Even a layperson knows the level of difficulty that one of the toughest tests in India, CAT, brings with it. For a candidate who cracks and beats CAT on the first try, this is an accomplishment in itself. Priyanshu Singh, a graduate of the IIT BHU 2019 Batch and a recent wealth of experience, achieved 100% ile in CAT 2019 and has joined the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad. In the third year of his B.Tech degree at the IIT BHU, he decided to do an MBA, primarily because of his keen interest in finance.
Let’s take a look at Priyanshu’s story and his journey to CAT 100% tile!
When did you decide to do an MBA?
I completed my internship as a data analyst in May 2019. The exciting experience there made me confirm my decision for the MBA. In April 2019 I decided to take the CAT exam, but I didn’t start preparing for the exam until July.
How did you spend your time studying engineering and CAT at the same time?
During my preparations there was a time when I had to do several things like CAT exams, semester exams, and final exams. Those few days have been very chaotic and rough for me. But I buckled up and planned my day, where I assigned part to engineering and part to CAT. And now, looking back in time, I feel that this was one of the essential parts of life that taught me how to deal with pressure and time.
How was your preparation routine?
I used to ridicule once a week. Otherwise, I took 90 to 120 minutes a day to solve a few additional questions. I’ve gotten into the habit of solving quantum questions when I happened to get bored. I spent 45-60 minutes each day reading articles from leading national newspapers to keep up my reading habit.
What study material did you follow?
I have subscribed to IMS and Career Launcher test series. My roommate also lent me TIME preparation materials. That being said, I would recommend Arun Sharma’s book for quants. I was an avid reader in school so I had an ingrained reading habit, but I had some trouble with VARC. The test format was difficult to understand at first. I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos to learn how to solve reading comprehension in the verbal section. Regularly reading articles by Hindus also helped me improve my reading skills.
Based on my experience, I would advise students to collect as little study material as possible and to concentrate on the basics first. It doesn’t matter how many books you read, but how thoroughly you study it.
What was your reaction when the results were in?
About a week after the exam, the CAT Answer Key was out and my final exams were just around the corner. As I examined the answer key, I realized that I could be among the top scorers. Even so, I was stunned on January 4th, the day the final results were released. I reloaded the website twice to make sure the results were correct and took a screenshot as soon as I saw the word “100% ile” on my screen. My family was also enthusiastic.
Have you ever had exam stress? How did you manage it?
When I was preparing for CAT and the placements at the same time, I did not get the expected scores in the VARC. I wasn’t sure how I would fare on the CAT. It was a stressful time. In a fleeting phase, it occurred to me that I would not concentrate on CAT at all and instead go for final placements. But my friends pushed me through this phase. They helped me study, provided me with notes and assignments, and made me focus on CAT.
Where did you find your motivation?
Who you surround yourself with is very important. I am happy to have a lot of good friends around me. We had a lot of fun, but they also supported us with exams and careers. Your support was very important and I am grateful for that. My friends always kept me on course in difficult times and motivated me to focus on CAT.
What was your audit strategy like?
For the quantitative analysis, I read all the topics on quants in one week and then just started to practice the questions. This gave me an idea of my strengths and what to focus on.
While preparing for DI / LR, I analyzed about 8-10 different sets that might be asked in the exam. During my exercises I solved all kinds of sets and at the end analyzed my strengths and weaknesses. In the mocks, I spent the first 5 minutes scrolling through the questions and giving them a score of 10 depending on their difficulty. I created a sequence based on the ranking of all the record questions. Then I started solving with the simplest one.
To solve the verbal section I developed a strategy to break down the available time. Of the 60 minutes I spent 40 minutes on the reading comprehension and 20 minutes on the verbal skills. I’ve split up the 40 minute reading comprehension to give 8 minutes per passage. There were about five questions for a passage. So I planned to read the whole article in 3 minutes and then gave 1 minute to each question.
What advice would you like to give to all CAT 2021 candidates?
The only advice I want to give is not to take the stress out of the exam. When I showed up for my exam, CAT was my second priority, and maybe that’s why there was no pressure. I passed the exam stress-free and I feel like it improves my performance. So try not to take stress right before the exam.
Further tips and instructions for preparing for CAT 2021 can be found at: CAT exam 2020-21 preparation, exam dates, results & discussion – PaGaLGuY
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