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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Getahead » You can crack CAT while you're working!

You can crack CAT while you're working!

September 04, 2014 12:52 IST
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If you think you cannot crack a competitive management test like the CAT, take inspiration from Sohini Deb who cracked the exam last year alongside a rigorous full-time job as a software developer.

She's now pursuing her MBA from the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode.

How to crack the Common Admission TestSohini Deb cracked the Common Admission Test 2013 with 98.11 percentile to secure admission at the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode.

She also secured final admission offers from top b-schools including the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, IIFT-Delhi, MDI Gurgaon and the IIM Indore.

She, however, opted for a Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management from the IIM Kozhikode.

The CAT topper who worked as a software developer with Cognizant Technology Solutions ensured not to let her working hours affect her study schedule.

She aimed to pursue MBA so that she could combine her technical knowledge with the functional aspects of management.

In this interview, Sohini Deb shares her study secrets for the CAT and other management exams.

Why did you opt to pursue MBA? What are your aspirations?

As a software developer, I felt the need to have a business perspective, required to analyse the problems, opportunities and risks involved in every business.

While the experience of the last few years has been very positive, I desire to learn more and to take on greater responsibilities and enhance my analytical and decision making ability.

I have realised that to move up the corporate hierarchy I need to possess a comprehensive understanding of the functioning of the organisation.

An MBA at this stage of my career will help me combine the technical insights I learnt from my job with the functional aspects of management which will help me to become a good decision maker and grow professionally.

My greatest aspiration is to establish and support an organisation to achieve its target.

I believe that on my way to achieve my goals I will develop as an individual and contribute towards society as well.

I wish to utilise these two years at IIM-K to develop my personality, inculcate different hobbies and become a well-rounded personality.

Why did you choose to join the IIM Kozhikode? 

The IIM-K seemed like a good brand among the b-schools that had offered me final admission offers -- the SP Jain Institute of Management Research, Mumbai, IIFT Delhi, MDI Gurgaon and IIM Indore..

Peer learning is an important aspect in management education and so I felt it would be the right choice for me to pursue my management studies from the IIM-K.

The institute promises a dynamic platform to build my foundation in all the functional areas of management.

The curriculum is largely focused on practical, application-oriented insight into the dynamics of business environment with a lot of focus on case study method of pedagogy.

Though located in a slightly difficult terrain, most noted recruiters make a bee-hive towards this campus and placement records have been consistently promising.

In spite of being a relatively newer IIM- Kozhikode has a global presence with a rich alumni base of 4500+.

What was the preparation strategy you followed for CAT 2013?

With a tough routine it was not possible for me to attend any coaching. But I made sure that I don't leave my preparations for the CAT exam even for a single day.

I used to give mock exam every weekend; I believe that practice is the key to crack this exam.

Do you think taking coaching or mentoring is necessary to crack the CAT or other MBA entrance exams?

I do not believe in taking any coaching for the CAT, but yes mentoring from an experienced individual is supportive.

However, it is important for students to get familiar with the exam pattern, time management and few tricks which can help in tackling the tough questions.

You can only help yourselves in learning all this by practicing hard each day.

Sohini Deb

How did you manage your CAT preparation schedule along with the working hours?

It was difficult as my job demanded 8 hours of daily work and sometimes few extra hours on weekends.

After a long tiring day at work, I found it very difficult to come back home and study.

Hence I made use of the morning hours and gave few hours to CAT preparations.

I also regularly followed online forums, and chatted with fellow aspirants to know my relative position after each mock CAT.

Please share your preparation strategy for different sections

For Quantitative Ability, the focus was on few chapters like arithmetic and geometry.

I used to collate formulas from various sources and practiced problems every day.

As my Data Interpretation scores were not up to the mark, I made up a strategy to attend only one DI question and other questions from quant section.

Logical Reasoning was my forte.

I used answer them first and then move to RC and vocabulary part of the test.

I preferred to leave Sentence Correction questions if I was not sure enough.

All throughout my preparation I managed 95 to 99 percentile in the second section.

How did you manage your time during the actual exam?

I do not believe that you require a strategy to crack the CAT because it demands a candidate to take decisions on the spot.

Also with the complexity of the paper varying across the exam window, it was difficult, at least for me, to plan anything at all.

I just kept reminding myself about the clock ticking and never spent too much time on any particular question.

For the RCs I used to glance through the passage very quickly and then go through the questions to answer.

For LR, I tabulated the data given which helped me in conserving time.

I also judiciously picked DI sets that did not involve lengthy calculations.

What were your strong and weak areas? What special efforts did you put in for improving your weak areas?

My strongest area was Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation was my weakest.

I practiced DI questions from past year's CAT papers and also from the mock exams.

I tried to attempt more Quant questions to cover up for the DI marks.

My strategy was to be accurate rather attending all questions.

What is your advice for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2014?

Since the examination pattern has changed completely and there is no time allotment for particular sections, I would advise the students to target accuracy because the complexity of the paper can be on a higher side, so normalisation would help only if they minimize negative marking.

How did you unwind?

I was involved in recreational activities; I used to catch up with friends on shopping sprees and also watched movies occasionally.

Besides being an avid fan of Bollywood movies, I also love watching Hollywood and Bengali films.

Apart from this I used to attend office lunches and parties and also participated in the cultural events conducted at my office.

ALSO READ: How I cracked the CAT

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