Lakshya Kumar, the star student at IIM Calcutta and a proud alumnus of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, came forward for an exclusive chat with us. Lakshya scored a straight 99.99 percentile on the CAT and envisioned a landmark career in consulting. Herein are some of the premier study tips from the ace practitioner himself! Read on to know the essential study tips that Lakshya followed on his MBA journey:
Gearing up for Quants
Quantitative Aptitude is one of the challenging sections of CAT. Lakshya’s motto of success includes a strategic way of handling the question of quant. He says,
“I had booklets from the coaching institute that I was part of. I would at least do those booklets twice or even thrice, for that matter. I knew my capabilities from the beginning. So, the analysis told me that of 34 questions, at least 24 were easy questions. The balance was sticking to those 24 questions because that would get me a 90 percentile in the quant part. And if anything, maybe venturing onto one or two more medium-level questions. “
In his quest to handle the difficult questions, he followed a systematic pattern to record all the difficult questions and revise them before D-Day. To quote Lakshya,
“For the quant section specifically, I made a formula in which I wrote down all the new sorts of questions I encountered. So when I revised, let’s say in the last 10-15 days before CAT, I was able to cover at least an exhaustive list of questions that I’ve attempted in the past. “
Mantra to crack VARC
From honing the reading speed on the screen to sourcing and reading suitable material, Lakshya has a piece of nuanced advice for CAT aspirants.
“I think the important aspect of VARC is developing your reading speed. The quick disclaimer here would be that the reading speed here is not from, let’s say, the physical hard copies. It’s reading speed on the screen. There was a slight difference. I had to get accustomed to it. Also, reading newspapers helps a lot. Why? Because VARC topics, in general, tend to be from different domains of life. Reading should be very diverse. “
For sectional tests, he gives hindsight into how to tackle them.
“My main strategy was sectional tests. I think candidates out there can have a look at the previous year’s papers. They are freely available over the internet. You can have a look at those RCs. Just go through them. Answer them. You also have the answers out there. That’s a good way to prepare. It gives you an idea of the level key. “
Sorting the Study Materials
One of the major dilemmas that CAT aspirants face is the expansive range of study materials available at their disposal.
“I think the most important thing here for anyone who’s preparing for CAT is not to venture out and get access to all the books. It’s not needed. You stick to the basics, one or two books. It can either be your coaching booklets or a book by any famous author out there. Just pick one material and complete it again and again. The benefit is from revising rather than spanning into new questions. Make sure that you’re able to revise the topic of numbers at least 20 days before the CAT so that you are very accustomed to all these tricks and tips around numbers. “
Minding the Mocks
Another primary concern is managing the mock score and getting the feel of the real-time CAT experience. For this, it is essential to understand how to handle mocks. Lakshya draws a picture of his comprehensive mock strategy,
“I tried giving weekly one mock, though I was not as regular. In nine months, I tried one mock per week for the first six months of preparation. But in the last 30 days before CAT, I attempted one mock a day. Now that is something which I believe is important. “
Lakshya also mentions how the body clock and exam aspects become very important for giving a healthy and nuanced attempt.
“Let’s say my CAT slot was from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. And I was accustomed to something called afternoon fiesta, so that was a problem for me. I had to stay awake and be at the sharpest of my mind during those three hours. So, in the last 30 days, I made sure that I only gave a mock during that specific time. It helped me to get accustomed to the actual CAT experience. “
The Hustle Code
In the hustle to ace CAT, many students give in to the dark web of stress. This becomes problematic as it affects not only productivity but also an individual’s health. Here is what Lakshya did to bust the looming pressure of CAT.
“My go-to thing to bust stress was listening to music and even humming along. It’s always advisable to have such a thing to combat stress. It can be as simple as watching TV as well. In my understanding, it does not require rigorous preparation of 12 hours a day. Again, this advice is based on me. Have an ample amount of time to yourself as well. You can do your hobbies. You can do whatever you want to calm yourself down. Meditation again, I think, is a good way out. “
Essential CAT Study Tips
In conclusion, Lakshya gives some pointers to CAT aspirants to keep in mind while preparing for the big day,
“One would be that you do not just prepare for questions, but you also prepare for CAT test-taking abilities. These tests may include, let’s say, the body clock or maybe how to calm down. During the mock test, there are these factors, so make sure that you also focus on that aspect. There’s a fourth section which is CAT test-taking abilities altogether.
The second part of the advice is that there are these phases during the CAT preparation, aspirants think that CAT is not meant for them. And I can tell you from my experience that all of us, including toppers, have faced this. So don’t think that you are in this alone. You make sure that you get through it while talking to family and friends or pursuing your hobbies. Down the channel, there’s a bright future waiting for you if you can overcome that phase. “
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