Sajal Gupta graduated in B.Sc. Maths(H) from Deshbandhu College, Delhi University. He scored 99.26 percentile in CAT 2015. He was born and brought up in Mathura. He comes from a middle-class business family. He has interned in ISKCON organisation. He has a keen interest in following Indian politics and watching documentaries.
How was your experience of CAT, since the pattern changed, and a calculator was introduced?
The change in CAT pattern had certain positives and negative aspects which have been already mentioned on the internet. For me, the pattern helped. The time bar brought everyone to the same page. Although the calculator was introduced, it didn’t help much. The calculation in the paper was quite easy.
What made you pursue MBA, and why IIM and not any other top B-School?
MBA was the right option that aligned with my career goal. While doing my graduation, I felt I should go for an MBA. By doing masters in my graduation subject I felt won’t be the right choice. IIMs are the biggest brand in the country when it comes to MBA. The quality of education provided at an IIM according to me can’t be matched at any other B-school
When did you start preparing for CAT? What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT 2015? And did you change your preparation strategy after the announcement of the pattern change or you followed the same routine?
I started my preparation for CAT somewhere in May after my college semester got over. I didn’t take any coaching and solely relied on only one Test series. I also took materials from a coaching institute and tried to get the basic concept clarity first. I felt if the concepts are clear then it only comes down to speed on which I planned to work on later. The benefit of not taking coaching was that it offered me the flexibility of doing my preparation according to my time and need.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy?
Coming from Maths background, I had almost no difficulty in Maths section. My DI was also fine and I just needed improvement on my speed. The VA-RC wasn’t up to the mark. I tried almost everything to improve my VA-RC but it didn’t work. For RC, I would especially suggest to do previous year CAT questions. Although RCs of 90s are a bit long but it helps a lot. This material can be found in any previous year book.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/Reading Comprehension)?
Since the time limit for each section was pre-decided I tried to improve on my consistency. I generally read the question once in Maths and if it is easy I solve it in first attempt. By this, I cover all questions in 20 mins and do around 16 questions. Now I look upon the rest of question which are easy but I am not comfortable solving them. They go to round 2. I solve around 8 questions in 25 minutes. The rest of the time goes in the remaining question and I solve as much as I can. In DI, if you are aware about the strategy to solve a particular set, then you can solve it very easily. So practice different kinds of DI sets. One thing in DI is that you might not be able to solve all 4 questions in a particular set. Don’t waste time in doing the one or two question you are unable to do. Move ahead to the next set. In CAT this helped me a lot. For RC, the more diverse you read the more it will help. Don’t read novels, instead go through different news article online. Not only read but try to comprehend as well. I am sure it will help.
What do you think you did right during test prep? Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (WAT-GD-PI)?
I attempted the right kind of questions to get selected in the CAT preparation. Also, my main aim was on test which really helped my performance. The education background helped in Quant section. IIMs are always looking for diversity so I think it might have helped.
What was your test prep strategy over the few months leading to CAT? (Last 3 months, last month, last 15 days). Was it a test series inclined one or a chapter by chapter strategy?
In last three month, I tried to focus on my concepts part. In the last one and half months, it was all test series. If I was facing an issue with any concept I referred multiple resources to clear it up. Do not delay test taking even if you feel you aren’t prepared. One month before exam one test per week must be taken. While in the last days the more test you take the more it helps.
How did you manage to prepare for CAT and other exams within the same time frame?
My main preparation was for CAT. For other exams, I just took 2-3 test before the exam. If your focus is some other exam, give tests regularly. It certainly helps on D-Day.
What was your strategy for the D-Day? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
I applied the same strategy that I have mentioned in question 5. On the D-Day do keep yourself calm. Go and have a look at the test centre to avoid last minute issues and don’t feel nervous.
What resources you used to refer while preparing for the essay writing? (Please mention the topic)
Just read the newspaper to form my opinion. I didn’t use any specific resource.
How was the interview experience like? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
The interview experience was really good. All the interviews were very cordial while interacting. They were checking what I felt on different kind of issues. For preparation, I regularly read newspaper. They are the best medium you have. Other than that I brushed on my concepts of my graduation subjects. Also, do work on your hobbies and do have a reasoning behind whatever you say in the interview.
Any message you would like to share with the candidates preparing for CAT 2016.
With exams being 10 days away, I wish you all the best. Please do analyse your previous mock tests. Also, don’t get demotivated after seeing your mock score. They aren’t definitely the marks you would see on that day. Do relax as you can’t do much now in terms of preparation. In the end, it is just an exam and some of us would get the right amount of luck to clear it.