MBAUniverse.com in its series of CAT 2022 topper interviews, brings before you a success story of CAT, XAT, IIFT and NMAT exam topper Amit Kumar Chakraborty, who cracked CAT 2022 with 99.34%tile, XAT 2023 with 99.55%ile, IIFT with 98%ile and NMAT with 255 score and was offered admission by XLRI, MDI, NITIE, SPJIMR, but he preferred XLRI to any other top B-school.
Coming from a modest Family of Durgapur (West Bengal), Amit Kumar Chakraborty is a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University. After completing his graduation, Amit joined Hindalco as a GET and worked there for 12 months. Then he gained 8 months of work experience at Protiviti as Technology Consultant. Amit scored high percentile in all the MBA entrance exams with his well devised preparation strategy and support from Mindworkzz Coaching Institute. Amit’s father works at Bhilai Steel Plant as ED (MM). Amit loves listening music, reading and travelling.
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MBAUniverse.com invited Amit Kumar Chakraborty to share his CAT, XAT preparation and exam day strategy, how he cracked CAT, XAT, IIFT and other exams, why he preferred to join XLRI instead of MDI, NITIE, SPJIMR and other B-schools. Read below his Interview with preparation strategy
Q: How did you perform in CAT 2022?
A: I scored 99.34 overall percentile in CAT 2022. I scored 96.53%ile in VARC, 97.95%ile in DILR and 98.95%ile in QA.
Q: Apart from CAT 2022, which other exams did you appear? How was the performance?
A: Apart from CAT 2022, I appeared in XAT 2023 and scored 99.55%ile. I also appeared in IIFT and scored 98 %tile and in NMAT, I scored 255 marks.
Q: With such good scores in all the MBA entrance exams that you appeared, which top B-schools shortlisted you for PI Round?
A: I was shortlisted by IIM Indore, SJMSoM IIT Bombay, DMS-IIT Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, NITIE Mumbai, SPJIMR Mumbai, New IIMs based on CAT score and by XLRI Jamshedpur based on XAT score and by IIFT based on IIFT entrance exam score
Q: Which were your final Converts after PI Round?
A: I converted MDI Gurgaon, NITIE Mumbai, XLRI Jamshedpur, SPJIMR Mumbai. However, I have joined XLRI Jamshedpur flagship PGDM-Business Management 2023-25 batch.
Q: Before we understand your preparation strategy, please share your key criteria why you preferred to join XLRI instead of MDI, NITIE, SPJIMR and other top B-schools?
A: I arrived at a decision to choose XLRI Jamshedpur PGDM-BM 2023-25 batch after giving it a due thought on various key parameters including Ranking of the B-school; genuine recent Placements trends and the Brand value of the institute I found XLRI the best among all on all these parameters.
Q: This is very thoughtful of you to have researched so well before finalising your B-school. Let us now understand what was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: I started my preparation from Jan 2022. Exams like CAT and other similar exams hardly require memorising anything. It is just testing one’s aptitude within a limited time frame. Hence, I devoted a major portion of my preparation time in using the methods and concepts learned through taking mocks and doing their subsequent analysis. Since managing the preparation and my job at the same time was challenging, I used to plan my tasks for the week ahead beforehand. During the weekdays, I used to learn the concepts and take mocks during the weekends.
Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC?
A: I used to read articles from AEON, The Guardian etc on a regular basis. This helped me build a reading habit and over the time it helped me comprehend the passages well. But reading articles is not enough unless we can answer the questions based on the passages correctly. Hence, I regularly took sectional test on VARC to test my understanding.
Q: How did you prepare for DILR?
A: I mainly prepared for DILR through taking mocks and doing a thorough analysis. Through this, I got to work on different types of sets and the solutions helped me find a better way to approach the set.
Q: How did you prepare for QA?
A: I tried to learn the concepts and shortcuts for each topic after which I solved multiple questions on each of those topics. Topics like Profit and Loss, TSD, Averages and Alligations from Arithmetic and basic geometry and mensuration are a ‘Must to Prepare’ in order to score well in this section.
Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: I was weak at VARC. For this I read articles from various sources regularly which helped me comprehend the complex passages over time. Sectional test and full length tests helped me apply my learning. The main thing to remember when solving RC sets is to stick to what the author has mentioned in the passage and choose the option accordingly. For VA questions, it is better to solve the odd one out questions first and then attempt the summary questions and finally the jumbled questions (worked for me, but again this is an individual choice).
Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Mocks had played a major role in my success. During the initial months, I used to take one mock every weekend followed by thorough analysis. From the month of September, I took multiple mocks throughout the week. Mocks are very important for time management practice and also help to check how well one is able to compete with other candidates. I took around 40 mocks in all before the main exam.
Q: Did you self-prepare for CAT Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
A: I had enrolled in Mindworkzz CAT Prep course. For a working professional like me, it required me follow a proper plan for my preparation which Mindworkzz helped me do so. I had also taken mocks from institutes like IMS, CL and cracku to evaluate my performance and work on variety of question sets.
Q: Which books did you refer during your preparation and how effective were they?
A: I mainly solved problems through sectional tests and full length mocks. For QA, I referred to Arun Sharma Sir’s book.
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 mantra for the CAT Day is keeping calm. Although it is easier said than done, it is quite natural to have some anxiousness for the exam that we have been preparing for months. Yet, I tried to keep my cool. During the last week before the exam, I solved the question papers of CAT 2021. On the day before the exam, I just spent some time revising the formulas for QA. The rest of the day I spent my time watching TV and listening to music. I had already devised my test taking strategy during the mocks. I completed the RC within the first 25 mins and spent the remaining 15 mins on VA. For DILR, I first went through all the sets and chose to solve the set that I thought would be easy. For QA, I solved the problems using the ABC method.
Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT Rounds?
A: I had enrolled in the GDPI courses of different institutes. They helped me preparing my SOPs. Their strategies helped me develop my own strategy. The mock interviews instilled confidence in me and the feedback was quite helpful. I revised my UG subjects and regularly read the newspaper. I always keep myself updated with any ongoing event happening nationally or globally. This helped me answer a few GK questions during one of the interviews. My professional experience helped me explain the type of works that I had done. Overall the key areas that one need to cover is his/her UG topics, basic maths, GK (specially on current issues) and have a clear answer on works done during his/her professional period.
Q: According to you, overall, how can B-schools make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants.
A: According to me, some B-schools take a lot of time to declare the final results. This time should be reduced as it creates an unnecessary burden on the candidate specially who are working as it creates problem regarding their notice period, if they are shortlisted by the B-school. If possible, there could have been a common application portal for all B-schools which could have eliminated the process of filling multiple applications. That being said, the process has become quite flexible than what is what few years back.
Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2023
A: My message to all aspiring candidates is that be consistent in your preparation. Start early and don’t wait for the last months before the exam. This method does not work for all. Be your own judge. Identify your weak areas and work on them. Devise your own preparation strategy taking help from your mentors (if any). Keep taking mocks from the very beginning. This will help you track your performance and also help in time management. Finally, have faith in yourself. The preparation journey might not be very smooth. But don’t lose hope and keep preparing. Do not get disheartened by your mock scores but keep analysing them. Keep your cool on the D day and give your best !
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