In an exclusive interview with Shiksha, Arka Saha shares his preparation strategy and tips for future CAT aspirants. Read further to know more about CAT 2022 topper Arka Saha
CAT 2022 Topper Interview: Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore announced CAT results 2022 on December 21. Hailing from Kolkata, West Bengal, Arka Saha scored 98.76 percentile in India's biggest MBA entrance exam, CAT 2022. Saha has completed Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering (BTech) from KIIT with a CGPA of 8.01. With a strong work profile, Arka is targeting IIM Bangalore along with NITIE, FMS and IITs. In an exclusive interview with Shiksha, Arka Saha shares his preparation strategy and tips for future CAT aspirants. Read further to know more about CAT 2022 topper Arka Saha.
CAT 2022 score
Overall Percentile: 98.76
- VARC – 98.69
- DILR – 95.29
- QA – 95.86
Shiksha: Congratulations! Are you satisfied with your CAT result? How much score were you expecting?
Arka: To be honest, a percentile more would have made me more elated but I’m satisfied with the score. Since I’m a data scientist by profession, work pressure has been my ally. Hence, I had to make out extraneous time to focus on CAT. Having said that, I was expecting a 95%ile and above score.
Shiksha: Was this your first attempt at CAT?
Arka: No. However, my first attempt was just after my graduation i.e. 2019 but again honestly, I gave that without proper preparation just to test my mettle and as expected, I scored bleakly. But I have realized that efforts do payback and here I’m.
Shiksha: When did you start preparing for the CAT exam? What was your overall prep strategy?
Arka: I started preparing for CAT exam back in September 2018. I had joined Edushastra which was suggested by my peers and also I used to follow the Youtube channel of Rodha by Ravi Prakash Sir. My strategy was to divide the 5 days of the week across all sections i.e. QA, VARC and LRDI to study the concepts after my day ended around 9-10 pm and give continuous (around 1-2) mocks on the weekends to know my stand.
Shiksha: Please share with us your section-wise strategy.
Arka: For QA, I loved Maths as always and thus, I used to practice the problems provided by Edushastra i.e. the practice-papers end-to-end as well as the previous year CAT papers under a timed environment. Whenever I faltered in a problem, I used to look at the solution and learn the concept and practice it again. The concept would stay etched in my mind.
Since LRDI used to take a lot of time, I did not keep time limitations initially given I wanted to make sure I could understand the problem and solve the same. But gradually, I started timing the same and solving LRDI problems used to boost my confidence because you earn more marks if you can solve a LRDI problem given they have set-based questions.
For VARC, English was my forte as well but I used to learn how to read passages given the width of the same. The problem here is to not involve yourself in the passage but think from the passage-point of view for which I used to solve RC, Paras and Jumbled Sentences atleast one-two everyday
Shiksha: Which books did you refer to for CAT preparation?
Arka: I did not use any books. I used online Edushastra online materials and Rodha concept videos for CAT preparation.
Shiksha: How many mock tests did you attempt and how important is a mock test series?
Arka: I had attempted around 50-60 mock tests (Sectional mocks + SIMCATs) from Edushastra itself and none-other.
I feel if you don’t simulate the scenario for yourself, it would be difficult to perform on the D-day. So you would need a taste of the same and also, we need to identify the weak areas in all the sections. Additionally, the mock scores can be demotivating but the truth from my perspective is, the questions are tougher, and you will do better when you face the inevitable.
Shiksha: Did you join any coaching institute? How does the coaching institute help in CAT preparation?
Arka: I had joined Edushastra and it was worth the investment which is extremely inexpensive and highly qualitative.
To be honest, it teaches in small cohorts (10-12 folks) in a batch which helps in personalized teaching strategy. The teachers are very kind and approachable 24*7. I want to especially mention Arun Sir who personally helped in a lot of Quant and LRDI specific concepts and areas of weakness.
They share concept pdfs, practice exam papers as well as weekend mocks (on request) for your continuous performance monitoring. They have merit-based batches as well that helps students to be competitive, inspired and grow up the ladder till the D-day which is decided on the basis of your mock-CAT performances.
Shiksha: What was your exam day strategy?
Arka: I considered CAT like a mock CAT exam which helped me think positively. Once the bell rang, I scouted all the questions w.r.t. all the questions. I did not spend more than 5 minutes if I couldn’t solve a question. I answered most of the TITAs given they don’t have a negative marking and was careful with my attempts for the option-based ones which were mostly accurate.
Shiksha: Which IIMs /Institutes are you targeting?
Arka: I’m targeting BLACKI IIMs out of which IIM-A and IIM-C seem far-fetched. IIM Bangalore stands a probability given I have work-experience. Amidst non-IIMs, I missed MDI Gurgaon and SPJIMR forms as well but I’m targeting NITIE, FMS and IITs.
Shiksha: Tell us something about your educational background, family and hobbies.
Arka: I did my schooling in Don-Bosco Liluah, Kolkata (X) and then The Future Foundation School, Kolkata (XII). I scored 92% (ICSE) in X and then 90% (ISC) in XII. I did my Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering (BTech) from KIIT with a CGPA of 8.01. I was a data-scientist-turned-Analytics Manager with Mu-Sigma, the world’s largest pure-play Data Analytics company having worked across FMCG/CPG, then Retail and then Pharmaceutical verticals for a period of 3.3 years and currently working with AB-InBev, the World’s largest Beer Company and a Fortune-500 as a Data Scientist
My family constitutes my father, being my inspiration as always is an IRS officer with Indian Railways (BTech in Mech from Jadavpur and then MBA in Finance from IISWBM). My mother is a PhD grad in Zoology and is currently a homemaker. My grandmother is the healthiest amongst us all at the age of 79 and my most beloved one.
My hobbies include reading books (both fiction especially rational mythology and non-fiction), researching on AI and ML models, hitting the gym and sketching my heart out (occasionally painting as well)
Shiksha: Any tips for future CAT aspirants?
Arka: Work hard and the world is yours. Don’t give up. That is the key. Everyone can crack CAT. All the best.
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