An Architect’s Journey To An IIM – 99.63%iler, Ashish Aggarwal

Name: Ashish Aggarwal

CAT Percentile: 99.63%ile

Programme and Batch: MBA 2017-19

Work experience: 7 months

Past Educational Qualification: B.Arch


Congratulations on your admissions to IIM Udaipur. What was your overall and sectional score in CAT 2016? Any other exam you had appeared for, please share the score for the same.

Overall Scaled score: 171.41 Overall Percentile: 99.63

VA & RC: 97.22, DI&LR: 99.65, QA: 98.12

I gave CMAT in which I secured 99.76 percentile.


Talking of sections, which was the most challenging and easiest section in the test?

Easiest one was VA and most challenging was DI&LR.


Please share your preparation journey. How did you strike a balance between your academic life/professional and preparation for an entrance exam?

I ¬†didn’t prepare for the exam separately. Solving puzzles is my hobby and that prepared me well enough for the exam. Rest of it is staying calm while giving the exam, and optimizing time.


Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary for aspirants to bag the top rank?

No, I was not part of any coaching institute for cracking CAT. I joined a coaching institute after I cracked CAT to prepare for interviews. Coaching is not necessary if you are not rattled easily by exams in general. Questions are not difficult, it’s the situation you need to master.


Please share your specific section wise strategy for VARC, DI & LR and QA.

Pace through VARC as it only needs understanding than figuring out. Then, QA has some basic arithmetic questions which should be struck first.For DI&LR, skip the logic puzzles for the end as they are time-consuming.


How did you tackle the challenging sections and topics?

Time optimisation. Did easy questions quickly to get majority correct then focused on time-consuming ones with attention.


Mention section wise books and study materials you had referred.

I did not read or refer any books and study material. I remembered the basics from school days. I solved a lot of Mensa puzzle books.


What is the significance of mock test in your success? When did you start taking mock test and what was the frequency?

I did not give any mock test before the exam. I gave it during class 10 and I found it more easier back then.


What was your time management strategy for section wise preparation vis a vis exam day?

Go for three rounds of solving. First for basic solving questions, 2nd for intermediate level solving and finally the juggernaut questions.


How did you utilise the features like calculator and non-MCQs in CAT?

I never used a¬†calculator in CAT as it slows down the process. It’s faster to do in the head than clicking every entry in the exam. Non-MCQ was a good opportunity to score as many would fail here and it’s a competition.


Please share your detailed experience of WAT/GD and PI.

For the WAT and PI process, I got a question related to Non-violence and relevance of Mahatma Gandhi. I answered it with my honest view and appropriate logic behind it. For PI they asked me about what I had written in my profile form.


What were the topics of WAT and GD at B-schools you had appeared for? Also, mention the PI questions you were asked.

Most topics were related to various social issues and opinions on it. Most PI questions came from the profile forms. They were related to my graduation and about the shift in streams.


Any suggestion that you would like to share with aspirants?

Stay calm and just be clear about basics. Don’t think of CAT as something scary. It is one of the easier exams in the world with one of the tougher competition.


A reader, globe-trotter and a food junkie!