How Patna's Prateek Rai secured 99.80%ile in CAT 2022 and joined SPJIMR Mumbai by sacrificing Social Media, uninstalling YouTube, and overcoming his Weaknesses

Add Review

Updated on August 12, 2023
Prateek Kumar Rai from Patna, cracked CAT 2022 with 99.80ile and is now a student of PGDM 2023-25 batch at SPJIMR Mumbai. Prateek sacrificed his leisure time and uninstalled all the social media platforms from his phone to prepare for CAT. Prateek is a B.Tech from IIT Patna and has work experience of 2 years with MathWorks. Prateek joined online coaching instead of running from pillar to post to find suitable study material. This interview with Prateek will inspire you how to do smart preparation for CAT 2023
CAT topper Prateek Kumar Rai presents inspiring success stories of CAT toppers who triumphed in securing admissions to top institutions. Gain motivation from their well-planned preparation strategies, valuable insights on MBA entrance exam readiness, Personal Interviews, and MBA college selection.

Today, we present the motivational interview with Patna boy, Prateek Kumar Rai, from a modest and educated family. His father is an officer in Indian Railways in Jabalpur and his mother is a housewife. His sister is studying at IIT Dhanbad. Prateek cracked CAT 2022 with 99.80 percentile and is pursuing PGDM from SPJIMR Mumbai. Prateek is a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Patna and has work experience of 2 years with MathWorks.

IIM Lucknow to Conduct CAT 2023: Check Exam Date, Pattern, Syllabus, Preparation

Prateeks’s CAT preparation journey has a lot of lessons. For instance how did he overcome his weakness in VARC section and how did he maximise on his strengths. Prateek sacrificed his leisure time and followed a very disciplined plan while preparing for CAT. To avoid any kind of distraction, Prateek uninstalled all social media platforms from his phone to focus only on CAT preparation. Prateek loves to interact with people and likes to play Badminton. 

With this introduction, let us read Prateek’s responses to questions

Q: What challenges you faced during your CAT preparation? How did you come out of them?
The main challenge I faced in my preparation was to manage my work and CAT preparation at the same time. It was tough to be motivated throughout the preparation and manage both of them diligently. However, the urge to be the best of the best kept me motivated. 

Alert! MBA Admissions 2024 Closing for Top CMAT, MAT Colleges | Apply Now 
IFMR GSB Krea University | Closing Soon | Apply Now BIMTECH Greater Noida| Closing Soon |Apply Now
JIMS Rohini Delhi | Closing Soon | Apply Now Jaipuria Noida, Lucknow | Closing Soon | Apply Now
S P Jain Global Mumbai | Closing Soon | | Apply Now JAGSoM Bangalore | Closing Soon | Apply Now
Sparsh Greater Noida | Closing Soon | Apply Now VBS Mumbai | Closing Soon | Apply Now
Woxsen University | Closing Soon | Apply Now       MET MUMBAI | Closing Soon | Apply Now
SIM Hyderabad | Closing Soon | Apply Now Mahindra University HYD | Closing Soon | Apply Now
IBA Bangalore | Closing Soon | Apply Now JIMS Rohini Delhi | Closing Soon | Apply Now
MAT Exam (May) 2024 Registration Open – Apply Now

Q: What Steps did you take to Focus on your CAT Preparation Journey?
For my preparation, I sacrificed my leisure time as well as uninstalled social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram. Even I took it to another level and uninstalled YouTube from my phone to avoid wasting time watching reels (if I needed YouTube, I was using my laptop for that).

Q: How did the uninstalling of Social Media Platforms help you?
I realized that uninstalling saved my time and also increased my concentration which in turn increased my productivity. Also, I made two types of plans to follow: the short plan where I decided on which sets to practice and the long plan where I decided on a monthly basis as to which topics to cover.

Q: How did you perform in CAT exam 2022?
I scored 99.80 overall percentile in CAT 2022. Coming to sectional scores, I scored 84.98%ile in VARC, 99.82%ile in DILR and 99.90%ile in QA.

