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CAT 2018 Topper Swapnil Suman’s Journey to the Top

Last Updated - July 26, 2019

CAT Topper 2018 Swapnil Suman secured a perfect 100 percentile in the exam. His sectional percentiles for VARC, DILR and QA being 99.23, 99.99 and 100 respectively. He is a Mechanical Engineer from Patna. His success is a motivation for lakhs of CAT 2019 aspirants, let’s have a look at the insights of his journey:

Was this his first attempt at CAT?

Swapnil admits that this was his second attempt, first being in 2017. He secured 99.75 in his previous attempt. Although he did get a call from IIM Calcutta but he couldn’t convert it considering that he was a fresher. Hence, he decided to go for CAT 2018.

Coaching Vs Self study? What helped him more?

Swapnil shares that he didn’t join any coaching institute except for mocks. He further adds that coaching may somewhat help with the basics, but ultimately it is practice that helps in acing a competitive exam like CAT. As per Swapnil, CAT doesn’t test knowledge, rather it tests one’s speed and aptitude.

Also Read: CAT 2018 Topper Siddhant Dhawan’s Success Mantra

What was his preparation strategy for CAT 2018?

He shares that he took 30 mock tests during his CAT 2017 attempt but didn’t analyse them closely. For CAT 2018, he took 3-4 mock tests on weekdays and 1-2 on Sundays. Overall, he took 54 mocks this time and analysed each one of them thoroughly. Swapnil comments, “Learning from the previous year, I made sure to analyze each mock and observe what mistakes I was making and tried to learn from each mistake. I believe that turned out to be the game changer this time.” Check CAT Preparation Tips

Here are insights to his section wise preparation strategy:

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension: Swapnil admits that this was his weakest zone in the exam. He read fiction and non-fiction texts for improving his reading speed, vocabulary and grammar. He also read The Hindu (newspaper) and watched video solutions provided by TIME for mocks.
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: Swapnil says that he’s always been very fond of puzzles making DILR an interesting section for him. He further adds that DILR is often considered one of the toughest sections of CAT. But, with enough practice, most questions can be handled as patterns are repetitive.
  • Quantitative Ability: This was the easiest section for him considering his academic background in engineering. He shares that he would note down new problem solving tricks and concepts that he came across for future reference and revised these often.

To what extent did he find Mock Tests and Previous years’ Question Papers useful?

He believes that if one wishes to get a good percentile, than mocks must be included in one’s preparation strategy. Mock tests helps one in dealing with the time pressure, identifying the weaker zones and improving them.

He further advises the aspirants to take online mock test series of coaching institutes like TIME and Career Launcher.

Also Read: CAT 2018 Topper Tips by Rickshesh Manchanda

Any particular strategy that he followed on the exam day?

Swapnil took the test with a high morale and he says that taking the exam from his hometown and being surrounded by his well wishers were the reason for the same. Following were his sectional strategies on the exam day:

  • During VARC, he shares that he took 50 minutes to solve all the passages under Reading Comprehension and could attempt 7 questions from Verbal Ability in the remaining time.
  • In DILR, he classified the questions as easy, medium and difficult and solved them in the same order. He put 2 sets in the difficult category and didn’t attempt them.
  • He solved the QA section serial wise and attempted 31 questions from this section.



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