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CAT Toppers on MBAUniverse.com: Interview with Amit Tandon, CAT 99.49 percentiler; admitted to IIM A (2009-11)
Amit Tandon is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from NSIT (2002 -2006). He is currently working in ST Microelectronics Pvt. Ltd, Greater Noida as Design Engineer. In CAT 2008, Amit scored 145 out of 360 with the percentile of 99.49.
Amit Tandon is an Electronics and Communication Engineer from NSIT (2002 -2006). He is currently working in ST Microelectronics Pvt. Ltd, Greater Noida as Design Engineer. In CAT 2008, Amit scored 145 out of 360 with the percentile of 99.49. He was shortlisted for GD PI by IIM A, B, L, I and K. He was also called for GD/ PI by FMS Delhi & MDI. He got final admission in IIM A, I, K, FMS and MDI. And , not surprisingly, he has chosen to study at IIM A.
Excerpts from interview with Amit Tandon by Sreetama Dutta of MBAUniverse.com:
Q: What was your CAT 2008 percentile?
A: I scored 99.4% in CAT 2008.
Q: Which are the institutes that shortlisted you for GD PI and offered you final admissions?
A: I was shortlisted for GD PI by IIM A, B, L, I and K. Also on the basis of my CAT score, I got a call from MDI. I was also shortlisted by FMS for GD/PI. I got final admission in IIM A, I, K, FMS and MDI.
Q: Which is the institute that you have decided to take admission and why?
A: I have decided to join IIM A as I feel it’s the best in the business.
Q: Which test prep institute did you go to? How did you make the selection? How should CAT 2009 aspirants make this decision?
A: I joined TIME for GD PI preparation. Along with that, I also took classes from Mr. Malay Ray, an IIM A alumni for enhancing my general and business awareness. I joined TIME because I was a test series student with TIME.
Regarding Malay Ray's classes, it was recommended to me by my friends and seniors.
I feel all the coaching institutes are good in their own rights so CAT aspirants can join any of these. I believe coaching institutes can only provide you the direction, rest is up to the student to capitalize on it.
Q: With just over 6 months to go, what is your advice to CAT 2009 aspirants?
A: I believe 6 months are sufficient to prepare for CAT exam. Students should make a proper study plan and stick to it. If I had to prepare a plan for myself, it would be something like this May - Basics of all the sections namely Quant, DI and English (Grammar rules, Diverse RC etc)
June - Higher level Problems of all the sections
July, Aug and Sep - take 2 mock CATs per week and analyze them thoroughly. If need arises go back to the basics of the topics.
Oct - take 3 mock CAT per week and revise the previous mock papers.
Nov - Just relax and take one mock CAT per week so as to maintain the momentum till the D-day!
Q: How should they plan their study on the basis of different sections in the paper and time management?
A: Well first of all, one needs to asses one's strong and weak section and thereafter to divide time accordingly for preparation. First focus on the weak areas and once you attain reasonable confidence in those, you can divide your time equally for different section from the point of view of preparation.
However, I feel 3-4 hours per day is sufficient for preparation. However a caveat here is that one should not go overboard with the CAT studies. It may result in saturation and instance of peaking at the wrong time. We should remember that at the end of day CAT is not about mugging things but rather understanding and applying the concepts in the exam.
Q: As you are aware, CAT 2009 will be a computer-based-test. In your view, how does this change the exam?
A: I feel the basic outlook of the exam will remain the same with exam checking proficiency of students in Quant, DI and English. As of now there is no communication from IIMs regarding the format, but in my opinion it will be a scroll based exam (unlike adaptive in GMAT) with a little bit reduction in the difficulty level of questions asked.
However with CAT going online, now the checking process will be faster and student will be able to know their score on the spot and issues like mistakes on marking on OMR sheet etc will be eliminated. Well the first and the foremost change will be that exam will be conducted over a ten day window, so I am still wondering how will the authorities maintain the surprise element which has been the USP of CAT exam till date. I feel it could benefit those taking exams on later date as they will be aware of the format and mentally prepared for the same.
Q: What is your take on this new format?
A: I feel the new format is good in a way that it will expedite the checking process and students will be able to know their score on the spot and issues like mistakes on marking on OMR sheet etc will be eliminated.
However with the exam being conducted over a ten day window, I am still wondering how the authorities will maintain the surprise element which has been the USP of CAT exam till date. I feel it could benefit those taking exams on later date as they will be aware of the format and mentally prepared for the same. But I am sure IIMs must have thought about the same and will be working to put things in place. So let’s wait for the CAT bulletin which will unlock all the mysteries regarding the novel pattern.
Q: Are you happy that you did not have to appear for this format or you feel that CBT form would have been better for you?
A: Well I feel all of us are resistant to change so in a way I feel happy about the fact that I could take CAT in the older format. Having said that, I believe it’s a change in a positive direction and all of us will benefit from the same. More importantly, CAT is known for its surprises year after year so let’s take it as one such surprise and get going.
Q: What should aspirants do to adjust to this new format?
A: As I already mentioned that the basic of the exams will remain the same so one need not to spend sleepless nights over the new format. However CAT aspirants should develop the habit of taking an exam online, reading articles on computer so as to prepare them for the new format. In my opinion, the difficulty level of the exam should come down with CAT going online, so we should consider this as a positive change and start preparing accordingly.
I wish all the best to CAT 2009 aspirants.