Aditya Chowdhury did his schooling at Nava Nalanda High School with a 92.57% in Xth and 9.4 CGPA in XIIth. From there, he went on to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University and graduated with a Departmental Rank of 6 out of 88 students. He has 6 months of work experience working at Honeywell UOP, an oil and gas licensing company where he mainly worked with the FOS and GSC departments. In this interview, he has shared his CAT preparation strategy and his advice to future CAT aspirants! Read on!
Hi Aditya, please share your CAT 2020 score and percentile with our readers.
Scaled Score - 109.5, Percentile - 99.42
How did you prepare for CAT – Self-study or Coaching? Which one do you think is better?
I self-studied for CAT. For working professionals, I don’t think this is a choice but a necessity. Nevertheless, I feel that having someone to study with or a group of aspirants is important to keep you grounded and motivated throughout the journey.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
When it comes to CAT, it is important to find a method to the madness. Sometimes, finishing the syllabus within the given time while constantly improving can seem like a Goliathan task. Having a strategy, everyday routine and a disciplined lifestyle can help you cross the finish line without burning out.
Which mock series did you enroll for CAT?
I enrolled in the CL Test Gym Mock series.
How many full-length mock tests did you take?
I took somewhere around 24 full-length mocks.
How many sectional mock tests did you take?
What was your approach while taking mocks?
My approach was to analyze every single mock until the details and concepts were clear to me. If I was devoting 2 hrs to every full-length mock, I was spending close to 4 hrs analyzing it.
How do you think the mock tests helped you in your CAT preparation?
Mock Tests gave me an overview of the question pattern, helped me better manage my time, and familiarized me with the exam-hall pressure. So on the day of the examination, I was better prepared.
Also Read→ How To Analyse A Mock Test
Which section were you strong in? Since you were strong in that section, how did you focus on the other sections?
Quant was the section that I was strongest in. For VARC, I read newspapers (first page, business page, and editorials) and at least 3 articles from Inside IIM’s reading list every day. For LRDI, I identified question patterns that I was weak in and solved at least 1 similar set from each daily.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
LRDI was my Achilles heel but I had very little time to master it. So I decided to overpower the sections I was already strong in and focus on LRDI just enough to cross the sectional cut-off for every top B-School. Even on the day of the exam, I didn’t do very well in LRDI but my other sections pulled me through.
How much time did you devote to CAT preparation regularly?
Since I was working as a freelancer during the tenure of my preparation, I could only afford to devote 4-5 hrs a day. I tried to make the most of it by separating myself from all sorts of distractions during that time.
Tell us about the lowest point in your preparation journey and how did you overcome that?
CAT 2020 was supposed to be a test attempt since I already had a job that I planned on doing for at least a year or so. The lowest point came when that offer got deferred sending me down a spiral of panic and anxiety.
But I convinced myself that behind every setback is an opportunity that you can leverage on. So I decided to see the positive side to it and dedicated all the extra time towards freelancing and preparing for CAT.
I have always believed that rock bottom can be an excellent place to build upon and it was this positive outlook that helped me overcome the lowest point in my preparation journey.
What resources would you suggest to 2021 aspirants?
For Quant, Youtube videos are great if you want to understand a topic within a short period. There are a lot of good youtube channels like 2iim, Unacademy, and CrackU with a wealth of knowledge for free.
For VARC, newspapers are a must. Try to stick to one newspaper and cover as much ground as possible, especially the editorials. This should help you in your interviews as well.
For LRDI, R.S Aggarwal should suffice and although a few of the questions might be repetitive, practice is the key.
What according to you are the DOs and DON'Ts of CAT preparation?
- Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Learn to let go. If you obsess over questions you can’t solve, you will miss out on the ones you can.
- Learn to manage time better.
- Improve your accuracy over time. It’s okay to attempt fewer questions as long as you are getting it right.
- Pre-plan your days and try to make the most out of your preparation time.
- Don’t take bad Mock Test scores to heart. Mock tests are not an absolute metric to measure how you will perform in the actual exam. The point is to keep on improving over time.
- Don’t compare your preparation to others. Everyone has their own pace and strategy.
- Don’t take long breaks away from preparation. Try to be consistent.
- Don’t try to focus on multiple things at once. Try to master one topic before moving on to the next.
Which mock series would you like to suggest to CAT 2021 aspirants? Is one mock series sufficient or do you suggest a combination of 2 different mock series?
I only used CL Test Gym so that’s the only one I can speak for. It was sufficient for me.
What would be your final advice to CAT 2021 Aspirants?
In my personal experience, I have seen a lot of aspirants give up after a bad Mock Test or after a concept takes way too long to understand. But it’s important to remember that none of this is a reflection of your intellect or abilities.
My final advice would be to not lose hope or get demotivated even in the face of failure because every failure is an opportunity to learn. Pick yourself up every time you fall and that should make all the difference.