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Learn from mistakes & avoid them on D Day: CAT topper
mbauniverse.com | 16 August, 2012 0525 hrs IST
In today's Topper Mantras, we will talk to Parag Poddar, who scored 99.65 percentile in CAT 2011 and took admission in IIM Indore.
"The tool of preparing through mock tests helped me gain speed and structure strategies for the examination." Parag Poddar, CAT 2011 99.65 percentiler, & an IIM Indore student
Parag did his graduation in electronics & telecommunication engineering from the Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Shibpur, in 2012. After a stint with the industry, he plans to own a start-up venture which will cater to the needs of the society.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Why and when did you decide to do MBA? What is your plan after you complete your MBA?
A: I decided to pursue MBA in the pre-final year of my graduation. I was always interested in entrepreneurship and was actively involved in the Entrepreneurship Development Cell (EDC) of my university. This further honed my skills and motivated me to pursue a course in management. The benefits of networking, zeal to achieve organizational skills and passion for learning further compelled me to take up MBA as a career.
I plan to join the corporate world immediately after my MBA and gain experience and expertise from the best of the industry. Eventually, I intend to have my own start-up venture in the long run which would cater to the needs of the society.
Q: What is your CAT 2011 percentile?
A: My overall CAT percentile was 99.65.
Q: Please share your WAT/PI experience in detail.
A: The WAT process for IIM Indore involved summarizing an article in one-third word limit and was followed by essay writing. I had been practicing essays during my GD/WAT preparations and this helped me perform well in the WAT section.
This was followed by PI. Being a fresher, I was questioned thoroughly on my subjects. Professors checked every aspect of my personality through questions on general awareness, GK, current affairs and my background. The interview was a great learning experience and helped me gauge myself better and identify areas of improvement.
Q: Which institutes offered you final admission? Why did you choose IIM Indore?
A: I was very focussed about my goal, and hence, I was offered final admission only at IIM Indore as I did not appear for any other competitive exams.
The state-of-art-infrastructural facilities, best faculty, huge alumni base, great opportunity of networking with a large batch of talented students from various walks of life and the unique pedagogical tools of preparations motivated me to choose IIM Indore.
Q: How did you start the preparation and what was your overall strategy?
A: I started preparing from March 2011.The syllabus for CAT revolves around basic aptitude and is concentrated around mathematics and aptitude preparations done during Class VIII to Class XII.
I started with brushing up basic concepts and formulae for each chapter and supplemented my preparation by taking chapter-wise mock tests. For the verbal ability section, I concentrated more on reading speed and comprehensions. I started reading newspapers to increase my knowledge and gain speed in reading and interest in various subjects. Section-wise tests also helped me prepare modules in the verbal section. This was followed by thorough analysis of each section and the mistakes made. The solutions to all the problems helped me find alternate and easier ways of solving problems. The tool of preparation through tests helped me gain speed and structure strategies of taking the test. Online tests and surfing articles regularly made me adept to the habit of reading from computer and helped me concentrate better during my tests. Regular tests and analysis is the best way to identify one’s weakness and improve on them.
Q: Do you think it is possible to crack CAT without taking formal coaching? What would you suggest the CAT 2012 aspirants who would like to prepare by themselves?
A: Yes, I myself did not take formal coaching and have encouraged my fellow mates to prepare for the CAT on their own. I just enrolled for a test series which helped to keep me updated of the contents and pattern of the CAT and gauge my skills and performance.
My suggestion to CAT 2012 aspirants is that preparing by themselves would be to get into a habit of taking tests regularly. Perseverance is the key to success and irrespective of one’s performance at the mock test he/she should learn from his/her mistakes through analysis of the test and find better and faster alternatives of approaching a question. Don’t forget to scan questions of for two to three minutes before attempting. You should always have a strategy of approach in place before attempting CAT so as to increase efficiency.
Q: CAT saw a major change in the format & pattern in 2011. How did you prepare for it? Did this new pattern cause any hindrance in your preparation or exam taking strategy?
A: In my initial stages of preparation, I got used to attempting LR section first and then move across the other sections as per my comfort. However, I practised tests with different strategies, attempting different sections first in each new mock test. This made me flexible through the test process. However, the fixed time limit with no option of switching across sections during the test called for a complete change in my strategy of attempting the paper. I used to take three to four questions from different sections first and then go about the rest. However, the new pattern demanded dedication and focus on one section. I enrolled for an online test series and started practicing rigorously. The inherent advantage of working only on one area and gaining speed as one moves through helped me ace the technique. The test method of preparation helped me sink in the format and perform well on the day of the examination.
Q: What was your preparation strategy for quantitative ability & data interpretation and verbal ability & logical reasoning?
A: Regular practice tests and problem solving were an integral part of my preparations for quantitative ability and data interpretation. I used to discuss problems with my friends who were enrolled in coaching institutes, solve puzzles and read newspapers regularly. The editorial sections of the newspapers helped me add to my vocabulary and gain speed and hone my comprehension skills. Apart from these, reading articles dedicated to various fields and story books helped me inculcate interest in various domains. Regular practice tests helped me gain the skills of effective solving.
Q: What was your strategy for time management?
A: My college hours stretched from 8 am to 5 pm. With bulk assignments and tests on weekdays, I prepared mostly on weekends. I used to take tests every Tuesday and Saturday and used to analyze the paper and brush up my weak areas on other days. Regular feedback from friends and perseverance helped me cope up with the hectic schedule.
Q: What is your message for MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2012 and other exams of the season?
A: My message to all the CAT 2012 aspirants is to develop the habit of taking computer-based mock tests. One should be perseverant with his efforts and learn from mistakes. CAT is now about speed and time management and I would advise everyone to experiment through the mock tests and develop the best strategy to suit one’s own aptitude to get the maximum efficiency.
Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more Topper Mantras.
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