Engineer joins FMS with 99.7 Percentile: ‘Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.’ This is what Anant Sharma, an engineering graduate from the Delhi College of Engineering knew even as he prepared for the CAT exam, converted an FMS call only to lose the battle in the interview, but finally landed his dream B-School in the second attempt – FMS itself! Besides a relentless struggle to reach his destination, Online CAT Coaching from Career Anna also helped him to reach FMS the second time. Read on to know more about the roller coaster ride of how an engineer joins FMS with 99.7 Percentile!
I had been in my final year of engineering when I decided to write the CAT exam and attempted the same without taking the aid of any coaching, online or offline. I joined a global advisory form right after completing my graduation and barely got any time on my hands to devote to my studies, let alone enrol in a coaching center. However, after my first failed attempt when I almost made it to FMS and saw it slip away again right in front of my eyes, I enrolled in CareerAnna’s Complete MBA Preparation with GD-PI course as I wanted to leave no stone unturned in acing the exam and making it to either IIMs or FMS. Any other college would simply not cut it for me.
I am sharing with you all my CAT Preparation Strategy which can help you ace the exam, especially if you are taking the CAT 2019 exam as a re-taker. We have six months in hand to prepare for the CAT 2019 exam, so the first thing to do for a CAT aspirant is to familiarise himself/herself with the CAT Exam Syllabus, CAT Exam Pattern, gather adequate study material and previous years’ question papers.
CAT 2019 will be a computer-based test where a candidate has to finish off 100 questions in 3 hours. There are three sections in the exam namely Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC); Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR); Quantitative Aptitude (QA). The exam has both MCQ and Non-MCQ questions and you will be awarded 3 marks for every correct answer and a negative marking of -1 is for every incorrect answer.
|Sections||MCQs||Non-MCQs||Total Questions||Total Marks||Time allotted|
Since now we are familiar with the exam pattern, I will give you tips on tackling individual sections of the CAT Exam.
Tips to Ace the CAT Verbal Section
This section is all about testing your reading ability. A whole 1/3rd of the section comprises of the Reading Comprehension (RCs) with a total of 16 questions on this pattern alone. Besides this section, you can have 16 other questions from the LR section but the section primarily focuses on your reading ability?
Reading ability can simply be defined as how well a candidate can relate to the idea given in a paragraph. It doesn’t test your speed in reading the passage or the depth of your vocabulary, just if you understood the ideas in the passage.
Not being a regular reader can be fatal to your CAT attempt. This in no way implies that if you do not ace this section, you would score any less than the coveted 99 percentile. However, habitual reading will ensure you do not get intimidated by any questions in the CAT Verbal section or the RCs. You must read a good newspaper like The Hindu alongside magazines, journals, editorials and books. You must also try to solve as many RCs from different topics as you can so you know what to expect in the real exam and you will easily be able to knock off 5 questions out of 6.
To score a 99+ percentile in the CAT Verbal section, you will need to get 36 out of 42 questions right, which leaves little room for leaving questions. A solid reading habit would also give you an eye for detail and clarity of ideas presented in the passage because you aren’t depending on any speed reading hack and questions neither seem difficult nor ambiguous to you, which gives you an edge over your peers.
- Evaluate the answer options critically: You should ask yourself if one option is better than the other. By evaluating answer options critically, you can argue with yourself how and why one option is better than all the others. This will become infinitely easier with practice, however, the greater advantage comes when one has a good reading habit.
- Do not stress much about grammar and vocabulary: It is undoubtedly a huge advantage if you have a commendable command over the English language. However, it is no determinant of acing the CAT 2019 exam. Vocabulary and grammar can again be perfected with daily reading. So, your biggest takeway from all my advice to ace CAT Verbal section is ‘Read, rain or shine.’
Tips to Ace the CAT LRDI Section
It might come as shocker to you, but you are never going to be completely free from having surprises thrown at you for the LRDI section of the CAT exam. Out of 4 puzzles, one would be really hard, one of medium difficulty level and one most easy enough for most candidates to solve.
The single most important tip to crack LRDI would be to approach the puzzle systematically. Do not try guess work at all since the LRDI section is no place to do your R&D. For this section, it is crucial that you are familiar with your own strengths and weaknesses and are at the top of your game in solving the sets with speed and accuracy.
One important tip to solve LR would be to write all the information down in the form of a table or a diagram. Once you do that, you are free to think with a clear mind. Therefore, a methodical approach is best while solving this section. The LR problems are all-or-nothing type that if you manage to crack the crux of the problem, you can breeze through all the other questions – else, you won’t be able to solve even one question. Problem-selection is tricky, so if you are unable to solve a set after the first 5 minutes, switch to another set of the section. Therefore, to attempt or not attempt, that is the question. With a decent practice of solving at least two sets each for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation everyday, you are good to go.
Tips to Ace the Quant section
- Learn the theory from the basics: Generally, we tend to jump steps when we feel we are familiar with a certain topic. However, you must resist the temptation to plug-and-play and learn the theory with an open mind. Sometimes, you must go by the intuitive approach or certain questions instead if being consumed by algebra.
- Grind hard: Intuition is important, sure, but you need lots and lots of practice where this section is concerned. Major portions of the processes must be on autopilot mode. On encountering a tricky question, if you pick the right approach after nearly 60 seconds of thinking, the remaining 100 seconds of actually solving the question must be done in mechanical fashion; in a manner that does not consume much out of you. Also, the more processes you finish on autopilot, the less tired you will be and therefore, your odds of cracking the key idea behind the next question will be better.
- Tackle tough questions by revisiting theory: Once you are through with the basics and have managed the intense grind, you would by now know all the standard templates. Since you base is all set by now, you should now work on your ability to discover newer frameworks.
Mocks are the magical formula for success in the CAT exam. Once you start writing mock tests and get a handful of questions right, you would know how to proceed further in your preparation. Attempting mocks followed by an in-depth analysis would boost your confidence and would be the icing on your metaphorical cake of the CAT exam!
Do write at least 3 full-length mock tests between April to June and at least 5 hours analysing it, which equals to 8 hours spent per fortnight on a mock. July onwards, once you are done with your basics, you should start taking a mock every week. This will help you keep both your preparation in check and master time management as well.
These are some of the tips by me which helped me convert FMS and other top B-schools. For my second time, Career Anna helped me a lot in battling out the GD-PI rounds and finally convert FMS. Therefore, my personal suggestion is also heavily biased towards resorting to an Online CAT Coaching, especially if you struggle with the GD-PI rounds or similar. Good Luck for CAT 2019!