Q: Did you take any other exam apart from CAT?
A: Apart from CAT, I did not appear in any other exam.

Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT?
I had a pretty hectic schedule since I was working for full time. Hence, I started my preparation little early from February. On week days, I made a strict schedule where I was working from 9 to 6 followed by attending online CAT preparation classes from 6:30 to 8:30. After class, I used to sit from 9 pm till 1 am for revising the notes and practicing the questions. On weekends, I prefer practicing as many questions as I can and was focusing more on learning tips & tricks which really came in handy at the actual D-day. In the last months before CAT, I solved a lot of mocks as it was giving some sense of experience on what the actual CAT day would look like.

Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for CAT? How did you prepare for VARC?
I think it is very important for you to first self-introspect on which section is your strength and which is your weakness. I knew that VARC could be a tough nut to crack for me and hence I planned to allot a fixed number of hours for VARC daily. I used to solve 5 questions each of para-jumbles, para-summary, and odd-one-out on a daily basis. Also, I used to solve atleast 1 reading comprehension question daily. Apart from that, I started creating a reading habit by reading newspapers daily.

Q: How did you prepare for DILR?
For DILR, first of all, it is important to realize that there is no fixed syllabus for this section. No matter how many questions you have seen, you will be definitely getting surprises in the CAT with a whole new problem. However, solving a lot of problems enhance your confidence and that helps you in solving the new problem which appears in the exam. Firstly, I made sure that I solved all the standard problems. Secondly, I looked at the previous problems of CAT and solved them thoroughly. After I completed the standard and previous year's questions, I started looking at new problems as well as problems from mocks.

Q: How did you prepare for QA?
Quantitative Ability was the section that was my personal favourite as I loved Maths since my school days. I knew that Maths was my strength and I might score higher even with little preparation. However, I had a different plan for that. I decided to work on my strength and improve it further. And so I did. I spent a considerable amount of time on my QA preparation daily and learned various tips and tricks to solve problems faster. I even learned basic stuff like tables, squares up to 20, and cubes up to 15. These small things really helped me make a large difference in CAT and hence I was able to score 99.90 percentile in the QA section.

Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
I was weak in the verbal section as I never had reading habits. So first, I started developing my reading habits by reading articles and newspapers daily. At start, I felt that it would not help me much but after some days, my comprehension speed really increased. Apart from that as stated above, I allotted a fixed amount of time for VARC prep daily where I was solving all possible types of questions asked in CAT.

Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
Mocks played a crucial role in my preparation. In my initial preparation, I was solving mocks twice a week. From August, I started solving one mock per week. And in my last month before CAT, I started giving mocks daily. Secondly, introspecting mock is very important as you will learn what mistakes you should avoid in the actual exam.

Q: Did you self-prepare for CAT Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
I took online coaching for my CAT preparation. The logic was simple, I did not want to spend my energy on finding good study materials or planning which chapters to learn first. I believe that coaching centres are doing that for years and hence I attended coaching for my preparation.

Q: Which books did you refer during your preparation and how effective were they?
I generally referred to my coaching materials for the preparation. However, I bought Arun Sharma’s books on CAT and used them to solve some questions. Apart from that, to strong my vocabulary, I referred to “Word Power Made Easy” by Norman Lewis. I would say that you can refer to this if you want to enhance your vocabulary.

Q: Please share your strategy for the CAT Day. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?
This is where my mocks helped me much. I was able to try out various strategies in mocks and was able to learn which was working for me. For VARC, I followed that initially I will be solving only 3 RC sets and then use the rest of the time to solve VA questions. Also, I scanned all four RCs very quickly and decided on which 3 RCs to solve. For DILR, I scanned all the sets similar to how I did for VARC. Then, I focused on solving the two sets which I found to be on the easy side. Additionally, I planned that if time remains after solving 2 sets, then I will solve the third set. Luckily, in my case, I was able to get some time and I solved the third set as well. For QA, I used the solve-as-you-go approach where I started with the first question and was serially solving each question as I was moving ahead. Also, in this process, if I found that any question requires more time to solve, then I was simply leaving it with the idea that I can come back to the question at last.

