Sandeep Kumar Mohanty is a current student at IIM Bangalore. He scored 99.69%ile in CAT'18 before joining IIM Bangalore. He worked with the Odisha government as a revenue officer for 30 months. He was also selected as an Income tax inspector for govt of India. In this article, he will tell us how he prepared for the CAT exam.
So, Sandeep, how did you prepare for the CAT and scored 99.69%ile?
So, there are three sections in the exam; I made a separate strategy for each section.
VA/RC Strategy- This was the toughest section for me. The strategy for VARC is to keep it simple both while preparation and also in the exam. It all starts with reading a newspaper thoroughly. The main idea is to get familiar with different styles, forms, topics, and subjects. RCs play an important role as 24 out of 32 questions are from the RC section, and I believe a student targeting premier B-schools like IIMABC cannot afford to miss a single RC question. Previous years RC questions do help a lot in preparation. The VA section is an extension of the RC section, and if one has prepared well for RC, with a bit of luck, one will do well in VA as well. Having said that, basic knowledge of grammar is a prerequisite for the VA section.
DILR strategy- It is the most uncertain and "make or break" section of the paper. Keeping egos aside plays a huge role in this section. Each candidate will get stuck at some point in this section, and in that time, rational decision making keeping in mind the time available is the best way out. The basic strategy is to do 4 or 5 sets with ninety percent accuracies out of all eight. Choosing sets that are somewhat familiar and easier compared with other sets will make the difference. One has to attempt six sets, at least in order to solve 4 or 5. I choose sets in the first five minutes. Then my strategy was if I can't solve it in seven to eight minutes, I am going to the next one. One should also keep in mind that one can answer one or two questions from a set, even without fully solving the set.
QA Strategy- This was a relatively easier section for me. Mostly there wont be surprises in this section. Sure it will be easy or difficult, but surprises wise (different type or form of questions) it is relatively less surprising. A good brush up of general formulas and methods will do the job. I prepared a few topics like geometry, probability, P&C, ratios, and averages as chances of questions from these topics were more compared to others.
Any other unique method followed by you?
Quoting Mike Tyson – Everyone has a strategy till they get punched in the face.
CAT does that to students. It's like a three-round boxing match. Sometime into each round, there will be a question that will make students really uncomfortable. CAT is a psychological as well as an intelligence test. My unique strategy was that I knew that there is no strategy!
What are your suggestions for students preparing for the CAT exam and planning to do an MBA?
Just one suggestion - Social media don't help in CAT preparation. Leave aside social media for a few months and concentrate on the basics.
About MBA, I believe everyone who has the opportunity should do an MBA. It teaches things that are difficult to learn in a day to day setting. And when you decided to do an MBA, try to shoot for the best college that you can get into rather than compromising.
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