Aryaman Chand is an engineering graduate from Amity University, Noida. He prepared for the management entrance examinations as a fresher, and after securing 99.5332 %ile in XAT 2021 and clearing the subsequent interview round, he is joining XLRI Jamshedpur's PGDM-BM programme in 2021! Aryaman loves photography and he's also interested in history, aviation, automobiles and warfare. In this article, he has detailed his preparation journey, and his advice to future aspirants. Read on!
Hi Aryaman, please share your XAT 2021 score and percentile with our readers.
How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Which one do you think is better?
I took up coaching. I would recommend coaching since it provides you with a structured form of learning and forces you to study even when you don’t feel like it. However, if you can manage the syllabus yourself at home, please do so. I didn’t find any inherent ‘classroom learning’ benefits from coaching.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
Mock tests, hands down. I’d say that mocks were responsible for more than half of my preparation. Giving the tests within a time constraint and then sitting and analysing the answers, where you went wrong, where you could’ve done better etc. will be 5x more useful than sitting and memorizing formulas.
Which mock series did you enroll for?
How many full-length mock tests did you take?
Close to 30 CAT mock tests, and about 15 mock tests combined for other entrances
What was your approach while taking mocks?
At first, I was absolutely clueless about everything, didn’t really have any plan before giving a mock. Wasted about 3-4 mocks like this until I figured out what worked for me. You’ll have teachers telling you how to approach mock tests but you have to figure out what works for you specifically. In doing this, expect to use around 3-4 of your mock tests. But make sure to experiment and find your groove. Try that for the next few mock tests and hone your strategy. Personally, I went in the standard order of VARC – DILR – QA for CAT, because that worked best for me.
How do you think the mock tests helped you in your preparation?
Mocks help you get a sense of the real exam. When there’s a time constraint and you’re sitting there fully focused on the exam, you get an idea of how the time flows and what your thought processes are during those 3 hours. The key is taking loads of mock tests, and then analyzing your answers after. This will help you judge what you could’ve done better, what you could’ve left out, and how you could’ve managed your time better. It also teaches you set selection, because in the real exam you can’t expect to attempt all of the sets unless you’re a machine – you’ve got to leave something out. Mocks will help you quicken this elimination process. When you take these learnings to your next mock test, and keep repeating the process, the growth will be exponential.
Which section were you strong in? Since you were strong in that section, how did you focus on the other sections?
My strong suit was VARC, so I focused the majority of prep time on DILR and Quant. Spent more time reviewing notes, solving worksheets, analyzing mock test answers. For DILR, I just practised loads of sets and revised theory concepts (games & tournaments etc). For QA, I maintained a small notebook with all formulas and tricks to solve questions topic-wise.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
I’d say it was DILR. Initially, I found the section to be hit or miss for me, but as I prepped more and more, I figured out how to selectively leave out the tough sets and do the easy ones first. This works for any section you’re not good at – try to pick & choose the sets that you’re confident in solving.
What challenges did you face while preparing for Decision Making and what are the resources you used to prepare for DM?
I really didn’t have enough experience with DM before going into the exam. I feel the coaching classes really helped here because I had no idea how to go about DM prep on my own. Also, I had only given around 3-4 XAT mock tests, so that experience was limited as well. I’d say if you’re enrolled in a coaching class, really focus on the DM classes and worksheets, because your DM prep won’t be as extensive as your VA/DILR/QA prep.
Tell us about the lowest point in your preparation journey and how did you overcome that?
There was a time when I scored 60%ile in 2-3 consecutive mock tests and it really killed my confidence. I honestly thought I had burnt out early. I came out of it automatically I guess. In hindsight, ups and downs do happen and they’re nothing to worry about. It doesn’t reflect your true potential and you shouldn’t let it drag you down.
What resources would you suggest to 2021 aspirants?
Go for coaching if you’re not able to self-study; leave it if you can. But do not miss out on a good mock test series and please do stick to a schedule of giving mock tests & analyzing them regularly.
Also Read → How To Crack XAT - 10 Strategies By 10 Toppers
What according to you are the DO's and DON'Ts of XAT preparation?
Absolutely do not get complacent if your CAT goes well. Use that one month gap between CAT and XAT very wisely and prep as hard as you did one month before CAT. Focus on DM and GK; brush up on fundamental concepts. That extra time of prep will pay off.
Which mock series would you like to suggest to CAT & XAT 2021 aspirants? Is one mock series sufficient or do you suggest a combination of 2 different mock series?
For CAT, I personally only had the TIME mock tests (AIMCAT) so I can’t say anything about a combination of different mock series. However, I bought a few SNAP mocks from CL and found them not as good as TIME SNAP mocks. So overall, highly recommend the TIME mock tests.
What would be your final advice to future CAT & XAT aspirants?
Start your prep as early as possible. Stick to a regular schedule of mock tests and analyse your weak points and downfalls. Find out what you’re good at, and then work to improve everything else. While completing your syllabus, develop a methodology of giving mock tests that works best for you. Maintain a small notebook of tips, tricks and formulas. Specific for XAT- use the one-month break wisely. All the best!