By cracking CAT 2017 with 100 percentile, Yogesh, a commerce graduate, has proved that IIM-CAT is no more an engineers’ domain nor it can be conquered only by students of Metros. Coming from the small town of Kaithal in Haryana, Yogesh, a B.Com from SRCC Delhi, belongs to a modest family which runs a poultry farm in Kaithal.
Yogesh, now a student of IIM Calcutta for PGP 2018-20 shares with MBAUniverse.com his CAT preparation journey for the benefit of CAT aspirants
Q. What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A. I started preparing for CAT’17 during the month of June 2017. For me, the time till the final exam day can be divided in two phases. First, when I spent most of the time learning new things each day, figuring out my weak spots and not worrying about the performance in mocks/test sheets etc. In the second phase, along with practicing those concepts I used to constantly evaluate through mocks from different coaching institutes, sectionals, workshops and spent an equal amount of time analysing my performance to find key areas that could help me improve.
Q. How did your prepare for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)?
A. As someone who isn’t very strong at vocabulary, I had decided to focus on other aspects of the VARC section. I began with the RC portion considering its huge weightage and focused on getting accuracy first by practicing without any time limit. To improve my reading speed, I decided to read random online articles about things that are not my direct area of interest like botany, psychology etc. I couldn’t get my accuracy high enough in the VA section and thus I decided to focus most of my exam time on the RCs. Also while attempting the exam, my strategy was to keep track of the amount of time I spent on each of the RCs (which would roughly be 2 minutes per question towards the end).
Q. What was your preparation Strategy for Quantitative Ability (QA)?
A. For me QA was the section I spent the most time on given its vast variety of questions. I started off by learning the concepts through basic questions from each topic and increased the difficulty gradually. Once I was done with the printed material provided by TIME, I started taking sectionals with increasing difficulty level and solved the printed material once again with focus on speed this time. I usually used to look up the solution of questions that took me more than enough time to solve in order to figure out a faster way. Also, I realized that it’s not mandatory for someone to cover all the topics rather it’s more important to be able to face any question from the topics that you have covered, hence I ensured that I was thorough with whichever topic I was doing.
Q. How did you prepare for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Section in CAT?
A. DILR is the section that has the greatest amount of surprise element in it. Hence, the key lies in practice. The more you practice, the better you are at choosing the right sets and figuring out how to crack it. Time is a crucial factor for all the sections but most of all for DILR. But during the initial stage, I decided to focus more on accuracy and approach. Gradually, I was able to increase the number of questions I could attempt. Also, one needs to be able to decide when to stop trying to do a particular set and for the same I used to ensure that I don’t spend more than requisite time on a particular set.
Q. Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A. In the initial few mocks, I struggled a lot with selection of the right LRDI sets, something that almost everyone faces. Soon I realized that the problem is stemming out of my lack of practice with different sets at the same time. Thus I started writing full-fledged sectionals for the section and was able to make the right picks gradually.
Q. What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A. During the first half of my preparation period, my focus was not on the mocks as much as on the basic concepts. But as the time progressed, I moved from the books to the sectionals to the mocks. Towards the end, most of my preparation time would be taking and analysing mocks. The idea was to have faced every possible scenario before the final exam and after writing roughly 40 mocks(both TIME and CL), I was comfortable with any surprises that the exam had.
Q. Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A. I attended regular 1 year coaching classes offered by TIME. Since CAT has very limited guidance on syllabus and an even limited material to refer to from the past years, I decided to join the coaching to get a better insight regarding the exam and to be able to do the syllabus in a more structured way. Also, to be in a classroom full of people writing CAT helps you keep up with the competition, after all, it’s a relative scoring exam.