Gursimran Ahuja is a go getter. Her success story can be visualized as one achievement after the other. The level of energy this Ludhiana girl exudes is striking, and it is no surprise that she is among the CAT Toppers this year.

For the uninitiated, CAT is the Common Admission Test held by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) each year. CAT scores act as the gateway to MBA / PGDM and related courses admissions in several B-Schools in India.

An exam which is taken by candidates numbered in lakhs, getting 99.83 percentile is no mere feat. So how did Gursimran do it? Find out below!

Name Gursimran Ahuja College of Graduation IIT Roorkee (B.Tech Electronics and Communication Engineering)
CAT Percentile 99.83 percentile Target B-Schools IIM A, IIM B and IIM C

Gursimran Ahuja CAT Topper Interview Aglasem

Before this, she had also topped class 12 (non medical) in her state. She went on to get a great rank in the engineering entrance exam as well the same year and got admission in one of the top engineering colleges in the country, IIT Roorkee. She has never looked back and scoring high in CAT is another feather in her hat.

Common Admission Test (CAT) 2015 – Gursimran Ahuja’s Scores

Subject Scaled score Percentile
VARC 76.79 98.66
DILR 61.21 99.47
QA 71.43 99.4
Overall 209.43 99.83

Congratulations on the success! Feeling great?

It was expected obviously. Then this is the half journey completed there is still a long way to go.

What is your preparation strategy for the upcoming GD PI session?

I have got an interview call from IIM Ahmedabad (IIM A), IIM Calcutta (IIM C), IIM Bangalore (IIM B) and IIM Indore (IIM I). I have started preparation as I have interviews in February and March, so not much time left. I am basically focusing on my profile, current events, and economics.

Tell us a little bit about you and your family.

My family was very supportive of my studies all throughout. They wanted me to do an MBA right from the moment I joined engineering. Then I came to IIT Roorkee so it got delayed a little. My father is a business man so he wanted me to go into management.

You are currently pursuing B.Tech from IIT Roorkee. How has your experience been there? How did you manage CAT preparation with your studies?

IIT Roorkee is an awesome college. I am studying B.Tech in Electronics so you get a lot of exposure because there are so many brilliant students all around. We get to learn a lot from them. I managed CAT preparation by devoting 2-3 hours daily over a span of 8 months.

What motivated you to appear for CAT 2015?

I wanted to extend my B.Tech degree from IIT to another better college. I wanted to do an MBA so why not the best college.

Which IIMs are you aiming and what are your plans after MBA?

Mainly IIM Ahmedabad but IIM Calcutta and IIM Bangalore too in case I don’t get the best. I plan to be a part of a corporate, preferably an investment bank (because of my fascination for banking) where I can contribute my skills acquired in the best possible way and rise up the echelons of an industry to make a mark in whatever organization I am a part of.

When did you start preparing for Exam? What was your routine study period? On an average, how many hours a day did you study?

Somewhere in February 2015, I started my preparation. I normally used to devote 3-4 hours daily. I used to take two mocks a week initially. But then I increased it to 3 when the exam approach nearer.

What timeline did you follow to prepare for CAT?

Initially, it was the basic coverage when I started in February. Then somewhere around in May mocks from various institutes I started. So the focus was mainly on analysis.

According to you, how was the Exam? Which were the most difficult and easiest topics and how did you crack it?

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) was the most difficult section. It has been so for the past two previous CAT. So that is the section which is make or break section. Performing in LRDI has definitely a better advantage.

Quant is the easiest section. LRDI was very tough.It can be done by practicing mocks from institutes and previous year CAT papers. Basically, it is logical so there is nothing in particular that can be done for practice. It is all about the bend of mind. That is why it is make or break section.

Did you join any coaching class? In your opinion should students take coaching for CAT preparation?

I didn’t take any coaching. I joined the test series well. If you can structure your studies well and you are disciplined in your approach then there is no need for coaching. The main purpose of coaching is that you plan your studies very well that you don’t lack behind in the syllabus. That is why we mainly join coaching. But if you can do it by yourself then there is no need of coaching as such as all is basics.

What are the most important topics for CAT preparation that you think a CAT aspirant should focus on?

For Quant, people focus on numbers and permutations a lot and leave arithmetic. But arithmetic is extremely important.

In verbal, Reading Comprehensions are extremely important because they form a big weightage now. CAT has become more understanding oriented rather than grammar. So Reading Comprehensions is very important.

For LRDI, DI is tougher. Probably because there is more of DI than LR and it has logical reasoning plus maths component to it. That’s why it needs more practice.

As an advice to future CAT takers, how many questions should one attempt to score well?

There should not be any fixed number in mind. Just go with a relax mind and attempt as many as you can. Be it 100 or 90.

Which books/ study material you referred for CAT preparation?

Books are always there.

Arihant Sharma has been like a constant companion for students who prepare for CAT always.

Surjeet Kumar for verbal.

LRDI has no basic source of preparation. LRDI depends on the practice which can be done from sectional tests of institutes and mocks. If done sincerely, it should be more than enough.

On the exam day, what was your experience like?

My center was approx 40 km from my home city. So I had to drive all the way. I would say just have a relaxed state of mind. Don’t look at the students who are panicking all around. Just focus on yourself and on your system as you have to sit an hour before the exam actually. There would be many panic faces all around but just go with a relax mind.

What is your success mantra?

Keeping a cool head matters a lot. One thing that will actually help to keep a cool head and to keep calm. Because even if someone has prepared to their level best and if they don’t keep a calm head then all preparation would not work.

Can you share the key tips to Crack CAT?

  • Have a structured approach.
  • Practice a lot. Practice basic questions.
  • Don’t go for high-level questions. It’s all very basics. They are just going to test your basic knowledge.
  • When it comes to verbal read a lot so that any RC would not be a problem for you.
  • Increase your grasping power by reading a lot from different sources. Read newspapers or any kind of magazines.

I would like to say that CAT is not a tough exam as such, people have cleared it with 1-2 months of preparation as well. So it is not a big thing to be made out to be. Just a few months of regular practice and I think everybody is good to go.

Are you too preparing for CAT? Have questions in mind? Clear your doubts from CAT Toppers. Post your queries in discussion forum.

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