‘Frame the CAT Challenges Before You’: CAT Topper & FMS Student Kumar Ravi shares CAT Preparation Strategy

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Updated on August 22, 2018
CAT topper with 99.99 percentile and FMS Delhi student Kumar Ravi scored 99.17 in VARC, 99.99 in DILR, and 99.68 in Quant. He shares his CAT preparation strategy by defining challenges and approaches to overcome them for the benefit of CAT 2018 aspirants
CAT Topper and FMS Student Kumar Ravi shares
“For CAT preparation I first started by framing the challenges in front of me” Kumar Ravi, CAT topper & FMS Delhi Student

An inspiration for CAT 2018 aspirants, the CAT topper with 99.99 percentile and FMS Delhi student Kumar Ravi is a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from VNIT Nagpur with an inclination towards automobile engineering. His sectional percentile in CAT is 99.17 in VARC, 99.99 in DILR, and 99.68 in Quant. By cracking CAT 2017 with 99.99 percentile, Kumar has proved that IIM-CAT can be conquered only by students of small towns also.

 A working professional before joining FMS Delhi, Kumar  had gained 8 months experience in Pidilite Industries Limited where he was exposed to the best practices in the industry. Kumar Ravi hails from Munger in Bihar. Apart from CAT, he also appeared in XAT 2018 and scored 98.8 percentile. Kumar Ravi was offered admission at FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon and XLRI Jamshedpur. However, he has preferred to join MBA 2018-20 batch at FMS Delhi. 

Kumar comes from an educational family with his father as the Principal of UGC college and his mother a professor of chemistry. His brothers have also done a splendid job of setting up a benchmark for him. His eldest brother is an IIM Bangalore product and is working in Aditya Birla Group and his other elder brother is a BITS Pilani passout who is working with linkedin and is a fitness freak with strong commitment to give back to the society.

Kumar keeps himself fit by doing Yoga, loves Trekking and Cycling. Kumar Ravi shares with MBAUniverse.com his CAT preparation journey for the benefit of CAT 2018 aspirants:

MBAUniverse.com: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?

Kumar (CAT Topper): For CAT preparation I first started by framing the challenges in front of me. The challenges which I identified in the first few mocks were as follows:

  • Score consistently in all sections, specially VARC.
  • Have focus on marks and not on completing the syllabus or having extra knowledge about the course material.
  • Develop a monitoring system to gauge the work division amongst all three sections.

MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)?

Kumar (CAT Topper): For VARC I started with improving my Vocabulary and grammar as that is the foundation for a better English. I started reading THE HINDU daily and also bought a kindle as it has a very nice vocabulary builder tool. In a few months I noticed that I had improved my VA skills and consistently practiced the parajumbles questions with a basic rule that the book is always right.

In few months time I had improved a lot upon the VARC part but was still struggling with RC which comprised 60% of the marks. For RC I started back with the basics again and started with the practice of summarising whatever I read using a pen and paper. The understanding of passages improved in a month and my only problem left was how to reduce negative marking. For that I realised looking at the mock analysis that I was not gauging the difficulty level of each test and used to attempt 70% of questions in all tests.

I started developing the ability to gauge the difficulty level and answer accordingly. By the last 3 mocks I performed consistently enough to foster enough confidence for the final CAT exam.

MBAUniverse.com: What was your preparation Strategy for Quantitative Ability (QA)?

Kumar (CAT Topper): For quants I did not have to struggle much as I was already very good with maths since school days. My only challenge was to convert this knowledge into marks in the tests. For this I realised that it is all about correct choice of questions to leave and a throughout speed in the paper so as to necessarily reach to the end of paper comfortably. With this mindset I started approaching the tests and every mock test I used to analyse with 2 mindsets. First was asking myself how could I have scored more in the test with the same level of knowledge and skills I have. Second was to find that one thing which if I knew would have fetched me maximum marks in the tests. Working upon this strategy I was at a comfortable position on the day of CAT’17.

