IIM Kozhikode Convert, Non Engineer Palak Shares Her CAT Journey

MBA Entrance exams

Q : CAT is said to be a playground for engineers but today we have Palak Aneja who is a commerce graduate and belled the CAT with 98.86%ile in her first attempt. Let’s know more about Palak.

Palak : I am from Delhi and I am from commerce background, pursued economics in bachelor’s and currently I am a working professional. I am working in a digital marketing firm as a product specialist. This was my first attempt. I scored 99.6 percentile in LRDI, 96.8 percentile in VARC and in Quant I scored 94 percentile.

Q : It is said that engineers have an advantage in CAT, did you ever feel that and think that you are lagging somewhere behind in the race?

Palak : Yes, I think that engineers have some privilege of their background as when I joined iQuanta I found that most of the students who score good in Quant are from engineering background. I always felt lagging behind and I knew that I have to brush up my Quant skills. This was my focus as well because it was about my performance in exam not competing with others.

Q : So according to you, how much optimum time is required for a full fledged preparation?

Palak : I think it is subjective for everyone. There’s no such optimum time but one should start their preparation in January. People who are working shouldn’t leave their job, they should make their strategy according to their work structure. It is difficult to prepare along with your work. In the initial days I devoted 2-3 hours but later I often took frequent leave and study on weekends and devoted 9-10 hours per day.

Q : What was your preparation strategy and how did you cover each section? What pro tips you would like to give to other aspirants?

Palak : First strategy was to figure out what the syllabus actually is because there is not any fixed syllabus, I focused on previous year questions and analysed mocks. I was part of the iQuanta facebook public group. I used to see the sessions which Indrajeet sir would take oftenly and gathered information from there and organised it systematically. My main focus was to cover Quant and brush up all the basics of and gradually I started doing 2 sets of LRDI and RC on a daily basis. iQuanta helped me to be consistent and do all three sections regularly. Due to my work profile I use to watch recorded classes and practise them on weekends . I devote my maximum hours in Quant and devote a few hours in LRDI and VARC. I almost completed my syllabus till June and after that my main focus was on mocks as it is more important to analyse mocks and work on your weak section . I took iQuanta mocks and started doing sectionals and topic wise thoroughly which helped me in practising Quant. Indrajeet sir started the series of 250 questions which were from all over PYQ and different sources. I only followed that and it was very helpful.

Q : Do you think coaching plays an important role in shaping CAT preparation and how much coaching centre attributed in your journey of CAT?

Palak : I would like to give all the credits to iQuanta. I had no knowledge of MBA. I had started from very basic and iQuanta helped in each step. Most of the time I missed the class but there are recorded lectures available which helped me in preparation according to my convenience. Videos were available on dashboard and I can get my doubts cleared even if I study at 3 AM. iQuanta community is very healthy and supportive. Students were ready to help each other anytime. It never made me think that I have to compete them in negative sense.

MBA Entrance exams

Q : What’s your take on the CAT 2018 results? As we can see that there are 10 students who scored 100 percentile and all them are boys from engineering department.

Palak : Engineers have a sort of edge in the Quant section that has been proven. The proportion of male engineering students is much greater than female students but there have been females with 100 percentiles and I would love to see others also on the same page.

Q : You come from a marketing background. Are you inclined towards marketing? Do you see your career in marketing and what excites you to join this area?

Palak : I am very much inclined towards marketing and seek a career in MBA marketing. I have been interested in this field since childhood. I used to participate in various competitions like making an AD, selling products. I went to do similar internships and later a job in a marketing firm and I love my job and would like to go further in this field.

Q : This journey must not be easy for you! what were the challenges you faced during preparation?

Palak : The biggest challenge I faced was time management, it was difficult to manage time along with your job as my work timing was messed up in two shifts. There was a time when i thought either i give up on my job or prepare for next year’s CAT but I motivated and convinced myself that this should be your one and only final attempt, staying calm and motivated throughout the journey is most important and you have to set your priorities.

Q : What are your hobbies? What you do when you are not studying?

Palak : I am a dancer, i love dancing so i go for dancing whenever i am free as it makes me extremely happy, i go for 1 or 2 hours dance class to divert myself from hectic schedule and after my dance classes i feel refreshed and start my preparation with full efficiency. It’s very important that you should follow your hobbies also as you can’t keep studying all the time, you will come to a saturation point and it’s very important to motivate yourself throughout the preparation time.

Q : What advice do you want to give to upcoming CAT candidates? What strategy should they follow?

Palak : The major tip would be for one to find a good coaching institute and I will highly recommend iQuanta. Second is to set your priorities in the right way, you should prepare well and work upon your weaker sections and don’t let your hand run in multiple directions.

If you are looking for structured CAT preparation along with 24*7 doubt-solving, you can rely on iQuanta’s CAT 2024 Course.

CAT 2024

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