CAT 2021 Topper Interview: Meet Dhananjay Verma, who has beaten the competition and scored 99.92 Percentile to emerge among the 1% elite aspirants who ‘Belled the CAT’ this year. An engineering student from IIT, Dhananjay put up a stellar performance in the CAT 2021 Results, which were announced earlier this month. In an exclusive interview with Jagranjosh.com, he shares his success mantras and strategy that helped him ace the MBA entrance exam.
Excerpts from the Interview!
Question 1: Congratulations on cracking CAT 2021! What are your overall and sectional scores in CAT 2021?
Thank you very much! My overall percentile in CAT 2021 is 99.92 and overall scaled score is 126.48.My sectional percentiles are: 99.73 percentile in Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section, 95.72 percentile in Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section and 99.89 percentile in Quantitative Ability section.
Question 2: When did you start your CAT 2021 Preparation? What is the ideal time required to complete the CAT syllabus before the exam?
I started my CAT 2021 preparation in May 2021. I believe that students should devote 5-6 months to CAT preparation.
Question 3: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT 2021?
Being an engineer, I was already comfortable in Quantitative Ability section. So I used to revise my formulas and practised questions on them. For VARC, Reading is extremely important. For this I used to read articles from Aeon Essays regularly. And for the LRDI section, I used to practise sectional tests. I attempted many mock tests and carefully analysed my mistakes to improve my concepts.
Question 4: 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?
I used to struggle in solving the reading comprehensions. To improve in this section, I used to regularly read articles and essays. This was extremely helpful in increasing my reading speed and improved my accuracy in the VARC section.
Question 5: Tell us something about yourself, your family and your interests beyond academics?
I am currently pursuing my B.Tech. from IIT. I love watching football and am also part of the Robotics club in my college. My father and mother are teachers. I have keen interests in watching movies and sports.
Question 6: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary to ace CAT?
Yes, I had joined TIME coaching institute for my preparation. I believe that though coaching is not necessary for CAT exam preparation, but the structured guidance is helpful to improve your concepts.
Question 7: Any particular book or study material that helped you gain an edge over other candidates?
I believe practising sectional tests and mock tests helped me in improving my concepts.
Question 8: How can an aspirant avoid negative marking?
I believe that students should only attempt those sets in LRDI that they are sure of solving. One should be careful while selecting the right sets. And for VARC, try to devote proper time to Verbal Ability questions.
Question 9: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
I joined test series of reputed institutes and gave almost 40 mocks. These mocks were helpful in identifying my weak areas and improving on them.
Question 10: Please share your exam-day strategy for the CAT 2021. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
I believe that a relaxed mind is important for the CAT examination. As far as my test strategy is concerned, for VARC section, I attempted three Reading Comprehensions and then shifted my focus to verbal ability questions. For LRDI, I analysed the paper for a couple of minutes and then started solving questions. As for Quant, I attempted all questions in a serial order, while skipping the time consuming problems.
Question 11: Do you think academic background plays an important role in CAT Prep and Why?
No, I do not believe that academic background plays a huge role during CAT preparation because CAT is an exam that tests our aptitude and not conceptual knowledge. Basic mathematics and English comprehension skills are necessary while the subjects that we study in our Graduation do not play a huge role in CAT preparation.
Question 12: Which institutes have you applied to admission and why did you opt for them particularly?
I have applied to the top IIMs and FMS. This was based on the feedback I received from my teachers and seniors. I believe that these prestigious institutes will help provide me a solid foundation for a career in the management domain.
Question 13: How are you preparing for GD – PI and WAT rounds of the selection process?
To prepare for the WAT GDPI rounds, I am reading newspapers and editorials regularly.
Question 14: What is your message for CAT aspirants? One crucial piece of advice that you would like them to follow and wish you had known.
I would suggest the future CAT aspirants to take mock tests regularly. One must not be discouraged by poor scores in these mocks and analyse them carefully to improve their weak areas.
Question 15: What is your dream career choice after completing your MBA?
My dream is to pursue a career where I can apply the finance and management concepts that I learn during my MBA to make a meaningful impact.