‘A Well-Planned Strategy Is Needed’- R Sriram (98.7%iler In SNAP 2016) On Cracking The SNAP – SIBM Bengaluru
Meet R.Sriram, a first-year MBA student at SIBM Bengaluru. He completed his Mechanical engineering from SRM University in 2016. To give his career a head-start, Sriram decided to do an MBA and started preparing for a plethora of competitive exams. The preparation phase lasted for 9 months after which he secured 98.7 percentile in SNAP and a 94.4%ile in CAT. He chose to join SIBM Bengaluru and is currently in the second semester of his MBA. Sriram believes that scoring a 98%ile in SNAP is quite a task, but a well-planned strategy could make it really easy.
Did your educational background help you during test prep? Did it help you in subsequent rounds (GE-PI-WAT)?
Yes. I’m a mechanical engineer and this helped me a lot in quants, especially in doing calculations faster. This allowed me to focus more on logical reasoning and data interpretation. Also, engineering gives an analytical perspective on things in general. This helped me in GE-PI-WAT, especially in Group discussions where citing data to prove your assertion is very important.
What was your strong/weak section and what was your overall test-taking strategy?
My strong sections were verbal and general knowledge. In these two sections either you know the answer or you don’t. But in case of Quants and LR & DI, speed along with accuracy is very important. So I focused on improving my accuracy while at the same time not losing out on speed. The challenge is to spot and get all the ‘easy’ questions right.
What was your strategy for individual sections (Quant/Verbal/Data Interpretation/General Awareness/Reading Comprehension)?
If everyone was given an hour extra, the whole paper can be solved. Not just for the SNAP but for also other exams like CAT or NMAT. So the trick is to find the easy and medium level difficulty problems. There are no extra marks for solving a hard problem. Identify the topics which you find are easy and prepare them thoroughly. No one solves the entire paper, which means even people who get 100 percentile don’t solve all the problems. Let go the problems that are time-consuming or which involve longer calculation.
For Verbal – the highest marks can be scored here with least effort. Try to attempt a higher number of questions. Practice different types of comprehensions from diverse topics like metaphysics, political essays, and biology.
For Quant – identify a list of topics which you can solve no matter how complex the question is. This is to ensure high accuracy of those topics. You shouldn’t lose any marks on these topics. Next, prepare another list of topics which are slightly tough but those you can solve with practice. Attempt questions from these but attempt only if you are sure. Ignore the rest. This will fetch you a pretty good score.
For DI and LR – practice a variety of questions. Generally, this is where people lose marks. If the questions are difficult for you, then most likely it’s difficult for all. Attempt wisely. Even if you attempt less make sure your accuracy is high.
For GK – read about the current affairs, Oscar winners, grand slam winners, and heads of state and organizations (WHO, IMF, UN, UNHCR etc.) and important dates. This roughly would cover 80 % of the questions.
What do you think you did right during test prep? What was it that you did right on Test Day?
Have a strategy. This is where most people lose out. Have a plan ‘A’, plan ‘B’ and a plan ‘C’. ‘A’ for how many questions you would attempt if the paper is easy, ‘B’ for if the paper is moderately difficult and ‘C’ for a tough paper. This is only possible by taking a lot of practice tests. And most importantly don’t panic if the paper is difficult, it must be difficult for most people. So stay calm and go according to your plan.
How did you prepare for the group discussion? What was the topic and how did you tackle the GD round?
I read a lot of newspaper and magazines for GD. The Hindu, Mint, The Economist, Frontline are some places where you can find rational articles which are completely based on statistics and will give you an edge over others. Statistics will be that differentiating factor. If you can reason your arguments with numbers, you will be selected immediately.
What resources did you use to refer while preparing for the essay writing? (Please mention the topic)
I do not remember exactly but it was something along the lines of government interference in various states to win votes, e.g. Beef ban in Maharashtra, Vishwaroopam ban in TN. For essays, I prepared from the above-mentioned sources. But it is important to have your own opinion and more importantly back it up by statistics. In today’s world proclamation doesn’t get one anywhere so it is important to be rational.
How was the interview experience like? What was your preparation strategy and how did the interview turn out to be?
I had quite a long interview and it was one of a kind experience. The questions varied from mechanical engineering to stock markets to OPEC. Be honest during your interview as it takes less than a minute for the interviewer to figure out if you are honest or exaggerating. I revised the subjects I learnt during my under graduation. Then I prepared for current affairs and latest development in international affairs. I had read about shale gas as it was making news and I was asked about that in my interview (no relation to my under graduation). So all these tiny knowledge you acquire will also help you. I was asked a lot of questions and I answered them confidently, but there were times when I said I don’t know too. So it is not always about knowing it all but being confident and honest.