CAT 2021 Topper Interview – Pranav Padhiyar is one of the top scores in CAT 2021. Pranav scored 99.91 Percentile in CAT 2021. He did his secondary and higher secondary schooling from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya ( JNV) and is currently pursuing B.tech Dairy Technology at Anand. Since childhood, he saw his parents struggling and decided to do MBA in studies. He tells about his journey, interests, strategy, preparation tips for every section. He also has a message for all the future CAT aspirants to follow. Candidates must read through the article to know the complete preparation strategy, and how to ace every section with confidence.
CAT 2021 Topper Interview
This is an extract from the live interview conducted with Pranav, CAT 2021 Topper. All the details of the interview are mentioned below:
Q. Can you tell us about your Sectional Percentile in CAT 2021?
A. My sectional percentile is 99.29 percentile in VARC, 99.37 Percentile in DILR, 99.68 Percentile in Quantitative Ability, and 99.9 Percentile overall.
Q. What was your reaction when you saw your scorecard? Were you already expecting this high score?
A. No, I was not expecting this. I was pretty much worried about VARC. Everything else was good. But I attempted 50 Above questions out of 66 and was unsure about VARC. So, when I got the results, I was elated you can say.
Q. Was this your first attempt of CAT?
A. Yes, this was my first attempt itself.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your academic background?
A. I did my Secondary and Higher Secondary from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and currently I’m pursuing B.Tech Dairy Technology at Anand.
Q. When did you start preparing for CAT and what was your overall Preparation Strategy?
A. I started my preparations during the latter half of my second year in the graduation and my preparation strategy was first I joined Coaching Institute. I did the research and I saw that MBA is an opportunity that I should go for. So I joined the coaching and according to their plan, I started working on my three sections. during my first year, I completed the syllabus and after that, I gave mock tests only and did the revision.
Q. Are there any specific books that you studied for the preparation of CAT 2021?
A. No, I would say that the IMS Modules are enough.
Q. You took Coaching from IMS. So, How can you explain what role does coaching plays in the preparation for the CAT Exam?
A. Okay, Let me tell you that as humans, we tend to go for instant gratification, We tend to diverge. So, the coaching Institute set the benchmarks for me that I have to finish this and do this work by the end of the week. And because of those benchmarks, I had to go through the procedure and that’s what kept me on the right track. So, I would say that coaching has a 70% part in keeping me motivated. IT plays a great role.
Q. So, if you were to give more weightage, were it be resources from IMS, or was it the mentorship?
A. Mentorship and the faculties are great. We can get the resources anywhere like from telegram. But the great mentorship is not everywhere. The mentorship was one of a kind there.
Q. There would be many mentors but could you name some go-to mentors. Someone or two specific, that you went to whenever you had problems?
A. All of the mentors are pretty much close to me. But if I have to name or two, it would be Vaishva Das Sir, Upadhaya Sir, and Karan Sir. They were in contact with me every single time. For every little query, I used to message them.
Q. CAT Syllabus is in itself very vast. How much time do you take to complete the syllabus?
A. I completed the syllabus 6 to 7 months before my graduation. And then Afterwards, I went for revision and mocks only.
Q. So you said that you went for mocks, How many mocks did you attempt. How do you think mocks helps in the preparation?
A. In my preparation, I attempted 47 Mocks till now and I would say that they play a huge and immense role in CAT day preparation. They give you the environment you need. You create your own environment by giving a mock test. You don’t eat anything before that, take god’s name before giving a mock. So by this, I was used to the procedure. When I went for the CAT Day, It was a mock test for me and I smashed the mock. It remolded my nervousness, my stress and I was confident because of the mock tests.
Q. Can you tell us your detailed strategy on the Exam day As various students have different strategies for the CAT Exam?
A. On CAT Day, I ensured that I had everything that I needed and I reached the center pretty early to avoid that last-minute issues. During my CAT Exam, my suggestions would be to reach before the time but not pretty early as the chairs around make you anxious. I didn’t look at anyone’s face. As I was pretty much confident in the VARC, So I attempted all the questions of VARC. For DILR and Quantitative, I went for the ABC approach, first go through the section, finish what you can do and that would be my advice to anybody that they should go for the ABC approach.
Q. When you go to the Centre and start the exam, you would see that the number of questions has been reduced to 66. So, what would you say about the reduction of the total number of Questions?
A. I would say that it is good. As in a 2-hour exam, by reducing the questions, you’re getting more time for each question than is an average time and that allowed me to perform well. I knew that by doing these many questions, I’ll be able to get in the 99 range. I did all the calculations and on that day, and I felt happy that they reduced the number of questions.
Q. You said that you first attempted VARC Section, but VARC is a section that students take lightly. In actuality, VARC is the toughest nut to crack. So, How do you ace this section?
A. It is because of my past reading skills. I started reading novels in my class 4th. I’ve read more than 300 plus books and because of that, I was pretty confident. And that is why my VARC was well. On that day, I was pretty confident and for other students, I understand that there is the problem of medium and comprehension might be difficult as my colleagues have problems in VARC. They were focusing Very hard on that and that hard focus made them lack.
