09 Jan 2020 19:33 IST

How Somansh Chordia topped the CAT 2019 exam

The IIT Bombay student’s mission is to eventually implement sustainable solutions on a large scale

A total of 2,09,926 candidates appeared for the the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2019 — for entry into the IIMs and other business schools. Ten candidates earned the perfect 100 percentile score, and Somansh Chordia, an IIT Bombay student, was one of them. The BusinessLine on Campus team spoke to him about his preparation strategies, life goals, hobbies, and more.

Excerpts from the interview:

1. How did you prepare for each of the CAT sections?

Verbal ability and reading comprehension (VARC): This was my weakest section of the three. In the beginning, the methodology and tips that the faculty at T.I.M.E. shared were beneficial in understanding how to approach these questions. After that, I practised a lot of similar questions to understand the common mistakes that I was committing, and this gave me a major boost. After that, I just practised and analysed this section through mocks. Even then, till the end, I wasn’t consistent in securing a good score but fortunately, on the day of exam, this section went very well, even better than any of the mocks.

Data interpretation logical reasoning (DILR): I was quite comfortable with this section from the beginning which might be because I was used to solving similar puzzles, and also since I enjoyed this section, practising and improving was a lot easier and fun. Solving a few questions of each type and practice through mocks was enough for me. Practice was specifically important for increasing the speed, since accuracy was generally not a concern for me in this section.

Quantitative aptitude (QA): Initially, this section required a revision of some basic theories and memorising certain formulae for solving questions faster. After that, I identified my weak areas and worked on those more. As I was trained in ABACUS, I had an edge over the others as it helped me solve questions much faster.

2. How many hours did you devote to prep each day?

Initially, I used to just appear for mocks and practise a bit, but I began preparing seriously from October and used to devote several hours over the weekends. And finally, in the last one-two weeks, I focussed entirely on the preparation.

I had selected relatively easy courses in my seventh semester so that I could devote more time for the preparation.

3. Is this the first time you appeared for the CAT exam?


4. How useful was the T.I.M.E. training? Were you scoring high while appearing for mocks?

Sessions by experienced faculty at T.I.M.E. Mumbai helped in the initial phase as they guided us through the test patterns and many tried-and-tested methods. This made it easier to discover the one that best suits you. The competitive atmosphere in the classes motivated me to give my best. Other than these, mocks and their exhaustive analysis provided by T.I.M.E. were the most crucial aspect of the entire preparation.

5. According to the experts, the VARC section was difficult. In what way?

I am not a very avid reader and my vocabulary wasn’t very good either, so it took me some time to get used to the type of complex statements usually presented in the VARC passages and questions. Also, I had to gradually increase my reading speed. I felt that this section requires a certain kind of perspective, otherwise more than one option seems to be correct. So, practising specific types of questions, in which I usually made more mistakes, helped me improve the same.

6. Going forward, how are you preparing for WAT, GD, and PI?

I haven’t started yet, and will be taking the guidance of seniors at college and from the faculty at T.I.M.E. Mumbai.

7. Which IIM are you aiming for?

The top IIMs.

8. What is your ambition in life?

I aim to implement sustainable solutions on a large scale in India.

9. What are your hobbies and did you take time out for them?

I like reading autobiographies or biographies, and playing basketball and badminton. During the CAT preparation, I didn’t read many books, but I used to take time out to play as that helped me keep my mind fresh.