In a rare achievement, a candidate from Gujarat, Pulkit Pandey, scored 99.99 percentile in verbal ability section of Common Admission Test (CAT), the results of which were announced Saturday.
The 23-year-old electronics engineer from Vadodara, who got an overall score of 99.84 percentile, has been working as a programmer at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Gandhinagar since 2019.
“Certainly scoring high in the verbal section for us (Gujarat candidates) is very difficult. Since English does not come naturally to us as we speak majorly in Gujarati and rarely in Hindi. During my mocks, I would score between 80-85 percentile and get demotivated,” Pandey, who is originally from Uttar Pradesh and has been in Gujarat since Class 4, told The Indian Express.
Agreeing with Pulkit, Manish Shah, director of a private mentoring institute in Ahmedabad said, “In Gujarat, children lag in competitive examinations, especially postgraduate ones like MBA. Since the verbal section in CAT is English-oriented, evaluating the comprehension and aptitude, it is rare for candidates to score high in this section as people in Gujarat generally do not speak English unlike other states. So you need some good preparation.”
Also, the engineering background, Pulkit said, was a disadvantage for him that forced him to work harder for the verbal ability section. “As told by my mentors I started reading novels and books. Reading English books or novels also does not come naturally to me being from an engineering background. Added with a 9-7 job that would even get extended to 9.30 pm, there were only weekends for me to prepare. Amid all this, I had to go extra mile improving my English language,” he added.
Another engineer, Prasad Doshi, topped Ahmedabad with 99.97 percentile. A mechanical engineer from Nirma University, Prasad is hoping to get through Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
“Being the top institute and in my home city, I would certainly prefer IIM-A,” he said.
Prasad, who scored 98.5 percentile in verbal ability, said this was the lowest scoring section as he was using the mother tongue most of the times.
Currently working in a manufacturing company in Sanand, he quit his job in Adani Green Energy in Kutch to be in Ahmedabad, his home city. His elder brother is also pursuing MBA from XLRI-Xavier School of Management Jamshedpur.
Following the league of engineers to crack CAT, Abhinav Gupta, chemical engineer who is currently working in a pump manufacturing company in Rajkot, scored 99.58 percentile in his fourth attempt. However, one thing that makes him different from the league is his decision to choose MBA from India over a scholarship from Rice Jones School of Business.
“I am hoping to get through some top rated MBA institutes in the country. So I would let go the scholarship of over Rs 67 lakh (USD 92,000) for a period of two years. Though getting 75 per cent of the tuition fee as scholarship is not common as the institute’s website only says that 70 per cent of the students get 25 per cent tuition fee as scholarship,” said Abhinav Gupta, who completed his BTech in 2018.
He had applied for the scholarship in October for which the result were announced in December.
Covid-19 lockdown turned out to be in his favour. “I had left my earlier job and was to join the new one when lockdown was imposed. Between this, I had a gap of 5-6 months which gave me enough time to prepare. Also since most of the CAT training in Ahmedabad was online, I could get enrolled and train along with my job in Rajkot,” he said.
When asked about the difference between entrance tests and interviews here and abroad Gupta said, “In India, more questions during the interview are asked on general knowledge, but in abroad, they ask you what you want to do or what are your goals.”
The CAT question paper was prepared by IIM Indore this year.
Due to Covid and delay in examination, there were few changes in the examination including reducing questions from 100 to 76 questions and time duration from three to two hours.