CAT 2023 Toppers: How Nishakar Kumar achieved 99.83% - A Saga of Dedication and Hard Work

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MBAUniverse.com News Desk |
January 4, 2024
Nishakar Kumar, has scored an exceptional CAT percentile of 99.83. He hails from Madhubani, Bihar and navigated the exam's intricacies through a well-crafted strategy. In a candid interview with MBAUniverse.com, he shed light on this preparation plan, the pivotal role of mocks, importance of CAT Coaching, and his Dream B-schools. Nishakar is a final-year Electrical Engineering undergraduate at IIT Kharagpur. He completed class 10th and 12th from Mother's Public School in Bhubaneswar.
CAT 2023 Toppers Nishakar Kumar

With an exceptional CAT percentile of 99.83, Nishakar Kumar, who hails from Madhubani, Bihar, navigated the exam's intricacies through a well-crafted strategy. In a candid interview with MBAUniverse.com, he shed light on their preparation plan, the pivotal role of mocks, importance of CAT Coaching, and his Dream B-schools.

Nishakar Kumar is a final-year Electrical Engineering undergraduate at IIT Kharagpur. He was born in Madhubani, Bihar and currently residing in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. He completed class 10th and 12th from Mother's Public School in Bhubaneswar.

MBAUniverse.com presents edited excepts from the Interview with CAT 2023 Topper Nishakar Kumar of IIT Kharagpur. 

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Q: Congratulations for Cracking CAT. How does it feel.
A: Thank you. I am happy with my performance. I hope to continue doing well.

Q: So, what was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
A: Preparing for the CAT exam, I adjusted my study strategy by focusing on practicing more with mock tests in the final month. I dedicated each day to completing one mock test using online resources and reviewing past year papers. This approach significantly boosted my confidence as I consistently achieved satisfactory scores. A crucial aspect of my last-minute preparation involved pinpointing challenging questions, flagging them, and dedicating the days leading up to the exam to thoroughly working on them.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC? You scored 86.43% in VARC Section.
A: My sectional preparation for CAT involved regular practice and review of learned concepts. For Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), I focused on maintaining my proficiency by trying to improve my reading speed, as I believed that making significant improvements in this section within three months might be limited.

Q: You scored 99.91% in DILR section. How did you prepare for this section.
A:
To excel in Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), I invested considerable time in understanding the nuances of different question types and engaging in rigorous practice sessions. Recognizing the complexity of this section, I made a conscious effort to enhance my skills and build confidence in tackling DILR challenges.

Q: How did you prepare for QA, where you scored your highest - 99.94%...
A:
Being strong in Quantitative Ability (QA), I aimed to maintain and further improve my proficiency in this section. Regular practice sessions and consistent review of QA concepts were key aspects of my preparation. Simultaneously, while focusing on strengthening my DILR skills, I ensured that I continued practicing QA to sustain my competence in this area and maximize my score. 

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Q: Did you take other MBA Entrance Exams?
A:
I appeared only for the CAT exam and did not register for any other MBA entrance exams.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: Since it was my first time taking the exam, DILR felt completely new and tough. To improve, I put in a lot of hard work, spending a significant amount of time understanding the different question types and practicing until they became easier for me. Surprisingly, since I couldn't solve a single question in mocks initially, my dedication paid off, and I managed to achieve a remarkable 99.9+ percentile in my final attempt.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Mocks played a vital role in my preparation journey as they enabled me to identify my weaknesses early on. Recognizing and addressing these weaknesses early is crucial because it provides ample time to cover and improve those areas. I took around 40+ mocks. In the final month of my preparation, I attempted one mock every day, which significantly contributed to my readiness for the actual exam.

Q: Did you self-prepare for the Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
A: I enrolled in online coaching with IMS and utilised the Career Launcher mock test series. The coaching proved highly beneficial, offering well-structured material that guided me through relevant topics and ensured comprehensive preparation.

Q: Which books did you refer during your preparation and how effective were they?
A: I utilized study materials from IMS and Career Launcher, finding them highly effective in supporting and enhancing my preparation.

Q: Please share your strategy for the Exam Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your test taking?
A: Approaching the CAT exam, I prioritized daily mock tests using previous year papers, achieving satisfactory scores and boosting confidence. A crucial last-minute strategy involved identifying challenging questions during practice and fine-tuning my approach to them before the exam. In my exam-day strategy, I adopted a systematic time management strategy tailored to each section. For VARC, I initially focused on completing all four Reading Comprehensions before addressing Verbal Ability. However, this approach backfired, as the comprehensions proved challenging, leaving me with limited time for the relatively easier verbal ability questions. During the exam, for DILR, I strategically aimed to tackle two doable sets within 40 minutes. Fortunately, I selected two manageable sets and completed them successfully. For Quant, the emphasis was on strategic question selection. Continuously navigating through the question panel, I solved the easier questions as they presented themselves, optimising my time and maximising my efficiency in the section.

Q: How are your preparing for GD/PI/WAT Rounds?
A: Currently, I am focusing on refining my knowledge in areas such as current affairs, hobbies, academics, and HR-related questions.

Q: What are your top three criteria for deciding which B-school to apply or take final admission?
A: According to me top three criteria are: Reputation & Accreditation, Placement & Alumni Network and Infrastructure & Resources. 

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Q: Please name your Dream B-schools!
A: For me Dream B-schools are one of the top IIMs, preferably IIM A or IIM B or IIM C!

Q: According to you, overall, how can B-schools make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants. 
A: To streamline the MBA admission process, B-schools can enhance efficiency by simplifying application requirements, and ensuring transparent communication about criteria and timelines.

Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2024
A: To future CAT takers, my advice is as follows: