CAT 2018 Topper Interview: Pratik Mishra has scored 99.33 percentile in the CAT 2018 Exam. Let’s hear his journey right from CAT preparation days to being a CAT 2018 topper. He also shares his future ambitions and the B-school he plans to join.
Jagranjosh.com: Congratulations on scoring...XYZ! What are your overall and sectional scores in CAT 2018?
Pratik Mishra: Thanks a lot! My overall raw score is 158 and overall scaled score is 161.85 and the corresponding percentile score is 99.33. My sectional Raw Score are 65, 50 and 43 in VARC, DILR and QA respectively.
Jagranjosh.com: When did you start your CAT 2018 Preparation? What is the ideal time required to complete the CAT syllabus before the exam?
Pratik Mishra: I started preparing for CAT 2018 in the month of August. I started off in April with final year placements as my primary target and decided to extend my preparations a bit further as I had covered majority of the QA portion of CAT by August. The thought of taking CAT first crossed my mind only in the month of August. The ideal time required to complete the CAT syllabus before exam as per me is 6 months.
Jagranjosh.com: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT 2018?
Pratik Mishra: I started off with the book on Quantitative Aptitude by Mr Arun Sharma and made a habit of solving a Sudoku puzzle daily. Overall, my strategy was to ensure that I never go out of practice and to solve at least 5/10 questions every day from any source that I could find. Sometimes that used to be my booklets on probability and permutations from my JEE Preparation days.
Jagranjosh.com: 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?
Pratik Mishra: CAT is a game of pace and accuracy. I don’t know if there was any section that I was particularly weak at, but I had a tough time in striking an optimal balance between number of attempts and accuracy, particularly in the DILR section. I tried to solve all the CAT papers from 2000 to 2017 in the allotted time in order to increase my pace and efficiency.
Jagranjosh.com: Please share your section-wise preparation strategy for QA, DILR and VARC.
Pratik Mishra: In VARC, I didn't do anything specifically for CAT exam. I have always been an avid reader and that helped me ensure that I am able to finish RCs quickly. For DILR and QA, I religiously solved the questions on iQuanta Facebook group.
Jagranjosh.com: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary to ace CAT?
Pratik Mishra: I was not a part of any coaching institute. Being from engineering background, I did not find it difficult to relearn the basic Maths that I had studied in 10th/12th. Also, i am pretty active on various social media platforms like iQuanta group on Facebook and PagalGuy. It helped me surround myself with individuals with the common goal, thus ensuring that I do not miss out on anything that a coaching provides. I do not think coaching is necessary to ace CAT but the test series provided by coaching centres prove to be of great help in making a habit of solving 100 questions in 180 minutes.
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Jagranjosh.com: Any particular book or study material that helped you gain an edge over other candidates?
Pratik Mishra: Nothing as such. I just used the regular stuff like the books on quantitative aptitude and data interpretation by Mr Arun Mishra. I did make a habit of trying to solve all the questions I came across in the iQuanta group.
Jagranjosh.com: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
Pratik Mishra: i believe that mocks play a huge role in helping you increase your pace and accuracy. i attempted two full length mock tests a few days before the exam day from a friends account but i had solved all the CAT papers from 2000 to 2017 earlier in alloted time.
Jagranjosh.com: Please share your exam-day strategy for the CAT 2018. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
Pratik Mishra: Taking a 7 hours nap on the night before exam is the best thing one can do. I tried to glance through all the formulas and brush up everything I had studied in the past months in the week that preceded the exam.I have a habit of attempting all the questions in varc and i did the same on the D-day as well. in dilr and quant, i spent a few minutes trying to identify easily solvable questions to ensure that i dont end up spending lot of time on difficult questions.
Jagranjosh.com: Do you think academic background plays an important role in CAT Prep and Why?
Pratik Mishra: Yes, based on my personal experience, I can say that being from engineering background definitely helped me in the sections that tested mathematical aptitude. I believe it is so because engineers in general need to use mathematics more frequently than people from other streams.
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Jagranjosh.com: Which institutes have you applied to admission and why did you opt for them particularly?
Pratik Mishra: I have applied to IIM A,B,C,L,K,I, FMS Delhi and NITIE Mumbai. I've applied to these colleges as I believe these are amongst the best that there are and are known to have legacy of producing great managers over the years.
Jagranjosh.com: How are you preparing for GD – PI and WAT rounds of the selection process?
Pratik Mishra: I'm trying to keep myself updated with current affairs and revising different subjects from the under graduate level. I'm also trying to make a habit of writing a paragraph every day to ensure i perform well in the WAT round.
Jagranjosh.com: What is your message for CAT aspirants? One crucial piece of advice that you would like them to follow and wish you had known.
Pratik Msihra: Start early. Ask yourself what you want and if you're sure that this is what you want, just give it all you have. Starting early not only gives you enough time to prepare, it also gives you a sense of completion days before the exam which in turn transforms into confidence on the D-day.
Jagranjosh.com: What is your dream career choice after completing your MBA?
Pratik Msihra: I plan to make a career in the field of business operations.
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