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Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer based test for admission in a graduate management program in top Management institutes. Scores for CAT are overall based on marks obtained in these sections of Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. On the basis of CAT Cutoff candidates are shortlisted for Written Ability Test or WAT, Group Discussion and Personal Interview.
Profile of Lakshya Kumar: CAT 2019 Overall Percentile: 99.99.
Lakshya shared with us his inspirations as well as tips and strategies that helped him achieve his success in his first attempt. He was born and brought up in Delhi. His interest in management started from class 11 onwards and hence he thought of pursuing bachelors in the same domain. Kakshya has a graduation degree in management from Shaheed Sukhdev College of business studies. Getting into top business school was his dream and with his hard work he was able to achieve it .
Topper Tips on Coaching/ Self Study
Ques: Did you join any coaching institute for proper guidance ? Is it possible to succeed through self-study?
Answer: For any competitive exam, a guide or mentor leads to better results. For people giving their first time attempt, it is all the more important. A coaching institute did this job for me along with my friends and family who encouraged me throughout the preparation phase.
TIME’s mock test series was an important asset and the sheer number of mocks and analysis made it easy for me to learn from home itself. Forming a focused friend circle with the same objective helps you clear your doubts and formulate a test strategy. This helped me stay focused on the end goal.
Topper Tips on Mock Test
Ques: How many mock tests did you give? How important are mock test series?
Answer: The most important attribute that I can associate with getting a 99.99 percentile is mock test series. I attempted about 50 mock tests out of which I attempted 30 mock tests in the last month of my preparations. I attempted mock tests every day. I was also preparing my body to be active between 2:30 PM to 5:30 as this was the time allotted to me for the final CAT exam. It's not just about attempting mock tests, it's also about analysing the mock tests.
You must devote an hour or two to analyse the mock test and figure out where you went wrong and how efficient you were while answering the questions. Hence, analysing the mock tests is also an important aspect of CAT preparation.
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Section Wise Tips from Topper
Ques: Can you share with us your section-wise preparation Strategy ?
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
It is important to have a good reading speed. I started reading newspapers like The Hindu and Indian Express every day. At night, I used to read a novel for at least one hour. Daily reading of newspapers helps us to get a variety of passages, which helps the candidates in the final exam too. Passages in the exam are not restricted to one domain, so newspapers are good references for practice.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
CAT Reasoning questions are not subjective to any particular domain. They can come from anywhere or any topic that you can’t think of. I referred to previous year question papers for this section so that I can figure out the type of questions that are asked in the exam. This familiarised me with the kind of questions that might be asked in the exam and I think that is how you crack the reasoning section. You should look out for all the varieties of questions and knowing them helps a lot. There is no particular book for it.
I believe that in this section, a lot of practice is very essential. I started with the basic topics such as profit and loss, geometry; percentages, etc. So to crack this section it is important to increase your speed in such questions. Practicing as many questions as possible from this section is the key here, and I think it is the only way to secure good marks in CAT for this section. I referred to the foundation booklets provided by my coaching institute and there is a lot of study material available online as well.
Valuable Tips on Time Management
Ques: What will you suggest CAT aspirants on time management?
Answer: I would also say there is a fourth subject which is Time Management. Regular mock practice helps you figure out how much time is to be devoted to each question. There is a sectional limit in CAT which is one hour for each section, but it is also important to know how that one hour should be distributed and this can only be figured out by giving regular mock tests. It is not just preparing Verbal Ability, Reasoning, and Quant but preparing all these 3 and attempting them within 3 hours of the stipulated time.
For Reading Comprehension, I made sure that I completed it in the first 40 minutes (skipping any difficult questions) and then gave 20 minutes for the Verbal ability section.
For Reasoning, I gave the first 7-8 minutes reading and deciding the difficulty level of each question set and then the rest 52-53 minutes in attempting the sets with the easiest being attempted the first.
For quants, the rule of them for me was to attempt in order of question paper but skip the question if within the first 30-40 seconds the approach does not strike your mind, because one may not have the time to review the questions which one have earlier left.
Ques: Can you share with us your valuable preparation tips for CAT 2020 aspirants ?
Answer: I would say that during the preparation phase, there would come a phase wherein you will feel demotivated in terms of your mock scores. You might be following every rule book, practicing a lot or studying really hard. But even then your mock scores are not improving. And this happens to everyone, be it toppers or others. But if you are still working towards securing a good percentile and keep on studying in that phase, then there is nothing that can stop you from getting good marks.
Below are some of the points you should make a note of:
Understanding the question pattern: If you wish to get a very high score in CAT, then it is important for you to understand the question paper. You should be well accustomed to the type of questions that are asked in the question paper and allot a fixed time for each section. Otherwise, on the day of the examination, you will be confused and won't be able to solve the paper with full efficiency.
Know your strengths and weaknesses: In order to prosper in any examination, it is very important for you to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can brush up your strengths and work on your weaknesses. If you are comfortable doing a particular section, then make sure that you attempt that section first. Also, make sure not to spend too much time on a particular question.
Practice, practice and practice: The key to getting a very good score in CAT is extensive practice. With practice, you will be able to increase your accuracy as well as your speed. At least spend two hours a day on your preparations. This will greatly help you to score well in the examination.
Go for mock tests: It is very important to attempt mock tests prior to the examination. This will help you to get accustomed to the question paper pattern. Also, you have an understanding of the type of questions that will be asked during the examination .
Tricks for Exam Day
Ques: Did u adopt any particular strategy on Exam Day?
Answer: For every aspirant, preparation is one aspect and being confident on the exam day is another aspect. People tend to lose marks if they are nervous or not very confident on the exam day. I cut off my communication from social media in the last few days. That helped me to calm my nerves. Also, music was of great help for me. I listened to music for an hour or so before the actual exam.
The first phase of the exam was already over and my exam was to be conducted in the second phase. But I did not ask anyone how the exam was because I did not want to stuff my mind with something that would distract me or make me nervous.
Ques: Can you suggest some books that can be referred or will be helpful for CAT preparation ?
For the Verbal section, I would suggest going with Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. as for this section it is important to have a good vocabulary which in turn helps to understand the question properly
For DI and LR section refer to CAT previous year question papers .
The Quantitative section refers to the foundation books of the coaching institutes .