In its series of interviews with CAT 2022 toppers, studying at top IIMs, SPJIMR, MDI, and other top B-schools, MBAUniverse.com brings before you success stories of such CAT topper candidates who cracked CAT with high percentile despite many odds and got into one of the top B-schools in India with their well devised preparation strategy. One such CAT topper, a B.Sc in Computer Science and a student of College Of Vocational Studies, Bhanu Pratap, cracked CAT 2022 with 99.67 percentile and has joined MBA 2023-25 batch at IIM Calcutta. Coming from a farmer family of a small town Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh Bhanu Pratap is a fresher with no work experience. His CAT preparation journey has been full of struggle and he joined MBAGuru coaching to prepare for CAT 2022.
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With a firm confidence and planned preparation strategy, Bhanu Pratap prepared and appeared in CAT for the second time and cracked it with a high score. With his CAT 2022 percentile of 99.67%ile, he converted number of top IIMs, but decided to join IIM Calcutta.
MBAUniverse.com invited Bhanu Pratap to share his preparation and CAT day strategy, how he cracked IIM Calcutta interview and more. Read below the CAT 2022 Topper Interview with CAT topper preparation strategy
Q: How did you perform in CAT 2022?
A: I scored 99.67 overall percentile in CAT 2022 and scored 98.80%ile in VARC, 99.80 %ile in LRDI and 98.15 %ile in QA.
Q: How was your CAT preparation Journey? What was your overall preparation strategy?
A: My CAT preparation journey was full of peaks and valleys which started 2 years ago. In September 2021, I decided to appear for CAT Exam while continuing my graduation to check the depth and roughness of ocean that I had to sail. For the first time, I appeared for CAT 2021 without especially preparing for the exam and got around 70 percentile. It sparked a confidence in me to prepare myself with the best possible method for next attempt. In April 2022, I joined a coaching institute MBAGURU and started the preparation. I appeared in CAT 2022, which went fine as per my expectations. I was hoping to get decent percentile around 98. When the result was out on December 21, 2022, I was shocked by getting astonishing 99.67 percentile which was by far my best score including all the mocks.
I divided my CAT preparation strategy in 3+2+1 months. For first 3 months, I focused more on learning concepts and building concepts and identifying weak and strong concepts. Then next step was building concepts and strengthening weaker and stronger concepts. And last month I utilized to make my body cycle as per exam day needs and throughout solved mocks whose frequency I increased with time.
Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC?
A: VARC was the area for which I used to read novels and articles from newspaper like Hindu. So that my reading and comprehension speed increase. By solving various mocks I realised that my stronghold lies in RC rather than VA so I kept my plan simple to start solving RC then move to VA. I simply followed the process that was told to me by my mentors, like solving 500 RC over the period of time.
Q: How did you prepare for DILR?
A: DILR in this my plan simple to solve as many sets as possible and solve at least 1 sectional daily and 4 to 5 sets daily. In this section also I identified my strong and weak areas and worked on them accordingly.
Q: How did you prepare for QA?
A: For QA I used to solve material of coaching, mocks, sectional and quantum CAT. Doing daily questions was an important aspects of my preparation.
Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: There were few areas in which I weak. It was with proper practice and plan I was able to overcame the challenge.
Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: I solved around 35 mocks and previous year papers. They helped me identifying the approach for the exam and how to solve exam in the real time. They also helped me with new questions and strategies.
Q: Did you self-prepare for CAT Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
A: I studied from MBAGURU so that I could have a plan to study and it also helped me tracking my studies and also the material that they give using books and portal.
Q: Which books did you refer during your preparation and how effective were they?
A: Mostly the material was from MBAguru coaching centre. I used NK Sinha for QA apart from it.
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 didn’t study on last 2 days before exam. Having my body cycle as per exam day needs I was pretty confident on myself and hard work that I had put in. I just listened to some music to light my mood and then revised formulas which I had jotted down. During mocks I had finalised my plan to approach CAT so it was just that I kept reminding myself that “ no need to take pressure, I have solved many mocks even before and just follow the process in exam and no need to think about results”.
Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI/WAT Rounds?
A: I skimmed through monthly magazines that covers current affairs. I gave various PIs and also attended GD sessions in coaching so that I get accustomed to PIs and get habitual to handle the pressure that I might face in PIs.
Q: Which Top B-schools shortlisted you for PI Round? How was the waiting period
A: While I was shortlisted by all the IIMs, FMS Delhi, IIT Delhi, the period from January to March 2023 was a hectic period where I was preparing, writing SOPs, filling the form of all the colleges that gave me PI calls. I tried to perform my best in all PIs' but some went my way others didn’t.
Q: Which Top B-School you finally decided to take admission in?
A: On April 28 2023, IIM Calcutta declared its result in the evening. Initially, the site didn’t open so I checked again around 7 PM. I was nervous as IIM A had rejected me while IIM B and FMS Delhi had wait listed me. In nervousness, I entered wrong details and my face turned pale and gloomy and my mother who was beside me understood it to be another rejection. However, I decided to check again and entered details carefully, result popped down starting with congratulation and I started jumping and shouting like a child. Maa calmed me down and I could see tears of happiness in her eyes and sigh of relief on my papa's face. Later, in the series of conversion, I received admission offers from IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Indore, and various new IIMs.
So, I finally converted IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Indore and baby & new IIMs. However, IIM Calcutta was my dream B-school and I decided to join it
Q: Whom you would like to give credit for your journey to IIMC?
A: The beginning of this milestone would be unfair if I restrict the credit to myself and do not acknowledge the actors in my life - My parents who had unwavering support and faith in my capabilities. Further, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my teachers and mentors from MBAGuru Roots team, CVS and VidyaGyan Alumni who helped me set the right foundation and cooperated when I needed something. It would be a disaster if I wouldn't mention Gaurav Solanky, Gaurav Kumar Gangwar, Raghu and Vimal. Further, I would not even dare to forget my full time unpaid writer and editor KALPANA. I am forever grateful to everyone who considered my journey theirs and selflessly guided, balanced and helped me throughout. I owe you all the endless gratitude and a promise to work hard in every sphere of life because somewhere, my journey is yours too
Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2023
A: My message and tips for the candidates preparing for CAT 2023 are that they should have Self-belief which is very important to ace the exam. Showing up for practice daily despite last night failure is an important habit, you should be consistent in following your preparation plan. And lastly, have good friends who can support you during the process and help you to keep the mood light when tension takes over
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