Chandanbala, a B.Com with 51% Cracks CAT 2019 with 98.28%ile; Gets into IIM Udaipur; Never found Questions too Hard

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Updated on September 9, 2020
Bringing proud to her family, mentors and home town Surat, Chandanbala Shyamsunder Dhanawat, CAT 2019 topper, cracked the exam with 98.28 percentile and has converted number of top B-schools including IIM Udaipur, Rohtak, Raipur, IMT, IMI among others. A graduate in Commerce with moderate percentage of marks, Chandanbala earned 2½ years of working experience in Sales while preparing for CAT at IMS Learning. Read her CAT preparation strategy and success mantra
CAT 2019 Topper Chandanbala Shyamsunder Dhanawat

CAT 2020 exam date is Sunday, November 29, 2020. To help the aspirants preparing for CAT 2020, MBAUniverse.com has published a series of articles on CAT preparation plan & strategy adopted by CAT toppers studying at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, MDI Gurgaon among others. Below are shared the interview excerpts with CAT preparation tips by CAT Topper Chandanbala Shyamsunder Dhanawat, and IIM Udaipur student of 2020-22 batch 

A graduate in Commerce, Chandanbala Shyamsunder Dhanawat from Surat, (Gujarat) cracked CAT 2019 with 98.28 percentile and has converted number of top B-schools including IIM Udaipur, IIM Raipur, IIM Rohtak , IMT Ghaziabad , IMI Delhi, XIM Bhubaneswar among others. However, she has opted for IIM Udaipur.

Chandanbala is a B.Com. She has proved that high percentage of marks in graduation is not necessary to get MBA admission in one of the top B-schools. She scored 51% in her B.Com. While preparing for CAT exam, she earned 2½ years of working experience as Sales Executive at Saraf Furniture.

With a firm confidence and planned preparation strategy, Chandanbala was confident to crack CAT 2019 with high score and get into her dream IIM. She did not appear in any other MBA entrance test apart from CAT. Chandanbala is very particular on her fitness and is doing Yoga for almost 11 years. Her hobbies include Canvas & grass drawing, sketching. 

MBAUniverse.com invited Chandanbala to share her preparation and exam taking strategy, GD-PI experience. Read on for her views and success mantras. 

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Q: How did you perform in CAT 2019?
A: I scored 98.28 overall percentile in CAT 2019; 97.18 percentile in VARC section; 95.52 in DILR Section and 97.32 percentile in Quantitative Ability section.

Q: Apart from CAT 2019, which other exams did you appear?
A: I did not appear in any other exam as I focused on CAT only.

Q: Which top B-schools have offered you admission and which one you have finally chosen?
A: I converted IIM Udaipur , IIM Raipur , IIM Rohtak , IMT Ghaziabad , IMI Delhi ,XIM Bhubaneswar , FORE School of Management Delhi , KJ Somaiya Mumbai , NIRMA University Ahmedabad. I finally decided to join IIM Udaipur

Q: What have been your academics? Do you have some work experience as well?
A: I am a B. Com with 51% marks and scored 81.4% in Class 12 and 76% in class 10. I have 30 months of work experience as Sales Executive in Saraf Furniture.

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: The first thing you prepare for is getting to know the exam pattern and syllabus of CAT in detail. There is ample study material available online even for those who do not take coaching for CAT and me being an IMS student, I had the best study material to solve. Online Mock Tests which starts from April and goes till November are of great help. Study Group for GD/PI preparations are important. During your CAT PL preparation internet in the best buddy you can have. Lastly Confidence and Motivation are the two things which will help you finish the journey.

Q:  Please share your sectional preparation strategy for VARC in CAT
A: To prepare for VARC the best way, is to start reading novels and articles. Mocks and sample tests could do wonders in verbal Ability preparation if taken seriously. I personally find ready books and articles boring but they helped me improve my vocabulary and help me score good in my CAT. The Norman Lewis book will be of great help to work on vocabulary.

Q:  Please share your preparation strategy for DILR Section
A: There’s no strategy to prepare for DILR. It totally depends on how your mind works and how broad you imagination is. Practice can help you get through it.

Q:  Please share your preparation strategy for Quant Section
A:  Most important part of quant is to build your basics strong. I figured out what my strengths are. Then I Worked on shortcut techniques to solve the questions fast. Getting the formulas right was my next step for the topics which could be solved by it. Practice and practice and only practice can help you achieve good score or percentile in CAT. Utmost important thing is to understand the Question properly and then solve.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: Quant was a weak section for me. At times I realised the questions were never too hard to hard to solve it was just in my mind that I could not solve it. So the technique I adopted was to solve the questions which were there on my online IMS portal, starting form easy to moderate to hard and eventually I succeeded and scored good in quant section.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Mocks played an equally important role as the study material. Mocks were the eye openers of how much I genuinely know and where do I stand. Around 20 to 25 mocks I attempted before actual CAT exam which included take-home and SimCATs. I even solved previous 2 years CAT papers also as a mock. Mocks tell you what the actual scenario is and how much hard work you still have to put into. Analysis of mocks is very important to rectify your mistake for next time.

Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I attended a coaching centre named IMS because it has very good mentors and are of constant support to the students having queries and problem with preparations. The method which they use to teach is really good and the SimCATs are very useful and the online material is all what you need. The best what a student can expect from a coaching classes is IMS (best for each and every thing).

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A:  Revise all the concepts and go to bed with a clear and confident mind. Sleep well the night before. To be able to stay alert during the CAT exam, it is important to sleep well a night before. Sleep for at least eight hours before the CAT 2019 exam day for a calm and relaxed mind during the exam.

Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT. Please share your GD/WAT topics & PI questions?
A: Kept myself Updated with the latest happenings. In the GD/WAT, any topic related to current happening can be allocated to test your general awareness. Remember that GD is not about how much you know about an issue/current happening; but it is about how you put forward your views and opinion about that issue. PI is usually about the HR questions which your coaching institutes provide you with.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2020.
A: Give your 100 percent and do the hard work, don’t leave any stone unturned. The last words from my side will be “your lack of dedication is an insult for those you believe in you ". This was my mantra for CAT and I hope this help the CAT 2020 aspirants also.

This article is published in partnership with IMS Learning, India’s leading CAT Coaching Institute. To know more about their CAT 2020 Online Preparation & Test Series, and to get extra 10% MBAUniverse.com Reader Discount, check details here.

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