Q: Which all B-schools shortlisted you for personal interview round? How did you prepare for it?
I was shortlisted by IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, FMS Delhi, SPJIMR Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon and the CAP IIMs. To prepare for GD-PI-WAT, I took the coaching where I got the idea of how to prepare for the interview day.

Always remember that the second part of your selection process is also equally important as it is not just the CAT score that will land you in your dream B-school. For WAT, firstly I read a lot of current affairs (and this is where my reading newspaper has helped) and secondly, I started writing on some general topics daily. Writing is as important as reading since it helps you to organize your ideas and note them down in a structured manner. For GD and PI, I preferred giving mocks to get a glimpse of actual GD and PI. Also, it is very important to have a self-introspection since you can expect questions like (i) What do you really want to do in life? (ii) Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? (iii) What are your hobbies and what’s the latest news in the areas of your hobbies?

Q: Which B-schools you finally converted?
I converted SPJIMR Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, CAP participating IIMs

Q: Do you have work experience? Please share how the work experience can help in MBA?
Yes, I have a work experience of 24 months as a software developer. There were two ways in which my work experience really helped. Firstly, the journey of preparing for one of the most competitive exams alongside my work taught me to prioritize things as well as taught me time and work management. Also, acing an exam like CAT along with my full-time work really boosted my self-confidence which is really important in the life ahead. Secondly, my work experience came in handy in my personal interviews since it gave me a lot of things to talk about at the time of my interviews. Also, whatever I was saying in my interviews, I could connect it with my work experience. That being said, it does not mean that freshers can’t ace their interviews. It is just that they have to prepare more thoroughly for their undergraduate college experience or atleast should have clear ideas in their mind to answer the questions.

Q: What motivated you to Join SPJIMR? What were your top three criteria?
I could easily list more than three criteria that motivated me to join SPJIMR. However, let me state the top three among them. Firstly, according to me, the diversity in profile which comes in SPJIMR is remarkable. You can find people from diverse work experiences, undergrad colleges, and age groups sitting and learning together for becoming future leaders. Secondly, the unique set of interviews that SPJIMR conducts makes sure that not only people with high IQ but also with high EQ (emotional quotient) join the batch which is most required for leaders nowadays. Thirdly, is the brand of SPJIMR. Everyone knows that SPJIMR is one of the best B-schools in our country and associating yourself with such a brand will always help in your career ahead. So, these were the top three criteria for me to select any B-school and hence I joined SPJIMR since it excels in all of my criteria.

Q: Whom you would like to give credit for your success? What role your family & friends played?
I read somewhere that if you are achieving something that does not mean that you only worked hard to achieve it, rather it means that “you along with your environment worked hard which in turn favoured the circumstances to achieve your success”. I totally relate to this and hence want to give credit for my success to my family and my friends. My family & friends always supported me and stood up with me in my hard times. They believed in me and motivated me throughout the CAT journey which helped me land in SPJIMR.

Q: According to you, how can B-schools make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants. 
According to me, there are many ways a B school can make its MBA admission process less cumbersome. One could be to give a chance to candidates to opt between offline and online interviews. I know it is easy to choose people based on offline interviews but from a student perspective, it is tough to go to different cities for interviews while managing their work/undergrad college at the same time. Secondly, I think it is important that students should get results soon as the waiting time is very frustrating because of the uncertainty of their careers. Here, SPJIMR has an edge since SPJIMR declares its results way ahead of other B-schools in the country.

Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for CAT 2023
My message is simple - Just prepare yourself smart and work hard. CAT is all about speed, practice, and hard work.  If you really study seriously and strategize well for your preparation, you can easily excel CAT. Also, give a thought upon your strengths and weakness and plan for the exam accordingly. I certainly believe that if I can ace CAT’22 along with my full-time work, then anybody can do it with the right amount of effort fuelled with strong motivation to study in one of the top B schools in the country.

