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Apoorva Bansal: Lucknow-zone CAT girl topper and made it to IIM Calcutta.

Apoorva Bansal: Lucknow-zone CAT girl topper and made it to IIM Calcutta.


Ashmita Bajpai   posted on September 18, 2019,      Category: COMPETITIVE EXAMS

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Apoorva Bansal

A diligent person who aced the prestigious CAT and made it to IIM calcutta and got placed in 3 companies too.Lets find out what is her Mantra and story.

Hi Apoorva, tell us something about yourself?

I was born in Orai & brought up in Lucknow. I did my schooling from City Montessori School Lucknow, Aliganj, Sector-O branch. During my Intermediate days I put my efforts for IIT preparation but unfortunately wasn’t able to grab a decent rank in IIT. I preferred CSE branch as I had a keen interest in CS throughout my school life. Thus, took admission in IET Lucknow in CSE branch through UPSEE exam.

Why did you choose to appear for CAT while having other options like UPSC, GATE or placement?

I don’t have any interest in UPSC, so it was out of scope for me. As far as I know myself, I will be able to do better in managerial field than being in a core technical job. That’s why I chose CAT rather than GATE. It’s always good to prepare for any competitive exam when you are in your college as you study things other than the course & extra knowledge is always beneficial. There is also a backup plan if you don’t get a good placement.

If any student of first year comes to you & asks what should he choose CAT or GATE or placement then what will you suggest?

The choice is completely dependent on an individual. If he wants to be in a core technical job then he should work on placements, if he wants to pursue higher studies in technical itself then he should pursue GATE & if he wants to go for managerial ones then he should go for CAT. No other person can guide you better other than yourself. Take your decision on the basis where you want to see yourself 10 years ahead in your life. Every journey has its difficulty but you have to choose what path you have to take based on your destination.

What was your source of motivation while preparing for CAT?

There wasn’t any specific person who motivated me. But some of the personalities like Indra Nooyi & other ladies like her keep on motivating me to work hard & to achieve something in life.

According to you which is better early bird or night owl?

It depends on the individual. I have been both a night owl & early bird. the silence you get at night can’t be got during day & the freshness of mind which you have in the morning, you cannot have at night. Both have its pros & cons. You have to decide what is best for you.

There is a perception that coaching teaches some tricks or short formulas. Is it true ? Suggest some online resources for CAT aspirants.

It is right that coaching teaches some short tricks & formulae. But these tricks are also available in the online contents. Every teacher has different tricks for different topics. Cracku, Hitbullseye, Pagalguy, Iquanta are some good websites for preparation.

What was the hardest decision you had to make while preparation?

The hardest decision was to decide whether I should join TIME coaching for CAT or not.

One should join CAT coaching or not?

Joining coaching or not is completely dependent on whether you will be able to study regularly with sincerity & consistency or not. If yes, then joining any coaching isn’t a good option. There are online study material & videos available. If anyone can’t maintain consistency, then he should join coaching.

What strategy one should adopt to score above 99% in CAT?

CAT is an exam of strategy. You can’t rely only on the hard work; you have to work smartly to score good. Focus on your weak points. If your weak point is English, then you have to read different kinds of journals, increase your reading speed. If you are weak in DI/LR then you have to solve multiple sets in a day in order to gain efficiency. The biggest strategy I think to score a good percentile is giving mock tests. The more number of mock tests you give the more you score good. 2 months before the CAT exam I only gave mocks.

What’s your suggestions for those students who think that if they are unable to score good in one section then it won’t affect their score much ?

Never ever ignore any of the section. Every section is equally important in your final percentile. I have 99% percentile in both Quants & DI/LR. But my percentile in VARC is only 88. So, my final score is back at 99.51. If my VARC percentile have been 95 or 98, my score would have gone to 99.7 or 99.8. So, never ever ignore any of the sections and maintain a balance in order to achieve good percentile.

What percentile did you get when you gave first mock test?

I appeared for the mock test first time in the month of June. But at that time I was able to score only 92 percentile.

How many mocks should a CAT aspirant must appear for?

As many mocks as you can. Like my senior Nilansha ma’am who scored 99.95 percentile, used to give 3 mocks daily in the last month before CAT. It was like too much for me, I could give at most 2 mocks per day. More number of mocks you give the better your result comes.

What type of personality one should have while preparing for CAT? How much important role interview has?

If you talk about IIM Calcutta, it calculates total score of 50 out of which only 15% is based on CAT percentile & rest 35% is based on academics, PI & GD rounds. So, interviews, GDs & academics play very important role. They judge you on the basis of your attitude & your confidence, how you are going to face difficult situations, how consistent you have been throughout your graduation period & how well you know about your subjects. You should have the information about your parent’s business, your sibling’s business & the things that are going around in the world around you.

What is the most challenging part while preparation?

The most challenging part is believing in yourself, when you aren’t able to perform good in mocks. That’s the hardest time. At that time, you have to realize that these are the different phases of preparation & not the actual result. You have to keep confidence & believe that you can do it & have to discover best things for yourself.

What mistakes did you make during preparation?

The biggest mistake was that I lost confidence & I wasn’t so consistent as I could be. It was in the final year, 10-15 days after I got placed in Global Logic. It was like I don’t want to crack CAT, I just want placement. My family was very supportive all the time, they used to say leave everything & just focus on exam if you want to do it. I was only bit confused about where I should go. I think it helped me in achieving success in CAT as I got very relaxed that I wasn’t jobless anymore. Though I lost confidence for 10 days but those 3 months’ preparation was with me. Before I got placed my priority was CAT. So, I again gathered myself, started giving mocks & I was back on the track.

What are the basic mistakes a CAT aspirant usually makes while preparation?

Not being consistent is the biggest mistake one could do. Preparing for a month then taking a break for 10-15 days will be of no use as you will be back from where you started. More regular you work the better your brain works. So, maintaining the regularity is the basic key during preparation.

As you have cracked CAT & also got admission in IIM Calcutta, where do you see yourself after 5 years?

After 5 years I want to see myself at a senior leadership position in a reputed organization.

How many IIM calls did you get?

I have been called from IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, IIM Shillong & FMS too. Fortunately, I have got admission in IIM Calcutta & have decided to pursue my MBA from there. I am very excited about my journey at IIM Calcutta.


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