“Get a good CAT score and everything else will become secondary” – Nishant Priyadarshi, Director – Vistamind

InsideIIM’s Weekly Test Prep Live Chat Series with ARKS Srinivas and the Vistamind Team is going great guns. The Live Chat Series is aimed at guiding you towards your goal of cracking the top MBA exams coming up over the next few months(CAT, XAT and IIFT), and helping you every step of the way. Tune in at 6:00 pm this Saturday (11th October) for more Test Prep related gyaan on the Live Chat. Meanwhile, those of you who missed last  Saturday’s chat can read the abridged transcripts below. We had with us Nishant Priyadarshi – co-founder and Director at Vistamind. Nishant is an expert on Test-Prep, with more than ten years of experience in this sector, having been a former director at TIME. He is an alumnus of IIM Kozhikode.


Anand Kumar I am currently getting around 85 to 90 percentile in mock tests.I desperately desire to go to top ten prestigious MBA institutes of india. I am trying really hard to improve my scores in mock but I make mistakes sometimes in DI,sometimes in VA or in LR. How should I make strategy for the next 42 days !!

Nishant Priyadarshi Anand: Just few more correct answers can take you there. Identify the areas where you are making mistakes or leaving questions.Work on them. Revise those chapters. Add more chapters to your strong chapter list.

Anand Kumar One more doubt, sir. My academic details are 10th-93.8 , 12th-85.2 ,B.Tech- 86.6 and work-ex of 2 years with TCS . What are my chances and what percentile will fetch me calls from top institutes!

Nishant Priyadarshi  Anand: Get 95+ and you should get most of the IIMs


Kunal Shivalkar I am giving aimcats and simcats scoring 75-85percentile, 10 th-85, 12th-64,b.e-67, nc-obc. What percentile could i except and which b-school i have chance?

Nishant Priyadarshi Kunal: Try to identify your weak areas and work on them. Improve your accuracy. And push your percentile beyond 90. Then you can get real good colleges


Shashank Jha Hi. What can I do to improve my performance in DI and LR questions over the next 45 days.

Nishant Priyadarshi Shashank: DI questions these days in CAT use less logic and more calculation. SO work on calculation and practice that on simple graphs like tables, pie, bar and line graphs


Charul Kakkar Sir i am not able to understand avg mix and alligations and also probability..so please provide me any good source for preparation for these 2 chapters..or else i have to leave them

Nishant Priyadarshi Charul: AMA & P&C/Prob are easy chapters if explained well. Suggest you to refer to your school books and you will understand.


Bikash Sahoo My 12th score is below 90% will that hamper my chances, moreover I heard that panelists at IIMs do ask a bit about extracurriculars and co curriculars , how should I handle that aspect , as I have got nothing to put on the application form

Nishant Priyadarshi Bikash: Remember that the biggest weightage is for CAT score. Get a good score and everything else will become secondary

Bikash Sahoo Sir, I am facing a peculiar problem in RCs , i tend to forget the gist of the passage by the time i end it, so i waste a lot of time, re -reading it, moreover i am a slow reader?? how to improve speed and avoid re-reading?

Nishant Priyadarshi Bikash: Might be a good idea to do a very cursory reading at first, look at the question and then go to the relevant part of the passage which contains the answer.


Shishir Agarwal Hi Nishant, How do we decide an ideal attempt pattern for the sections? Difficult first or easy first?

Nishant Priyadarshi Shishir: How will you identify whether a section or question is difficult or easy without trying to solve? So better strategy is to as per your strength and so strong- – weak – strong


Nikhar Mattu Sir, the 2nd section is my stronghold…while I get around the cutoff marks in the 1st. So, in light of that what do you think about my strategy of VA…LR….RC…QA(LOD 1)…DI…QA(LOD 2)?

Shashank Jha My strongest areas are VA, followed by Quant, followed by DI & LR. The sequence I am following is VA, followed by DI and LR, followed by QA. Seems to be working decently for me. Should I follow this?

Nishant Priyadarshi All: Please do leave some time in the end. Remember that you should ideally do the paper in about 110-120 minutes, solve the easy ones and bookmark the difficult one. In the remaining time, try to do as many of the bookmarked ones as possible. This strategy will ensure that you will not leave any question unseen.


Hitesh Chawla Hi Sir. How can I boost my score from the low and mid nineties to above…..to get a call from the top six iims

Nishant Priyadarshi Hitesh: Few more questions. Revise the chapters/concepts that you are consistently missing out or leaving. Try changing the sequence of attempts also


Sandipan Talapatra Sir,accuracy in VA still remains a problem for me. Should I move ahead with LR & RC just ignoring the rest???

