CAT Toppers & Mindworkzz Students share their Preparation & Mocks Strategy and how Mentor Arun Sharma kept them motivated!

MBAUniverse.com News Desk |
January 11, 2022
MBAUniverse.com has been publishing profiles and insights from CAT 2021 Toppers. Continuing this series, we interviewed CAT 2021 Toppers who have scores 99+% and prepared at Mindworkzz, a leading institute established 20 years back by Mr. Arun Sharma who himself is an IIM Bangalore alumnus, also known as the “CAT Wizard” for having cracked the CAT exam 19 times with a percentile of 99.9 each time.
 CAT 2021 Toppers & Mindworkzz Students

CAT 2021 results were released on January 3. MBAUniverse.com has been publishing profiles and insights from CAT 2021 Toppers. Continuing this series, we interviewed CAT 2021 Toppers who have scores 99+% and prepared at Mindworkzz, a leading institute established 20 years back by Mr. Arun Sharma. Arun is an IIM Bangalore alumnus, also known as the “CAT Wizard” for having cracked the CAT exam 19 times with a percentile of 99.9 each time.

CAT 2021 99.87 Percentiler Rahul Chodankar, Ghaziabad boy Sahil Siddharth, who scored 99.68 % in CAT 2021, and CAT 2021 99.10 Percentiler ShaunakVora shares his CAT Preparation mantras. Also read CAT preparation strategy of Swetha A who scored 99.97% in CAT 2021 and Yash Khandelwal who scored 99.53%. Continue reading for insights and lots of motivation!

CAT 2021 99.87 Percentiler Rahul Chodankar shares his success mantras

Let’s start with Rahul who is a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kanpur and his home town is Mumbai. CAT 2021 was his first attempt. He was took NMAT, XAT, IIFT exams. Here is his brief profile:

Brief details about family:
Architects with Experience in Project Consultancy
Academic Profile:
BS Physics and Minor in Mech. Engg from IIT Kanpur
Work Experience:
-
Home Town:
Mumbai
CAT Exam Year
2021 was First Attempt, 4 Months Preparation
Your CAT 2021 Percentile %:
99.87 %ile
Your CAT 2021 Sectional Percentile %:
VARC- 99.83 %ile; DILR – 98.55 %ile; QA – 98.90 %ile
Other Entrance Exams taken & Percentile %:
NMAT Score – 240; XAT Score – 43.75; IIFT Score - 116
Your Hobbies & Interests:
Reading,
Calls Converted
To be shared after converting the calls
Final Admission:
To be shared after finalizing admission

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A:
The overall strategy was heavily focused on the mocks. Since I was preparing in just 4 months, I could only spend about 1 month of fulltime study of the core videos. After that I took a couple of mocks to assess my progress between before and after watching the videos, and then just revising the areas of concern.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC; DILR; QA
A:
Majority of my RC prep was already done as I have a strong habit of reading. Still, there was a lot to learn in deciding the correct option in a question. For VA, I practiced the para-jumbles outside of the mocks. Overall, my VARC prep was heavily reliant on the full-length mocks.

DILR was simple to understand, but required a lot of practice. After the core videos and the must do question bank, I focused on problem solving till I was confident enough to attempt every question. After that the game was to decrease the time.

QA was my weakest when I began, mainly due to having forgotten many formulae from class XII. Arun Sir’s videos were very helpful, and I even managed to learn some fundamental tricks. After that it was just the sectionals and the mocks.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A:
Mocks were the majority of my prep. Since I was short on time, I focused on solving mocks over untimed attempts. Including all the previous year papers, I attempted about 40 mocks. I even reattempted a few of the first mocks that I had given, as I wasn’t remembering the questions anyways.

Q: How did you combine your self-preparation with Coaching?
A:
For me, Coaching provided the plan of action that should be followed in my self-preparation. Finally it’s on me as a student to solve as many questions as I can and learn from every attempt that I make.

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A:
The strategy for the CAT day was to disconnect from everything else. I stopped thinking about what the test meant for me, and just focusing on solving the questions correctly. Just thinking of the CAT as another mock to give.

