Today we have with us, Chhavi Gupta. Chhavi has a postgraduate level M-Tech degree from IIT-Delhi and is one of the only two women candidates who made it to the elite club of CAT 2017 Toppers. Despite being a working professional, Chhavi has topped one of the toughest MBA entrance exams in the country. Her success story is an inspiration to all the prospective CAT aspirants, especially the women. Today, she will share with us, her success story and how she managed to score a 100 percentile in CAT 2017.
Welcome to the show Chhavi and 'Heartiest Congratulations' on scoring a 100 percentile in CAT 2017.
First of all, tell us something about yourself, your family and your interests beyond academics?
I am natively from Jaipur, however, I have stayed in Delhi for the last 14 years. As for my family, my dad is a government officer and works in National Highways, my mother is a pharmacist, my younger sister is pursuing her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College and my younger brother is still in school. Besides academics I enjoy reading, I read a lot of novels and am also, a frequent writer on Quora. I also, have an interest in music and enjoy both singing and listening to music. Although, I am not too good at singing.
You are one of the two women who have scored a 100 percentile in the CAT 2017. How do you feel about your achievement and what do you attribute your success to?
It feels great, there were no woman toppers in the CAT for the last few years and this year there were two. I would like to attribute my success to my family. Especially, my mother because she ensured that there were no hurdles in my academics, no one stopped me from doing what I wanted to do and she was always there to support me.
Chhavi, you are a working woman. How did you manage both your job and your preparation for the CAT? What difficulties did you face and how did you cope with them?
So, I think for me initially it was five days of work and on the weekends I used to study and attend classes as well. However, as time progressed around the month of August and September I wanted to study on weekdays as well. But it was very difficult as I came back from office around 8 PM and I did not have the energy to study after that. So, what I did was, I changed my schedule and started getting up early in the morning. I took out about one and a half hour every morning to study during the weekdays.
What was your overall strategy to prepare for the CAT?
My strategy from the starting was that I used to give a lot of mock tests and based on my results I used to analyze where I am lacking or where I am gaining etc. So, for me, that was the most important thing. Another thing was that whenever I used to prepare or practice any questions I used to put a timer along with it because CAT is a time-based exam and you need to manage your time very well in the exam. So, if you have a timer pressure even during your practice time you'll perform better in the exam.
Were there any sections in the exam that were particularly challenging for you and what strategy did you adapt to tackle them?
So, there was one section in Verbal Ability, there are these para-jumbles which tend to be very difficult. Also, since they are not MCQ questions and you have to type in the answers. So, for me, if there were like 5 questions of para-jumbles then, I used to get only one or two correct. Thus, what I did was that in all the mocks that I attempted, I took out all the para-jumble questions and attempted them two-three times to ensure what kind of grammar they are looking for.
Did you take any coaching for the exam? If yes, how helpful did it prove to be?
Overall, I think that coaching is not mandatory if you are preparing for CAT. However, for me, because I was working it became really difficult for me to remain motivated to study on weekends. So, that is why I took coaching which ensured that I had a schedule wherein, I had to study 4 hours on weekend. Moreover, I think that for people who are self-motivated it is very much possible to prepare for CAT without coaching if they have a fix schedule and study regularly.
You have an M-tech degree in Biotechnology from IIT Delhi. There is a general perception that engineers have an edge in the CAT exam. How helpful do you think was your engineering background for the CAT preparations?
What I think is that this used to be a case earlier when the mathematics that used to come was a bit difficult. However, since the past few years, I have seen that CAT is making the Quantitative Ability Section easier and easier. I think in the end, it is just that because engineers are a bit more confident with their maths, other people think that they have an edge. However, even a non-maths background student can perform very well in the quantitative ability section if he prepares well.
Thank you Chhavi, for sharing your success story with us, we are sure it will continue to inspire future MBA aspirants. Once again, congratulations and all the best for your future endeavors.
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