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Identify your strengths & weaknesses, advises CAT topper
mbauniverse.com | 08 Sept, 2012 0202 hrs IST
In today's Topper Mantras, we share with you the experience of Siddhant Gupta, who scored 98.67 percentile in CAT 2011 and is a student of IIM Raipur.
"An aspirant has to be disciplined in managing time and careful about the course structure and changes brought into the format." Siddhant Gupta
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Why and when did you decide to do MBA and what is your plan after completing the management course?
A: Having analyzed my individual expertise like abilities to solve comprehensive problems, creative thought process and command over communicating skills, I found MBA was the best option for me. I also have an inclination towards the corporate world. Last but not the lease, it also provides financial and social stability.
Q: How did you start preparation and what was your overall strategy?
A: I started preparation in the third year of my graduation. Educational websites bridged the gap between me and the CAT syllabi. I consulted my seniors and a few educationalists to guide me. Then I joined an institute that helped a lot in preparation. I always preferred systematic study with a rough time table in mind. My primary strategy was to bring accuracy with less number of questions and then to analyse productive questions i.e. questions which take less time and fetch more marks. Consequently, my focus shifted to bringing speed with accuracy.
Q: What is your CAT 2011 percentile? Which other MBA entrance exams did you take?
A: My CAT 2011 score was 98.67 percentile. I also appeared for XAT (98.63 percentile) and IIFT (missed cut-offs by .25 marks).
Q: Please share your WAT/PI experience in detail
A: I had my WAT/PI in Delhi. I was given a topic on financial crisis in Europe. I was asked to speak on any topic from current affairs during the interview. I chose to talk on KFA bailout. I explained the problem and was asked for possible solutions. I suggested some solutions and a few cross questions were fired. Then I was asked a few questions on chemistry (I am a chemical engineer). Towards the end, I was grilled on “Which IIM will I choose if I happen to get multiple converts”. I linked it to the question related to the meaning of name and the panel seemed impressed.
Q: Which institutes offered you final admission? Why did you choose IIM Raipur?
A: MDI, IIM Trichi, IIM Kashipur and IIM Raipur offered me final admission. I chose IIM Raipur because of its future growth prospect, the PGPM course structure. Also, being a new IIM, it will bring more qualified faculty as well as ideas and innovations for future.
Q: Do you think it is possible to crack CAT without taking formal coaching? What would be your suggestions for CAT 2012 aspirants who would like to prepare by themselves?
A: Formal coaching does not provide any guarantee to crack CAT. But an aspirant has to be disciplined in managing time and careful about the course structure and changes brought into the format. Stay connected with seniors, newspapers & magazines and other sources of information. I feel at the end of the day, it is the strategy that takes one home.
Q: CAT saw a major change in the format & pattern in 2011. Did this new pattern cause any hindrance in your preparation or exam taking strategy?
A: Changes did affect preparations as I had started in 2010. The overall strategy changed to maximizing sectionals instead of managing time. This required a change in the selection criteria of questions. To deal with such situations, one has to be a smart analyzer, optimistic and off course hard working.
Q: What was your preparation strategy for quantitative ability & data interpretation and verbal ability & logical reasoning?
A: Same as the overall strategy of accuracy. Practice is a must for quantitative ability and data interpretation. With practice, confidence and a few tests, the focus should shift to understanding of the pattern of questions. Questions requiring less time should be selected first and others should be attempted later. A thorough knowledge of one’s own strengths and weaknesses can be of great help.
Q: What was your strategy for time management?
A: Systematic preparation of timetable (that is divided on the basis of units/chapters/subjects) should be done rather than spending time unnecessarily on them. Figure out the most productive time of your day and plan study hours accordingly. Study with a fresh mind and take regular gaps so that you can retain what you have studied. Study sessions of shorter durations with high concentration level helped me.
Q: What is your message for MBA aspirants taking CAT 2012 and other exams of the season?
A: With easy access to Internet, study material, mentors and coaching institutes, aspirants should make the most out of the available resources. I would just say it is the era of smart and intelligent individuals. So plan your resources (the most important being time) using all your wits and synchronize activities in the best possible way.
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