Nandeesh is a marketeer by profession and an electrical engineer by education. He has worked with ION Exchange India Ltd. for 1.5 years, Where he joined as a trainee and left as a senior officer. Coming to academics, those were never his strongest suit, to say the least. When his batchmates gave 45 end-term exams, Nandeesh gave 70, which piled up to him getting a year back in his Btech, finally passing it with 60.7%. He scored 63% in his 12th and 7.6 GPA in 10th. He also got a 99.9 in XAT and 98.1 in CAT. How? Let's find out!
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Hi Nandeesh, please share your score and percentile with our readers.
61.6/100, 99.95%ile | Quant, 63%, 99.2%ile | Verbal and logical Ability , 65.9%, 99.8%ile | Decision making , 53% , 97%ile.
When did you start your preparation?
I started preparing in mid-October, but soon I realized I could not dedicate as much time as I wanted to. Because I was already too late for the process, I decided to quit my job and got relieved on 2nd Nov. That's when I started my preparation on a full scale.
When should one ideally start preparing, and how much time per day should they dedicate?
There is no one correct answer to this question; it is highly dependent on you. I prepared 15 days with a job and 27 days full-fledged. But those 28 days, I gave it all, I studied for 15 hours a day.
How did you prepare - Self-study or Coaching? Which one do you think is better?
We Indians have been doing coaching since class 10th boards, at least I have been, so why risk it now, in probably the most crucial exam of your life. So, to answer your question, joining coaching would be a better choice; in my case, I didn't attend any live classes because of the lack of time. But I viewed the lectures of my weak topics. Joining coaching gives you that reliability of where to look when you get stuck with any topic. Although everything is available out there for free, you need to be resilient enough to find it.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
Practice, B-school entrance exams are more of a time game than a knowledge game. Practice so many questions that solving questions becomes a reaction, rather than something you think and do.
Which mock series did you enroll for?
CATking, but don't forget to use the free resources like Gradeup and many other coachings give weekly free tests. The best mock series is the one that gives you your position among the most number of students. So I would recommend going for TIME / IMS / Gradeup.
How many full-length mock tests and sectional mock tests did you take?
11, 9 full-lengths for XAT and CAT, respectively. Again, take into consideration the time I had. So it comes down to around two mocks per week.
What was your approach while taking mocks? How do you think the mock tests helped you in your preparation?
Please take it as seriously as your actual CAT, decide the date and time when you will give mock in advance, and stick to it, no matter what. The approach for taking mock is unique to every student and every section. For me, quant and verbal were my strengths; I used to start from the first question and went on solving until the end. For DM and LRDI, I first skimmed through the entire section, then selected the sets I wanted to do, then did them. My target was to score in Quant and VARC and clear sectional cut-offs in other sections.
Which section were you strong in? Since you were strong in that section, how did you focus on the other sections?
As discussed, quants and VARC were my strengths, as may be the case with other engineers. I always made sure my focus was on all the subjects and gave me extra effort to my weakness. So it came down to 2 additional hours in LRDI each day, but it depends on your weakness and how weak you are in it.
What resources would you suggest to future XAT aspirants?
For quant and LRDI:
o Arun Sharma sir's books, compulsory
o Lectures from your respective coaching or Rodha on Youtube
o VARC by Pearson
o Newspaper of your choice
o Previous year question, compulsory.
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What, according to you, are the DO's and DON'Ts of XAT preparation?
- Don't be a CAT aspirant, be a B-school aspirant and give every possible exam.
- Don't ignore any subject, even if you are afraid of it
- Don't ignore your strengths; just because you are good at it doesn't mean you are a know-it-all.
- Concepts are over-rated, don't waste a lot of time understanding them; you will know them when you start practicing.
- Give mocks, a hell lot of them.
- Take out time to analyze mocks
- Make formula/ summary notebook to revise before CAT
- Keep on practicing.
What special should be done for XAT?
Don't do anything for XAT until you give your CAT. Now assuming you have given your CAT with somewhat a good preparation, here is the step by step plan
1. Revise LOD 3 of all the sections.
2. Do all the PYQs of decision-making and understand the examiner's mindset and expectations from you.
3. Solve at least three previous years XAT.
4. You have almost a month to give at least five mocks, eight recommended.
What'd be your final advice to future aspirants?
It's ok to fail; I have failed a lot. You need to try just one more time. It's all about perseverance. Keep working on yourself. I cracked it in 2 months. You can crack it in 1; the question is, are you ready to work that hard and keep on working that hard without giving up.