MBAUniverse.com: How did you prepare for Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning Section in CAT?

Kumar (CAT Topper):  For DILR I figured out that there are 2 things which should be followed. First is expanding the number of types of sets you are familiar with. Second is getting the right strategy to attempt the paper. For first one needs to solve all the sets he finds and know which are the types he/she is comfortable with. For second the strategy is solving in the increasing order of difficulty and towards end solving only the parts of the sets and not necessarily the entire set.

MBAUniverse.com: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?

Kumar (CAT Topper): I was particularly weak at VARC and the strategy is already conveyed in the above section in all details. But I will still boil it down to 3 words here- basics, perseverance and guidance.

MBAUniverse.com: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many Mocks did you attempt before the exam?

Kumar (CAT Topper): I attempted around 20 mock during my preparation. Mocks played a very crucial role in my success. Mocks were the feedback I required about my preparation and were also a testing ground for the strategies which I had framed. They also were a decent representation of what all types of papers could come in CAT and the hence the strategy framed should be capable to deal with all the kinds of mocks faced.

MBAUniverse.com: Did you Self-Prepare or attend a Coaching Centre?

Kumar (CAT Topper): I joined the TIME coaching centre in Bangalore majorly because I had quit my job and had all the time in hand. The coaching centre would serve to provide me with a base level to start and with the help of knowledge and experience of the faculties I learned and grew fast to reach the best level.

MBAUniverse.com: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?

Kumar (CAT Topper): My strategy for CAT day was to be at my best performing state. That state has the features like being well fed, not sleepy and having a calm mind. I ate a light lunch before exam, had perfect sleep the night before and had well enough confidence in me on the day of the exam so as to avoid any panic. Also I had been practicing yoga and meditation since a long time and that really helped me to have a very composite and calm mind on the day of the exams.

MBAUniverse.com: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2018

Kumar (CAT Topper): Be confident of your ability. Cracking CAT with top percentile is no big deal if you have invested smartly. Hours of work do not count much but the clarity of what you are studying and why you are studying is what counts. Have a sound strategy and a calm composed mind.

MBAUniverse.com: Did you face any weak moment when you self-doubted your preparation and scared failure? Please narrate it, if so.

Kumar (CAT Topper): Till the last mocks I was performing at around 98%ile and I had built up some doubts. But then my brother said that all who score more than 95 can score 100 if they perform well on the day and stick to their strategy rather than being carried away by their impulses. I believed in his words and started meditating even more and removed any doubts from my mind.

MBAUniverse.com: What kind of personal struggles/challenges you had to face while preparing for these exams like facing family or peer pressure, convincing your parents, etc?

Kumar (CAT Topper): My journey was very smooth and there were just a few times where I struggled. My brother with whom i stayed took care that all my requirements are met and I get all the freedom I ask to study. He even handled my parents’ pressure.

MBAUniverse.com: Who was your support system all this while?

Kumar (CAT Topper): My support system was my family, especially my brother who had immense faith in me since ever. This faith motivated me continuously to stick to my purpose and prove him right. My product head from the coaching institute TIME was also instrumental in the journey with his crisp and clear feedbacks.

MBAUniverse.com:   What are your aspirations for your future?

Kumar (CAT Topper):  I want to be able to connect corporate better to the society and make the people and planet a part of the bottom line apart from the financial gains. I want that the corporates benefit more from environment and people and people and environment benefit more from corporates. This is a tough challenge and i would like to lead this scenario and get it emulated by others.

MBAUniverse.com:  One unique incident that you can recall related to preparation days.

Kumar (CAT Topper): When I started preparation I was confident that I will score quite good. Based on this confidence I went straight up to TIME management and asked them for a scholarship. They enquire if I had any good percentile in the past to which my answer was that it is my first attempt at CAT. They were not convinced enough. I know they are convinced now.

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on CAT toppers success stories