CMAT 2015 Topper Interview: Shubhadeep Basak

Follow these CMAT Exam preparation tips and strategies by CMAT 2015 Topper Shubhadeep Basak to nail the CMAT exam yourself and make it do your dream management institute in the country.

CMAT 2015Topper Interview: Shubhadeep Basak
CMAT 2015Topper Interview: Shubhadeep Basak

CMAT or the Common Admission Test is conducted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) every year for admission to various MBA and PGDM programmes offered by the AICTE approved universities. Here in this article, CMAT 2015 topper Shubhadeep Basak shares his secret to success in one of the most popular management entrance exam in the country. Why don't you tell us something about yourself and your family?

Shubhadeep Basak: I have done my graduation in Electrical Engineering from Government College of Engineering Amravati, Maharashtra and was also awarded a gold medal for my academic accomplishments. Even during my 12th and 10th standards, I performed consistently well. I have also excelled in a wide range of competitions that include painting, test on Indian Culture, General Knowledge quiz etc. I have trained in Hindustani Classical Music (vocals and harmoniums) for 10 years. I belong to a well-educated family and both my parents are doctors. What other interests do you have beyond your academics?

Shubhadeep Basak: My first and foremost hobby is singing. I also like to read books and write poems. Traveling, too, is a hobby for me. Why did you decide to go for the MBA program after Engineering?

Shubhadeep Basak: I am immensely grateful to my engineering course. I developed the necessary hard skills due to it. But, I understood that they alone were not enough. I sought entry into the corporate world and wanted to do that in a more prepared and enhanced manner. Pursuing an MBA course will provide me with the required skills to do so. Also, I will be able to interact with students from diverse backgrounds during my MBA program and it will make my learning process a holistic one. Did you try for other MBA Entrance exams as well? If yes, what was your experience?

Shubhadeep Basak: Yes, I appeared for CAT, XAT, IIFT, NMAT, SNAP and MAH CET. Of these CAT and XAT are the exams that require great conceptual clarity. IIFT is all about question selection. SNAP, NMAT and MAH CET are speed tests. In fact for NMAT and MAH CET, I had to get used to that speedy environment, learn some shortcuts and above all, manage the time accordingly. SNAP is also a speed test with the exclusion that it has negative marking. What was the CMAT Exam pattern?

Shubhadeep Basak: The Feb-15 CMAT pattern had four sections-Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, Language Comprehension, and General Awareness. There were 25 questions per section. For each correctly attempted question, four marks were awarded and 1 mark was deducted for wrongly answered questions. The allotted time duration for the exam was 180 minutes. We could move across various sections during the test and this is the best part of CMAT. In which sections of CMAT exam you did the best and why?

Shubhadeep Basak: I did my best in Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation and General Awareness sections. Actually, I had worked hard for Quantitative Techniques from the beginning of my preparation. In addition to this, I like to gather General Knowledge whenever and wherever I can. These practices really helped. What was your strategy for CMAT exam preparation?

Shubhadeep Basak: I followed the same strategy for the preparation of every entrance test. After finishing a topic, I gave section-wise mock tests. They were of 15-20 minutes each. Though they were easy, they pointed out my minor weaknesses. I again worked on them. Gradually, I gave full-length mock tests. Initially, my target was to get accustomed to the testing environment. I focused on marks later on. I did not give a huge number of mocks but just made sure that whichever mock I gave, I followed it up thoroughly. I checked alternative methods of solving a question. Mocks helped me improve my speed. Please share specific section wise preparation strategy that you followed for the CMAT Exam?

Shubhadeep Basak: I have used the material of T.I.M.E. for every section. In addition to it, I have also used the following mentioned books and websites.

  • Quantitative Aptitude & Data Interpretation:  For Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation, I have used ‘Quantum CAT’ by Sarvesh Verma. This book is written in simple language and has an adequate number of solved examples.
  • Logical Reasoning: I used ‘The Pearson Guide to Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation for CAT and other MBA Entrance Examinations’ by Nishit K. Sinha. It starts with the fundamentals and then moves on to advanced levels. Logical Reasoning involves various cases to be considered and this book clearly explains all the cases involved in a particular question.
  • Language Comprehension: For vocabulary, I used ‘Six weeks to words of power’ by Wilfred Funk. If followed religiously, it can expand your vocabulary in about 2 months. Though I have not followed ‘Word Power Made Easy’ by Norman Lewis, I recommend that too. For Reading Comprehension, I used to solve 1-2 RC passages online on a daily basis. Websites like and give you ample practice for the same. Also, I made it a habit to read articles related to various topics such as philosophy, sociology, history, art, literature etc. from This improved my familiarity with various topics, thus increasing my speed in solving RCs.
  • General Awareness: For General Awareness, reading newspapers is a must. I had also subscribed to the GK programme of It helped me a lot because a good amount of information was available in a condensed format. A very good site for GA preparation is I just made sure to spend only 10-15 minutes on GA during CMAT. Guesswork doesn’t work here. We either know the answer or don’t. Do you think taking coaching classes is necessary to crack CMAT exam?

Shubhadeep Basak: The main advantage of a coaching class is that it gives you classroom teaching, enough study material for practice and some guidance. Also, if you can get in touch with some good faculty members in the coaching class, it helps you a lot in the long run. I took coaching in T.I.M.E. Hyderabad. I used this opportunity to clear my doubts. In total, I think coaching class is not ‘necessary’ to crack CMAT exam, but it definitely helps to speed up your preparation. Which college do you want to choose for final admission?

Shubhadeep Basak: I have converted SCMHRD’s MBA core, FORE’s PGDM(IB), NMIMS Mumbai’s MBA-HR, SIBM Pune’s MBA(I&E) and BIMTECH Noida. I am also waitlisted for NMIMS Mumbai’s MBA core. Right now, my focus is on SCMHRD. What is your advice to the CMAT aspirants?

Shubhadeep Basak:

  • Please don’t give too many mock tests. Analyzing them is more important. While giving mocks, try to maintain your concentration for 3 hours at a stretch.
  • You will have people advising you not to pay attention to CMAT. But trust me, a good score in a national-level entrance test like CMAT will be an achievement for you.
  • Please do not make a very rigid timetable. Have flexibility in your study plan. Avoid studying a subject for more than 1-1.5 hours. The concentration level goes down by studying the same subject for a longer duration. Try to mix up the subjects. It will be fun and won’t be boring.
  • Using social networking sites for preparation is good but please make sure you don’t spend a huge amount of time on it.
  • Never ever leave your doubts as they are !! Try to get them clarified by a faculty soon.
  • And lastly, trust yourself. If you have given other MBA Entrance exams as well, then kindly share the same with us.

Shubhadeep Basak: I have appeared for CAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT, IIFT and MH MBA CET. I have excelled in SNAP, NMAT and MAH CET. For SNAP, mock tests from and T.I.M.E. are helpful for preparation. It is advisable to attend the seminars organized by the admissions committees of various Symbiosis Institutions. They give you valuable inputs for cracking SNAP. For NMAT, I suggest you go for online mocks. ‘Analytical Reasoning’ by M.K. Pandey is a must for NMAT, SNAP and MAH CET. Shortcuts are very important for the above mentioned exams. ‘Magical Book on Quicker Maths’ by M.Tyra is a great book for shortcuts.

So here's all the Shubhadeep had to share about his preparation strategy for the CMAT 2015 exam. If you'd like to read more such CMAT toppers interview or receive any other MBA news visit our website,

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