Getting The x In 99.9x – Strategy For Next Three Months From A CAT Topper (99.94%ile) – S.Raghavan From IIM Kozhikode

Getting into the elusive league of 99.9x is every CAT aspirant’s dream. Here we interview, S. Raghavan a student at IIM Kozhikode who belled the CAT at a commendable 99.94 percentile.

So Raghavan, tell us something about your Quant strategy.

CAT over the past few years, has lost its surprise factor. All that matters is practice and that is especially true for Quant. With practice, one can easily boost his Quant score. Practice would give you two key attributes viz. familiarity and speed. So now you have 3 more months. If you have covered the basic stuff, start doing Area wise tests (P&C, Geometry etc.). Most of the major test series have them in various levels of difficulty. It would form a good barometer of where you stand. Even if you are not cracking it, you would know your pressure points and thus could smoothen them out. Make charts of all the important formulas and stick them in your room. If time permits widen your scope by going through good old RD Sharma for 9th & 10th standard (CBSE). I have seen many basic concepts being tested these days emanating from there.

And how did you tame the Verbal section, the dread of all engineers?

I am a voracious reader, and I read at-least two newspapers a day. So the Verbal section was something that came naturally to me. One thing that I have found is reading comprehensions sucks up a lot of your time. I have seen many good candidates messing up their Verbal section, just because there were stuck in the RC’s. Quite often candidates read up the questions before & look for answers. That’s a very bad strategy as a holistic understanding of the passage is not achieved. CAT is an exam that expects you to answer questions in perspective, and many a times the initial meaning of a phrase changes as you go down. So first, read up the passage uncluttered and then move on to questions. For the uninitiated in reading, religiously read Editorial articles of at-least two newspapers. It is essential to read about topics that you are not aware of, to build up your awareness and the ability to concentrate.  Apart from it give all the mock RC’s available.  For Grammar, there is an interesting book titled “Grammar Sucks” by Gary Robert Muschla. It would equip you with all the subtle nuances of grammar without bogging you down.

LR & DI is something that is sort of a grey area, where there is not much clarity on scope & structure. How did you tackle this big unknown?

Speaking of DI, there is only one strategy practice, practice & more practice. Practice from the coaching institute materials. They have excellent material. Try to get a hang of Vedic Mathematics that will speed up your basic calculations.

For Logical Reasoning, the basic mantra of practice is anyway there. LR is a section where I have seen CAT raising its bar. Identify the basic type of problems & make a note of them. So that once you find a familiar problem set with just different names, you don’t have to think twice before solving. CAT always throws surprises in this section, so your primary task is to increase your familiarity with as many problem sets as possible to reduce the element of surprise.

Any final nuggets of wisdom?

The sooner you start doing consolidated papers, the better it is. But having said that, don’t rush into them without being thorough with the course once. I suggest at minimum of two mocks a week and a maximum of four. Extensive evaluation of your results is necessary. Maintain a separate A4 size sheet for each mock to note which questions went wrong & why. Further, timing of your paper is essential, and you need to cultivate the habit of letting go a question which you don’t get and move on. Don’t lose your cool, CAT preparation is an incremental process, one cannot hope to finish it off in last fortnight. Start now and build it brick by brick. I wish Good Luck to all the InsideIIM readers.


About the Interviewee:  


Raghavan is a second year student at IIM Kozhikode. He loves reading and travelling. Aiming to be an entrepreneur, he is presently working on an under the wraps start-up idea.