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Cracking CAT Its not how good you are but how fast

Srikanth Lanka, a student of Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai scored 99.99 percentile in CAT 2011. Here's how he did it.

When he appeared for CAT 2011, Srikanth Lanka was confident of cracking the CAT. He just didn't expect 99.99
percentile. The final year student at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai has already received calls from IIMs across the country including Ahmedabad and Calcutta, which are his top two choices. In an interview, Srikanth Lanka tells us how he prepared for CAT in five months... and cracked it! So what is the secret? How did you get this fantastic a score in your first attempt? When I first started preparing for CAT, I enrolled in the IMS classroom programme. I studied through the material and gave the 12 mock tests. Besides this, I also came across a website called Testfunda.com that had some very good mock tests. I appeared for 15 of those. The mock tests on Testfunda.com were really tough. That helped me prepare harder and better. By the end of five months, I had appeared for 27 mock tests in all. I suppose somewhere along I knew I was prepared. Did you think you'd crack the CAT in the first attempt? I was scoring 99.5 percentile in most of my mock CATs so yes I did expect a good score but never once did I think I'd get a 99.99! That was a bit of a surprise. I was part of IMS classroom programme. I did all their material. Besides, there is a site called testfunda.com took that their tests very good quality. They were challenging prepare you better for CAT harder but made you better equipped. Could you tell us how you planned for CAT in those five months? The idea was to give as many tests as possible and perform optimally and analyse the results. What sort of feedback did your counsellors give you during this time? Since I was scoring 99 percentile and above, they just pretty much told me to keep doing whatever it is I was doing. I was however weak in the verbal section. I suppose Quant (which a lot of students find difficult) came naturally to me because of my engineering background. On the flipside like many engineering students I too struggled in the verbal section but I basically kept at it. I read a lot -- newspapers essentially -- and tried to practice solving those areas particularly.

Trying to manage your time around that can get a little difficult too. Which IIM would you like to opt for and what would you like to specialise in? Because of its reputation and all the things I've heard about it. it'd have to be IIM-C. It's something I really need to give a thought to and consult some counsellors before I take a step in that direction. I had to work extra hard. However if you want a go at it. you tend to get emotional about college and you want to take part in every single activity. When you're preparing for CAT. you better work really. Almost every second day I would take a mock test. I am not sure what my specialisation would be.Were you always the studious kind? (Laughs) No not really. Followed by that. I realised that to achieve something extra. So it's ok to go easy on yourself if you can't make it. Each day I had to keep aside two to three hours to prepare for CAT. we know we will get a good job so it is simpler to just pass your examinations and get through college. If we are in a good institution. How did he do it? What makes Ajinkya Deshmukh's achievement extraordinary is that he cracked CAT without taking a break from work. One must understand that this is just one of the exams in your life and isn't the end of the world. really hard towards achieving your goal. What would you say your learnings were while preparing for CAT 2011? A lot of engineering students get into a comfort zone the moment they get their admissions.basketball for instance. . You always have the option of taking a break. Studying for CAT got me out of that comfort zone. What are your future plans? What would you like to be? Definitely an entrepreneur! I'd like to start and run a chemical engineering plant. IIM-A would be my first choice. What would be your advice to people appearing for CAT? I believe CAT is given way too much importance. For six months I stopped playing basketball altogether. I don't think I am cut out for a corporate job. gaining work experience and giving it again. kya Deshmukh is one of only nine people in India who scored a 100 percentile in the CAT exam. All of this meant I had to sacrifice there were aspects of my life I had to give up -. Also when you're in your final year. But I did pull up my socks from the tenth grade onwards. I suppose you learn that it's ok to sleep and party less and work more.

Ajinkya -. 24.woke up to study for CAT uncomplainingly. shares the milestones in his lifejourney so far with Rediff. I scored 87 percentile in my second attempt. How many months of preparation did it take for you to crack CAT this time? Since I was preparing for the exam without taking a break from work. I wasn't satisfied. I would dedicate more time and analyse my performance so that I could work on the areas I was weak in. is what helped him clinch his goals each time -.be it pursuing a computer science degree at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras or scoring a 100 percentile at CAT 2011. When did you first hear the news? I had logged into the CAT Web site yesterday (January 11) and checked my scores. On weekends. A software developer at a leading investment firm in Mumbai. I was studying computer science at IIT-Madras and I gave the CAT twice to get acquainted with the paper pattern. I would spend an hour to take a mock test or section test. How much did you score in your earlier attempts? I first appeared for CAT in 2009 and scored 98 percentile."I prepared for CAT while I was working. Ajinkya. On weekdays. I wanted to gain some work experience to groom my technical skills before pursuing an MBA. Ajinkya. this was my third attempt. "Focus. At 7 am each morning." he says. Did you enroll at any coaching class? . Over 200. only one of nine toppers in the country. I had scored a 100 percentile across all sections. Besides.who lives in the satellite town of Ambarnath.000 aspirants took the CAT last year. Only 9 scored a perfect 100." he emphasises. I appeared for the test again in 2010. What were the mistakes you made in your earlier attempts and how did you overcome them this time? My scores dipped because I wasn't serious about an MBA at that point of time.700 scored in the 99th percentile. though he had only arrived home at 11 pm the previous night. Many congratulations.com's Divya Nair. located a little over 50 kilometres from Mumbai -. Over 1. I can't remember exactly when I started preparing for it. Was this your first attempt at CAT? No.

Have you decided at which IIM you plan to pursue your MBA? I would like to pursue my MBA from the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. Do you think professional coaching is crucial for success in CAT? If coaching means access to test material. alumni network and it's the best place to do an MBA. but the fact remains that the strategy is not universal. How challenging was it for you to prepare for a competitive exam like CAT? . you must record your performance so that you can review them later. What three key factors helped you ace CAT? There was only one success mantra: Focus. one develops a strategy. I don't think that really helps much. I would solve as many questions on English and get as much exposure as possible.. which is over 50 km away from Mumbai. So during weekdays. While you are preparing. During weekends. There was no way I could have prepared without solving several mock test papers and previous years' test papers.. But since I was serious about CAT this time. if you enroll in an institute to be trained by experts or follow their opinion. The secret to cracking any competitive exam is -. It has the best faculty. I think it's very important for CAT.Not for the first two attempts. You learn better from your mistakes. I enrolled with the TIME test series a few months in advance. My strength was Quant and I was weak in Verbal Ability. what matters is the accuracy and speed with which you solve each section. Please click Next to read further. Experts will definitely share tricks and strategies to crack the exam. However. To excel in CAT. I don't think any expert can help you with that. the key is to focus on improving your speed and accuracy. You stay in Ambarnath. As one practices through various tests.stick to your basics. I would work on my weak areas and improve my preparation. but when it comes to performance. You have to identify your strengths and personalise a strategy that works best for you.

Please click Next to read further. these little hardships don't matter much. to take a practice test. but I used whatever little time I got to solve new problems.. It was the excitement to achieve my goal that kept me going all the way.Commuting was always challenging. I would travel to Vikhroli. I would reach home only at 11 pm. On weekends. Travelling has always been a hassle throughout my preparation. They never let me feel the pressure. I think when you achieve your goal. Be it for IIT-JEE or for CAT.. I was used to the drill. but my parents have been very supportive. I did not get enough time to prepare during weekdays. which helped me concentrate better on my career goals. I would wake up at 7 in the morning and prepare for an hour every day before leaving for work. I had to travel by local train which takes me a little over an hour. But there was no point in complaining. While preparing for CAT. . which takes me an hour by train. I travelled by train for over three hours daily.