Sagar is a Chartered Accountant by qualification where he was All India Rank 24 in the intermediate level, he completed B.com from St. Xavier's College, Kolkata where he scored 81% and was ranked 6th in his batch. He has also qualified CFA level 2. He did his schooling from Delhi Public School Megacity, Kolkata where he scored 92.2% in Xth and 95% in XIIth. Post qualifying CA he worked as an Equity research analyst covering the pharmaceutical sector for 7 months. He appeared for CAT 2020 realizing that MBA would play a crucial role in the progression of his career, where he scored 99.60%ile and got calls from IIM A,L,K,I,S where he managed to convert all of them. He is joining IIM Ahmedabad's PGP Co'23. Read this preparation journey, and his advice for future aspirants here!
Hi Sagar, please share your score and percentile with our readers.
Overall 114.73 (99.60ile)
VARC - 37.08 (97.52ile)
DILR- 24.4 (94.35ile)
QA- 53.25 (99.77ile)
How much did your score in your previous attempts?
CAT 2017- 99.60,
There are many aspirants who will attempt CAT multiple times. What'd be your advice to them?
My advice to anyone who wants to attempt CAT again would be to first realise the fact that scoring high in CAT is not the end rather getting admission in your dream B-school is. So meanwhile when aspirants gear up for another attempt they should also look at how they are building their profile, be it work experience, certification courses etc.
Then when we come to CAT since repeaters have an advantage of knowing the exam before hand they must really try to maximize their score as much as possible by giving at least 40-45 mocks. They should work on strategy building apart from strengthening their basics. Also the mindset plays an important role and never giving up is an attribute I've found the single most helpful one in this entire journey.
How did you prepare for CAT 2020?
I prepared for CAT through Self study using materials and past mock papers from various institutes such as TIME QA module, Cracku LRDI sectionals, extensively.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
The most important thing to really maximize your score is to focus on your strong suit which would mostly be either VA/QA. I strongly believe that LRDI is a section that one can never bank completely on since a small mistake can have serious consequences. I have scored ~99.5 in LRDI twice in CAT and ~95 twice. So having high competency in the other two alongside solid LRDI practice would really help in scoring very high.
Which mock series did you enroll for?
I enrolled for IMS, Cracku, CL test series. I took around 50-55 mocks and 20-25 sectionals for QA and DILR. My approach for the mock tests was to focus on maximizing my score in QA since it was my strong suit and also score high in VA because LRDI used to fluctuate a lot. My focus on QA paid off on D-day as well after tanking the LRDI section in getting a respectable score. My area of concern was mostly fluctuation in LRDI scores which i tried to manage through solving as many sectionals and past mocks as possible.
How much time did you devote to preparation on a regular basis?
I used to devote around 3-4 hours daily for preparation which included reading newspapers or some book, solving 3-4 past year LRDI sets and few basic QA questions. I used to sit for mock tests generally on the weekend.
Tell us about the lowest point in your preparation journey and how did you overcome that?
I remember the lowest point in my preparation was when I scored low in the last 2 mocks I gave before CAT, that really created panic in my head since I had seen really high scores by many people and I started doubting my ability. on D-day, I just thought that at worse I'll tank the exam but that is not the end of life so I tried to enjoy the 2 hours as much as I can, in the end barring few really silly mistakes the exam went pretty much smoothly.
You May Also Be Interested In Reading → "Build A Mindset For CAT So That You Can Handle Any Stress" CAT Preparation Tips And Strategy By Muskaan Chauhan, CAT 2020 99.45%iler, IIM A'23
Your advice to future CAT aspirants?
The resources I would suggest is past year mocks of IMS and TIME for LRDI preparation, QA booklet of TIME for solidifying your basics in Quant, and regular reading plus solving of RC's to really get better at VARC. Also, IMS mocks seemed closest to CAT so they are a must to enroll, LRDI section of Cracku is really good and their mock series is really affordable so one should enroll for these two at least, if someone wants to enroll for any other test series as well CL and then TIME would be my preference order.
What resources would you suggest to 2021 aspirants?
Some Don'ts for future aspirants -
1. Never compare your mock scores with others and get bogged down, your comparison must be with your previous mock score only. Try to beat yourself every day in being better. You have to realize people give CAT multiple times and those few high mock scores would be because they have a head start. Also, nobody would ask you your mock scores so your target should be to do really well on the D day rather than being a mock mauler. Therefore the focus should be to be ready to give your best on the D-day rather than in some mock tests. I intentionally missed few mock tests because I thought my QA basics needed revision because I realized that it's the CAT result which matters.
2. Try to not take a long break from mock tests until and unless you have really tanked the last one and need a breather to freshen up. Consistency will really help you do well in the final exam.
3. Do not skip reading opinion articles from international newspaper such as NYT, Guardian, Project syndicate and the like they not only help you with VARC but also would be helpful in WAT-PI.
4. Do not get complacent after scoring high in CAT in relaxing or giving interviews and the like, remember CAT is 50% and the rest is the WAT-PI part, if you do not convert few good calls that CAT scorecard will be of no use so remember until your final admit offer the journey is not over. I missed calls from IIM-B and IIM-C by a whisker ( IIM C by literally 0.25 marks) and was really sad about that but I knew I had the call from the best B-school in the country and if I can work hard and get it done there will be no looking back. After 2 months of rigorous preparation for WAT-PI, it was a dream come true for me and my parents when I saw congratulations on the IIM-A portal on 13th May.
5. Never lose self-belief even though you have few failures in the journey, CAT has many stories which are inspiring only due to self-belief.
Must-Read → From 20%ile In Mocks A Month Before CAT To 99.93%ile In CAT 2020 | Kaivalya Shah, IIM Ahmedabad '23
What would be your final advice to CAT 2021 Aspirants?
I'll end with the one quote that kept me going all these years towards one single goal.
"But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!" - Rocky Balboa