Success Story: Akshita Singh, 99.45 Percentile, IIM-A, Class of 2017-19

By N Shiva Guru|Updated : April 29th, 2017

CAT 2017 barely has 200 days to go. AIMCATs and SIMCATs are lined up, ready to begin. People will start preparing furiously any minute now. With things perfectly poised for a Battle Royale among 2,00,000 candidates, a little motivation always helps. So, here we are, bringing success stories once more. Wait, what was the destination you are aiming for again? IIM Ahmedabad? Oh, that is where this former candidate is studying. Read on to know what got her into IIM-A:


Q1. Firstly, Congratulations! Let us start off with the inevitable: ‘Please tell us about yourself’. Also, tell us about the other B-Schools you converted.
I am Akshita Singh. I have completed BSc(H) Maths from JMC (University of Delhi) and am about to finish MSc Applied Maths from Imperial College London. During my graduation, I spent quite some time volunteering in my college's chapter of NSS. I also wrote articles for a student magazine, and enjoy writing poetry. I have converted IIM-B and IIM-K, and have been wait-listed for FMS.
Q2. Okay, let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth: How difficult an exam is CAT? What is the ideal preparation time?
The concepts required in CAT are not very difficult. It's the strategy that matters. One needs to recognize their weak points and time themselves properly. I prepared for CAT for about 10 weeks and ended up with a 99.45 percentile, so I believe 3 months is enough time to prepare well for the exam, as long as you don't have any other priorities.
Q3. You were working in one of the biggest IT firms. When did you decide that you have to prepare for CAT?
(didn't work before) During my Masters, I decided I wanted a corporate career. And to be better prepared for that, MBA was the path to go. So CAT was an obvious choice, as it opens up the best doors the country has to offer.
Q4. Could you please share your time split up for each of the sections in CAT on a daily basis?
I initially gave more time to LR as it required different types of questions, most of which I had not encountered before. After getting my techniques and concepts fine, I observed that my accuracy in Quant was poor. So about 60% of my time was dedicated in refining that, 30%  on improving my speed in DI & LR, and about 10% to VA, which was mostly spent during practicing mock tests.
Q5. What challenges did you face in the course of your preparation? How did you overcome that?
Competition was one challenge I faced. I joined a crash course at a coaching center, and most of my classmates were not serious about the exam. But CAT being a competitive exam, one needs to know exactly where you stand among the rest of the candidates. AIMCATs (mock CAT exams) provided by the coaching center helped me in overcoming that. My constant percentiles showed me which areas I lacked in.
Q6. Which section or part of the syllabus were you not comfortable solving? How did you deal with it?
LR would be the section I found the most uncomfortable. Because there were a lot of cases in which I managed to solve the basic problem, but then realized that I committed an error in the last question of that problem. It can be very disheartening, because then you know you have probably chosen the wrong answers for the last 3 questions too, and time is precious in CAT. I overcame that by realizing what kind of questions I usually commit an error in and managing to do a quick verification before I went ahead with the answer selection.
Q7. How did you go about every Mock? What was your style? Did you adapt the same in CAT as well?
My method of approaching every Mock varied as time progressed. I started stressing more on accuracy of every answer rather than attempting maximum questions, and slowly, my speed improved too. I approached CAT with the same method.
Q8. What were the follow-up strategies adopted by you after each mock result?
I followed up each Mock by analyzing each and every question. As I slowly realized my common mistakes, my accuracy and speed improved.
Q9. Is there a phase where candidates lose steam during prep? If yes, can one get over it?
One may lose steam when they are done with the conceptual study, and have scored well in a couple of Mocks. It may help to set goals for the Mock exams, say score very well for 5 Mocks in a row, and then taking any weekend breaks or making any plans. If one isn't prepared well, a bad score could jolt them back to reality.
Q10. Considering that CAT preparation can be stressful for many, what are the relaxation techniques you would recommend?
I opted for watching shows and movies I had watched before. It relaxes you, entertains you, but also holds no suspense. So you aren't distracted during study time with anticipation.
Q11. What would you like to share with your peers on Gradeup?
Never consider any institute above your scope. During CAT, your Alma mater, previous academic scores, and job status don't matter. It's all about the presence of mind. So everything is within your reach, as long as you are willing to work a little harder for it.
To start preparation for CAT 2017, Follow the links below:
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All the Best,
Team Gradeup!!


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Tanushree Roy
@N Shiva Guru Do they prefer candidates with job experience to freshers in most of the top MBA colleges?
Sachin Singh

Sachin SinghApr 30, 2017

@N Shiva Guru Sir, i have average academic background,how difficult it would be to get admission in top IIMs. Please guide me .
N Shiva Guru

N Shiva GuruApr 30, 2017

@Sachin Singh @Santosh Sarkale
Nishant Mishra
Last lines were like a Good Hope. Really good!
Shiv sir thank u.
Ayushi Walia
@akshita singh congrts plz can u guide me for cat i am also preparing but maths phobia  i dont understand wht to do wid maths portion plz can u guide mee
Ritu Saikia
Congrats to her! Gives me some hope to do well in exams too 🙂
Jahiya Vafa
Which coaching have u joined
Shivani Gupta
Sir it is necessary to join coaching
Mahadev Pareek
Hi i have done my bsc(math) finish . I wanna do MBA .please give me some opinion. How can i do it with right way ..please  ..
Vibhuti Sharma
Could you please share how you prepare for QA section how did you manage your time?

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