‘I Don’t Think That Any Coaching Is Necessary To Bag The Top Rank In CAT’ – 99.87%iler, Vinayak Pathak

Name: Vinayak Pathak

CAT Percentile: 99.87

Programme and Batch: PGDM-17, IIM Udaipur

Work experience: 0 months

Past Educational Qualification: B.Tech (CSE)

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

Thank You. My overall score was 187.01 and sectional scores were VARC-81.86 (99.74 percentile), DILR-67.80(99.96) and QA-37.35(93.83). No, I did not appear for any other exam as I had only focused on CAT.


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

In the test, I felt that QA was the most difficult section while for CAT 16 VARC was comparatively easy.


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

I started preparing from mid-August right after my placements. Being in the final year of college made it slightly easy for me to take out time for preparations but it was still difficult. I made sure to get placement early on so that I had one less thing to worry about. Also, I dedicated about 3-4 hours daily for CAT preparations by taking the time out of the many hours we tend to waste during our under-graduation years doing nothing productive.


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

I did not join any coaching for preparations. I don’t think that any coaching is necessary to bag top rank because a lot of things taught are very basic topics which we are familiar with but haven’t solved enough problems to get a good grasp on topic. So we can easily prepare by ourselves and get a good rank.


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

I was really uncomfortable in VARC even though I used to read regularly but during my preparations, I increased the frequency of reading books and newspapers which helped me tackle problems of comprehension and other VARC problems.

DILR was a strong point for me as I was really into solving similar puzzles and problems of logical reasoning. During the exam, I mostly attempted LR as I was confident that if I get the answer, it would be correct whereas DI answers were bit doubtful.

For QA what I did was started by giving mocks. During analysis, I found that there were some topics that I knew beforehand and some I didn’t know.So I studied those topics from the answer explanation and books and then reattempted a new mock.This helped me focus on those topics which I needed to learn instead of the whole syllabus.

Also giving mocks helped me understand my strong and weak points to strategise for the test better.


6. How did you tackle the challenging sections and topics?

For challenging sections and topics, I studied the topic then dived right into problems. If I found my performance not satisfactory then I again saw some examples and repeated the cycle.


7. Mention section wise books and study materials you had referred.

Except for quant, I mainly focused on mock problems from bullseye and CL test series. For quant, I used Arun Sharma. I also joined CL test series. (15 Book Recommendations for CAT Preparation)


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

Mocks were the most important reason for my success. I started giving mocks in September. During the 2 months, I gave about 6 mocks every week along with analysis and coverage of new topics according to that analysis.


9. How did you get the mock tests analysed and how did you modify your strategy after that?

I used to go through the solution of all the questions. If for attempted question there was some better way than mine, I tried to learn the strategy if it was easy and not too complicated. For questions I didn’t attempt, I used to study the topics as well as try to learn from given solutions. If I found some topic too difficult to grasp then I just left it.


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

Since I prepared mostly through mocks, I didn’t need a time management strategy as all mocks nowadays have dedicated time limits for different sections.


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

I used calculators only for very large calculations or when I had some time left for some section.


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

WAT/PI is the toughest part of admission process as in this you have the competition which is equally or highly capable than you. Sometimes even the slightest mistakes can break your admission chance. These are the things that you truly need to prepare. Think about all the possible questions that can be asked to you. Introspect about yourself.Try to move the interview to your area of expertise. During my IIMK interview, the whole interview went about the time when I managed my family business with questions like how are the margins, how profits are made on some product etc. Be prepared for any type of topic for WAT and try to write at least 2 articles per day.


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

I only remember one of the topics which was for IIMK WAT and GD.It was about whether income is that whether income should be considered the most important motivational factors for employees in an organization?

PI questions asked were mostly general like Why MBA, tell us about yourself, previous projects or work experience related questions. Mostly if you say something interesting during introduction most of the interview will go on that topic. Like my IIMK and IIMC interview went along the lines of my family business.


14. Any suggestion that you would like to share with aspirants?

Key is identifying your strengths and weaknesses and working on basis of them by devising a clear strategy of how you want to proceed. Also, solve as many mocks as you can as mocks help the most with preparations.


A reader, globe-trotter and a food junkie!



Raghav Rama

Great article. Very helpful.
Sir could you tell me exactly what range of grad marks are acceptable? Mine are also on the lower side around 70% so curious.

pitbull perez

sir, I’m working in PSB as Bank po and it’s only been 6 months would you please share what should be the optimum time for prep in cat exams and my academics and graduations scores near about Low please suggest

Rajat Rocker

my VARC is pathetic and i am very bad in that section
even my mock score for VARC never crossed 20 marks !!!! plzz help
quant and lr is quite decent and i am also preparing by my own

Vinayak Pathak

Didn’t get a l call.Also wasnot able to crack c.As for fms i had not filled its form and also was more inclined towards iim tag considering my future goals.

Pranav Mohan

Congratulations!! You really give hope to the likes of me with 60% in graduation. Is it possible to get call from other new iims like rohtak, Raipur and kashipur?