Q: To whom you would like to give credit to your Success in CAT 2021?
A:
Mainly my mother. She was a strong support for me while I was going through the ups and downs of the prep, as well as giving solid advice all throughout.

Arun Sharma Sir and the Mindworkzz team were a big help; without a guidance, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to achieve these numbers.

Q: Specifically, how is the Mindworkzz CAT preparation course? How it helped you?
A:
Mindworkzz’s CAT Prep course is quite comprehensive. Arun Sharma Sir’s core videos cover the crux of every topic thoroughly. Breaking up the complete syllabus into easily identifiable blocks was very helpful in planning out the area of concerns that I had over the course of the preparation.

Q: How are you preparing for PI-WAT round to get final admission offer from top B-schools? 
A:
The four-month CAT prep was on my aptitude; now I’m focusing on everything else. I’m exploring different subjects and trying to expand my horizons both outward and inward. The main part of GDPI I think is understanding who I am and what I think of the world; and then learning to communicate that to the B-Schools.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2022.
A:
Give as many mocks and analyse the paper after each one. Try to understand why you selected a particular answer – even the right ones. Give the mocks as seriously as the Final Paper, and try and keep incentives to improve. And on the day of the final paper, give it just like another mock.

CAT 2021 99.97 Percentiler Swetha A shares her success mantras

Swetha is Btech from NIT Calicut and currently working at Microsoft. She loves solving puzzles like Sudoku and Hidato! Here is her brief profile:

Brief details about your family:
Father: Ajayakumara Prabhu K S, Retired bank employee (SBI)
Mother: Sobhana D, Bank Cashier (Bank of Baroda)
Academic Profile (Colleges & Stream/course):
Btech ECE from NIT Calicut (2015-2019)
Work Experience:
Microsoft (Nov 2020- Present)
Affirmed Networks Pvt Ltd. (Aug 2019-Oct 2020)
Home Town:
Trivandrum, Kerala
CAT Exam Year (2021 and earlier, if more attempts in 2020 or 2019 were made):
2021 Have attempted earlier in 2018 and 2019 without any coaching
Your CAT 2021 Percentile %:
99.97
Your CAT 2021 Sectional Percentile %:
VARC:98.46; DILR: 99.92; QA: 99.93
Your Hobbies & Interests:
Solving puzzles like Sudoku and Hidato; Playing the Piano; Reading books

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A.
Since I am currently working, my preparation time was limited to a couple of hours on weekdays and weekends. I made it a point to attempt mocks and analyse it thoroughly. I also maintained a record of important concepts in QA that I could revise and use at ease. Overall, I can say that attempting mocks and more mocks and analysing it was the secret to my journey.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT?
A.
VARC: I have been a person who reads a lot since my childhood and hence I did not give much time to the preparation for this section. However I ensured to continue and keep in touch with reading even amidst prep and note down new words as and when I came across the same.

DILR: I was interested in solving puzzles and hence I enjoyed solving questions in this section. However during mocks, under the pressure of the timer, I used to waste a lot of time and often end up choosing wrong sets that affected my scores in the same. Mocks helped me gain an edge for this and also I made it a point to solve at least a couple of DILR sets every day.

QA: Since I had been out of touch with using Arithmetic and Algebra, I revised concepts that we had learned earlier. My main motive here was to increase speed and tackle the simpler questions first while maintaining accuracy. Again, attempting more mocks, analysis of different approaches and constant revision helped me gain this forte.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A.
Mocks would be the sole saviour in my hectic working schedule for CAT preparation. I solved close to 40 mocks and these helped me expose myself to myriad questions and helped me hone my strategy for the D-day from one mock to the next.

Q: How did you combine your self-preparation with Coaching?
A.
Since I am working, I have not been able to attend all the classes offered by coaching, However I ensured that I did clarify my doubts and attend lectures for topics from my weak areas. Mocks and analysis videos were a boon.

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A.
There was no special strategy for the D-Day. I kept my cool like I was attempting any other mock because you tend to make more mistakes when you are under pressure. I only revised important concepts that I had noted down before the D-Day and ensured that I got adequate sleep before the exam day. I had a target idea of the number of questions to attempt depending on the difficulty of the paper, which gets acquired on taking more mocks.

