SNAP 2017 Topper Interview - Dismissing notions about the fact that it is difficult to prepare for competitive exams like SNAP along with a full-time job, SNAP 2017 topper Aditi Garsa shares how she balanced professional life with exam preparations. The topper not only aced SNAP 2017 with an impressive 99.18 percentile, but also outshined in other competitive exams like CAT and CMAT. Aditi finally went on to bag admission in one of the top B-schools – SIBM Pune.
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As a result of being a working professional, she shares that she did not find the time to attend coaching. She naturally did not want to waste the time on weekdays which she could utilise in self-study. The key aspect of cracking SNAP, she believes, is to keep revising over and over again so as to not lose touch. Besides sticking to her well-balanced preparation strategy, she relied on SNAP mock tests to boost her preparation. In this interview with Careers360, Aditi shares her success mantra in the form of the study materials, preparation tips and above all, immense motivation for SNAP aspirants.
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Most people shun or give up on their social life during the peak of their preparation phase. Aditi, on the contrary, feels that one should have cheat days when all they do is spend time with friends and family. Read this interview for more such insightful tips by the topper.
Excerpts from the interview:
Careers360: What was your SNAP 2017 overall and sectional percentile? Apart from SNAP, which other entrances you appeared for and what were your scores?
Careers360: What was your preparation strategy? Please share section-wise strategy in detail.
Aditi: For QA, I studied from the book ‘Quantum CAT’ by Sarvesh K. Verma. This one book was more than enough to crack any entrance exam.
For LR-DI, a thorough practice of the book ‘How to prepare for LR and DI by Arun Sharma’ was sufficient for SNAP. I was not good at DI but practicing its solved exams helped to overcome that weakness.
As for VARC, I didn’t have any book to prepare as I was comfortable in this section.
The GK section is make or break for cracking SNAP. I wasn’t particularly good at this but I came to know early on that GK can be a decisive factor in getting a good percentile. So, I followed online sites that provided current affairs.
Apart from this, I took plenty of mock tests.
Careers360: How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Please explain which one do you think is better?
Aditi: Since I was preparing for MBA entrance exams while I was working, I didn’t find the time to go for coaching regularly. I was spending a lot of time in commuting and did not want to exhaust myself too much. I decided to devote that time for self-study and during the weekends I went for mock tests. Personally, I feel self-study is the best way to prepare. In this age of the Internet, one can find directions as to what books to study from or what topics to focus on. But at the end of the day, it’s putting in your own efforts that ensures good results.
Careers360: When did you start preparing for SNAP? Please share in detail your month-wise preparation strategy for SNAP in terms of 3 months, 2 months, 1 month and last minute strategy you followed.
Aditi: I started preparing for SNAP about two months prior to the date of the exam, the reason being the format is different from CAT. It takes time to adjust to a different format. I realised this after I took the first few SNAP mocks. Unlike CAT, SNAP has GK which is a game changer. The sections are slightly easier than CAT but the challenge was accuracy and speed. So I worked on my proficiency by solving previous year papers.
Careers360: Last year, SNAP was conducted online for the first time. How do you think it’s different from the offline exam? Which method - offline or online according to you is more convenient for the candidates?
Aditi: Both online and offline have their advantages and disadvantages. But speaking of SNAP in particular, I think online is better. SNAP is about speed and this is easier to maintain in online mode. One saves time since they don’t have to fill OMR sheets. It may not seem like much but in an exam like SNAP that demands speed, it can make a lot of difference. Also in online, there is the flexibility of changing the answer by going back to it, which is a plus point.
Careers360: How did you balance your preparation with studies or job? Please share your timetable.
Aditi: I was preparing for MBA entrances along with a job. A lot of time would get wasted in commuting. So I tried studying every day in the morning for two hours. On weekends, I used to spend more time, about 8-10 hours. I did easy topics on weekdays so that I wouldn’t get exhausted and on the weekends I took up topics that troubled me. GK was something on which I spent a good 30-45 minutes daily.
Even if GK doesn’t feature as a separate section in every MBA entrance, it is vital for cracking interviews. As the date of exam drew nearer I geared things up by taking at least two mock tests during the weekdays. It helped maintain the tempo and brings a comfort level with sitting for a long time to take the test.
Careers360: What was the one thing that you did consistently during your preparation?
Aditi: I think one should not lose touch of any topic for more than a week. One may be good at Quant but not revising formulae for too long can hamper recalling time. All these things should be on tips. So, one must ensure no topic goes unrevised for more than a week. People who struggle with vocabulary should also follow this.
The most important aspect of preparation is persistence. Preparing for any competitive exam can be taxing. Many a time it can get frustrating. In that case, hang out with friends, have a good time and get some sleep. The next day, get back to where you left off.
Careers360: What are the best study materials for SNAP?
Aditi: It is very important to solve previous year questions. Here are the books I used for section-wise preparation:
QA: ‘Quantum CAT’ by Sarvesh K. Verma
LR-DI: How to prepare for LR and DI by Arun Sharma
VARC: Skills in this section develop over time. The Economist is the best magazine that I have come by. ‘The Hindu’ and ‘The Indian Express’ are newspapers with excellent editorials.
GK: Try reading newspaper otherwise online sites for current affairs also solves the problem.
Careers360: When did you start taking mock test and what was the frequency?
Aditi: I started taking mocks two months prior to the day of the exam. I started with two mocks per week and then increased the frequency to 4-5 times a week as the day of the exam drew nearer.
Careers360: How does one with non-English background prepare him/herself for the exam as the mode of the exam is only English?
Aditi: One doesn’t need to be very proficient in English. Vocabulary based questions are a rare sight. MBA entrances test the comprehension capability which is logical in nature. It may be a little daunting initially but if one continues to taking mock tests, it can be mitigated over time. One can put in extra efforts by reading newspaper editorials that will bring about visible positive results.
Careers360: What was your exam day strategy in terms of question selection, time management, accuracy and sectional attempts?
Aditi: I started with the GK section first as that was the section that could be finished in less than 10 minute and one either knows the answer or doesn’t know it. There isn’t much scope for revisiting GK questions.
Next, I attempted the section I was most confident about – General English. I tried to not leave a single question as I knew this section would boost my percentile.
Then I moved to Quant, LR and lastly DI. I made sure I attempted more than the sufficient number of questions required to clear cut-off as I did not have 100 per cent accuracy in my attempts.
Careers360: How do you suggest one should keep his/her calm and confidence during the long and tiring preparation process for a management entrance exam?
Aditi: MBA preparations can take a toll on body and mind. Do not shun friends. I suggest you should have cheat days when you do nothing but hang out with friends and family all day. Work hard rest of the time but do not be guilty of those cheat days that you get to enjoy.
Do not leave topics to study one week before the exam. You will never end up doing it. Make sure you have a basic idea of all topics even if you are not an expert in all the topics.
The day before the exam, avoid studying. Have confidence in the efforts you put in all this time. One more day won't change anything rather it may only add to the stress. Have a long and sound sleep – you should be at your best for the exam.
On the day of the exam, be composed. Reach the exam centre at least half an hour before the exam starts. Attempt what you are confident of first and then see if it’s worth taking the risk.
Careers360: What is your message for SNAP 2018 aspirants?
Aditi: It’s a great thing that SNAP isn’t like any other exam. It doesn’t require you to go deep into a topic. It challenges your time management skills and the best part is that this can be developed over time with practice. Focus on GK as it can skew the odds in your favour and get you ahead in the game.