An aspiring entrepreneur, Madhur left his job as Operations Manager at Amazon to focus on CAT 2017 preparation and almost a year of hard work and planned study has reaped the fruit sweet. A Mechanical Engineering graduate from Delhi Technological University, Delhi, Madhur Gupta is one of the 20 CAT 2017 toppers with 100 percentile.
His mantra for cracking the CAT was attempting all kinds of mock test. Madhur attempted more than 70 mock test during his crusade for CAT 2017. He credit his success to his mother’s hard work. He believes that a better luck is often the result of hard work. Madhur loves to read entrepreneurial books and watch TV series (Friends)
In an interview, Delhi Technological University alumnus Madhur shared his CAT preparation strategy and future plans.
Madhur Gupta Interview:
Ques. A brief about yourself and CAT 2017 Result?
I have a B.Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering from DTU in 2016 and did my schooling from Delhi. My father is a Charted Accountant and mother is a homemaker. I was working as an Operations Manager at Amazon and now working at a startup “3Dexter”.
It was my first attempt at CAT and I had expected around 99.9 percentile. So scoring 100 percentile was really great. I was naturally delighted. My sectional percentile is – Verbal and Reading Comprehension(VARC) – 99.7, Quantitative Ability(QA) – 99.96 and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning(DI & LR) – 99.94.
Ques. How was your exam day experience?
I was pretty chilled out on the day of CAT Exam. My exam was scheduled for the second slot. From what I heard, DI & LR in the first slot was tough but I was mentally prepared for it. My VARC was little weak but that section turned out to be very easy. I just maintained my pace in solving the question I was so involved in the paper that I didn’t remember any question or the answer that I had opted for.
Ques. What was your Preparation Strategy?
I started preparing for CAT 2017 from January and joined TIME Institute for coaching. I started up my preparation in full zeal only in August after quitting my job. In the last three to four months of preparation, I took over 70 mock test of different mock series. I attempted mock series of TIME, Career Launcher and IMS.
According to me, it is important to attempt a variety of questions so that the possibility of surprise questions in the actual exam is negligible. It is important to be able to handle surprise questions and that can be done only by attempting a wide variety of mock test.
On the advice of my mentors, I started focusing on my strengths first and once I had saturated my preparation of those subjects, I moved to my weak point i.e. VARC. I took 3-4 days off and devised a strategy to tackle VARC. I would spend 2-3 hours on the RC part to ensure my weakness turned into the strength.
Ques. According to you, what were the toughest and easiest sections and what was your strategy to tackle them?
QA part was very easy. DI & LR was tough and difficult to handle. I was always strong in QA still I practised QA for an hour each day for the last six months as I did not want to lose it.
Verbal was my weak point even after preparation, I was not improving in this area even after studying and taking so many mock tests. I came upon the solution to use elimination method rather than selection for the verbal section. I started eliminating the wrong options to help me decide the right one. This helped me later.
Ques. What was your time management strategy?
There was no strategy for Quant and verbal sections as they were too easy, you either knew the answers or didn’t know them.
In DI & LR, I did the easier questions of the set first and marked the tough ones for later. In this way, I completed five sets and later came back to the tougher questions. I found this very convenient.
Ques. Importance of joining a coaching institute?
Coaching institutes are helpful but not necessary. In a way, they give you regularity and structure to your preparation and also provides you with a competitive environment so that you don’t slow down. However, I mostly did self-study. But I took the test series from TIME Institute, IMS and Career Launcher at the end.
Ques. What are the factors behind your success?
It’s not just hard work that matters, there are a lot of factors involved. My mother is one of the factors and It is my mother’s hard work which has reaped success.
Ques. What is your future plans?
I have got interview calls from IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and IIM Calcutta. I am hoping to pursue Management from any one of these. I am interested in entrepreneurship so I plan to do that post MBA. If not entrepreneurship then I will go for consulting.
Ques. Do you have an idol who inspires you?
Jeff Bezos is my idol. His work and contribution motivate me a lot.
Ques. What is your hobbies? How did you keep yourself relaxed during the tedious CAT preparation phase?
I love reading especially entrepreneurial books. During my breaks, I used to solve strategy puzzles, talk to friends, go for a drive to keep myself relaxed amidst preparation. My favourite series is F.R.I.E.N.D.S. which really acted as a stress buster for me.
Ques. Any message or tips for future CAT aspirants?
They should really focus on attempting a lot of mocks but only at the later stage after they have completed the course. You must have command over all the topics and concepts before taking any mock test. Also, evaluate your performance and strategize their preparation accordingly.
Do as many mocks as you can, I did above 70. There are many aspirants who relied just on the mock test and scored very well in CAT.