The largest MBA entrance exam in India is the Common Admission Test or CAT. Maurya Alla is among the academic few who scored more than 99 percentile in CAT. To be precise, he scored 99.93 percentile in CAT 2016; a score that many can only dream of. His inspiring words and insight on CAT preparation strategy would be very helpful to you if you are also looking forward to get high scores in the CAT exam.
At the time of CAT 2016 result announcement, he is a final year student of B.Tech at NIT Puducherry. This makes his achievement even more interesting: An engineering student among the CAT toppers while pursuing studies.
He is from Hyderabad and pursuing B.tech from NIT Puducherry. He is a book lover and thanks to this hobby he reads many books and novels. By scoring 99.93 percentile in CAT exam he is happy to have made his parents proud. He says “It is the best feeling if your parents are happy because of you“.
How did you manage to prepare for CAT alongside final year engineering studies?
On college days, I devoted 2 hours for preparation and on holidays I studied for 3-4 hours. I joined a one month crash course at TIME Institute in Hyderabad which I attended on college holidays in May. Also, I took the test series from TIME. Reading various books and novels helped a lot in cracking VA RC section.
What kind of strategy did you follow for CAT preparation?
For VA RC, I only followed one strategy and that was to read the questions carefully and answer it. After answering the question, I made it a point to not come back to the question again as my perspective may change for the question and commit a mistake; essentially stick to one answer. When it came to DI and LR I think it was a very tricky section. In LR DI, it is best to solve only selective questions and be mentally prepared to face a tricky set of questions. QA was a easy section for me as I am good in quant.
Which sections were toughest and easiest?
LR DI was the toughest section of all and QA was the easiest. Nevertheless, I got highest percentile in DI and LR section and lowest in Quant section.
When did you started preparing for CAT?
I started preparing for CAT in the month of June 2016 and joined TIME crash course for 1 month. After college hours I would come back and devote time to prepare for CAT. Time management was important with assignments, lab tests and classes.
Was this your first attempt for CAT?
Yes this was my first attempt and I am blessed to have cleared it in just one attempt.
Apart from CAT exam what other MBA entrance exam test you appeared for?
I appeared for XAT exam and waiting for the results and expecting a very good result like CAT.
On the role of coaching
In your opinion should students take CAT coaching for preparation? If yes, how to choose the best coaching institute for complete preparation?
Coaching will help to form a systematic behaviour. When you join an institute and classroom programme it helps perform different activities in a systematic manner, and also in generating interest in preparation. In my opinion, TIME and Career Launcher are among the good options since they have good faculty and test series. Students can also crack CAT without coaching as a lot depends on the aptitude of the student.
Guidance for CAT preparation
Which books/study material did you refer for preparation?
I referred various books and study material as there is no such single book for all the sections. I referred books and test series provided by coaching institute and gave online mock tests.
What things should a student keep in mind one month prior to the CAT exam?
I suggest students to devote less time on learning new topics and focus on clearing basics. Appear for mock tests, and at least three mock tests a week. This time should be utilized in analysing and facing tougher mock tests. Do things to boost confidence. I scored 92-93 percentile in mock tests so remember not to get demotivated if you score less in mock tests.
Mock tests also make you learn time management. Just because of mock tests I completed my LR DI section in just 45 minutes. So keep on testing yourself.
Please describe your experience on the day of exam?
I was very tensed for the first time ever as I was giving this exam for the first time and my father kept on motivating me and diverting my mind by talking about diffrerent things and talked about childhood and when I entered the exam hall I was calm and started solving questions and didn’t think about next and previous questions.
After this awesome score in CAT, what is next in Maurya’s cards?
Which all colleges are on your top priority list?
I am targeting IIM A , IIM C , IIM L, IIM K. I have got calls from IIM A and IIM K.
What is your preparation startegy for GD/PI ?
For GD/PI one should devote time and follow news and current affairs, it will be handy in cracking GD/PI. At the same time, guidance from those who have appeared in GD PI is helpful.
What is your success mantra?
Keep it simple, do not take too much pressure and do not keep thinking that I need very good marks. Parents’ support is always important. Be calm as it will help in solving questions easily and correctly.
What advice you will give to CAT aspirants?
I will advise them to keep everything simple and easy and believe in yourself. CAT is a tough exam but not impossible to crack. Keep reading novels and books and current affairs as it will help to crack verbal section and will help in clearing GD/PI.
Well Maurya, wish you luck in your future endeavors! And those who are reading this and are preparing for CAT, feel free to ask your queries!
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