Nishant Priyadarshi Sandipan: Remember that English is subjective and accuracy tends to be slightly lower than QA/DI. To counter that, you should increase your attempts in this area and try to do most of the questions. Anyways, english questions are mostly a function of time i.e. if you spend some more time you are are more likely to get the right answer, of course, provided you know the concepts


Shashi Subramaniam Hi Sir, I come from a commerce background, but I am able manage quant except geometry and permutations and combinations. What should i do….

Nishant Priyadarshi Shashi: I believe you want to say that you have problem in these areas. Geo/Mens is an important area and you will have to spend next 3-4 weeks on improving it. P&C/Prob can be ignored as it is not an important area in terms of number of questions asked

Shashi Subramaniam Thank you sir. Yes. I was making several mistakes/struggling to even solve a sum in geometry/permutations etc. but the other parts of quant were okay ( I was making fewer mistakes)


Gopal P Sir, I am giving mocks from CL & i’ve been scoring in the range of 100-110 with 50 attempts at 80% accuracy. What are my chances of scoring a 95pc in actual CAT with just a month left? score should be ideally aiming for? And what score should I ideally be aiming for to score a sure shot 95pc?

Nishant Priyadarshi Gopal: Mostly the percentiles in CAT are similar or shade lower than Mocks. Hence, try improving your score in the mocks by adding more chapters to your strong side. Don’t aim at any particular score. Percentile is a function of the difficulty level of the paper and performance of the students. Do as many questions correct as you can.

Gopal P  Thank you Sir. finally, do you think am on track with a score 110?

Nishant Priyadarshi Gopal: yes. But try moving beyond….



Sandipan Talapatra Sir,what should we expect in terms of difficulty level for both sections?More questions imply less difficult questions..is it a good assumption?

Nishant Priyadarshi Sandipan: Yes, that’s what you can expect. A good mix of easy, moderate and difficult questions with bias towards easy and moderate


Gururaj Sunder Hi Sir. I have 5 years of work experience in finance (investment banking analyst roles). Should I consider going for GMAT now, or should I go for CAT?

Nishant Priyadarshi Gururaj: You have a do a detailed study of investment and return. Placement for working candidates in India is not great even at IIMs and ISB. So do some research and decide the best institute where you should be doing your MBA. A 1 year MBA will definitely be better.


Shishir Kaushik i am currently having 3 years of exp. Should cat be a good option for me for consulting roles in the firm or GMAT?

Nishant Priyadarshi Shishir: Top consulting companies worldwide recruit from IIMs. So thats not a problem. You will have to maintain a good CGPA at the college also to be eligible for them. Please see that answer that I gave to Gururaj.


Akshay_sheth  Sir I am now in third year doing engineering, confused between whether to do MBA or not please help sir.

Nishant Priyadarshi Akshay: Please see that answer that I gave to Gururaj What kind of work do you want to do after finishing your education?

Akshay_sheth Interested in marketing and would love to do MBA but as I am doing engineering degree so it is good to change field from technical to other so I am confused.

Nishant Priyadarshi Akshay: It is not a change of field. More than 85% of students doing MBA at IIMs are engineers.

Akshay_sheth Thank you sir.So sir from when should i start prepartion for entrance exam

Nishant Priyadarshi Akshay: You are in third year. So you will take CAT next year. You have little more than a year. You should start right away.

Akshay_sheth  Yes sir. Sir is it good give entrance after some job experience?

Nishant Priyadarshi Akshay: You should try doing immediately after engineering. In case, you don’t get the college of your choice your choice, you should join job and continue trying.


Shishir Kaushik Another query sir, will CGPA and cat score alone do or they look for the past academic record as well?? (mine is average 81,76,65)

Nishant Priyadarshi  Shishir: Each IIM has a formula which they will reveal very soon. Everything will have some weight age but remember that the only thing that is in your control now is CAT score. SO focus on that. It is also the biggest component


Nikhar Mattu Sir, do commerce graduates get any preference over engineers ?

Nishant Priyadarshi Nikhar: IIMs are pushing for more academic diversity. In fact some of them gave marks for being non engineers last year!!


Karthick P What are the topics/areas from section 2 that we can improve in this one month?

Nishant Priyadarshi Karthick: Each topic should take 4-5 days to do it thoroughly. So identify 5-6 topics that you are weak in and work on them


Final note by Team InsideIIM: We would like to thank Nishant Sir for his time. We will have Team Vistamind on our platform again next Saturday (11th October 2014). Till then you can keep following them here vistamind.insideiim.com. You can read the abridged transcripts of our earlier Live Chats with ARKS  Srinivas herehere, and here. To solve questions live on InsideIIM along with hundreds of other aspirants go here: http://insideiim.com/admissions/

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