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Toppers Mantra: Know D-day strategy from 99.95 percentiler D

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MrDushyant Agarwal scored 99.95 percentile in CAT and 98.83 percentile in XAT. Presently, an MDI Gurgaon student of PGP-IM (Post Graduate Programme in International Management), Dushyant was also offered admission at IMT Ghaziabad. The engineering graduate had a working experience of about two years before joining the programme at MDI.

In this topper’s Mantra session, Dushyant shares his success strategies for CAT preparation and GD/PI. He also speaks on his question solving strategy on D-day and other tips for scoring high percentile in CAT.

Q: What was your sectional and overall percentile in CAT?

A:  My sectional percentile for QA-DI and VA-LR section was 99.94 and 98.8 respectively in CAT. The overall percentile was 99.95. My XAT percentile was 98.83.

Q: What was the change in your prep strategy during last 30 days to CAT? 
A: I started my preparation in early February 2012 and dedicated around 3 hours a day for studies. I completed the full syllabus a month well before the exam and thereafter I focused on appearing for online mock tests. I used to give mock tests on weekdays and during the weekends, I concentrated on revising the basics.

Q: Did you expect to get this much percentile after your CAT? How did you evaluate yourself on the basis of your mock test scores before CAT? 
A: I consistently scored in the range of 95-99 percentile during my mock tests so I was pretty positive for the final exam. I focused on continuing my preparation without getting overconfident. I performed well on the actual CAT testing day and was confident that I would score a high percentile, but 99.95 still came out as a surprise to me.

Q: How did you prepare yourself a day before the D-day (your CAT Test day)? 
A: I have a convention which I consistently follow during all my exams. I stopped studying 2 days before the final exam and allowed myself a lot of sleep and rest. I also tried to hang out with my friends. I believe this kept me positive during the exam.

Q: What was your question solving strategy on the CAT testing day? 
A: My strategy was simple just like most candidates. After looking at the question - I asked myself if it can be solved or not. If yes, I tried to do it as fast as I could and if not, I just marked the question and came back to it after solving all the other questions.

Q: What was the toughest & easiest section for you in CAT? What was your strategy to handle the difficult part? 
A: To be honest, I felt equally comfortable on both the sections but I worked harder in Verb Ability because I felt this was where more preparation was needed. I focused on solving Reading and Comprehension passages and para-jumbles because these constituted a large part of the section. My aim was to attempt all these questions at a 90-95% accuracy rate. 

Q: One preparation area which influenced your selection to this Top B-school heavily. How? 
A: I feel one area that has really developed my personality is the general awareness. While preparing for my CAT exam, I made sure I was regularly reading Economic Times and other news articles. This did not only improve my vocabulary, but also helped me increase my awareness about the environment. 

Q: Your long-term preparation strategy for GD/PI?
A: I realized that scoring well in CAT exam was only a half job done. The other half was to score well in GD and PI to get into my dream college. I started my preparation for the same early August. I consistently read newspapers and attended mock GD and PI sessions. I also practiced on common GD topics by speaking loudly in front of the mirror almost every day. I feel it really helped me a lot, not just for selection in MDI, but also for my personal development.

Q: Your advice for CAT 2013 Aspirants 
A: Focus on both the sections because both are equally important. Giving online mock tests is very important because one can't improve the score unless one knows what went wrong in the paper. Finally, don't leave GD and PI preparation for the end; it should go along with the preparation of the written exam.

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