CAT 2018 Topper Interview: IIM Calcutta has finally revealed the official CAT result 2018 on 5th January. CAT 2018 aspirants woke up to an earlier than scheduled declaration of CAT 2018 result. IIMC had earlier announced the declaration of CAT result 2018 at 1.00 PM on the same day. Meet Misal Avinash who has scored 99.37 in CAT 2018 and read his full interview here.
JagranJosh: Congratulations on scoring 99.37 percentile! What are your overall and sectional scores in CAT 2018?
Misal: Thank you. My overall percentile in CAT 2018 was 99.37 with a scaled score of 162.89. My sectional percentiles and scores are as follows:
JagranJosh: When did you start your CAT 2018 Preparation? What is the ideal time required to complete the CAT syllabus before the exam?
Misal: I started my CAT 2018 preparation in January 2018. In the first few months, I focused on mainly going through the fundamentals and later on picked up the pace.
Speaking of ideal time required to complete the CAT syllabus, there's no one size fits all. Although it is beneficial to start as soon as possible, many do well even after just a few months of preparation. Still, I'd say anything north of 6-7 months should be sufficient to finish the syllabus.
JagranJosh: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT 2018?
Misal: I'd say I divided my preparation into three phases
In the first phase, from Jan to April, I aimed to make my concepts clear for each of the sections. I went through the basics and tried to understand the basics. I gave one mock test every two weeks during this period
In the second phase, from May to August I worked on my weak areas and to solve as many questions as I could form these areas. I solved 1 mock every week during this period and spent time afterward analyzing my strong and weak areas.
During the last phase from September to November, I (tried to) gave as many mocks as possible and analyzing them thoroughly. I wasn't well for a while in between so I had to make up for it later. For the last week, I only went through the formulae and focused on revising the concepts
JagranJosh: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge? What strategies did you adopt to master that section?
Misal: Yes. Don't get me started on LR-DI. I considered it as my bane in many of the mocks. I remember scoring single digit marks in this section more than once. Although it was frustrating, I asked around and realized that more practice was the only way to overcome this weakness.
My strategy was to give at least one hour every day for LR-DI and then give as many mocks as possible to expose myself to different types of questions. Slowly and steadily, my scores in this section improved.
JagranJosh: Please share your section-wise preparation strategy for QA, DILR and VARC.
Misal: VARC: In VARC, my main focus was RC portion since it forms a major part of the VARC section. VARC was my strong suit due to my penchant for reading and thus I spent comparatively less time on it. I prepared mainly from the GMAT passages and tried to focus on my mistakes more so as not to repeat the same.
DILR: For DILR, I initially referred to standard books but couldn't make much progress. This is where mock tests came to the rescue. I focused on AIMCATS and SIMCATS and solved them religiously. They exposed me to a plethora of scenarios which helped me a lot on the D-day.
Quant: For quants, I first went through Quant book by Arun Sharma which helped me a lot for the basics. I also solved a lot of questions from the TIME modules. After that, I focused mainly on mocks and sectional tests as they helped me develop a strategy according to my strengths and weaknesses.
JagranJosh: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary to ace CAT?
Misal: Yes, I had joined TIME Malleswaram coaching institute in Bangalore. I'd say it was crucial for my preparation. The teachers were very well versed with their respective subjects and helped each and everyone to clear their doubts.
I wouldn't say coaching is necessary per se, but it definitely helps. The teachers and other students contribute to pushing you to try harder
JagranJosh: Any particular book or study material that helped you gain an edge over other candidates?
Misal: Nothing particular comes to mind but I'd say solving GMAT RC Passages from the GMAT official guide helped me a lot.
JagranJosh: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
Misal: Mocks were crucial for my results. I gave close to 40 mocks. They simulated a test day scenario and thus kept me on my toes with their various twists and turns. Also, analyzing them was very helpful so that I could not repeat the same mistakes again.
JagranJosh: Please share your exam-day strategy for the CAT 2018. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
Misal: I stopped my preparation one day before the CAT and took the day to relax and settle my thoughts.
As for the test, I formulated a strategy to follow during CAT based on my experience in mocks. As my reading speed is pretty good, for VARC, I decided to solve all RCs in first 40 minutes and do VA in the next 20 minutes. For DILR I decided to first just read and get an overview of each set and if I found a particular set very easy, only then I was to attempt it. I aimed to solve around 4-5 sets but with high accuracy. For QA, I divided it into three stages, in the first stage, I went through all the questions and solved only those which were extremely easy and marked the doable questions. In the second iteration, I solved the marked questions and in the third stage, I tried solving the difficult ones in the time left.
JagranJosh: Do you think academic background plays an important role in CAT Prep and Why?
Misal: I don't think academic background plays that big of a role nowadays. The CAT exam has been devised in such a way that those with a basic understanding of the subjects should be able to solve the paper and score well. The VARC and QA are supposed to be based on concepts learnt until X standard so I don’t think they should be a huge problem with adequate preparation.
JagranJosh: Which institutes have you applied to admission and why did you opt for them particularly?
Misal: I have applied to only the IIMs and sadly didn't apply for any other colleges. I wasn't well for a couple of months before CAT and thus wasn't sure of my performance in the test. Thus I didn't fill the forms for the other institutes.
But nevertheless, does one even need a reason for applying to the IIMs? They are the top-ranked colleges in the country to kick start your career in management and provide you with great learning opportunities.
JagranJosh: How are you preparing for GD – PI and WAT rounds of the selection process?
Misal: I have started going through the GD-PI material by TIME and plan on joining Breakspace which is an initiative by IIM alums who help in GD-PI preparations
Besides that, I try to go through The Hindu and Knappily articles daily
As for WAT, I have started going through articles on burning issues and plan on writing about them in my own words so as to prepare for WAT.
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JagranJosh: What is your message for CAT aspirants? One crucial piece of advice that you would like them to follow and wish you had known.
Misal: Two pieces of advice I'll give is that Know yourself and also There’s no substitute for practice. You must be frank with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and accordingly work on them. Mindlessly solving questions doesn't solve anything except giving you a false sense of accomplishment. Work smartly and know why you're solving a question and what did you gain from that. But at the same time, practice is very important. That is the difference between a 95 and a 99 percentile.
JagranJosh: What is your dream career choice after completing your MBA?
Misal: I wish to pursue a career in marketing after my MBA. I have had an interest in marketing for a long time and I think this will help me fulfill that dream.
Also, as I am a software engineer, I also would be open to working as a product manager post MBA in the IT sector as it'd help me utilize my experience and skills to perform better.
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