’70 Questions At 80% Accuracy Should Be Enough To Score 96-98%ile’ – Vistamind COO Nishant Priyadarshi

In continuation with the Monday Test Prep Chats and With less than 90 days to go for CAT, InsideIIM hosted Nishant Priyadarshi – the COO at Vistamind Lucknow and one of the Directors of Vistamind for chat session.

Nishant Priyadarshi is an alumnus of IIM Kozhikode – Class of 2001 and has trained over 15000 students over the years.

Last year I wrote cat and got 83%ile. I am giving cat even this time but with no work experience. I completed my graduation in June 2015. So will there be any negative impact?

Lot of students get into IIMs in the second attempt. So no problem with that. You will lose on some marks due to no work-ex, you will have to do better in the written exam to make up for that.

Which test series is good for mocks?

My answer for this would be biased. VistaMind’s SmartCATs are pretty good and very close to CAT level. However, if you want to be benchmarked against larger number of students, you may go for other test series.

Remember, tests only reflect your preparation level and are a check gauge. They don’t improve your performance. So any test will help you in identifying your weak areas and then it is upto you to work on them and improve.

Quants is my achilles heel. I prefer to attempt less of quants and more of DI-LR and VA. Is this approach correct?

You know that QA is a separate section this time with 34 Qs. Doing less from this section might work against you. So pick some important chapters and get confident in them.

I have a good academic background. So will the percentiles required for IIMs PI call will be less or the same? I am a general category student.

With 19 IIMs participating in CAT this time, we feel that 90%ile plus score has a decent chance of getting calls.

What is the minimum number of question one should attempt in every section to get 95+%ile in CAT?

We have always maintained that it is not prudent to have a number of attempts in mind as it is a function of the difficulty level of the paper. Try to do as many questions as you can do with 80%+ accuracy.

How would the cat 2015 quant section be with the introduction of onscreen calculator with regards to the toughness level?

I do not anticipate any change except that choices may not be very close (as they needed precise calculation). You will have to be prudent about using the calculator.

What should be the approach to increase accuracy in the VA section? Is writing many mocks the solution?

Writing tests does not increase score. Analyse your tests and identify areas where your accuracy is low. Go back to basics and rework the concepts.

Can you shed some light on a weekly prep schedule for cat, considering that I have gone through all basics?

We have 12 weeks to go for CAT. Your weekly schedule should include at least 1 Full Length Mock, analysis of the performance, revising the chapters where you made mistakes/did not attempt the questions.

What percentile is required to get a call from IIFT, as person with high percentile in IIFT will have supposedly higher percentile in CAT too?

IIFT gives you your scores and the calls are on the basis of scores.

Can you tell us about how to go with DI, considering that I am scoring 70-80 %iles in CL mocks?

CAT DI in the last few years has been more calculation oriented and less logical. So do lot of questions on basic graphs and mixed graphs. Be clear with percentages and averages/alligations concepts.

Any important areas that we should focus on in quant?

The focus chapters are Numbers, Geo/Mens, TW & TD. Area-wise Arithmetic and Algebra are important.

What would be ideal attempts out of 100 with 80% accuracy to achieve 96-98 percentile with a medium toughness in Paper?

About 70 Qs should be enough.

Please give an overview of Xat, Snap, Iift exam regarding difficulty level across sections?

No test is easy/difficult by itself. It is the seat vs applicant ratio that makes it easy/tough. And by that calculation, getting into FMS is tougher than IIMs. However paper-wise, XAT paper has been normally tough and IIFT paper has been very unpredictable. SNAP and NMAT are relatively easier papers. But again, remember, easy/difficult paper does not affect your chances of selection

Can you suggest some reference material for RCs, given that I’m yet to go through the basics?

Start by reading passages suggested for CAT on various websites.

How to improve reading comprehension, my reading speed is around 250-275 wpm and my vocabulary isn’t extraordinary. I understand the importance of revision in my preparation but how do I go about the same for Verbal and Reading comprehension section?

I don’t really care about reading speed. If you can understand the gist of the passage in the first round of reading and can answer some questions while some others would require you to go back to part of the passage is good.

Will Hindu newspaper help me to get command over CAT RCs and how many hours an average level person should read?

Yes, the editorial pages of Hindu/IE are good for working on RC. But then you should gradually move to passages with questions.

How much does the previous academic scores matter in shortlisting of candidates by IIM’s?

It does play a role. How much? Varies from IIM to IIM. All IIMs now release their formula for shortlisting the candidates and gives different weightless to academic performance. Prathik: Last year IIMA, S and new IIMs did not consider academic scores while shortlisting candidates. A and S did not consider it even for final selection. IIMB gave it about 60% weightage while IIMC gave it 20%. So its variable.

What should be my strategy to improve VA section marks?

Work on one question variety at one time and get confidence in that. Take up RC, then vocab, then parajumbes. Take them one by one and get the basics right.

What would be a good cat percentile score for a candidate having commerce background with no work experience to get into good b schools?

To get into a Top 30 B-School, you need at least 90%ile plus.

I have been sitting idol for last 1 year so even if I score good will I be able to get good college. I graduated in2015 and doing online course from edx.

So you will drop a year. That is acceptable provided you get a good CAT score. Post that we will figure out how to convince the interview panel. Lets win one battle at a time.

My QA is weak and I am literally afraid of it. Please tell me the strategy of how to overcome so that I can perform well in CAT and other exams. Also the strategy for DI?

Now you have a calculator to do your calculations! So, tame your fears and conquer them chapter by chapter. One at a time. Solve lot of basic types of graphs and mixed graphs. Work on percentages/fractions/averages/allegations concepts.

 How many questions will be there in DI alone?

We expect 16-19 Qs on DI and remaining on LR.


We thank Nishant Priyadarshi for doing this!

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