Q: Which are your dream B-schools where you wish to explore admission opportunities?
A. I aspire to pursue the MBA programme at IIM-Ahmedabad or IIM-Bangalore.

Q:  To whom you would like to give credit to your Success in CAT 2021?
A.
Attempting and preparing for any exam involves contribution and support from a lot of factors and I am grateful that these factors aided me. I am grateful to my parents for believing in me and giving me strength and motivation whenever I ended up with a bad mock attempt and felt overwhelmed. The coaching and the Mock tests were definitely a boon as it helped me analyse my weaknesses and equipped me well to face uncertainties on the D-day.

Q.11: How are you preparing for PI-WAT round to get final admission offer from top B-schools? 
A.
I have always had the habit of skimming through the daily newspaper and following current affairs. However post CAT exam I have been putting effort to build my current awareness more religiously. I have also engaged myself in a self-introspection process that helps evaluate my roles, impacts and contributions to the various events in different phases in my life and the factors that build up the answer to the ultimate “Why MBA” question.

Q: As you are aware there may be online PI in some of the top IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR and other B-schools, please share how you are preparing for the Online PI round …
A.
Since I have been working in the new normal conditions post March 2020, the WFH scenario has helped give exposure to handling meetings and sessions held in the online platform. Nevertheless, I would definitely be utilizing the mock GDs and PIs that would be conducted as part of the coaching process.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2022.
A.
I would say that the candidates need to have a self-evaluation, a SWOT analysis of their situation, e.g if they are freshers, working etc and come up with a plan that fits in their schedule. CAT is an exam that tests not only knowledge but also stress management and time management. I would urge students to not wait till they complete preparing/studying concepts and start attempting mocks which play a very crucial role in acing the exam. Stay calm, focused and motivated. Never lose hope with one bad mock. Mocks are the stepping stones that lead you to ace the exam. Cheers!

Q. How is the Mindworkzz CAT preparation course? How it helped you in cracking CAT with high percentile?
A.
I had attempted the Mindworkzz Scholarship Test and was fortunate enough to be one of the top scorers hence receiving 100% scholarship on the course fee for CAT 2021 preparation. The mocks and analysis were really helpful. So were the must-do sets for DILR. The telegram groups provided a good space where I could discuss with other aspirants and clear queries and find alternate approaches to solve problems.

Ghaziabad boy Sahil Siddharth, CAT 2021 99.68 %, shares his success mantra

Next up is Sahil who hails from Delhi NCR. Again, CAT 2021 was his first attempt. He is a B.Tech and M.Tech. Here is his brief profile:

About family:
Retrd. GOI officer, homemaker
Academic Profile (Colleges & Stream/course):
95/89/62 B.Tech-M.Tech CSE
Work Experience:
None
Home Town:
Ghaziabad
CAT Exam Year
2021 was his first attempt
Your CAT 2021 Percentile %:
99.68
Your CAT 2021 Sectional Percentile %:
VARC- 99.39, DILR- 99.25, QA-97.59.
Other Entrance Exams taken & Percentile %:
None
Your Hobbies & Interests:
Debating, Guitar, Taekwondo, Chess

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A:
I dedicated half the time to mock tests and other to basic concepts. I didn't do any advanced questions for the sake of it. Need to understand one's capabilities and prepare accordingly.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC; DILR; QA
A:
My preparation strategy was as follows:

  • For VARC, did passages mostly. Reconfigured my thinking according to each answer.
  • For DILR, did varying types of questions
  • For quants, covered the basics of each topics.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A:
DILR was my biggest fear, overcame it by doing a varying type of problems.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A:
Mocks are the most important in the CAT journey. Gave around 25-30 mocks.

Q: How did you combine your self-preparation with Coaching?
A:
I used coaching only when needed. Self-preparation was paramount.

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A:
My approach was to stay relaxed and give the exam without any preconceived notions about the exam.

Q: Which are your dream B-schools where you wish to explore admission opportunities?
A:
My Dream B-schools are FMS Delhi and IIM Calcutta.

