An interview with Aniket Ghosh
currently pursuing MBA at IIM Bangalore
B.Sc Physics from Cotton College, Guwahati
1) Which exams did you appear for last year?
I had written XAT, CAT and MAT.
2) When did you start your preparations?
My preparations started in August 2009.
3) Did you have any separate strategy for the other exams apart from CAT?
MAT was more of a speed test, so it demanded a higher speed and accuracy. XAT was more involving and required a thorough understanding of the questions as well as the concepts required to solve the questions. XAT required skimming through the questions first and then preparing a mental draft of which questions to answer and which to skip. Because XAT has a relatively large number of questions so it provided a lot of options and weakness in a particular segment did not stand as a drawback. Quant was coupled with Data Interpretation, Verbal was coupled with Decision making questions and Logical section had questions in groups which meant that cracking two groups correctly would bring in a decent score.
4) Which was your strongest section and how did you prepare for it?
My strongest section was Quant and I had prepared for it over a long period of time. I had solved many previous year’s CAT, XAT and IIFT questions which I had downloaded from Testfunda.com. I had also solved the previous year’s questions from Indian Statistical Institute which helped me a long way in getting comfortable with Quant.
5) Which was your weakest section? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
My weakest section was Data Interpretation and I overcame it by practicing more and more questions. The biggest challenge I faced was that I would get obsessed with a particular section and ended up answering a lot of questions from that particular section and neglecting the other sections. I am sure many students face this problem and more importantly they cannot identify that this strategy is very harmful unless rectified. I overcame it by deciding beforehand that I would allot a definite time to each section. My strategy was that I would spend the first half an hour in answering questions from the section in which I was most confident and spend the next forty five minutes each to the other two sections and I would dedicate the remaining fifteen minutes again to the section in which I was most confident.
6) If you were a working professional, how did you manage your time?
I was not a working professional, but I was in the final year of my undergraduate course. As such things were equally difficult for me. But I made sure that every day I dedicate at least one hour to a particular section. On holidays I would end up solving two to three CAT questions completely. First I used to time my performance and after ending, I used to go back to the questions which I had answered incorrect and then make a detailed analysis of what went wrong and if there are any modifications necessary in the way I attempt the questions and make changes accordingly.
7) When did you start taking mock CATs and how many mock CATs did you take?
I started taking mock CATs from September and ended up answering almost ten to twelve of them.
8) What question selection strategy did you follow in the actual examinations?
The actual examination did not allow me to use the strategy that I had come prepared, but yes I adhered to the time frame which I have already discussed (question 5).
9) How did you prepare for the online RCs and DI sets?
I prepared for online RCs by reading material from the web in particular editorial columns and essays of significant substance in them. After reading the material I would get back and try to capture the essence of the material by writing on paper. It had the double advantage of making me comfortable with the online RCs and at the same time I was preparing for my GD topics. For online DIs, I did not undertake any such preparation because I thought that with the CAT going online, the RCs would not be such that I would have to sketch items on the diagrams and the like. But rather I started preparing for more DIs involving tables and charts.
10) What were your reading habits, if any?
I used to read two Periodicals on a regular basis- Mainstream Weekly and the Economic and Political Weekly.
11) How did you prepare for the GD-PI?
For GD, I read a lot from the two periodicals which I mentioned in the previous question. The two periodicals concentrate on different issues and we can expect to have views from different perspectives by reading these two periodicals. For PI, I read a lot of IAS interviews that were published on the web. I had to prepare a subject that was not of my domain, for that I chose Financial Markets. I took a basic understanding of all the things I thought were relevant and it helped me a lot in clearing my interview because a major portion of the interview was focused on it. Besides I kept preparing questions which I thought would be asked during the interview and fortunately I was asked some of the questions which I had prepared very well in the process.
12) How did TestFunda courseware help you?
TestFunda helped me a lot in my preparations because of the previous question papers of different entrance tests like XAT, IIFT, CAT. One must practice these as much as possible.
13) Any other TestFunda features that you believe would help in the last 3 months?
Question of the day and Puzzle of the week is a must for every CAT aspirant, trying to solve these helps explore newer ways of approaching the different problems and also helps increase speed and confidence.
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