CAT 2012 topper and IIM student Abhineet Mittal got 99.41 percentile and received admission offers from all the new IIMs including IIM Rohtak, IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Udaipur, IIM Trichy and also from MDI Gurgaon.
In this special series of toppers interview with Careers360- How I cracked CAT – Abhineet shares his preparation strategy and success tips for CAT 2013 aspirants.
An engineer in Electronics & Communication, Abhineet worked with Infosys for over 30 months before joining IIM Rohtak. In this topper interview, he talks on his time management strategy both for preparation and CAT test day and also shares his WAT/PI experiences.
Careers360.com: When did you decide to do MBA? What is your plan after you complete your MBA?
Abhineet Mittal: During my graduation, I planned to do MBA as I wanted to start a technology related firm. But before that, I wanted some exposure to the corporate world. So, I joined Infosys and after working for some time in Infosys, I started preparing for CAT.
Careers360.com: What was your CAT 2012 percentile? Which B-schools offered you final admission?
Abhineet Mittal: My CAT 2012 percentile was 99.41. I received admission offers from all the new IIMs including IIM Rohtak, IIM Ranchi, IIM Raipur, IIM Kashipur, IIM Udaipur, IIM Trichy and also from MDI Gurgaon.
Careers360.com: Why did you choose IIM Rohtak?
Abhineet Mittal: Studying in an IIM was my dream since my undergrad days. As all new IIMs are almost same with same IIM standards of education, I had to look at other important factors. I compared various factors and found IIM Rohtak most appropriate in terms of location (very near to Delhi) and infrastructure (temporary campus situated in well developed 700 acres MD University Campus). After joining IIM Rohtak, I got reassured that I made the right choice.
Careers360.com: How did you start the preparation and what was your overall strategy?
Abhineet Mittal: In April 2012, I started my preparation by getting acquainted with the format of the CAT paper. After giving a couple of mock tests, I realized that my quantitative section was strong and verbal was fine. But my accuracy was not good in both the sections. I planned to complete my basics by July and simultaneously started the Test Series on a weekly basis. In the last 2 months of preparation, I appeared for a lot of mock tests and analysing them helped me improve my accuracy.
Careers360.com: What are the key factors towards CAT preparation? What are your suggestions to MBA aspirants?
Abhineet Mittal: CAT is not a knowledge intensive exam. It is all about one’s basic quantitative, analytical, logical reasoning and English language skills. You can read and learn the concepts, but it needs a good amount of practice to develop these skills. You can very well prepare on your own given that you remain sincere to your preparation. But, joining a test series and regularly attempting mock tests is important.
For those preparing by themselves, be dedicated and regular. Take as many mock tests as you can, analyse each one and work on your weak areas. Read a lot of books and most important, be self-motivated.
Careers360.com: Please share your WAT/PI experience.
Abhineet Mittal: My WAT topic was an easy one. My preparation on current affairs on various fronts was useful.
My interview was quiet generic with questions about me and general awareness. Questions were related to:
Why do you want to do MBA? (Some cross questioning in response to my answer)
Tell me something about yourself.
Do you read newspaper?
What was today’s headline?
Few questions about literacy in India
Some more general knowledge questions based on economic and political events
Finally, the question of why MBA resurfaced with a new perspective
A small discussion about my hobbies and interest
The interview went well and I was satisfied with my answers. At the end, the panel seemed happy.
Careers360.com: As a working professional, how did you manage time for CAT preparation?
Abhineet Mittal: Though, it was difficult to balance work and regular studies, I completely utilized my weekends for preparation and mock tests. On working days, I tried to spend at least 1-2 hours every day for preparation.
Careers360.com: What was your preparation strategy for the Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning?
Abhineet Mittal: It is all about practice, practice and practice. I practiced a lot of questions from various areas. I did not mug-up shortcuts as CAT is more about accuracy and less about speed these days. However, Vedic Maths calculation methods and remembering squares, cubes, reciprocals, square roots, cube roots of some numbers helped a lot.
Apart from practice, reading was the key for verbal ability. I read many more books than I usually do, during my preparation. I made it a habit to read at least half an hour every day before I went to bed.
Careers360.com: What was your strategy for time management for CAT paper?
Abhineet Mittal: CAT exam has 2 sections. For each section, we have to solve 30 questions in 70 minutes. This is good amount of time where one can focus on the accuracy of answers. I tried to finish all the questions I could solve within first 50-55 minutes and used last 15 minutes to review the questions and solve any difficult question.
Careers360.com: What is your message for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2013?
Abhineet Mittal: CAT is a simple exam in terms of questions. It’s the competition which makes it one of the most difficult exams to crack. There will be time when you may get distracted or may even think of giving up, but you have to remain determined and motivated.
During the exam, be calm and do not think about attempting any particular number of questions. You have to focus on accuracy while trying to attempt as many questions as possible. At the end of the day, it is just an exam and your attitude towards it will define how well you perform.
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