Q10:  To whom you would like to give credit to your Success in CAT 2021?
A:
Myself and Mayank Raj Singh sir and Arun Sharma sir for his motivational talks!

Q: How is the Mindworkzz CAT preparation course? How it helped you in cracking CAT with high percentile?
A:
I liked the recorded lectures of Arun Sharma sir and Mayank Raj Sir. Especially liked the brutal honesty about the core beliefs of the institute about CAT in general.

Q: How are you preparing for PI-WAT round to get final admission offer from top B-schools? 
A:
Newspapers and general awareness. Wanting to stay myself.

Q: As you are aware there may be online PI in some of the top IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR and other B-schools, please share how you are preparing for the Online PI round …
A:
Wanting to stay myself, and convey myself and hope for the best.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2022.
A:
Firstly give a mock and asses where you stand. Create a strategy as per your abilities. Take general advice from the facilities and make a customised strategy for yourself. Most importantly stay motivated and confident in your abilities.

Alwar boy Yash Khandelwal, CAT 2021 99.53 %, shares his success mantra

Yash hails from Alwar, a small town in Rajasthan. CAT 2021 was his first attempt. He is a B.Tech from VIT Vellore and currently working at ZS Associates. Here is his brief profile:

Brief details about your family:
In a small family of 4, I am the only child. I live with my father, who is a Chartered Accountant, my mother, a homemaker, and my grandmother. I also have an uncle and aunt in my extended family
Academic Profile (Colleges & Stream/course):
B.Tech ( Electrical and Electronics Engineering) from Vellore Institute Of Technology
Work Experience:
I have been working for over 14 months now as a Business Operations Associate at ZS Associates
Home Town:
Alwar, Rajasthan
CAT Exam Year (2021 and earlier, if more attempts in 2020 or 2019 were made):
2021
Your CAT 2021 Percentile %:
99.53
Your CAT 2021 Sectional Percentile %:
VARC: 92.31, LR: 99.25, Quants: 99.67
Your Hobbies & Interests:
I love to watch movies and read books. Currently, reading “The man who mistook his wife for a hat”

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A.
I practised regularly and took mocks to figure out my mistakes and worked on improving them.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC; DILR; QA
A.
Sure, here is my preparation strategy.

VARC: I read as much as I could.

LR: Solved Time modules, previous year CAT questions, and sectional tests to come up with paper solving strategy

Quants: Practised questions from multiple sources, but I focused more on revising my concepts multiple times. I used to keep a notebook of good questions and went over them multiple times

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A.
I had to work more on VARC, as I could not maintain consistency in my VARC tests

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A.
Mocks definitely helped me more than anything else. They helped me in realising my weak segments and also devising a strategy suited to my capabilities. In total, I attempted around 15 mocks.

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 kept calm and focused on making sure that everything was in place to avoid last minute panic.

Q: Which are your dream B-schools where you wish to explore admission opportunities?
A.
I am aiming for FMS Delhi.

Q: Which MBA programme you would like to Prefer – General MBA or Specialized MBA?
A.
General MBA. I wish to evolve further in my Consultancy domain and a general MBA is a suitable approach for the same

Q:  To whom you would like to give credit to your Success in CAT 2021?
A.
I am really thankful to my parents and friends for being patient with me. They also gave me confidence whenever I needed it during my preparation phase

Q: How are you preparing for PI-WAT round to get final admission offer from top B-schools? 
A.
Working on general affairs, questions about my work profile, my company, 2 subjects from my undergraduate, generic HR questions

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2022.
A.
Be patient with your preparation. Focus on the basics and be sure to maintain consistency!

Q: How is the Mindworkzz CAT preparation course? How it helped you in cracking CAT with high percentile?
A.
I did not enroll with Mindworkzz CAT course. I am part of the Mindworkzz GDPI preparation course.