Q. You said you have read about 300 novels. So, can you tell us about the 5 best novels that you like to read?
A. The very first one Fountain Head, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, Alchemist is the best book to go for, The angel in the dark, and the fifth one Harry Potter Series which is the epitome of the Human Imagination.
Q. What strategy did you follow for the quantitative and DILR sections. Explain.
A. Sir, I have my weakest section that is DILR. I was pretty much worried about DILR before the examination and I used to give a sectional space every single day. I would sit there and set a time of 40 minutes so, I will take a time of 40 minutes and take a past year CAT paper or sample test and go on solving. In 40 minutes, I saw how many sets I have Solved and after that, I will go to it again and see where I did I miss and this is the strategy of DILR. I did it every single day and I have solved more than 1500 DILR Sets. I have solved more than 1500 DILR Sets for the Preparation. For, Quantitative I was pretty confident with it. So, mocks did help me a great deal.
Q. So, One of the most important aspects of acing CAT is accuracy. So, how did you manage a negative marking in the exam? Can you give us approximately, the no. of answers you marked in each section?
A. As much I say for VARC, I attempted 19 Questions out of which 10 are correct. For DILR, I attempted 15 out of which 13 are correct. For quantitative I attempted 17 out of which 15 were correct. So my accuracy was above 80 in all the sections. Also, for that, if you’re sure that the answer will fetch you three marks, only then you should go for tick.
Q. You mentioned the novels, so besides the academics and novels what other interests do you have?
A. I would say that I’m a painter, a flutist, an aesthetic and I actually indulge pretty much in directing and writing. I also play, I won two national prizes for it. Other than that I am curious to learn new things. I am currently planning to go to swimming classes. So, I am a fully self person and have an interest in every field.
Q. So, Are you at home or in college these days?
A. I am in College. My internship is going on at the Vidya Dairy. So we have a shift schedule there and I’m currently doing a shift there.
Q. So, now I think two or three IIMs have called students for counseling, so how many B Schools have you applied for, and how many have contacted you till now?
A. IIM Kozhikode and IIM Vishakhapatnam have sent me the mail for now. I applied for every B school that was in the form. Apart from that SMS and ZILR, Jamshedpur.
Q. Have you have attempted the XAT Exam Also?
A. Yes, I also appeared in the XAT Exam.
Q. How was your XAT Experience?
A. It was practically difficult because of the DM section and I scored least in that only. Otherwise, my score was pretty good around 35.
Q. So this year the SA Section was included in it. How did you prepare for the SA Section as the information was released 3 or 4 years before the exam?
A. Yes, it was there. I would say that as I mentioned my VARC and comprehension are pretty good. Since I like to write stuff, so the writing part was good. And I was pretty much confident for typing part from my school days, I learned typing so I was confident that I didn’t prepare anything special for it. I was confident to write 250 words on essay.
Q. Did you follow any different preparation strategy for XAT for other sections of XAT or was it similar to the CAT exam?
A. It was mostly similar to the CAT Exam.
Q. Have you started preparing for GD/PI or WAT section for the next round?
A. I’m doing that right now these days.
Q. Are you preparing from the IMS or from somewhere else?
A. IMS. They are helping me with WAT and GD/PI both.
Q. What do you plan after completing your MBA?
A. I would like to go for Top Universal firms like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc.
Q. So Do you want to go into Finance? So what is your dream B School?
A. Yes. IIM Kozhikode is my dream b-school.
Q. If you have to name the person or something that was your biggest motivation?
A. My father and mother. I have seen their struggles and that is why I want to do an MBA. I want to dedicate my preparation and motivation to them.
Q. If you have to sum up your whole success mantra in one line, What would it be in one line?
A. It would be Stay on the Path.
Q. Is there any advice you want to give the future CAT aspirants?
A. Just by the mantra, stay on the path because we tend to diverge so many times. During my preparations, I had to start everything from the scratch and that is why I said that the things you are looking for, you should keep in mind. If you want IIM A or B, you should check that every day because that if you want that, your mind will take you there only. You know that the hard work that you have to put in and where you stand and how far you have to go.
Q. My last question for you is related to Fears and anxiety. It is a common issue these days. So Did you have fear of making it or did you feel anxious? How did you overcome that fear?
A. I was anxious about the VARC section because the abstract was very hard and very huge. I was pretty sure that I will be getting most of them wrong and that I was pretty anxious. Before the result, I was fidgeting continuously about how it will be. So, I have been through it and I believe that it is a normal process and it was good and required.
At last, We wish Pranav all the best for his future endeavors and wish him all the luck for his bright and successful career in Finance. We conclude that the CAT Exam is not that hard and with preparations and confidence, one can ace each section. Mentorship is a must for guiding candidates. And mock tests can help students in providing them the suitable exposure and environment, thereby introducing the exam pattern to the candidates. CAT exam needs a proper schedule and also candidates should focus more on the weaker sections. VARC section can be aced by enhancing the Verbal Ability, newspapers, and novels. the complete syllabus can be finished in 6 to 7 months but revision is a must thing.