“Recreate the actual exam atmosphere with mock tests,” says CAT ’15 topper, Sanuj Mittal (Part 1)

The higher the frequency of solving mock tests ahead of the exam, the higher the chances of getting a good score. Mock tests can help one come up with a strategy to solve each section of the paper accurately and within a stipulated period of time. With just two weeks remaining for D-Day, Sanuj Mittal, a student from IIM Lucknow and CAT 2015 topper with a score of 100 percentile, tells PaGaLGuY that mock tests went a long way in helping him gauge his true potential and work on his shortcomings to get better for the exam. Below are the excerpts from his interview where he speaks at length about his preparation strategy.

Hi Sanuj, Tell us something about yourself.

I have a background in Electrical Engineering from Delhi Technical University (DTU). Although, we haven’t yet had the opportunity to choose a specialization, I would like to pursue my interests in finance. After completing MBA, I would like to work in a private equity firm or an investment bank.

Do you recall your state of mind two weeks ahead of the exam?

A week or two before CAT should be kept for relaxing and one should not overburden himself/herself with work. I avoided trying too many things as that would only induce fear for the exam. I revised a few concepts here and there along with a few questions and that was perhaps the only thing I did in the last week.

On an average, how many hours did you spend studying in a day?

Earlier, I didn’t really have a fixed figure on the number of hours I studied. Initially, practice for CAT was restricted to the weekends but as the exam came nearer, the time devoted for its preparation increased. Thus I would devote somewhere around 5-6 hours a day for prep.

How many problems did you solve daily in the last two weeks before the exam?

There was no fixed number of questions that I solved each day. I tried to solve one paper a day and then would try to analyse the mistakes that I did in that paper. This would include all the sections and thus I was not required to do anything else.

What were your strong and weak areas?

Like most engineers in the fray, I too had Quant as my stronger section. DI/LR was also manageable. As I was relatively confident with these two sections I just tried solving an increasing number of questions instead of revising concepts. However, one area that gave me a hard time was Verbal Ability. To get better in verbal, I tried solving many Reading Comprehensions along with reading Editorials online and offline. For QA and Reasoning, solving numerous questions helped.

How much of your success would you attribute to your coaching institute?

The coaching institute did prove to be useful for me to crack CAT and score a hundred percentile. The test series they provide helped me gauge my potential and work on it to get better with time. However, it is in no way mandatory or imperative to join an institute for a good score. A coaching institute helps primarily in the amount of peer learning that you get once you attend the classes. 

How many mock tests did you take ahead of the exam?

I took nearly all the mock tests provided by the institute and apart from that, a few mock tests given on different online channels. Initially the frequency was once in every two to three weeks and later the frequency increased to once every week and sometimes twice a week. Mock tests come closest to provide you with the actual test atmosphere which helps while you sit in the actual test hall.

Did you get a 100% in any of your MOCK tests?

No I didn’t. My percentiles in the mock hovered around 99 with the highest being 99.93.

Click here to read “Develop your own paper solving technique by solving mock tests”, says Sanuj Mittal (Part 2)