CAT 2022 Topper Interview: Know Pallav's CAT Prep Strategy for Calls from Top IIMs, FMS, XLRI & MDI

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Abhishek Dhawan
Senior Executive – Content
Updated on May 9, 2023 13:26 IST

Pallav Goyal, a 99.98 percentiler in CAT 2022, got calls from tier 1 MBA colleges, including IIM A, B, C, L, K, XLRI, FMS, MDI, and SPJIMR. In an interview with, Pallav shares his CAT preparation strategy. Read on.

CAT 2022 Topper Shares Journey

Pallav Goyal, a 99.98 Percentiler, Shares his CAT Preparation Strategy

CAT 2022 Topper Interview: IIM Bangalore released the CAT results 2022 on December 21. Pallav Goyal completed his BA in Economics degree course from Delhi University in 2021. He worked as an Ascend Trainee at ICICI Bank before appearing for the CAT exam. Since July 2022, Pallav Goyal has been in the content creation space on Youtube as well as Linkedin. In his content, he shares his CAT exam journey and his journey of converting calls from top MBA colleges with future aspirants.

With his top-notch preparation, Pallav secured 99.98 percentile in CAT 2022. Besides CAT, Pallav also qualified XAT 2023 and IIFT 2022 with a score of  99.92 percentile and 99.83 percentile, respectively. A 99+ percentile score in CAT, XAT and IIFT got him admission calls from top MBA colleges in India, including top IIMs, FMS, MDI, XLRI and IIFT.

In an exclusive chat with, Pallav shares his CAT preparation journey which led him to convert calls from tier-1 MBA colleges. Additionally, get here tips to crack any MBA entrance exam with a good score.

CAT 2022 Topper Interview: Highlights

Name of CAT Topper

Pallav Goyal


Hindu College, Delhi University

CAT 2022 Percentile Score









CAT 2022 Topper Interview with Pallav Goyal

Shiksha: Congratulations! Are you satisfied with your CAT result? How much score were you expecting?

Pallav: I am more than satisfied with my CAT 2022 result. Although I was expecting a 99+ percentile, but CAT score isn't predictable even after one leaves the exam hall. This is primarily because VARC choices are tricky, and one cannot be sure about the correct answer. However, this is not the case with DILR and QUANTS. But on a positive note, I was expecting a really good score as the exam went fine and as expected.

Shiksha: Was this your first CAT attempt?

Pallav: No, this was not my first attempt.

Shiksha: When did you start preparing for the CAT exam? What was your overall prep strategy?

Pallav: For this attempt, I started preparing from the first week of May for the exam in November.

I started my preparation with some freely available resources, including basic material and videos. This helped me to gain basic knowledge of all the topics. Clearing your basics should be the primary step to clear any MBA entrance exam. 

Post the basic preparation, I started with practising different types of questions ranging from basic to advanced. Once I was done with the syllabus, I joined random Telegram and WhatsApp groups to solve all the questions that were sent. Meanwhile, I started with mocks of Big 4 institutes to know my strengths and weaknesses.

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Shiksha: Please share with us your section-wise strategy.

Pallav: Here is the detailed plan of what I did:-

VARC - This is one of the dreadiest sections for a lot of candidates due to the variability of difficulty level and the section involves a lot of analysis and judgments, unlike the other two sections. This was a pain for me as despite being good at writing and understanding English, I was not able to get good marks in this section. For months, I had a single-digit score in this section and it took me numerous hours to be in the 25-35 mark range. My confidence and belief in myself helped me improve in VARC. I was sure that my understanding skills are quite good and the only thing I had to understand is how to choose the right option. I added 3-4 RCs to my daily study plan. Gradually, I analysed the pattern in the questions. My approach relied upon "Eliminate the wrongs, whatever is left will be the right choice." In this section, the question practice is far more important than just reading and it helps you to get accustomed to the question pattern.

