IMT Students on cracking 95%ile + in CAT

Sep 28, 2022 | Blog

Common Aptitude Test (CAT) is one of the toughest exams for any B-school aspirant. More than 2 Lakh aspirants appear for this exam every year, and only the best of the lot make it to the premier B-schools of the country. CAT exam becomes the most crucial aspect in a candidate’s selection. It involves three sections Quantitative aptitude (QA), Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR). Still, a significant weightage in selection lies on the respective B-school’s intake strategy based on profile, diversity and in-person exercises like Written Ability Tests (WAT), group exercises (GD / GE), and personal interviews (PI) to determine whether a student is batch-fit. IMT-Ghaziabad, one of the oldest premier B-schools in India, intakes its students via exams like CAT, XAT and GMAT. To ensure selection, students score a high percentile to get a short list for the in-person rounds. At IMT-Ghaziabad, we have the best talents in the country making it to the PGDM (2 years program), who will be sharing below their strategies on cracking CAT with a 95+ percentile. Here is a mix of the three sharing their take on our questions:

What kind of exam is CAT?

Tushar says that CAT is a general aptitude that tests a candidate’s selections, time management, and accuracy. CAT requires intense practice and multiple simulated mock attempts and analyses leading to the ultimate test date. CAT expects you to handle high-pressure situations and objectives by keeping your nerves calm.

What inclined them towards MBA and taking up CAT?

Parth, who worked at his family-owned factory, found it inevitable to learn core management skills as that would help him gauge better resources, transactions and partnerships. He felt that only formal learning at the highest level could incorporate him with the necessary skills to lead further.

How did they start preparing for CAT?

Darshil began his CAT journey in January 2021. He took guidance from his peers & enrolled himself in an e-learning institute to learn all fundamentals across sections and balance his academics at NIT Surat. He strategised CAT into splits that included three stages of preparation. Each stage spanned roughly a period of 3 and a half months.

Initially, he backed his quantitative and DILR skills but began from scratch regarding the VARC section. He picked up fundamental topic-wise questions from his learning portal and solved one topic at a time until he was well versed in that topic. He dedicated 3-4 hours daily in this phase despite his graduation workload and remained focused, after which he started giving sectionals to reinforce his learning. His practice was not limited to the portal but also books by Arun Sharma & reading newspapers to strengthen his speed, vocabulary and interpretative skills. He set himself small targets and remained focused on them. Later, he picked up on a mock test series and went on solving mocks to get a hold of what the CAT looked like. He emphasised analysis and differentiated on micro levels about strengths and weaknesses in topics of each section. He timed himself in a very exam-like environment and ensured he kept any distractions at bay. He picked up speed, intuition and preparedness by going back to do SWOTs of his mocks. He planned revision for topics that had opportunities to learn and improve. Ultimately – mocks, analysis and revision had their most tremendous significance during this phase. Lastly, realise that difficulty levels of mocks are like bell curves and increasing the mock attempts as you approach the penultimate month is essential. Still, it is equally necessary to tone down on the difficulty of the mocks as they may hinder your belief. He used previous years’ papers to solve this issue, and they felt more relevant. He undertook at least three mocks every week.

While Parth had a similar approach of consistency to the strategy of Darshil, Tushar had a shorter timeframe in which a different approach was required. He backed his history of giving many aptitude tests like Olympiads. He began the preparation very sincerely at the far end of the CAT cycle, where he completely immersed himself into aggressive mock giving & critical analysis throughout the day in the last month.

What was their mock and analysis strategy?

Tushar stated that he gave about two mocks daily. He didn’t miss out on noting his analysis and then covering the trickier parts. He analysed the time spent per question but focused more on getting things right. He said, “Moderate attempts & highest accuracy.” Though his percentiles initially fluctuated in an extensive range, he quickly gained a knack for the paper and became a good selector of questions. That improved his attempts as well as his confidence in his process. He kept going constant with the approach that later paid him dividends. He realised he was good at VARC and started mentoring his peers in their weaker areas of VARC to extend his command further.

Parth emphasised that knowing ‘why’ he went wrong was necessary; he revisited video solutions and solved some basic questions to regain the concept.

How important is a support system?

Conversations with peers helped Darshil & Parth keep negativity away. Peer learning provided them with healthy collaborative learning and a symbiotic friendship. Speaking with parents & friends helped tough times pass away, watching something, and going out are a few ways. It was embarked that taking short breaks from intense focus was crucial as it helped to clear the air and bubble around the study table to replenish the lost energy in getting back stronger. Tushar’s pet dog remained a constant support through the challenging preparation phase.

What kept them determined despite setbacks?

For Tushar, it was necessary to not dwell on what went wrong but to focus on how he could do better the next time. Darshil explained that finding opportunities, even in weakness, was vital. He adopted intelligent ways to tackle any difficulty. Accepting their mistakes, how big or silly they were, was fruitful. Establishing focus and awareness about strengths and weaknesses kept the zeal alive.

D-Day strategy:

In the last week, Parth kept himself away from test-taking to avoid any plunge in marks or confidence due to a tough paper. On the day of the CAT paper, he went confidently and contained any urge of unnecessary conversations about preparation or paper style. In the room, he faced issues with a lack of space, to which his months of mock environment came as a rescue, and he managed that discomfort. He kept himself composed and sailed through the paper, knowing at the end that the paper had gone well enough to crack into a dream B-school.

Their critical takeaways from CAT?

Darshil stated – ‘Believe in oneself.’. While for Tushar, they were – ‘Resilience to bounce back, confidence anywhere and anytime, building right strategy, give an ample number of mocks, and most importantly always manage your time.’

Results & after:

The three expected a good result and were elated to have secured a great percentile; the announcement of results came as a relief and end to the journey. But for Parth, the real struggle began as the in-person rounds hindered him in converting great calls. So, he took the task up and started immersing himself diligently in GPI-PI-WAT preparations with his mentors and gave a series of exercises to sail through the further process.

IMT & the life here:

It was a moment of sheer pride and happiness when they finally converted IMT-Ghaziabad. Months & days of effort finally converted into a result they desired. Life has drastically changed, and the preparation during the CAT journey is helping them cope with the tight schedules, expectations and rigour at B-school. They enjoy the hustle here and are delighted with the immersive learning, wide networking and global exposure that IMT-Ghaziabad provides.

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IMT Students on cracking 95%ile + in CAT ultima modifica: 2022-09-29T15:12:08+05:30 da imtadmin