Urvi Mehta is pursuing Economics Honours and is a final year student of SRCC. She completed her schooling from The Heritage School, Gurgaon. She believes the unique pedagogy of her school helped her to build her personality and has defined who she is today to quite an extent! She is also a trained Kathak dancer and she holds a certificate from Pracheen Kala Kendra University. Urvi is a big fan of “FRIENDS” and in her free time, she likes to watch movies and shows. Moreover, she loves to read mythological fiction and solve Sudoku.
In this conversation, Urvi shares how she made it to IIM Ahmedabad, how she prepared for the sections and what she'd advice to future aspirants. Read on!
What was your CAT percentile (OA and in all the sections)?
I scored 99%ile overall in CAT with a 99.16%ile in VARC, 96.59%ile in LRDI and a 97%ile in Quants.
Please tell us about your academic profile and background.
I have done my 10th and 12th from CBSE board. I had a 10 CGPA in class 10th, a 97.4% in class 12th (commerce) and by the time I filled CAT forms, I had a 9 GPA in my graduation which translates to 85.5%.
Did you join any coaching? When did you start preparing for CAT?
When I was in my second year, I joined coaching (TIME). That was around October 2018. Till May 2019, I mainly attended the classes and then after that started to self-prepare. I started taking mocks from January itself. I enrolled myself for AIMCATs. By October 2019, I had taken a significant number of AIMCATs. I wanted to get a flavour of a different set of mocks and so I enrolled myself for Career Launcher mock tests as well. In total, I must have taken more than 30 full-length mocks.
How did you build your basics in each of the sections?
Starting with VARC, for me, the most difficult part was to sit and concentrate for a very long time. I was a slow reader since I was not into the habit of reading. I would be able to concentrate fairly well for the first 1-2 RCs and then my concentration level would slowly fade away. To fix this, I started to read novels and a newspaper (Mint) from around January 2019. That helped me quite a lot.
For LRDI, my simple rule was to be able to practice and solve as many sets as possible. LRDI is one section which offers a variety of questions and it is crucial to be acquainted with all the types. Also, in my coaching, I learnt a lot of tips and tricks. As I took more number of sectional tests and full-length mocks, I learnt to identify the 1 or 2 easy sets in each mock and go for them first.
For Quants, I relied a lot on my coaching institute. I had revised my coaching notes multiple times and that helped me to clear my basic understanding of all the topics. I made sure that I don’t miss any of the classes. If I have to quantify, I would say 70% of my preparation for Quants happened through coaching, and 30% through self-study in the form of sectional and mock tests.
Do you think reading novels help in cracking the VARC section?
I feel if you are not a regular reader, then starting with novels helps in two ways. It helps you to build up your concentration level which is one of the most crucial things in the VARC section. Apart from that, it also helps you to refine your ability to comprehend things. RCs in CAT are more about logical understanding than grammar or plain English. One should not read novels with the objective of improving vocabulary since it is not a very important factor in CAT. If you build the habit of reading, you will be able to start making sense of the RC as you keep reading and you will be able to connect the different ideas that the RC has got. And that is how it will help you to connect the passage to each of the questions!
What resources did you follow to prepare for CAT?
I followed my classroom notes for Quants. Apart from that, I practised from my coaching materials and TIME online portal. I took as many sectional and mock tests as possible. I didn’t study from any book as such.
What approach did you follow while taking mocks?
For VARC, I used to try and answer as many questions as possible. I would answer a question even if I was 75% sure about it and this strategy worked for me. Also, I would never leave a TITA question as they carried no negative marking. I would be able to complete answering the RC questions in the first 45 minutes and would keep the rest of the time for verbal questions. And as for RCs, although I would attempt all the RCs, I would not necessarily answer all the questions of one particular set. If I was too confused with the answer, I would leave that particular question.
For DILR, I would try to target 4 sets. My strategy would always be to target the easiest sets first because, in LRDI, it is not about how may difficult sets you are able to solve but how many sets you solve.
For Quants, I would target 18-20 questions every time although it was not necessary that in every mock, I would end up solving that many questions. I would mark questions only if I was 100% sure. And in TITA questions, I would try to make an intelligent guess. So in CAT, it so happened that I got one of the TITA questions right by guessing but I lost marks in one LRDI question which I thought was correct. So, that helped me to compensate for the marks lost. And that’s why I feel it is important to take TITA questions seriously. Also, initially, when I would attempt a mock, I would get obsessed with Quants questions if I was not able to solve them. But I slowly tried to shun this practise and learnt the art of letting go. Later, I would not spend more than 1-2 minutes in any question and if I was not able to solve them, I would move on!
What approach did you follow while analysing your mocks?
While analysing the VARC section, I would closely scrutinise the Verbal Ability questions to understand the logic of the right answers and where and why I went wrong.
For LRDI, if I got any question wrong, I would solve the set again. And for the questions that I could not attend due to time limitation, I would solve them myself. If I could not solve, then I would refer to the video solutions which were very helpful.
For Quants, mostly I would attempt a question if I was 100% sure. So while analysing, it was mostly about solving the questions which I could not solve due to limitation of time or due to the difficulty level.
What tips would you like to give to future aspirants?
I have a few things to say to anyone preparing for CAT. Let me put them in points:
- Even if you think you are not prepared fully right now, my advice is to go and take mocks. Don’t ignore mocks with the mindset that you will first complete your syllabus and then take mocks. Because mocks help a lot to understand where you currently stand and build your preparation strategy accordingly.
- It is important that you are clear about how you go ahead about studying. Stick to a few study materials and don’t take too much on your platter at the same time. It will only confuse you more.
- If you are taking CAT for the first time, join a good coaching institute. That does help in preparation. And don’t miss any of the classes. With the COVID situation right now and classes gone online, you might have the tendency to skip classes but never do that. It is from each of these sessions that I learnt a lot of tips and tricks which ultimately proved to be very useful.
- Even if you are preparing for CAT right now, I would suggest you to start reading newspapers bit by bit. That will not just help you with your VARC section but will help you stay updated with the current happenings. Do this if you don’t want to get caught off guard in case you clear CAT with flying colours. There is very less time to prepare for the GDPI process once the CAT results are out.
Urvi, we wish you all the best for your future endeavours!
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