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CAT Preparation Tips by Vishal Kumar Shaw

Last Updated - September 04, 2017

Vishal Kumar Shaw appeared for CAT in the year 2013 and got 99.2 percentile. He secured admission in Department of Management in  IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Delhi. He shares his Preparation strategies with us through the interview we had with him.
He preferred Classroom Coaching over the mode of self-studying because they teach you professionally with all the necessary notes, mock papers and previous year questions. According to him, one must solve all the easy questions first and leave all the difficult ones. Afterwards, try to solve the difficult questions but make sure to not to waste more time on them. 

CAT Preparation Tips by Vishal Kumar Shaw


Here is the excerpt from the interview round:

Ques. How was the interview? Share some of the interview questions.

Ans. The interview was different for different colleges.
IIM K (average interview - could not convert) -

  1. Books I have read
  2. National Song
  3. An experience where I have shown Leadership skills
  4. How I resolved it
  5. States surrounding Kerala
  6. Old name of Kozhikode
  7. History of Calicut 

MDI (average interview - converted IM) -

  1. GSM/CDMA difference
  2. Base stations
  3. The significance of shape hexagon in communications 

XIMB (good - converted) –

  1. Why is Kolkata lacking in development
  2. What would you do to improve it
  3. Work experience

IIT B (very good - waitlisted) -

  1. Syria issue
  2. Mamta Banerjee governance
  3. How different it is from CPI(M) governance
  4. Comment on her politics
  5. Books read
  6. Teach For India
  7. Family background
  8. Why higher studies if you have a family business

IIT D (very good - converted) –

  1. Popular slogans during elections
  2. Did you ever say no to your clients
  3. Explain your work experience
  4. What is a cord cutter,

Read How to Prepare for CAT GD/PI Round


Ques. The institutes that offered you admissions?

Ans. Out of all the institutes I participated in, I got selected in XIMB (Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar), MDI (Management Development Institute) and IITD (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi)
Click here for CAT Participating Colleges

Ques. Apart from CAT, for which exams did you appear?

And.  Apart from CAT, I appeared for XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test) and IIFT (Indian Institute of Foreign Trade).

Ques. What was your mode of preparation?

Ans. I preferred classroom coaching over the mode of self-studying because they teach you professionally with all the necessary notes, mock papers and previous year questions. 

Ques. Review the coaching institutes and what was their role in your story?

Ans. At Conduira, I had the opportunity of being guided and mentored by some of the best brains. Our faculties included IIM graduates and our director was from MDI. They just enthuse you with so much positive energy that you will study for hours without any boredom. 

They were very good in their subject areas with excellent presentation skills. They were so helpful that they even stayed back for long hours after classes to clear doubts.
Read about CAT Coaching institutes 

Ques. How did you manage CAT preparation schedule along graduation studies/working hours?

Ans. I was working with TCS while preparing for CAT. I used to attend the morning classes on weekdays and studied for long hours during the weekends. In office hours, I used to utilize every break opportunity by solving few questions.

Ques. What is your five point rule to excel CAT 2017?

Ans. Following are the success tips to ace CAT 2017
1. Solve every CAT past 10 years question.

2. Keep bookmarking the questions you answer wrong and revise them every week.

3. All the formulas/tricks should be at your fingertips.

4. Solve as many chapter tests and sectional tests as possible.

5. Arun Sharma/ Institute materials are all you need. Nothing else."

Ques. What were your strong and weak areas? How did you prepare and what special efforts did you put for improving your weak areas?

Ans. My strongest area was Reasoning and the weakest section was English.

I employed various strategies for improving my weaker section like:

  1. I read maximum books and read novels in extreme pace so that comprehension can be covered quickly
  2. Read word power made easy for improving vocabulary
  3. Learned the meanings in classes specially designed for the vocabulary section
  4. Learned grammar concepts from grammar books
  5. Participated in debates and various other competitions in order to make myself more comfortable and confident.

Ques. Quantitative Aptitude: Discuss your strategy for the section.

Ans. I was strong in this section, however, there were some topics which I feel were hard to solve. I worked hard on those topics from Conduira material and Arun Sharma Quant book. I practiced regularly and solved most of the questions. I made my own tricks, for example, if I wanted to calculate 17*8, I followed this strategy 17*10 = 170 - 34(17*2), although not everyone could follow this strategy.

Suggestions - Make your stronger sections the strongest one, so that you can solve any question and change your weaker sections to average at least, so that simple questions from that category can be solved out. Make sure accuracy is the key here. So for example, if the test comprises 40 questions, it does not mean you have to solve 40 out of 40. Make sure you can solve at least 25 but make it 95%accurate in order to have good percentile.
Preparation tips to ace CAT Quantitative Aptitude Section 

Ques. List the books you followed for DI

Ans. I only followed and practice from practice material provided by Conduira. I was very strong in this section, so I only prepared via mock exams.

Ques. Data Interpretation: Discuss your strategy for the section.

Ans. This was my strongest section. CAT usually have 10-15 questions on graphs, pie charts and other figures, they seem easy to solve but it requires complete accuracy, speed in the calculation and most importantly correct interpretation of every type of chart.

Solve all the easy questions first and leave all the difficult ones. Afterwards, try to solve the difficult questions but make sure to not to waste more time on them. 
Preparation tips to ace CAT Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning Section

Ques. List the books you followed for Quant.

Ans. Arun Sharma for most of the sections especially for the topics such as time, speed questions and permutation & combination.

NCERT books for solving 10th class level questions like trigonometry, quadratic equations etc. These were my weaker sections, hence I prepared for them by investing more time on such topics. I did not touch geometry at all because I was not comfortable with it. 

Ques. Logical Reasoning: Discuss your strategy for the section

Ans. Again, this was my strongest subject. There was no particular strategy for this section but while solving such questions I always focused on the missing places and usually picked easier sections first. Don't spend much time on the tougher questions. I scored 97 percentile in DI and Reasoning.

Try to be focused while solving DI and Reasoning questions, they appear difficult at first but once you get the grasp of that particular question, it is easier to solve each one of them.

Ques. List the books you followed for Logical Reasoning

Ans. I only followed practice material provided by Conduira. 

Ques. List the  books you followed for Vocabulary & Grammar

Ans. Word power made easy - I read the whole book twice in a year and learned most of the words. It is a very nice book and I would recommend it to everyone.

Wren n Martin for grammar- sections are concisely covered and it is recommended for everyone.
Preparation tips for CAT Verbal & Reading Comprehension Section

Ques. What should be the strategy for someone who is starting just two months before the exam?

Ans. Take some mock tests and then you will eventually get the idea of your weaker sections and stronger sections. Don't get complacent on stronger sections and keep on improving by spending 1-2 hours a day and try to correct basics of weaker sections. Leave the weakest sections.

Ques. How would you rate the following preparation strategies in terms of their efficiency in your story?

Coaching ClassesNCERT Text BooksOnline Study MaterialCoaching Printed Study MaterialMock & Sample Test PapersStudy GroupsSubject Wise ClassesSelf-Study
HighModerateHighHighVery HighHighHighVery High

Ques. What will be your prescription for students in the last phase of their preparation for CAT 2017?

Ans. Be strong, don't get disheartened even if you score low marks in some mock tests. Try to get proper sleep, don't read new topics, revise all the concepts and try to solve one mock paper exactly the same time as per our time duration of the exam. 


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