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How Patrick D'Souza cracked the CAT 14 times!

Last updated on: January 11, 2018 09:00 IST

Of the 14 times he has appeared for the Common Admission Test, he scored a perfect 100 in four of his attempts.

How does he do it? Rediff.com's Divya Nair finds out.

CAT Results: Meet the 100 percentilers

Mumbai-based Patrick D'Souza first appeared for the Common Admission Test when he was pursuing engineering in December 1996.

The alumnus of NIT Allahabad has since attempted the entrance examination 14 times and secured 99 percentile in all of them.

Patrick did not make it to one of the IIMs. Instead, he pursued his MBA from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai in 1997 and later, chose to pursue teaching as his career.

He's appeared for the CAT 14 times in order to "understand the test pattern," clear and update his conceptual knowledge.

In four attempts, Patrick got a perfect 100, but in all others, he's always managed to score in the 99th percentile.

On January 8, when the results for CAT 2017 was announced, Patrick had once again clinched the perfect score.

He secured 100 percentile in Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning and 99.96 percentile in Quantitative Analysis this year.

Patrick, 41, who runs Quoin Academy, a coaching centre for management aspirants at Dadar in Mumbai and nearby Thane, tells Rediff.com how he cracks the exam every single year.

Patrick D'Souza

Photograph: Courtesy @PatrickDsouza

What's your study secret?

For English, I focus on reading. I don't just follow management books, I read anything I enjoy -- books, newspapers. The first thing I check in the morning is Rediff.com.

For Quant, I always look for simpler methods to solve a problem. Most problems in CAT involve basic calculations.

For Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, I solve puzzles, because it helps me think creatively, apply my mind.

Where do people go wrong in the exam?

Most candidates try to solve the difficult problems first thinking it will take longer. The key is to attempt the simpler ones first and improve your chance and score.

If you read properly, you will realise that CAT questions test you on logic and thinking.

Candidates work on grammar and mug up vocabulary and formulae. I feel reading and understanding what you read is more important than mugging up new words and formulae that you don't know how to apply.

Do you think candidates from technical/engineering backgrounds have an advantage?

It's a myth.

Maybe they have an upper hand in core skills, but CAT tests you for logic and application of knowledge.

Besides, the cut-off for students from non-technical backgrounds is lower. So, your background in education doesn't really matter.

 

Patrick Dsouza

Patrick DSouza runs Quoin Academy, which trains aspirants for CAT and related management examination in Mumbai.
There are approximately 100 students in his batch this year.
Photograph: Courtesy Patrick D'Souza.

 

What's your advice to first-time test takers? When is the best time to start preparing?

When you start doesn't matter. You have to focus on what you study; be open to learning beyond books.

According to me, group study helps. Find yourself a group of motivated individuals to start with.

Don't rely only on books or refer to multiple and new study material every day. Watching too many videos can only stress you. Try one thing at a time; find what suits you best and stick to that.

I'd recommend reading Think Without Ink by Venkatraman; it will change the way you look at and solve problems.

Your advice on how to pick the right B-school...

First, decide on what you want to do with your career.

Next, find out which course will help you get there.

Don't go by rankings. If you are doing an MBA to get a dream job, find out what companies come to the school to recruit students. It is important to be job-relevant.

Simultaneously, talk to existing and former students to understand the quality of learning and engagement at the institute.

Your message to our readers

Find your passion. Follow your dreams. Start small. Don't give up.

Don't miss: More career advice and tips here

Divya Nair in Mumbai