3 Step Approach To Get Into An IIM – Tips By An IIM Lucknow Student

It was around this time last year that I started my preparations for CAT. I went through multiple blogs and articles to define my perfect study plan. Though there were multiple blogs on planning the preparation strategy for CAT, none gave a holistic view of the whole process. The main purpose of this blog is not to advise on how to crack the CAT but on how to get into an IIM. And the right time to read this article is while preparing for CAT.

There are three parts to getting into an IIM –ย nailing the CAT exam, getting the IIM interview call, converting the call. The second part is partially dependent on the first part and partially on your previous deeds and records (So, there’s nothing much you can do about it!). All the effort has to be put in the first and the last part. Though one might think that cracking the CAT exam is the toughest part, trust me, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Remember thatย CAT is a process of elimination while the interview is the process of selection.

Say you have given the CAT, what next? In 1-2 months after CAT, you will get your percentile. A few days later you will start receiving interview calls and before you realise, your interviews will get over. Thousands of people join coaching to prepare for the interviews and though there is no full proof method to get into an IIM, the below points will help you have an edge over the other candidates. The simple formula is toย start early to stay ahead of the competition.

3 Step Process To Get Into An IIM

1.ย Read newspaper editorials: Take out time to read a few editorial articles daily. 2 quality articles per day would suffice. Also, due to the availability of newspapers online, you can read these at anywhere (be it office or cab). This will not only help improve your reading speed and vocabulary for the CAT exam but also help you form your views on the current issues. One of the most crucial parts of an IIM interview is staying updated with the current affairs. Knowledge of current affairs will help you shine in all – GDs, essays and interviews.

2. Improve your communication skills: Speaking with utmost fluency and confidence during the interviews will help you make a good impression on the interviewers. There are multiple ways in which you can improve your spoken English. There is a common and straightforward approach of practising speaking in front of the mirror. You can also try joining Toastmasters club or a debating society or any similar meetups. These meetups occur once or twice a month. Spending just 2-4 hours a month on your communication skills will help you make a great difference during the interviews.

These will also increase your awareness and would add to your extracurriculars.

3. Extracurriculars give you brownie points: Almost every IIM will ask you about your hobbies. Having a thing that you love to do in your free time and in-depth knowledge about it will help you during your interviews. This can be as simple as playing TT in the office or reading books or articles about some topic you like.

It is not just about hobbies. You can speak about your passion, or some influencer you follow, etc. It is for u to showcase your personality.

These are a few simple ways which will be beneficial in the long run without eating up too much of your time.

Last but not the least, my advice for the CAT, try taking at least one mock CAT every week. Those will help you gauge your performance and improvement. Mock CATs help you identify your weak and strong areas. CAT is about relative and not absolute performance. Mocks will act as an indicator of where you stand in the crowd.

All the best!

Krishnika Agarwal

Krishnika Agarwal had scored 99.44%ile in CAT 2017. She will be joining IIM Lucknow this year. She likes painting and traveling, and occasionally indulges in yoga and meditation.



Krishnika Agarwal

VA – I had given GMAT just before I started my preparations. So that helped me with it. I used Manhattan Sentence Correction Guide for basic exercises. Egmat blogs and webinars really helped me a lot.

RC – https://www.gpkafunda.com/solving-rc-passages/ video helped me a lot. Apart from this, it was mostly about choosing the right kind of passages during AIMCATS and spending more time on those.

DI/LR – I was able to solve 5-6 passages during AIMCATs, so this was not really a problem for me. But one strategy which helped me during CAT 17 was to skim through all the questions in starting 2-3 minutes. This helped me identify the easy ones and solve them first. Reading all the sets before beginning the section is very important due to the fact that the time is not sufficient to solve all the sets and the level of difficulty varies largely from one set to another.

QA – After taking the diagnostic test, I realized that I was out of touch with the formulas. So the first thing I did was to solve the TIME Quant booklets’ exercises. Also, while analyzing my AIMCATs, I used to bookmark questions which I felt were different or difficult or had a new concept. I revised these questions 2-3 times before CAT.

I used to take as many mocks as possible. The mocks covered almost all kinds of questions and helped me decide the best possible strategy for me.


First off, thankyou for such an informative article, really helped a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wanted to ask that do we require a coaching for preparing or are there any online platforms?

Krishnika Agarwal

It depends from person to person. Personally, I felt that test series and TIME material was enough for me. I did not have time to attend the classes. If you have enough time to attend classes (religiously) and still manage to self-study and give mocks, then you can definitely join a coaching. Coaching institutes provide tips and tricks to solve questions.
On the other hand, if you do not have sufficient time, then I would recommend you to practice questions and go through their solutions as well. The solutions provided by the coaching institutes consist of the tips to solve the particular question, if any.
Online platforms that I referred to:
1) Time test series : Consists of AIMCATs + SAMCATS + 100+ Sectional tests and topic tests
2) CL test series : AIMCATs (with good analysis) + few free material and video lectures on some topics


Thankyou so muchh ๐Ÿ˜€ Good luck to you on your IIM journey ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