CAT 2021 99.10 Percentiler Shaunak Vora shares his preparation and success mantras

Finally is Shaunak Vora who hails from Mumbai. CAT 2021 was his first attempt too. He has significant work experience as Scientist and Consultant. Here is his brief profile:

About your family:
Mother (Business – Hotels and Travels) Father (passed away)
Academic Profile (Colleges & Stream/course):
B. Chem Engg from ICT Mumbai, MS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University, USA
Work Experience:
Formulation Scientist (3.5 years); Patent Engineer (16 months); Office Manager and Consultant (2 years)
Home Town:
Mumbai
CAT Exam Year (2021 and earlier, if more attempts in 2020 or 2019 were made):
2021 (first attempt)
Your CAT 2021 Percentile %:
99.10
Your CAT 2021 Sectional Percentile %:
VARC: 98.95  DILR: 91.80  QA: 98.53
Other Entrance Exams taken & Percentile %:
IIFT and XAT. Results pending.
Your Hobbies & Interests:
Philosophical Reading, Strategy Gaming

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A:
Regular preparation by attending lectures and subsequently doing the corresponding content from the books. Once syllabus was finished, revisions were based on the trouble shooting methodology from feedback from testing.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC; DILR; QA
A:
VARC: Regular reading, especially of sections perceived as difficult. Conducting all business and conversations in English.

DILR: This was my weakest section. So I played triage. I practiced all known problem types and trained myself to look for those during the actual exam and focus on those problems more.

QA: My problem here was accuracy so I focused on determining if the final answer was achievable before proceeding on investing more time with the section. I only attempted 10 questions in CAT QA slot 3 but got all 10 correct. Did not attempt any ones I had doubts on.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A:
Mocks are crucial. I gave 5-6 mocks (I think). Should have definitely given more. I gave my last mock from Arun Sirs ASCC series 2-3 days before the exam. My score distribution was very representative of what I got in the actual exam. Arun Sir’s mocks are representative of the actual CAT experience.

Q: How did you combine your self-preparation with Coaching?
A:
The lectures have to be followed by doing the corresponding sections from the books within 24 hours. Homework assignments must be solved. Maximum amount of self-problem solving. I only checked if my answer was wrong, marked the questions, and during future prep, I re-solved all the wrong ones.

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
A:
There is little last-minute prep that creates a meaningful impact. It has to be regular work, consistent work. I did benefit from revising QA and Venn Diagram formulae. Primes, squares, cubes, and other number system related calculations were also revised.

Q: Which are your dream B-schools where you wish to explore admission opportunities?
A:
I am keeping an open mind, but the utopian vision is IIM A/B/C or XLRI.

Q: Which MBA programme you would like to Prefer – General MBA or Specialized MBA?
A:
Ideally general MBA, because my life has told me to approach new opportunities with an open mind and not pigeon-holing myself as much as I can. That being said, if it has to be a specialized MBA, I would pick either Operations or Finance, based on my work experience.

Q: To whom you would like to give credit to your Success in CAT 2021?
A:
First and foremost to Arun Sharma Sir for QA and DILR. All my VARC credit goes to Meenakshi Ma’am. Her guidance and lectures were instrumental. Lastly, to all the lecturers at Mindworkzz. That regimen kept me regular.

Q: How are you preparing for PI-WAT round to get final admission offer from top B-schools? 
A:
I am following the plan laid out by the Mindworkzz team.

Q: As you are aware there may be online PI in some of the top IIMs, FMS, SPJIMR and other B-schools, please share how you are preparing for the Online PI round …
A:
Prep would be same as for a face to face interview. Other than basic grooming and etiquette, I am learning about PI from the Mindworkzz Team (in progress).

Q: How has Mindworkzz helped you in your CAT/MBA entrance exam and MBA admission journey?
A:
I had joined another coaching institute for CAT before coming to Mindworkzz in Jan 2020. I was immediately impressed and swapped to Mindworkzz full time. This is easily the best holistic solution to cracking CAT.

Q: Your final message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2022.
A:
People focus a lot on the quantity of effort they need to put in. It is much better to focus on starting now, and starting REGULAR prep sessions. Consistency develops problem solving for CAT into a skillset. Having this skillset as your second nature when you sit for the final exam on D-Day is the ONLY thing that helps you handle the curveballs that CAT throws at candidates every year.