Journey to XLRI : Ankita Gupta

By Asakti|Updated : October 7th, 2016

Ankita Gupta has performed brilliantly not only in XAT but also has managed an extraordinary percentile in CAT as well. She is currently pursuing PGDHRM from XLRI. As said by her that this journey was not easy, she has shared some really amazing tips for preparation in a telephonic interview with our team. 

Congratulations!! Please tell us something about yourself.

I am from Ghaziabad I have done my B. Tech from HBTI, Kanpur in Electrical Engineering.
My father is a retired SSE (Indian Railways) and my mother is a retired teacher. During my preparation my brother, who has done his PGDM from IIM Shillong, was a constant source of inspiration to go for MBA.
My family has always been very supportive of my education and I have grown up in an environment where we were taught to aspire high since childhood.
This was my second attempt as my first attempt was not that successful.


Q1. How difficult is XAT as an exam? What do you think should be an ideal preparation time for such exams?

You would know that XAT consists of 3 sections: Quantitative Aptitude, Decision Making and Verbal Section. Of all the sections, the Quantitative section is supposed to be the most difficult one. But, if you are thorough with your concepts, it is not that difficult to crack: you just need to clear your sectional cut-off and then focus on your forte to build up your percentile. Once you have cleared the cut-off of all the sections, you are already in the range of 90-95 percentile. Now, you need to move on to the section of strength and you would need to do maybe 4-5 more questions so that you land in the range of more than 95, maybe 97 or 98 percentile. Even 1 or 2 more additional attempts can land you a 99 percentile or perhaps more. But, overall if you will see that it is not that difficult a paper. It focuses more on vocabulary unlike CAT and it has a slightly more difficult level of Quantitative Aptitude than CAT.

I don’t think that there is any ideal time for the preparation. Perseverance is the key. Ultimately, it is a game where ‘the last man standing wins.’

If you are brave enough, you can even start now and provided you persevere till you write the exam, then you can definitely do it. It is only the confidence which matters, not the time.


Q2. Did you take up any coaching program for your preparation?

I took up the regular course by Career Launcher. I think what helped more was the mock examination. Not only you take a test but you need to dedicate 4-5 hours for a proper analysis. If you are not doing that then you are simply shooting arrows in the dark.


Q3. Please address the common query which every aspirant has as to how one should analyze the mocks properly?

One thing that really helped me is that there is a blog ‘GP ka Funda’. There are several articles related to CAT and other MBA entrance exams preparation, there is one such article which was related to the mock analysis. That is the best blog I have come across throughout my preparation. You should realize the fact that if you are getting any question wrong, you are not losing one mark but losing 4 marks for a question altogether. The major thing you cover while analyzing your test is to identify which areas are not part of your strengths and this is the area you do not have to waste your time upon. You could do it for practice but should avoid doing them in the exam. The selection of questions is of prime importance. You cannot afford to waste even a single minute there. Even a single minute and single question can take your percentile from 95 to more than 97. And with every mock, you keep updating your strengths and weaknesses.


Q4. What were your weak areas and how did you overcome them?

The first thing that comes into my mind is TSD (Time, Speed and Distance). I understood the concepts and whatever was taught but those questions took a hell lot of time. It never got converted to my strength. There was another weakness: PnC and Probability. To improve this I started from basics. I took up NCERT concepts and started from there, then took up classes and did the modules from my coaching institute. That was an area where I started from scratch and practiced a lot. I then got to the level where it did not remain a weakness anymore. If there were 3 questions from this section I could attempt 2 of them.


Q5. The verbal section happened to be your strength while the majority of the aspirants have issues in the same. Any tips you would like to share with our aspirants?

In English, things like Grammar is something in which you are trained from childhood and which requires proper dedication along with time to learn. There are 2 main important areas where you can actually improve at this point in time when CAT is 2 months away. One is Vocabulary and the other is RC. Keep on learning words every day. By words, I do not mean any random word you encounter. By words, I mean the relevant reading which you do pertaining to your entrance exam be it the newspaper, blog, RCs even. Maintain a notebook where you jot down all the words which you encounter from these sources every day. But keep revising the entry of the previous day as well. It may not be directly helpful in some exams but it does help a lot in RCs, and VA questions too.

For RCs, take up any source (coaching material or any book or mocks) and make sure that you practice at least 3 RCs every day. With RCs many people miss this point is the time frame in which you are attempting it. What you can do is set a time frame maybe 40 mins for 3 RCs and then gradually you can keep decreasing this time to 35 mins. Your ideal time frame should be 20-25 mins for 3 RCs. And while doing this you should focus more on the accuracy rather than attempting more number of questions. If you are weak in English than you should focus just on clearing the minimum cut off.


Q6. Any preparation tips you would like to share for Decision Making?

For DM, I would suggest you place yourself in the condition in which the question is asking you to be in. Only then can you answer such questions. I took up some 200 questions from past year papers and practiced them. I not only cleared the cut-off but it helped me score better as well.


Q7. What other exams did you give alongside XAT? What other calls did you get?

Along with XAT I appeared for CAT, IIFT, SNAP and I scored as following:

In XAT - 97.03 percentile, IIFT: 97 percentile, in CAT: 99.28, SNAP: 99.7.

I got calls from all the IIMs except IIM A and B, XLRI, SIMB and SCMHRD. I converted the calls from IIM Indore and all the new IIMs except Ranchi, MDI, IMT, SIBM, and SCMHRD.


Q8. How important do you think that extracurricular activities are with respect to the perfect profile that one should have for interviews for premier B-schools?

Extracurricular activities are very important esp when you are fresher. If you are sitting there in front of them they know that you are good at academics. You need to be good at something which makes you stand out of the crowd. If you have work experience, you may have different awards and other recognition for your achievements, but as a fresher here is when the extracurricular are helpful. 


Q9. How has been your experience at XLRI till now?

I would simply say it is a completely different world here. Once you land in any premier B-School, not only XLRI, you will have a different life altogether. It has been 4 months since I have been here, but I have hardly gone out of the campus more than 4 times, that too also mostly for a group activity. It is that you remain occupied all the time and the best part is that even if you are occupied you are enjoying that part. I know that I am doing something productive and making a MAN out of myself. I can see the changes in me because of the various opportunities and exposure which I have come across with.


Q10. As CAT is only 2 months away, any tips or advice you would like to give to our aspirants?

There are two things you need to do: keep taking mocks and with time increase the frequency of the mocks. It is very important to analyze the mocks more than to give them. As only two months are left, you can work on the two sections to improve your score: First LR-DI and second RCs. Just keep practicing these areas without taking many breaks. Because these are the two areas in which actually you can improve through practice, as in other segments you have to be very thorough with the concepts. But as per DI-LR and RC, there are no concepts as such. It all goes down to the amount of practice you have in these sections.

All the best !!


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AsaktiOct 8, 2016

RC stands for Reading Comprehension
Anuj Sharma

Anuj SharmaOct 12, 2016

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Anuj Sharma

Anuj SharmaOct 12, 2016

Great post
Anuj Sharma

Anuj SharmaOct 12, 2016

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Ankita Gupta

Ankita GuptaOct 16, 2016

Thank you Asakti..:)
Mrinmoy Banerjee
Dream to be there in XLRI....IN HRM
Mrinmoy Banerjee
Filled the form for xlri for hrm i want to know more about maths question in this xat exam mam pls help mee for maths am little weak ..others subjects are good inc gk
Mrinmoy Banerjee
i may prepare it from normal rs agarwal or arun sharma its little tough i want to score good and get into xlri

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