DILR - Troublesome thing while preparing for this section was the numerous variances in the questions. While planning to prepare for the DILR section, I knew my weakness beforehand, I wanted to overcome it, I was trying and failing repeatedly. I had a conversation with 10+ mentors, and all suggested different approaches, and I tried all, but still lacked consistency in scores. After much brainstorming, I finally decided that this is a section where I need the right temperament and strategic gameplay. While selecting a set, I decided not to act on my gut feeling. I practised as many sets as possible and derived a strategy to choose the set first and then leave it if I am unable to get to the conclusion within a stipulated time.

QA - Quantitative Aptitude was the easiest section for me. It did not take much of my effort to excel in this section. However, having adequate knowledge is not enough at times. One has to be familiar with the type of questions in this section. Thus, taking enough mocks and practising CAT previous year’s question papers helps you to reduce the time taken for each question. This helps to devote enough time to difficult questions. Irrespective of your fears for Mathematics, I would recommend practising more and more to ace Quants.

Also Read:

VARC preparation tips and tricks

DILR preparation tips and tricks

QA preparation tips and tricks

Shiksha: Which books did you refer to for CAT preparation?

Pallav: Instead of books I used the mocks and made a detailed analysis of each of them. If you are a fresher, you can study the basics of quants from the study material issued by any coaching institute. For VARC, nothing really works except the practice, for DILR go for some basic videos and then start with the CAT level sets.

Also Read: Best Books for CAT Preparation

Shiksha: Did you join any coaching institute? How does a coaching institute help in CAT preparation?   

Pallav: For this attempt I relied heavily on the mentorship from friends and mentors, as I feel temperament and control on your nerves are equally important in CAT. The exam itself tests your pressure-handling abilities along with your knowledge in specific subjects. Coaching really helps if chosen wisely, few benefits are curated material, structured approach, video solutions and video explanations.

But if you choose the wrong coaching institute, you would end up losing your efforts, time and a full year.

Shiksha: How many mock tests did you attempt and how important is a mock test series?

Pallav: I attempted around 120 full-length mocks. Nearly 120 mocks could seem a big number for a single attempt, but I found practising mocks challenging and later started loving to challenge myself. Practising mocks gave me immense learning. CAT mock test series holds utmost importance in the life of a CAT aspirant, it becomes a part of your daily exercise. If you have poor preparation, exercising mocks can lead towards healthy CAT preparation.

Shiksha: What was your CAT exam day strategy?

Pallav: While taking mocks, I planned my exam day strategy. For all three sections, I followed a different approach, as mentioned below:

VARC: I planned 28 minutes for all 4 passages without being picky and attempting the questions in the given serial. The remaining 12 minutes in VARC were left for VA. 

DILR: I planned the first 4-6 minutes to check the questions, select the right sets, and make a mindset to answer the questions. The rest of the time in DILR was left to attempt the sets starting with the easier sets and then proceeding to difficult ones. 

QA: Since it was my strength, I chose to pick the questions where I had the most confidence, and then proceed to the questions where I would have to think.

Shiksha: Any tips for future CAT aspirants?

Pallav: Stop falling for youtube videos, and stop analysing your profile. While the CAT preparation, one must only focus on preparing rather than thinking about their overall profile. The harsh reality is that most aspirants do not want to have the pain of continuous study. If you are aiming big, you have to fight with a lot bigger strength.

Shiksha: Which IIMs /Institutes are you targeting?

Pallav: While preparing for the CAT exam, similar to most of the test takers, I had a target to convert calls from IIM-A, IIM-B, and IIM-C. Based on my performance in MBA entrance exams, I got calls from the tier-1 MBA colleges, including

Check Cutoffs of top MBA entrance exams and predict calls from IIMs and other Top MBA Colleges. Check Fees, Placement Reviews, Admission, Shortlist Criteria and eligibility of all MBA Colleges by clicking the link below:

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About the Author
Abhishek Dhawan
Senior Executive – Content

With a creative soul, Abhishek is inclined towards anything in the creative space be it drawing, painting, craft, or writing. He has been working in the ed-tech industry since he started his career. Besides creative... Read Full Bio


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