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CAT tips: ‘spend at least three hours a day to study’

CAT tips: ‘spend at least three hours a day to study’
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Manish Kumar achieved a high percentile of 99.43 in the Common Admission Test 2013 and secured admission in IIM Raipur. An engineer by education,...

Manish Kumar achieved a high percentile of 99.43 in the Common Admission Test 2013 and secured admission in IIM Raipur.

  • Struggling to balance your time between office hours and CAT preparation?
  • Take inspiration from Manish Kumar who cracked the Common Admission Test alongside a full-time job.

An engineer by education, Kumar aims to acquire knowledge in finance and marketing and become a finance expert post his post graduate programme at the institute.

In this interview, the CAT topper tells us how he worked on basic concepts to excel in the CAT and other management entrance exams.

He also talks about his time management strategies which led him to crack the CAT with high percentile despite his hectic work schedules.

What inspired you to pursue MBA? What are your aspirations?

I wanted to diversify my field of knowledge, mainly in finance and marketing. A management programme lets you have a diversified knowledge and skills in different roles. As a manager it is important to know about all the departments with a sense of responsibility towards every division and company.

Apart from CAT 2013, which other MBA entrance exams did you appear for?

I appeared for the IIFT and SNAP as well. Though all these exams require a different strategies and preparation tactics, few factors remain common, like, concentrating on time management, practicing the mock exams and having a clear idea about basic concepts.

Why did you choose to join IIM Raipur?

I got calls from five new IIMs and MDI Gurgaon. I didn’t join MDI was because I wasn’t interested in HR. In other new IIMs I found Raipur the best, reason being its faculty, academic schedules, brilliant peer group and activities that lets you explore opportunities in every fields.

What was your preparation strategy for CAT 2013?

I developed a strategy to follow preparation material of coaching institutes so I enrolled for test series of various coaching centres which helped me build my confidence.

These series and mock tests helped me clear my basics, focus on practice and made me ready for the actual CAT exam. The need of coaching or mentoring depends from student to student.

Mentors can guide and motivate a student's which work as a morale booster. In my case, coaching didn’t matter much as I studied all by myself. Though I followed the coaching exam series I didn’t take any classes.

How did you manage your CAT preparation schedule along with your full-time job?

It is actually quite difficult to cope with your studies along with your hectic work routine. But the key to tackle this challenge is to make a daily planner, scheduling all your daily activities, managing time and preparing a chart for each hour activity. I prepared a complete plan and followed this time table which helped me allot at least three hours every day towards preparation.

Please share your section-wise preparation strategy.

For Quantitative Ability, I tried to be generic and worked towards strengthening my basics. I also tried solving the problems with alternate possible solutions which helps you a lot in analysing each questions with different aspects along with increasing the ability of answering the questions right and on time.

For Data Interpretation, the key and strategy is to practice as much as you can. I also followed the same and it supported me to make this area strong.

For Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, the best is to focus on reading comprehensions and increasing vocabulary, which you can do by reading the newspapers, searching for difficult words and learning their meanings.

What was your Time Management formula while taking the actual CAT?

Managing time is the key factor in cracking the CAT. If you manage your time well and solve all the questions within the time slot, half of the CAT exam is cracked. Along with that it is vital to plan a pattern for answering questions. I solved questions in which I was more comfortable first and then went for the rest. It is the best time management formula to follow as it lets you not to get stuck with one question and waste time answering that.

What is your advice for the MBA aspirants who will take CAT 2014?

Take as many mock tests as possible and practice as hard as you can.

How did you unwind?

Recreational activities are a must for every student who is preparing for an entrance exam. Such activities let you channelise your energy in a better and positive manner throughout. Your mind feels fresh and relaxed when you indulge in these activities. I am interested in poetry and had managed to write something even during my busy schedule.

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