In the third part of our interview series, we present to you another IIM call getter, Chiranjib Saha who scored 99.50 percentile at CAT 2011 and got 8 IIM calls (Lucknow, Shillong, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Trichy, Udaipur and Kashipur). He has also got calls from other premiere institutes - XLRI (BM), MDI, SJMSOM, NITIE and IITD
Chiranjib has done his textile engineering from Govt College of Engineering and Textile Engineering in Berhampore, West Bengal. He stood first in West Bengal University of Technology in the Textile Engineering stream in 2008 and won the Gold Medal for it. He has worked in Production planning and control with two textile industries, Alok Industries Ltd. and Siddhnath Tradelink Ltd. Chiranjib has appeared for CAT 2011 and scored 99.50 percentile.
1. Which exams did you appear for last year?
CAT, IIFT and XAT
2. When did you start your preparations?
I appeared for these exams in 2010 as well. But, for this year, I started preparing in April 2011 itself.
3. Did you have any separate strategy for the other exams apart from CAT?
For XAT and IIFT, I made a conscious decision to think of a strategy only after having a look at the question paper and the marks allotted to different sections, keeping in mind the variation in paper pattern every year
4. Which was your strongest section and how did you prepare for it?
Quantitative ability is my forte. I have always had a good accuracy rate in this section and my target was to maximise the attempts. I went through the Skill Builder section of the Testfunda courseware to brush up the basics. In all the practice tests my target was to increase speed by attempting easier questions first.
5. Which was your weakest section? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Verbal Ability was the problem area for me where speed was not an issue but accuracy was a major area of concern. I went through the Skill Builder to improve upon this section and focused on improving upon the accuracy while retaining the speed. Apart from the study material, I started reading books by different authors with varied styles of writing to get acquainted with various phrases and gain a vast vocabulary. All of this helped me get a good percentile in CAT and XAT and to clear cut- off marks of top colleges.
6. If you were a working professional, how did you manage your time?
I took CAT in 2010 and scored about 92 percentile. I had good scores in SNAP and converted the call from one of the top Institutes in Symbiosis Pune. By that time I had 2.5 years of work experience. I then decided that I should aim for an even better score. In order to do so I quit my job and started preparing full time.
7. When did you start taking mock CATs and how many mock CATs did you take?
I started taking mock CATs in the month of July 2011 after completing the Skill Builder by Testfunda. I took a lot of Testfunda’s iCATs, along with some other mocks, in order to get sufficient practice.
8. What question selection strategy did you follow in the actual examinations?
Generally I allocate time according to the marks allotted to different sections. I attempt Quantitative Ability in the beginning and Verbal ability at the end because it takes me less time per question which helps me in utilising the time that I save to my advantage. I followed this strategy in XAT but due to the new exam pattern couldn’t do the same in CAT
9. How did you manage the QA + DI combination in section I and what attempt strategy did you follow?
I found this section quite easy and attempted 90% of the questions. I was confident of maintaining a high accuracy rate. I attempted the questions in the given order. But I did not attempt questions which I thought would be time consuming because I had realised that the number of attempts was going be a crucial factor in the kind of relatively easy paper that it was.
10. How did you manage the VA + LR combination in section II and what attempt strategy did you follow?
I have always had good accuracy rate in LR but sometimes struggled for speed. But this time having found it easy, I started with LR and attempted all the questions within a reasonable time span. I found VA moderately difficult. Though I attempted a good number of questions, I left some of them because I was not too sure about being accurate. Yet later I took some calculated risks by answering some questions where I was not sure about the options I chose. Overall, even in this section I attempted 90% of the questions.
11. How did you prepare for the online RCs and DI sets?
In case of online DI sets, I prepared the required tables for the data on paper and then tried solving the problems. RC was my weakness. I took time to comprehend the passage and avoided passages which were difficult to comprehend e.g. philosophical topics. I found that I could afford this strategy because passages that appear in computer- based tests are generally shorter in length than those that appear in paper- based tests.
12. What were your reading habits, if any?
I read different kinds of books written by authors who have diverse styles of writing. I read fiction by Salman Rushdie, Paulo Coelho, Charles Dickens, Anita Desai and Amitav Ghosh; adventure by Agatha Christie and Mark Twain; Non- Fiction by Nandan Nilekani, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, etc. These books helped me in improving my English and preparing for the GD-PI. I must admit that I read books solely for the purpose of preparing for the test as I am not very inclined towards literature.
13. How did you prepare for the GD-PI?
Everyday, I read newspapers, especially a business newspaper like Business Standard and some magazines to keep up with the latest developments. These help in building content for speaking in a GD or a PI. I also attended some GD-PI classes
14. How did you prepare for written assessment/essay?
As I said earlier for the content I read business newspapers and magazines. Apart from that I would randomly chose essay topics and would practice writing those within a pre-decided time limit