A Tete-e-Tete with CAT exam Achiever: Amrit Anwesh
Lakhs of students appear for the CAT(Common Admission Test) examination every year in the hope to get into the top Business Schools of the country, but only a few make it. Amrit Anwesh, a Final year Btech Student from the Department of Electrical Engineering, has cleared the exam and stood as the state topper by scoring a stupendous percentile of 99.98% in it. Apart from CAT, he scored well in GRE(Graduate Record Examinations) and is also quite active in co-curricular activities.
Team Monday Morning caught up with Amrit Anwesh to understand his preparation strategy, life at NIT Rourkela, and his plans for the future.
Monday Morning: How did B.Tech in Electrical Engineering at NIT Rourkela happen to you? Was it your choice or otherwise?
Amrit Anwesh(AA): I have always taken inspiration from my father, who is coincidently an Electrical Engineer. During my childhood, he used to take me on inspections in his duty, and I always wondered how electricity is generated. These things motivated me to study Electrical Engineering. I was always interested in studying Electrical Engineering and learning more about this field, so it was my choice to take up this field of engineering as my major.
MM: How has been your journey at NIT Rourkela & how helpful has NITR been in your whole journey?
AA: My life at NITR has been very fruitful, and I have been involved in many clubs like AstroNITR, DrillnBass and also been the founding member of Short Circuit NITR (the Electrical Club of NIT Rourkela). Since my first year, I have also been part of the institute's Basketball Team. During the four fruitful years at NIT Rourkela, various seniors have inspired me by pursuing higher studies and cracking competitive exams like CAT.
MM: You finally didn't get into engineering. When did you manifest this choice of going into management?
AA: While entering the final year of my journey at NIT Rourkela, I had decided to give both the GRE & CAT examination. As mentioned above, the choice for that came when I was a postholder in different clubs. At that point, I realized that I liked managing clubs' work and interacting with people. That made me feel that the domain of management should be one that I should be pursuing in future. Once I get into some management institute, I hope that I will contribute to a particular sector with my management and electrical engineering skills.
MM: What was your story behind pursuing the CAT exam, and when did you start preparing?
AA: I started preparing for CAT & GRE examinations early in my final year in the month of August. Both the exams had a lot of similar sections, ie. Quantitative analysis and Verbal Ability Sections. I had appeared GRE in the month of October and CAT in the month of November. In the gap of 1 month, I gave four to five mock tests and made sure that I analyzed the mock test in depth. This helped me to know my weak points.
MM: What were the major challenges you faced during your preparation?
AA: The major challenge during my preparation days was getting a stronghold over the verbal section. It is pretty different from what is known in the general public. You have to build up your vocabulary and practise reading comprehension. I used to study and learn ten to fifteen words daily.
Moreover, the Covid Pandemic was a major threat to my preparation as I faced many problems due to family hardships.
MM: How difficult was it for you to secure such a massive percentile despite many academic and placement pressures, especially in the unprecedented times we are in?
AA: I was not hoping for such a high percentile in the CAT examination and was hoping for a decent percentile considering it was my first attempt. Also, I did appear for some selected companies in the placement but that was not my primary focus. In my summer internship at IIT Kanpur, I worked for some extra period under my mentor and worked on it for a longer time. So it was a bit difficult for me considering the situation I was in.
MM: Enlighten us about your preparation strategy for the CAT Exam.
AA: Coming to the strategy, I started my preparation with Youtube channels. My preparation mainly consisted of Youtube channels and mock tests. I used to follow the channel named Greg Mat youtube. The channel specifically focuses on GRE preparation, but it was also applicable for the CAT examination for concepts. By giving the mock exams, I observed and re-strategized my preparation. I didn't take any other resources apart from Greg Mat youtube channel and mock tests. I took mock tests by doing a Google search, two were from random websites, and the other two were from the Unacademy websites.
MM: What was your approach for the mock tests and post-analysis?
AA: My strategy was to give the mock tests in the exact time slot, i.e. 4-6 PM. I spent around three to four hours analyzing each question after the mock test. I gave four tests on alternative days before a week of the examination.
MM: What were your backup plans if the CAT exam did not go as planned?
AA: I had given both CAT & GRE and had got a decent score in GRE. I had applied for some universities abroad, which was my backup plan.
MM: Was the online semester a boon or a bane for your preparation?
AA: It would have been better if it had been an offline semester where I could have interacted with my friends, and I believe that interaction among people is the best way to gain knowledge.
MM: Amidst the online semester, how did you manage academics and preparation of CAT side-by-side? What did your regular schedule seem like?
AA: During the online semester, the end semester started on December 4th, i.e., about a week after CAT. I used to stay attentive in class, get whatever I could get from the class itself, and then prepare for competitive exams like GRE and CAT.
MM: Apart from CAT, you have also scored great In GRE. How is the preparation strategy different from the CAT exam?
AA: The preparation strategy mainly was the same, and Greg Mat youtube was enough for them. I also appeared for some free mock tests from ETS for the GRE examination. For GRE, the quant section is easier than CAT, but the verbal is tougher than CAT.
MM: What was your reaction when you saw your results in CAT 2021?
AA: I had not expected such a high percentile. I was busy shifting my things in my hostels when I came to know that CAT results had been declared. Immediately I called my parents, and they congratulated me, saying its a good score. It was indeed a nice feeling since my results.
MM: What are your future plans?
AA: Currently, I am preparing for the GD/PI, which is the process for admission in all IIMs, and mostly the interview processes will start from February. If I get offers from the top IIMs, I will indeed join them. It will be a difficult decision to make if I get into top Universities through GRE and simultaneously get selected in some top IIM. If I get a chance for MS abroad, I will try to pursue my higher studies in Control Systems.
MM: What would be your Final message to all the CAT Aspirants?
All I can say is to stay focussed and dont get tensed during the preparation. Just focus on your goal and trust the process. Increase your belief in yourself and get proper sleep and diet before a week of examination