CAT 2015 results are out. We spoke to Ayushmaan Agarwal who scored 99.73%ile in CAT 2015 and is now one step closer to getting into a reputed B-school. Take a look at his interview to get an idea about his preparation strategy for CAT. You will also get a few tips on how to go about the test on the day of the exam.
TF: Tell us about your educational background?
Ayushmaan: I did my high school and intermediate from Koormanchal Academy, Almora (Uttrakhand) affiliated to CISCE. Presently I am pursuing my BTech in Electronics & Communication Engg from College of Technology, GBPUAT, Pantnagar.
TF: Is this your first attempt to crack CAT?
When did you start preparing for CAT and what kind of study plan did you follow?
Ayushmaan: I had decided that I will start preparing for CAT only in my second/third year of college. Initially I started reading a few books, novels, and sometimes a newspaper just to get into the habit of reading. Then sometimes I solved a few quant questions just to be in touch. I also joined weekend coaching, to prepare for the exam. In the final days, I just stuck to solving mock tests.
TF: Which study material did you use to crack the test?
Ayushmaan: I only used the complete study material provided by Testfunda along with their test series. Very good efforts and thoughts have been put in for providing daily questions, weekend quizzes and puzzle of the week. Solving them time to time keeps the continuity going and one might win prizes along the way as well (the better part).
TF: Did our courses help you prepare for CAT 2015?
Ayushmaan: Definitely, without a second thought.
TF: Which was your strongest and weakest section and how did you prepare for it?
Ayushmaan: Strongest section was QA (being an engineer) and weakest was VA. DILR was somewhere towards the stronger side. I solved the questions and tests by testfunda religiously for improvement in VA/RC. Also the teachings at my weekend coaching helped me a lot.
TF: If you were a working professional, how did you manage your time? OR If you were in your final year while preparing for CAT how did you balance academics and preparing for the test?
Ayushmaan: That was a little tough, especially during periodicals, but time management was key. I was constantly supported by my family, friends and people around me. I think concentrating during lectures is enough (for degree examinations) while preparing for another important exam like CAT. However, priorities shifted during internals.
TF: According to you how many months in advance should a student start preparing for the test?
Ayushmaan: There cannot be an absolute answer to this as there is no right time. But yes, a certain tendency/mindset is required as to what is to be achieved. A little dedication from April/May and rigorous preparation during the last few weeks would suffice.
TF: Tell us about your experience on the exam day. Also share your question selection strategy.
Ayushmaan: Well, exam day surely had its share of pressure but I had to maintain my calm. Taking a considerable number of mocks gave me an idea about the level and number of attempts that would be required. I decided that the non MCQs should be attempted as no negatives were to be awarded. Also, I thought that the sectional timing should be used as a boon rather than a bane. I decided to forget the section that went past by after the timing was up. I focused on every new section like I had started afresh.
TF: Would you like to share any other tips with students who are planning to take CAT 2016? OR What would you like to tell those who will be taking CAT this year?
Ayushmaan: Key also lies in being and staying positive and optimistic along with focusing. Follow your intuitions about preparing and don’t just get swayed while preparing or during the test. Maintain your calm. Don’t overdo things and remember to reward yourself after a tiring or a long day.