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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Getahead » TopperSpeak: How to crack CAT 2014

TopperSpeak: How to crack CAT 2014

By Divya Nair
Last updated on: November 21, 2014 20:27 IST
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Tanay Aggarwal who is currently pursuing his post graduation in management from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Powai tells us how he secured 99.80 in the Common Admission Test last year.

Image for representational purposes onlyThe Common Admission Test will be held on Saturday, November 22, 2014.

The computer-based test which underwent a few changes this year will test aspirants for their analytical, cognitive and English skills.

In the following interview, Tanay Aggarwal who secured 99.80 in the Common Admission Test 2013 takes us through his preparation schedule and offers important advice to aspirants who will appear for CAT 2014.

Aggarwal is currently pursuing his post graduation in management from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Powai.

Read on to find out how he secured admission offers from leading business schools like the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, Bombay, the Indian Institute of Management Shillong, NITIE Powai and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

Please share your preparation strategy

I was pretty sure with the basics and what I needed was a bit practice and more of a thinking perspective.

I had joined a crash course and had enrolled for a test series in a coaching centre.

During my preparation days, I would solve mock tests as frequently as I could. But I would make sure that I spent most of my time analysing the paper.

The concepts which were weak or required a bit more practice were easily identified in first few tests.

After thorough analysis, I chalked out my approach.

Sometimes I would find my solutions better than the Answer Key and at other times, I'd follow the technique suggested in the Answer Key.

The key is to identify your strengths and weaknesses by directly diving into the waters -- by solving tests.

Leverage your strengths by adopting best practices and identifying the weak areas, then going back to basics to rectify them.

Please share some tips to tackle different sections. How did you crack them?

For the first section -- Quantitative Analysis and Data Interpretation, I first went through the paper and identified the sitters along the way.

Some questions looked tricky and required more time to solve than the others.

In QA, I found that none of the questions were direct.

However if you carefully analyse them by looking at the entire question they would relate to some direct concept and then answer would come up directly.

That means conventional method of solving QA ( what they teach in coaching centres) -- ie reading the question in parts to get the understanding and accordingly solving them would be very cumbersome.

Similarly for DI, reading the entire question properly patiently is important.

In the second section -- Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, I made sure to attempt 10/10 on LR as that was my strength.

Then I moved on to Reading Comprehension followed by grammar. I answered para-jumbles only in the end.

Tanay AggarwalWhich other exams did you appear for?

I appeared for the SNAP, NMAT and CET and scored above 90 percentile but they were not enough to get admission calls.

Please share some tips to manage time

Remember 100 per cent attempts and 100 per cent accuracy is too idealistic. You just need to extract maximum out of your strengths from the given paper.

Be fast enough to go through the entire paper.

Don't spend more than the time limit set per question.

Don't assume that you may get time to go back to the questions again.

Read the question properly and understand it.

Lastly, whatever you attempt, give it your 100 per cent.

How to tackle weak areas in the CAT?

Don't panic. The CAT is the test of your analytical skills.

Read the question carefully.

One word missed can change the entire meaning.

Relate it with basic concepts you learnt.

How many admission interviews did you appear for?

I got calls from five IIMs, namely -- Calcutta, Bangalore, Delhi, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Shillong, the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, Mumbai and NITIE, Powai.

What were the topics for Group Discussion at these institutes?

IIM L: False Knowledge is dangerous than ignorance
IIM K: Age limit in politics
IIT D: It was something related to the education system
NITIE: Environment and its effect on the industry.

Which of these institutes offered you admission?

I received admission offers from SJSoM, Bombay, IIM Shillong, NITIE Powai and IIT Delhi.

What were the questions asked to you during the interview round?

The questions varied from work experience to academics to hobbies to current affairs.

What I realised through these interviews was that institutes wanted to know 'how genuine and honest you are to yourself'.

They also look for assertiveness and communication skills.

Your subject knowledge and qualification appear last on the list.

What advice would you like to share with the candidates preparing for CAT 2014?

The CAT is not the test of your knowledge but the way you use your knowledge.

The applicability and capability to think better solutions in lesser time is the key.

Like I said questions were not direct but when you visualise them in entirety they would translate into some direct concepts.

This means, you need to spend more time in reading the entire question.

A single word missed would make a lot of difference when you solve it.

At the same time, you could pick an option without really solving the question.

Either way, you will get the correct answer.

However the former approach would help distinguish the 'best candidate' from 'better candidates'.

Your message to MBA aspirants

MBA is not a goal but it is a means to achieve multiple goals which each one of us have.

Identify those goals and see how an MBA can fast-track your career path to achieve those goals.

Note: Lead image used for representational purposes only

Photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters



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Divya Nair