A tête-à-tête with Sanuj Mittal – CAT 2015 topper with 100 percentile. Sanuj shares his experiences, strategies and what really helped him succeed.
Sanuj Mittal takes us through his journey from Delhi College of Engineering to IIM Lucknow. CAT 2015 topper with 100 percentile, Sanuj is a motivated, versatile professional and cool-headed guy. He loves taking on challenges, calculated risks and has a great regard for honesty, sincerity and hard work. With a sound educational background, great exposure as a public speaker, organiser, experience of holding various leadership positions through extracurricular activates and perseverance, Sanuj was but bound to succeed in CAT 2015 exam.
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CAT 2016 is round the corner and we’re sure that MBA aspirants who want to make it to the top B-Schools of India are burning the midnight oil. Presenting to all the CAT 2016 candidate here is a tête-à-tête with Sanuj Mittal – CAT 2015 topper with 100 percentile. Sanuj is sharing his experiences and strategies that helped him make it to IIM Lucknow. We hope you will love to know and will benefit a great deal from it.
HTCampus: Sanuj we’d like you to introduce yourself to our readers
Sanuj: I am a 22-year-old engineer from Delhi. I graduated in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Delhi Technological University (Formerly DCE) and currently pursuing the PGDM course in IIM Lucknow. I love watching and playing sports. I also like to read novels in my free time.
HTCampus: Being an engineering student what inspired you to pursue MBA?
Sanuj: MBA was something that was always at the back of my mind. I knew I wanted to pursue MBA in the first year of my undergraduate college. Also, I did an internship in my undergraduate course which made my decision firmer to go for an MBA programme.
HTCampus: When did you start preparing for CAT and how many hours did you devote to the preparation/day?
Sanuj: I started preparing for CAT somewhere around January-February. Initially I put in efforts only on the weekends but as the exam got nearer, the time devoted to CAT went up rather exponentially. There is no number as such for the number of hours that I put in, but I tried to squeeze in as much time as possible by solving mock papers and tests.
HTCampus: What was your strategy for each section of CAT?
Sanuj: Being an engineer, Quant section was relatively easier for me. So was the case with Reasoning and Data Interpretation. One section that required most of my attention was Verbal Analysis. That didn’t mean I didn’t practice QA or LR/DI. The strategy was to solve and practice as many questions as possible in all the three sections.
HTCampus: Can you please name a few books you referred to when preparing for CAT?
Sanuj: I joined a coaching institute to prepare for CAT. Thus the study material provided by them was sufficient for me to prepare for CAT. In addition to the study material, the test series and other sectional tests went a long way in shaping my strategy for the actual exam.
There are a few books though that I used to refer before I joined the institute. One of them was Arun Sharma for Quant, Norman Lewis for Verbal among others.
HTCampus: Did you take any coaching for CAT? If yes, then how did it benefit you?
Sanuj: As mentioned above, I did join a coaching institute for the preparation of CAT. The institute did prove to be useful for me to crack CAT and score a hundred percentile, though, it is in no way mandatory or imperative to join an institute for scoring good. A coaching institute helps primarily in the amount of peer learning that you get once you attend the classes and all. Also the test series they provide did help me a lot to gauge my potential and work on it to get better.
HTCampus: How many mock tests did you take and how often? What advantages they bring to the table?
Sanuj: I took nearly all the mock tests provided by the institute and apart from that a few mock tests given on different online channels. Initially the frequency was once in every two three weeks and later the frequency increased to once every week and sometimes twice a week.
The mock tests went a long way in helping me gauge my true potential and work on my shortcomings to get better for the D-Day. They come closest to provide you the actual test atmosphere which helps while you sit in the actual test hall.
HTCampus: What according to you an aspirant should do a week before CAT?
Sanuj: A week before the CAT should be kept for relaxing and one should not overburden himself/herself with work. The best thing to do in the last week is not to panic. Revising a few concepts here and there is the only thing that needs to be done in the last week.
HTCampus: How did you spend your day before CAT 2015 exam?
Sanuj: I had my Engineering semester exams a day before the CAT exam, thus most of my day went into that exam. That didn’t leave me with much time to think or prepare anything for CAT. I tried to relax myself and spent time with my family. Otherwise it was a normal day for me, just like all the other days. Instead, I was worried about the Semester exam that was due on the next day of CAT.
HTCampus: How did you manage time during the preparation phase and exam?
Sanuj: During preparation phase, CAT prep was done on weekends. I had to juggle between engineering and preparation for CAT. Since engineering is mostly left for last minute preparation, CAT was nearly sorted.
The CAT exam was just like any other exam for me thanks to the number of mock tests given during the preparation phase. Though initially there were some nerves involved, but as the exam started it was back to business.
HTCampus: How did it feel to score a perfect 100 percentile? Did you expect it to happen?
Sanuj: Though, I expected a good percentile, I never expected to score a hundred in CAT. The feeling was one of its kind. It was hard to believe that I had achieved such a feat. Topping one of the toughest exams in the country and that too on the first attempt is a feeling that cannot be expressed in words.
HTCampus: Can you list down 5 most important skills that are essential to crack CAT?
Sanuj: There are no pre-requisites as such to crack CAT but having quick number skills with good accuracy does help. Another thing that helps is the ability to manage time effectively and gauging which questions to attempt first, which questions not to attempt etc. Also, believing in yourself is a skill you need to possess to score good.
HTCampus: Tools or special techniques, if any, that helped improve your score?
Sanuj: Develop a paper solving technique that suits you the best. This would come to you with the practice of a lot of mock tests. Trying different permutations and combinations of different strategies to solve the paper does help in the actual paper.
Practicing speed improving exercises would help to attempt more questions accurately.
HTCampus: Your wise words for CAT 2016 aspirants
Sanuj: CAT is an easy exam if you maintain a cool head and believe in yourself. Be calm and composed and do not panic on the exam day.
The one thing I would like to mention here is that a candidate should not enter the exam hall with a preconceived notion in mind about how many questions to attempt or how much to score. This plays with the candidate’s mind and doesn’t let him/her even to score up to the full potential.
CAT is an exam which involves more of nerves than any other thing.
Stay calm and enjoy the day!