09 Jan 2018 15:33 IST

How IIT Madras' Sai Praneeth Reddy belled the CAT

Keep taking mock tests and read widely, is his advice to future aspirants

The Common Admission Test (CAT) 2017 result was announced yesterday and Sai Praneeth Reddy from Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, was one of the 20 toppers who scored a 100 percentile.

A final year electrical engineering student at Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Praneeth says he was confident that his overall percentile would be 99.99 but he wasn’t sure of a 100. “I knew my score so even before the key came, we created a key ourselves and checked. I knew I’d get over 200. When the key came I got around 215. I wasn’t sure I’d get 100 percentile; I was happy when I saw the results!”

His first reaction was to jump on his bed and enjoy the moment. “Then I called the director at TIME Institute (which coached him). They have been good mentors.”

Praneeth hopes to get into an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad, Bangalore or Calcutta. If not the A-B-C, he plans to take up the placement offer with Cisco Systems, which he got during placement season at IIT-M.

Preparation method

On how he prepared for CAT, he says, “I started taking mock tests from January itself. Until a month-and-a-half before the exams all I did was go for coaching and take tests; I began reading and writing a month before. Since I knew I wanted to write CAT I took fewer courses at IIT and spent that extra time studying. As a backup, I sat for placements and got an offer that I plan to take up if I don’t get into IIM A, B or C.”

A numbers man, Praneeth found the quantitative ability (QA) section easier to prepare for than verbal ability and reading comprehension (VA-RC). “I’m strong in maths and weak in English so I had to inculcate a reading habit to help me with the VA-RC. During the test, I started with RC first and moved on to VA,” he says.

IIT students packing their bags for an IIM is not new. But what made this engineer want to enter the managerial world? Praneeth says, “As you keep doing a job you get promotions and get higher up in ranking. At some point you’ll need to make people work for you; team management skills will be useful in these situations. I’m not sure what I want to do with my career but I’d like it to be a mix of technical and managerial requirements.”

Advice for aspirants

What advice does he have for future aspirants? “Mock tests are very important, take as many as possible. And when you write a test, refer back to the answers so that you know where you’ve made mistakes and you need to improve. It’s also crucial to inculcate a reading habit. For QA, the basics are important. Both that and the data interpretation and logical reasoning section need a lot of practice,” he says.

Praneeth hasn’t yet decided which course he wants to take though he’s leaning towards an MBA in finance. Once he gets through the further rounds — written ability test, personal interview and group discussion — he’ll have a clearer idea of what his future looks like.

Over two lakh candidates wrote the CAT this year and similar to the last year, 20 candidates from around the country scored a 100 percentile this year.

Here are Praneeth’s scores:

Verbal ability and reading comprehension
Scaled score - 64.43
Percentile - 95.65
Data interpretation and logical reasoning
Scaled score - 73.87
Percentile - 100
Quantitative ability
Scaled score - 94.01
Percentile - 99.97
Total overall scaled score: 232.32
Overall percentile: 100

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