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CAT Topper Aruneet Dutta Scored 99+ Percentile in First Attempt: Says Self Study is the Key to Success
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Nikkil Visha

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IIM Indore declared CAT 2020 results in January 2021. Aruneet Dutta has topped the exam by securing 99.52 percentile in his first attempt. Aruneet Dutta has done Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. At present, he is working as a design engineer at an MNC in Mumbai. Aruneet Dutta decided to pursue an MBA to kick start his career and work in a leadership role.

Aruneet started his preparation for CAT exam during the Covid-19 lockdown phase and faced many challenges and difficulties while preparing for the same. Despite CAT 2020 being his first attempt, he managed to get 99.52 percentile with self-study. 

In an exclusive interview, he talked about his preparation strategies and plans. Go through the entire interview to know about his preparation strategy and tips for future aspirants.

Interview with CAT Topper Aruneet Dutta: Scored 99.52 percentile

Ques. Please share your overall and sectional scores in CAT exam?


Section Percentile
DILR 99.64
VARC 997.92
QA 96.96
Overall 99.52

Ques. Was this your first attempt at CAT exam? Were you expecting these score?

Ans. Yes, it was my first attempt. Due to the changes in the exam pattern, there was no clear-cut scenario regarding how the percentile score would turn up. But when I saw the answer key, I found it easy but was not sure that I would get 99 above percentile.

Ques. When did you start preparing for CAT?

Ans. I started preparing for the CAT exam from May onwards. Since I was working full time, I was not able to get sufficient time to join any coaching institute, thus I opted for self-study. I studied hard over the weekends and some of my friends helped me with study materials. I gave many mock tests to evaluate my performance. Giving more mock tests helped me a lot as it helped me in knowing my stronger and weaker points.

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Ques. What were your overall preparation strategies? What were your strengths and weaknesses?

Ans. I followed some basic steps to prepare for CAT exam:

  • I made a timetable so that I could focus on all the sections and referred to multiple sources. I adhered to this routine for the most part of my preparation.
  • On every alternate day, I prepared DILR, QA and VARC sections. This strategy was useful in improving my scores in all the three sections. 
  • The strongest aspects while doing CAT preparation were Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and I was not good at Quantitative Ability (QA) section. 
  • In order to improve my QA section, I did many last year question papers. There is no better alternative than doing more question papers to prepare for the exam.

Ques. Which books did you refer to for CAT preparation?


Book Name Author
Quantitative Aptitude R S Aggarwal
How to prepare DILR for CAT Arun Sharma
Quantum CAT S K Verma
Word Power Made Easy Norman Lewis

Check Best Books for CAT Preparation

Ques. What role did Mock Tests play in your CAT preparation?

Ans. Mock Tests were very crucial in my preparation for CAT exam. They aided me in:

  • Improving my analytical skills
  • Understanding the syllabus and exam pattern
  • Identifying the level and type of questions asked in the exam
  • Solving questions within the stipulated time.

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Ques. What are some of the most important topics for CAT exam preparation?

Ans. The entire syllabus is important. However, there are certain topics which should be covered by every aspirant:

Number System Tenses
Blood Relations Profit and Loss
Mixtures and Alligations Quadratic Equations
Reading Comprehension Parajumbles

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Ques. Can you share your exam day strategy with us?

Ans. One of the most important strategies that I followed was to maintain my composure. Since one of the main parts of the test-taking strategy is question selection, I focused on the same. I selected the easier questions and completed them before moving on to the difficult questions.

Ques. Did you feel stressed out while doing CAT preparation and how did you deal with it?

Ans. Since it was COVID-19 lockdown situation, I was preparing under huge stress. I didn’t go to the office, rather I was managing work from my home only. I was not able to visit my hometown for more than a year, which made the situation even more challenging.

  • But I stayed positive and picked up cooking as a new hobby. 
  • Apart from that, I love photography, but amid lockdown, I was not able to do much. 
  • I also love watching movies, and in between my CAT preparation, I watched some of my favorite movies. 
  • Since I am an animal lover, I resorted to feeding street dogs too.

All these kinds of activities helped keep my stress level down.

Ques. Please tell us something about your academic and professional background.

Ans. I completed my B. Tech in Chemical Engineering in 2018 from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. After that I joined an MNC located in Mumbai as a Design Engineer, I got this job directly from campus placement.

After working as a Design Engineer for close to two years, I observed that pursuing an MBA will not only help me prove as a ladder to get success but will help me get a better understanding of the business world. 

Ques. In addition to CAT, did you give any other MBA entrance exams?

Ans. Yes, I gave XAT, which was scheduled for January 3. I also gave IIFT entrance exam which was scheduled for January 2021.

Ques. When and Why did you decide to do an MBA?

Ans. I made up my mind to pursue an MBA while doing my job. After working on a few projects and witnessing how Project Managers lead the project and make decisions, I got inspired with the same and decided to pursue an MBA. I found out that doing an MBA will give more flexibility to my career as I won’t be restricted to just one-two fields only. 

Ques. Which were your dream B-schools that you wanted to join?

Ans. I always wanted to be part of a renowned B-School like IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore or IIM Calcutta. However, I would not mind admission in any of the top colleges including IIM Lucknow, IIM Indore, IIM Kozhikode, XLRI Jamshedpur, NITIE Mumbai, SPJIMR Mumbai, SJMSoM IIT Bombay, etc.

Check CAT Participating Colleges

Ques. What are your plans post completing an MBA?

Ans. I would like to do a job that allows me to serve as a Project Manager or to lead a team. I have work experience in the Operations and Supply Chain sector, and doing an MBA will help me learn more management skills and take up a leadership role.

Ques. What are your suggestions for future CAT aspirants?

Ans. There is no particular strategy or any formula to get success. You need to make your preparation and test-taking strategy through experiments to find the best one that suits you.

  • Create your own preparation strategy rather than completely relying on someone else’s strategy. 
  • You need to have a systematic approach and stay consistent while doing CAT preparations.
  • Don’t get demotivated even if your scores are not satisfactory in mock tests.
  • Identify your weaknesses and work towards improving them. 
  • Last but most important, stay positive.