Meet XAT Topper Prakriti Prabir Kar – 99.93 Percentile in XAT

As XAT 2016 approaches, InsideIIM brings you interviews with XAT Toppers who have aced these entrance exams in the past. As part of this series, we aim to help MBA aspirants understand what it takes to crack this exam on the D – Day.

XAT 2016 will be conducted on Sunday 3rd January 2016. XLRI conducts XAT on behalf of the XAMI. For more than 60 years XLRI is conducting XAT at all India level to select the most appropriate students for management education. The XAT score is being used by more than 100 institutes for the admission.

Prakriti Prabir Kar scored 99.93 percentile in XAT 2014. She did her graduation in Computer Science Engineering from College of Engineering, Pune. She graduated in 2014 and is currently studying in the second year at XLRI.

How did you manage your time while studying for XAT, given that you were also busy in Final Year College Lectures and Exams?

I had planned for appearing for MBA entrance exams in my third year itself and hence had taken projects and electives which weren’t too taxing. I attended all my lectures diligently so that my concepts were clear in the class itself. Hence, it was sufficient to devote time for engineering studies just before the respective exams. Other than that, all my time went into MBA preparations, mock tests and classes.

Did your engineering background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (GD-PI)?

Being an engineer, I had a good base for Quant and analytical ability already. I just had to build up on it. Other than that, my computer science background didn’t help me in particular during the preparations for the written exams or the GD-PI.  Questions about subjects and projects in engineering do crop up in the interviews, which are easy to handle with a little brushing up of the important subjects and projects of engineering.

What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test taking strategy? What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant,DI,Verbal)?

Verbal was my strong section and comparatively Quant was weaker. Initially, I started by giving equal time to all the 3 sections. Once I was done with the complete syllabus, I started with the mock tests, first section-wise and then full syllabus. While analysing the mock tests, I started paying more attention to the sections or  chapters where I was frequently making mistakes or was unable to attempt within the given time period. I started going back and revisiting those chapters and solving some more problems or resolving tests or exercises of those concerned chapters. Eventually, I had no weak sections or chapters left. I then concentrated on increasing my speed and accuracy by solving more and more mocks.

I believe mock tests play a very huge role in the preparation of any aspirant. Analysing the mocks is also equally important and I used to spend as much time in analysing the mocks, as was needed in giving them. The aspirant should try to solve mocks from different sources, publications and coaching classes as all of them have a specific internal pattern and difficulty level of the questions. Solving a variety of patterns gives a lot of confidence and helps us understand the various approaches in which a question can be asked. Also, it is very important in analysing the answers of the questions which you could attempt correctly, as many a times the approach or way of thinking adopted by you is different from that of the question-setter, especially in the Verbal Ability section. So it is important to understand the thought-process of the person who is setting the question, which happens only when you listen to the logic which he gives behind a right answer.

My test taking strategy was, I started with Quant, as it was my comparatively weaker section, then I moved on to VA and then DM. I had initially divided the total time into 3 parts, and spent only one-third of the time on Quant, and then moved on to DM, even though, there were some questions in Quant which remained unattempted. VA and DM being my strong sections, I could finish them completely before time. Then I went back to solve the unattempted questions in Quant in the remaining time. In this way, I was able to finish the complete paper, almost 15-20 minutes before time. I cross-checked the paper in those 15-20 minutes and re-attempted the difficult ones in all the 3 sections.

What was your test prep strategy over the few months leading to the XAT? (last 3 months, last month, last 15 days)? Was it a test series inclined one or a chapter by chapter strategy?

It’s important to have all the concepts clear, before starting with the tests. My strategy was, I finished with all the chapters in all the 3 sections first, and moved on to the section-wise tests when I was crystal clear about all the concepts. I then started with section wise mocks and then moved on to full syllabus mock tests. The last one month was mostly devoted for giving mocks from various sources and analysing them. Religiously reading a good newspaper everyday helps in the Reading Comprehension part, as well as the section of GK in XAT. Also, essay writing can be practised in the last month leading up to XAT.

What was your strategy for the D-Day and what do you think you executed the Best on the D- Day? 

The most important trait which will get you through is being calm and composed on the D-Day. I was extremely relaxed and chilled out about the whole thing. I just wanted to give my best shot and was not thinking about the difficulty level or anything else about the paper. I was very fresh, not at all stressed out or anxious. I think this is the trait which worked best in my favour and helped me in finishing the paper very quickly and accurately.

How did you prepare for PI and GD?

For the GD, it’s important to be aware of all the national and international hot topics. Regularly reading the newspapers helps a lot in this respect. I also used to have mock GD practice sessions with my friends. In the PI, it is of utmost importance to know and explore yourself completely in the first place. The interviewer mainly tries to judge you by asking questions about your past associations and achievements, debentures and failures. I found writing a small autobiography to be extremely helpful in my preparations in this respect. It helped me in exploring all my past decisions and the circumstances and rationale behind them. It’s also very important to be well versed with the academic subjects and projects of the final year of engineering, in case you are a fresher.

Do you think as a fresher, you were at a disadvantage in GD/PI rounds?

As a fresher, you won’t be at a disadvantage in any angle if you are well informed about the happenings in your society and have a good level of general awareness and general knowledge. In the PI too, the interviewers never nurture any biases about your potential just because you have never worked. Being a fresher, in fact, proves that you were capable of clearing one of the toughest entrance exams in the country at one go, where others clear them in multiple attempts. So just be confident about yourself and your abilities and go ahead.

What did you like most about the first few months of MBA?

Opting for an MBA has taken me on a thrilling rollercoaster ride, a journey which transformed my personality in a zillion ways. The first few months of MBA were a little difficult to cope with, especially for a fresher not used to working against deadlines, day in and day out. But you learn how to handle everything on the job and once you are used to running around, round the clock, you start getting used to this way of living and end up enjoying it. After an MBA, you are so conditioned to work under all circumstances that you will survive in any workplace you go to after it.

Which coaching institute did you go to and how did coaching help?

I went to Bakliwal Tutorials in Pune for regular coaching. I had also joined the AIMCAT test series of TIME. I feel coaching does play an important role in MBA preparations as it provides a structured approach during the preparations. Coaching also makes us aware about our peers and gives us some idea of our position in terms of preparation. Having said that, our amount of hard work and self-preparation only determines in the end how the result would be. So if you think you have the amount of self-discipline and control required to study without having a formal coaching, then you can very well opt for it.


We would like to thank Prakriti for sharing her set of suggestions with the aspirants.

For interviews of other XAT Toppers, Click Here

See Final Admit – our one stop shop for everything about your MBA Test Prep