CAT 2019 topper with 100 percentile and IIM Ahmedabad student of PGP 2020-22 batch, Rahul Gupta converted all the top four IIMs. Rahul was a working professional when he started preparing for the exam. Since there was no time to join class room coaching, Rahul preferred self preparation. He suggests to begin with basics, understand the logic behind the solution and then apply them while attempting the questions.
Rahul appeared in XAT 2020 also and scored 99.99 percentile. He converted XLRI but decided in favour of IIM-A. He likes playing Badminton, Reading and Swimming. A B.Tech from IIT Roorkee, Rahul hails from the Financial Capital of India – Mumbai. He had earned 2 years of working experience in diverse roles before joining IIM Ahmedabad.
MBAUniverse.com invited Rahul to share his exam taking strategy and GD-PI experience. Read on for his views and success mantras.
Q: How did you perform in CAT 2019?
A: I scored 100 overall percentile in CAT 2019. My sectional percentile score was 99.91 in VARC; 99.95 in LRDI and 99.97 in Quantitative Ability section.
Q: Apart from CAT 2019, which other exams did you appear?
A: Apart from CAT 2019, I appeared in XAT 2020 and scored 99.99 percentile.
Q: Which top B-schools have offered you admission and which one you have finally chosen?
A: Apart from getting final admission offer from IIM Ahmedabad, I have converted IIM Calcutta, IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow. I also converted XLRI as I scored 99.99 percentile in XAT. I finally decided to join IIM Ahmedabad
Q: What have been your academics? Do you have some work experience as well?
A: I am a B. Tech in ,Chemical Engineering from IIT Roorkee and have 2yrs of work experience as Software Engineer and in Fidelity Investments
Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: I started my preparation in July. Tried to study around 2-2.5 hrs a day as I was working at the time as well. The overall strategy was:
- Initially focused on getting the basics correct and solving some easy questions to get comfortable with the subject then move on to try higher level problems
- Started giving the mocks as soon as they started instead of waiting till end.
- Used to analyze the solutions extensively to check what mistakes I made or the questions I missed during the test. It helped me to decide the topics I needed to put more efforts in.
Q: Please share your preparation strategy for VARC Section?
A: For RC mainly it was about understanding the passage and selecting the correct options. Initially solved questions without tracking time to build the correct logic. Then gradually focused on improving the speed while maintaining accuracy. Reading other articles or books helped in increasing speed. Practiced lot of questions to improve my accuracy in VA section
Q: How did you prepare for DILR Section?
A: I solved some basic questions covering various types of topics under the section. Then just solved a lot of questions whether from online tests, mocks to any material available.
Q: Please share your preparation strategy for Quant Section?
A: I solved a lot of questions for each topic and practised the tricks to help reduce the time per question. Started from the basic topics such as Number system and Percentage, etc then moved to other topics. Kept revisiting any topic If I made too many errors in any test.
Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: Had some issues with accuracy in VARC initially, then tried to understand the logic behind solutions and to apply them while solving questions. Revisited every question after a mock and try to come up with the correct answers for any question missed. For LRDI the main issue was time management during the test. I tried to reduce my expectations initially and to try and solve only 4 sets in a mock. This helped with improving accuracy and with set selection. Tried to solve more questions gradually. For Quant it was mainly about improving speed and accuracy making minimum mistakes. Solving a lot of questions helped with this.
Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Before the exam I attempted around 15-16 mocks and some additional sectional tests. I made sure I took the mocks with the schedule and not wait till the end. It helped me being consistent and gave ample time to analyze the mocks as well. Mocks played a huge role in improving my performance as I got to know my strengths and weaknesses by analyzing my past performance and to work on my test strategy as well.
Q: Did you self-prepare or attend a coaching centre and why?
A: I prepared by myself with the help of some materials I had from various classes. I could not find enough time to attend classes along with work and felt that self-learning would be more efficient for me.
Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A: I tried to keep myself relaxed on the day of exam. Worrying too much makes me do silly mistakes which I wanted to avoid. My centre was from my place so made sure all the bookings were done properly so I don’t have to worry about them on the day of exam. Tried to get a good sleep the night before and tried not to think much about any topic or subject to avoid last minute panic.
Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT. Please share your GD/WAT topics & PI questions?
A: I joined IMS to prepare for GD/PI which provided me with lot of mock interviews and WATs. The suggestions and comments I got were really helpful in improving my answers and to boost my confidence. Having a variety of interviews helped me prepare for various situations in the interviews and helped me perform well.
Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2020.
A: My message to everyone attempting CAT would be to be consistent with the studies as well as the mocks. Consistency will help in improving the speed and accuracy. Attempting mocks and analyzing them would expose them to a lot of questions and would help identify weaknesses. Having a proper strategy to attempt the paper matters as much as the knowledge as CAT requires a lot of speed as well. Do cover the basics first and then focus on improving speed and trying different strategies in mocks and find the one suitable to you.
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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