An Interview With Meet Agrawal
The common admission test or CAT, a computer-based aptitude test, is administered by the IIMs every year and attempted by more than 1.5 lakh students in hopes of joining a good management college. This entrance test, now accepted by most of the premier B-schools in India, shines a light on some of the smartest young students in India.
We at Getmyuni had the privilege of interviewing one of the brightest minds of 2017 Meet Agrawal, who scored a 100 percentile in CAT 2017.
This young boy from Surat is not only brilliant at taking aptitude tests but also quite an athlete. He has represented his state in Table tennis, skating, and chess (which, by the way, is a sport for the mind). He also holds Limca Record for playing 47 musical instruments in seven minutes.
Meet believed that the reason for his success was his preparation through mock tests and strategies.
Here is an excerpt from the interview
Interviewer: Tell us about yourself?
Meet: I was born and brought up in Surat, Gujarat. I studied till 12th in Delhi public school after which I joined SDJ international college for Bcom. I did my Bcom while simultaneously pursuing CA. I am currently preparing for my Chartered Accountant final exam
I come from a family of businessmen. My father is a textile exporter while my mother owns her own dance institute.
Interviewer: What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Meet: I enjoy sports, music, movies, and books. I’ve represented the state in Chess, Table tennis and skating. I’ve even learned to play several musical instruments.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to take up management? Is this your first attempt at CAT?
Meet: I have always been inspired by my parents. Like them, I too want to start my own venture someday. I have a keen interest in the business. I am not sure what kind of business I want to start right now, but I’m sure I'll figure it out in a while.
Yes. This is my first attempt at CAT.
Interviewer: Can you tell us about your study schedule while preparing for CAT?
Meet: I joined the Endeavor career coaching center in Surat one year prior to writing the CAT exam i.e. in 2016. However, my actual preparations started in the month of May. It was then that I started giving mock tests. I have given over 80 mock tests for CAT. I spent lesser time referring textbooks and focused more on the mock tests. I analyzed my performance, corrected my mistakes and worked on preparing strategies for the final CAT day. I took mock tests daily. During my last six months, I even joined the online classes provided by TIME and IMS.
Interviewer: Were there any parts of CAT that you found difficult while preparing?
Meet: I was pretty comfortable with the structure of CAT from the very beginning. I wrote my first mock in May and scored a 99.3 percentile. I did feel that there were certain areas that I could improve on like verbal. In my first mock test, out of 34 questions in verbal, I had attempted only 25. I needed to increase the number of attempts in this section for which I needed to increase my reading speed for the RC section. I practiced by reading articles and magazines. I even looked up on how to improve my reading skills online. After a while, I was able to attempt almost all the questions in verbal.
Interviewer: Did you take a break while preparing for CAT?
Meet: No I prepared for CAT while preparing for my CA. Yeah, but last three months I concentrated only on CAT.
Interviewer: How did you manage to stay focused throughout the period of preparation?
Meet: I didn’t really find staying focused on a problem. I get a thrill out of taking the test so it was no problem. Solving mock test papers were fun for me.
However yeah after solving a mock test, when I was too drained to take another one, I would take breaks. I loved to watch Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, documentaries on youtube.
Interviewer: Were there times when you got overwhelmed with stress?
Meet: Well I never got that stressed but there were times I scored lesser that I usual but I took that as a learning opportunity. I kept taking mock tests and learning from my mistakes. That’s all you can do.
Interviewer: How difficult was this year's paper?
Meet: The level of difficulty from quant has gone down drastically which is good in a way as it removes the engineering bias. In the quant section, I attempted 32 out of 34 questions.there was even a whole set on chess which I was delighted to see. If you have a good grasp of the concepts in quant you will be able to solve this section easily.
Verbal passages were short and not extremely complex. The DILR section was the most difficult.
Interviewer: How were you on the day of the final test?
Meet: I was actually very relaxed. I am comfortable with aptitude tests. I am usually nervous before my college exams or my CA exams since there is a theory portion. I revised the quant formulas before the test and that was all. I was able to perform better too because I was relaxed.
Interviewer: Do you have any preference among the IIMs?
Meet: Each IIM has its own specialty. IIM Kolkata is known for its finance programs while IIM Ahmadabad is known for management. I haven’t yet decided what kind of business I’d like to start yet. I think once I get selected I’ll be in a better position to make the decision as to which one I would join.
Interviewer: What advice would you give future CAT takers?
Meet: I would Advice future CAT takers to take as many mock tests as possible. Using the mock tests they would be able to formulate strategies. By strategy, I mean how much time to spend on each section, how many questions to attempt in each question, whether they should attempt a question or not. All these questions will become clear once they analyze the mock tests taken. The final test may in difficulty but if they plan well they would be able to tackle the questions, easily.
Don’t experiment on the CAT day. Proper analysis of the question paper and mock tests should help immediately realize which sets are difficult or which would take too much time. So accordingly the taker and leave it for the end or choose to not attempt the same.