Team hopes that this interview was truly inspiring for you! Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore more motivational stories from students who have made their mark at IIMs, IIFT, MDI, SPJIMR, XLRI, and beyond. Let their journeys ignite the fire within you…Success awaits you! 

Read more inspirational stories & secret mantras of CAT Toppers, only on 

  1. CAT 2023 Toppers: How Nishakar Kumar achieved 99.83% - A Saga of Dedication and Hard Work
  2. CAT 2023 Topper Shiladitya Bhadra tells How He Scored 99.4% - Check Section wise Raw Score, Scaled Score and Percentile
  3. Why SPJIMR is A Preferred Destination for CAT Toppers with 99+ %ile? Aditya, Prateek, Pooja, Sundar Joined SPJIMR Mumbai and Declined IIMs, XLRI, IITs, MDI, SIBM; Toppers Bare secrets to
  4. Why CAT 2022 Topper with 99.44%ile, Akshat Agarwal, declined IIMs, MDI to Join MBA at IIT Delhi; How he prepared & cracked the Interview
  5. Why CAT Toppers with 99+ %ile Jatin, Shrey, Vishal, Nikhil Joined IIM Kashipur and Declined Other Top B-schools? Toppers Bare secrets to
  6. How Pooja Sudhakar from Chennai, Working as Marketing Professional at Mockat, cracked CAT 2022 with 99.11%ile, and got into SPJIMR Mumbai
  7. XLRI Student Nipun Garg Cracks XAT 2023 with 99.95% and CAT 2022 with 97.02; Reveals Why he Chose XLRI over IIMs, MDI - Interview
  8. How Jay Bosamia, A Chartered Accountant with Work Experience at PwC & Reliance overcame his weakness to crack CAT 2022 with 98.79%ile, and got into IIM Kozhikode
  9. XLRI Student Tanish Jain Cracks XAT 2023 with 99.99% and CAT 2022 with 99.78; Reveals Why he Chose XLRI over FMS - Interview
  10. How Patna's Prateek Rai secured 99.80%ile in CAT 2022 and joined SPJIMR Mumbai by sacrificing Social Media, uninstalling YouTube, and overcoming his Weaknesses
  11. How K. Sashank, Software Developer at JIO from Coimbatore overcame his weakness to crack CAT 2022 with 99.90%ile, and got into IIM Kozhikode
  12. ‘XAT Not More Difficult than CAT’ Nandagopal V Busts the Myth; Scored 99.99%ile in XAT 2023 and 99.15%ile in CAT 2022; Declines Top IIMs to join XLRI Jamshedpur - Interview
  13. Gurgaon Girl & NIFT Graduate Kirti Goyal Cracks CAT with 99.1%ile, Secures admission at IIM Kozhikode! Shares her success strategies with
  14. How Mumbai Girl and VJTI Engineer Srishti Yadav overcame her weakness to crack CAT with 99.69%ile, and got into IIM Kozhikode
  15. Why Amit Kumar Chakraborty, CAT 2022 Topper with 99.34 %ile & XAT 2023 Topper with 99.55%ile declined NITIE, SPJIMR, MDI to join XLRI Jamshedpur; How he cracked Exams – Interview
  16. How Soumik Banerjee, an Engineer Working with Public Sector, Cracked CAT 2022 with 99.95%ile and Got into IIM Calcutta – Interview
  17. How Bhanu Pratap, A Small Town Boy from Farmer Family and a Fresher, Cracked CAT 2022 with 99.67%ile and got into IIM Calcutta – Interview
  18. How Mehak Rathi, a Psychologist & Graphologist, cracked CAT 2022 with 98.08 % to get into MDI Gurgaon - Interview
  19. Why CAT 2022 Topper from Agriculture Family, Kunal declined IIMs, IIFT to join MDI Gurgaon; How he cracked Exams – Interview
  20. How a Defense Personnel Ward and Consultant at Deloitte, Avinash Cracked IIFT Entrance and Got into IIFT Delhi MBA (IB) 2023-25 – Interview
