CAT 2020 Topper Interview: How Gahana Agarwal Secured 99.30 Percentile in First Attempt

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Sreetama Datta
Sreetama Datta Roy
Manager Content
Updated on Jan 4, 2021 19:52 IST

Gahana Agarwal, a Computer Science Engineer from VIT University has cracked CAT 2020 with 99.30 percentile. Read the full interview here.

Gahana Agarwal

CAT 2020 Overall Percentile: 99.30

VARC: 93.19

DILR: 99.4

QA: 98.66

Gahana Agarwal, a Computer Science Engineer from VIT University is one of the successful candidates who have aced CAT by securing over 99 percentile in this test. Gahana cracked CAT in her very first attempt with 99.30 percentile and aims to take admission in one of the top six IIMs, popularly known as IIM BLACKI. Read the full interview of Gahana to know about her preparation strategy in detail and her career aspirations.

Q. Tell us something about yourself.

A: I am an engineering graduate from VIT University (Batch of 2019). I currently work as a Deployment Engineer at Comcast.

Q. Was this your first CAT attempt? Were you expecting this score?

A: Yes, this was my first CAT attempt. I was not expecting this score because, during my preparation, I did not perform well in the mock tests. But the result came as a pleasant surprise for me.

Q. Tell us about your preparation strategy.

A: I had started preparing for CAT four to five months prior to the exam. I started with taking a mock test without preparation to see where I stand and to figure out how much time I needed to put for studying each day. My preparation started with the basics from the popular Arun Sharma books for QA and DILR. I was quite comfortable in VARC, hence I did not give it much attention until later.

Mocks played a huge role in the preparation phase. I took around 40 to 45 mocks from provided by various different institutes and analysed them well. This helped me most to figure out which test-taking strategy worked best for me.

Q. What was your weak area(s) and what did you do to improve the same?

A. DILR was my weakest area in the starting phases of my preparation. Usually, I am good at solving puzzles so this came as a surprise to me. But changing my strategy and lots of practice boosted my performance in that area.

Q. What was your exam day strategy?

A: Since my exam centre was about an hour and a half from my house, I created a playlist of speeches which motivate me to listen to on the drive. Another aspect that helped me boost my performance was to not let external factors affect my performance.

Q. Which IIM/MBA colleges are you targeting and why?

A: I am aiming for the top six IIMs only, famously known as the BLACKI IIMs. These are IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, IIM Kozhikode and IIM Indore.

Q. Is it important to join a coaching institute for CAT preparation?

A: No, it is not necessary. But if you need some extra push or motivation to study, then it could be beneficial to join one.

Q. Any specific strategy for WAT-PI?

A: For the preparation, I’m going to brush up on some current affairs and research facts and news about the topics and areas of my interest.

Q. How did you deal with the stress of CAT preparation and exam?

A: You have to keep some backup options open in case the CAT doesn’t work out and remember that one exam shouldn’t define your future. Other than that, you have to realise that there are no shortcuts and lots of practice and testing out strategies is required.

Q. What is your plan after completing MBA?

A: I plan to work for a few years at a reputed company and then start up my own business with the skills I will imbibe over the years of my professional tenure.

Q. What are your suggestions for future CAT aspirants?

A: It is necessary to keep yourself motivated by any means possible through the entire preparation phase and not to let mocks scores and percentiles affect your mindset.

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About the Author
Sreetama Datta Roy
Manager Content

Sreetama has over a decade of editorial experience in the higher education beat. A wanderlust by passion, she is also an avid reader and a music lover. Among friends, she is popular for her sense of humour.


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