind when they are taking an exam.
Careers360: What is the selection procedure for IPMAT at IIM Indore? Please explain stage-wise.
Mansi: The selection procedure for IPMAT depends on the cutoff set by the institute and performance in the WAT and PI. The institution sets a different cutoff for each section, for different categories of students. The students who score more than the cutoff are called for WAT/PI round.
Careers360: Please elaborate on your overall experience of the IPMAT and the selection procedures that followed the written test. Was it a pleasant or stressful experience?
Mansi: Overall, appearing for IPMAT was a pleasant experience as I knew that I had solved the questions in a reasonably accurate manner. I was aware that my score was higher than all the predicted cut-offs at that time.
Careers360: How did you prepare for WAT?
Mansi: I prepared for the WAT by reading up on current news and by practising how to write argumentative essays.
Careers360: What was your WAT topic? Did you find it easy?
Mansi: My WAT Topic was 'Is having many good friends better than having a 1-2 best friends?'
I found it very easy compared to the topics I had been practising for and I was able to write a well-composed essay.
Careers360: What was your approach towards the WAT topic? Did you follow any strategy as such? Tell us some Do’s and Don’ts while taking WAT.
Mansi: I answered the WAT topic by including relevant examples and answering according to the TREE (Topic statement, Reasons, Explain reasons and Ending) strategy. I would suggest sticking to the point, and not writing unnecessary stuff to increase the length of the essay, as it will be judged on the quality and not the quantity of your work.
Careers360: How should one tackle a WAT topic, if s/he does not have any knowledge about it?
Mansi: One could always ask the members of the panel, as they will be present in the room. Candidates must start by targeting what they do know. The topic will never be something that candidates are not aware of, as they usually give general abstract concepts.
Careers360: Do you think there are some time management skills required for a student to write a complete structured WAT?
Mansi: Yes, one should always outline their thoughts first and arrange them in a logical order. The introduction and conclusion are very important, so they shouldn't be written in a hurry at the end when they are running out of time.
Careers360: Please share your PI experience in detail. Was the panel easy or tough on you?
Mansi: The panel was not too easy nor tough. They asked relevant questions, and mostly focussed on academics. After testing me on my theoretical knowledge of the concepts introduced Class 12, they proceeded to ask me general questions about my hobbies and interests.
Careers360: How did you prepare for PI?
Mansi: I enrolled in T.I.M.E.'s PI training, but it did not do me any good as far the real interview was concerned. I brushed up on my textbooks, and read the daily newspaper thoroughly.
Careers360: What were the questions you were asked during PI? Please share your answers to them as well.
Mansi: I do not remember all the questions asked during the 45-minute interview. The questions were mainly on academics, focusing on Physics and Mathematics, as those were the subjects in which I had scored the highest in my ISC examination.
Careers360: Were there any questions which you were not able to answer? How did you tackle them?
Mansi: Yes, there were some questions that I was unable to answer. I apologised and accepted that I did not know the answers to them.
Careers360: Any interesting question or incident which you enjoyed answering?
Mansi: I was asked how I would go from Lucknow to Indore (a general geographical question that the panel asks almost all applicants), and I said it would be by acing the interview. I believe that the panel enjoyed the answer.
Careers360: What is your advice for future aspirants of IPMAT?
Mansi: I would advise IPMAT aspirants to relax while taking the test. IPMAT is not that difficult if one keeps their cool and targets the stages efficiently.