  21. How An Agriculture Science Graduate, Amit Shailesh cracked CAT 2022 with 96.42%ile and got into IIM Lucknow – Interview
  22. Why CAT 2022 & IIFT Topper Pushti Shah declined 11 IIMs to join IIFT Delhi; How She cracked Exams – Interview
  23. How a Chemical Engineer and Fresher Shivam cracked CAT 2022 with 99.84%ile and got into IIM Calcutta – Interview
  24. How a Software Tester Shreyasee Sarkar cracked CAT 2022 with 99.68%ile and got into IIM Calcutta
  25. How a CA and Asset Management Expert cracked CAT 2021 with 94.78%ile to get into IIM Ahmedabad
  26. How a CA, NTSE Scholar and a Published Poet cracked CAT 2021 with 98.49% to get into IIM Ahmedabad
  27. How Ekansh Gupta, a Poet and Working Professional from Moradabad cracked CAT with 99.91 %ile & Got into IIM Calcutta for MBA 2021
  28. How a BBA Graduate and Fresher from Surat, Yashvi Bansal Cracked CAT with 94.72%ile and got into IIM Udaipur for MBA 2021
  29. How an Arts & Craft lover, a blogger with BMS, Pranita Maheshwari Cracked CAT with 98.81%ile and got into IIM Udaipur for MBA 2021
  30. How a BMS Graduate from DU working at DE Shaw, Nandan Goel cracked CAT with 99.95 %ile & Got into IIM Calcutta for MBA 2021
  31. How A Graphic Designer, Painter with B.Tech, Nancy Jain Cracked CAT 2020 with 99.72 %ile and got into IIM Calcutta for MBA 2021-23
  32. How Software Developer at Nomura and IEM Kolkata Graduate from Surat - Shubham cracked CAT with 99.98%ile and got into IIM Calcutta for MBA 2021
  33. How an Animation & VFX Lover with B.Tech Venkata Satya Srikar Medisetti from Tuni Cracked CAT with 98.44%ile and got into IIM Udaipur for MBA
  34. How A Kathak Dancer, Painter & Engineer Vasundhara Tiwari, Working as Accounts Manager –cracked CAT with 96.68%ile and got into IIM Udaipur for MBA 2021
  35. How an Electrical Engineer & Working Professional Shuktisindhu Mondal Cracked CAT 2019 & got IIM Ahmedabad for MBA 2020
  36. How National Medalist in Swimming, A Triathlon Participant & Chemical Engineer Tanishq Diddee Cracked CAT 2019 to get into IIM Ahmedabad for MBA 2020
  37. How Doordarshan Anchor, Kathak Dancer and Graduate in Tourism, Shefali Chhaya cracked CAT 2019 and Got into IIM Ahmedabad
  38. How Miss India Finalist and Law Graduate Adya Niraj cracked CAT 2019 to get into IIM Ahmedabad
  39. CAT Toppers Video Series: How Masscom grad Sandeep Rajguru cracked CAT to get into IIM Ahmedabad
  40. An NGO Activist and BBA from Surat, Nikita cracked CAT with 99.22%ile; Preferred PGPM at MDI Gurgaon instead of IIMs
  41. How CA Anushree Naik juggled her finance job in Mumbai, and yet cracked CAT 2019 to get into IIMA! Interview
  42. Video Series with CAT Toppers: Tanuj Ruia tells how he cracked CAT and PI/WAT Round to get into IIM Bangalore
  43. Chandanbala, a B.Com with 51% Cracks CAT 2019 with 98.28%ile; Gets into IIM Udaipur; Never found Questions too Hard
  44. How Alappuzha Girl and NIT Calicut Graduate Sruthy cracked CAT with 97.71%ile and got into IIM Lucknow for MBA 2020!
  45. How Working Professional & IIT Roorkee Graduate Rahul Gupta cracked CAT with 100%ile and got into IIM Ahmedabad for MBA 2020!
  46. How Surat Boy and NIT Hamirpur Graduate Shantanu Yadav cracked CAT with 99.7%ile and got into IIM Ahmedabad for MBA 2020!