An interview with CAT 2014 Topper Shaumik Daityari who is an IIT Roorkee student and cracked CAT 2014 in his first attempt with 99.86 percentile. With calls from from nearly all the top IIMs, here he shares his strategy.
Jagranjosh.com: Which sections of CAT were your strength and which were your weak areas?
Shaumik Daityari: With the kind of an exam that CAT is, I wouldn’t classify anything as my strength. I believed RCs to my strength to such an extent that during my initial mock tests, I would attempt all RCs. Eventually, my accuracy dropped. So, tackling every problem with respect was something that I learnt.
The same kind of logic applied to my weaknesses too. Given enough time, every CAT problem was solvable. So the trick was to leave questions that would take too much time to solve and come back to them later. Considering individual types of problems, my accuracy was in between 60-80% for all topics, which shows that nothing was truly my strength of weakness.
Appearing for a lot of mocks, I did get comfortable with a few types of questions though.Geometry and mensuration were my favorite problems. On the other hand, I didn’t particularly love solving DI and LR sets as they required an extra level of concentration on my part (although solving them would get me through a 3 or 4 question set).
Jagranjosh.com: Do you think taking coaching classes is necessary to crack CAT?
Shaumik Daityari: For engineering students, it’s not necessary. The Quant section contains problems that we learn in high school, which leaves the necessity to improve our accuracy and speed which you gain only through practice.
On the other hand, no classroom coaching can help you get well in the Verbal section unless you put in some considerable effort yourself. And if you put that considerable effort, the same classroom coaching is not necessary!
Jagranjosh.com: Which IIM is your choice and why?
Shaumik Daityari: Since I didn’t get a call from IIM Bangalore, that is out of the picture. I would give IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Calcutta the highest preference, although I haven’t decided which one to choose in case
I get selected for both. I would not focus on rankings but the profiles of individual professors to make a final decision.
Jagranjosh.com: How do you think the current change in CAT Exam pattern will impact the performance?
Shaumik Daityari: Had there been a change at the last moment, say a week before the exam, perhaps it would have affected a part of the test takers. However, as we knew about the new pattern well in
advance and every one had to appear for the same pattern, there was enough time to adapt to the new pattern.
Compared to CAT 2013, this year’s CAT gave us more freedom to attempt questions at our own pace. But, if you were not careful you could end up wasting more time in flipping through the sections. Since we were given enough time after the announcement, people who were serious about the CAT must have figured out the best strategy with this pattern.
Jagranjosh.com: What is your advice to the CAT aspirants?
Shaumik Daityari: If you are reading this and you want to appear for the next CAT, do not follow my footsteps. CAT is a very different exam from engineering entrances and there is no fixed path. Try to find your
weaknesses and work on them, honing your strengths at the same time too. No special talent is required too just some determination and hard work should get you to your goal fairly easily.
Jagranjosh.com: Please share your preparation methodology for WAT & PI process
Shaumik Daityari: The CAT was the elimination round, whereas the WAT and PI process is the selection round making it all the more important. The WAT is often underestimated by students, but it has a
10-15% weightage for each college. Writing in clear and concise language, expressing your thoughts in a logical way is necessary for this task.
There is no fixed “syllabus” for the PI, which is what makes it very interesting. Ideally, if you a mechanical engineering student, they won’t ask you Biotechnology. In general, whatever you have learnt in school, graduation, work experience, projects and extra curriculars, in addition to
current affairs (which in itself is a vast topic) should suffice. Knowing a bit about everything is generally better to get the conversation started, after which you can steer it your way. Besides, there are some standard questions like “Tell us about yourself?”, “Why MBA now?” and “What
are your weaknesses?” that you should prepare.