Meet The Serial CAT Topper Sujoy Kumar Datta With 99.98 Percentile [Interview]


There are mortals who score 99+ percentile once in their lifetime and become celebrities. Then there is Sujoy Kumar Datta, who has made a habit of scoring high in CAT. Now he has the prime 99.98 percentile as an added feather in his hat.

CAT topper Sujoy Kumar Datta shared his insight on CAT preparation and his mind blowing plans for the future. Read on to be inspired!

About Sujoy Kumar Datta

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Ex-IIT, 8+ yr exp in teaching 6000+ students CAT/GMAT/GRE/SAT, students selected by IIMs/ISB/NUS/UCB.

What was your first thought after getting 99.98 percentile in CAT?

I missed by .02 basis, that’s the first thing that came to my mind.

I have been cracking the CAT exam a few times and this was my sixth time. Previously 99.89 percentile was the highest score but this was the best score. I scored above 99 percentile for which I am happy that it shows I was good in all the three sections.

You completed your graduation from Jadavpur University and Post graduation from IIT Kharagpur, please share your experience with us as an IITian?

I completed my master’s from IIT kharagpur in 2007 and in that year I cracked CAT exam myself. Also I cracked the GATE exam and got AIR 5 in 2005 and in IIT also i got DAAD scholarship as I was the topper in the class. My final year thesis project was done in Germany.

Being in IIT Kharagpur was a good experience. It is a very good place to be in as there are many intelligent students around. After coming back from Germany I decided to give a shot at teaching and started my career with TIME institute in 2007. My main interest was in manufacturing and completed my final year project in manufacturing and also in Robotics. I designed a robot which could sense light and move along a designated path.

You have a very good experience of over 8 plus years in teaching, so what developed your interest in teaching and how was your experience?

I have 9.5 years experience in teaching. It was basically my interest in maths that I started teaching and took up the role as a faculty in TIME. What was so great about it was that I was able to interact with a lot of students and got to know new ideas and techniques and learned innovative methods of solving questions. It was a very good experience, solving very difficult and complicated problems and showing the shortest possible way of solving the questions.

I started as a faculty and also went on to become all India level content developer and made content for faculties to follow as faculty have a set of guidelines to teach in the class and developing guidelines and content for the faculty.

CAT preparation for working professionals

How did you manage to prepare for CAT with your job?

I did not have to prepare for the maths at all because I was teaching maths and LRDI myself. This was a plus point for me. For English, I didn’t prepare much as I was from Xavier’s Kolkata and my English was very good. Basically, CAT doesn’t require to follow particular rules but if you have a strong logical mind and understand the logic behind the question then solving English questions are very easy and that’s my motto. It was easy to get 96-99 percentile in English every time.

To get a good score in english focus on literature. The more you read the more you will understand how grammar works as it is very difficult to learn a set of rules for grammar but if you read, then the whole things get inculcated and it will be very beneficial for any competitive exam.

When I was in Jadavpur in my final year, I first took CAT exam and ended up with 99.01 percentile way back in 2004. That year I did not get a call from IIMs but got a call from MDI. I did not take admission in MDI instead decided to study in IIT Kharagpur for my masters. After that I prepared less as CAT exam basically depends upon the logics.

What kind of strategy did you follow for CAT preparation?

The strategy depends upon what format CAT is following. Now you have fixed time for each section and all questions have equal marks so it doesn’t make sense to keep on solving a question which you are not able to solve. You should be a very good leaver of problems. If you come across a very tough question and very complicated it’s better to leave it and focus on other questions which are easy to solve and try to attempt as many as questions you can. As all sections are time based so it has become easy to manage time.

In your opinion, should students opt for coaching for preparation?

Students who are working for a lot of time and are not in touch with the studies, for them I think they need more preparation. Also they need to go through the basics of maths, LRDI and English and have to take coaching. Also those students who are weak in any topic, they need preparation as coaching helps.

It is true sometimes that CAT can be cracked with self study only, but in that case the a person needs to be very intelligent and should understand the needs of the exam very well.

So the main thing that coaching helps is understanding and setting the questions very well and how to solve the questions because it is a time bound exam and if you compare the CAT exam with IIT exam one will say that IIT entrance exam is tough to crack but CAT is much tougher. This is because in CAT exam they are not asking to solve the questions as in IIT exam questions can be solved by knowing the set of theory and formulas but in CAT you have to apply formula in a different way and sometimes just by observing the question one can solve the question and there is no need to learn formulas. Competition is very high in CAT so it is very different as compared to IIT entrance exam.

Did you take coaching for the first time?

Yes, I took the coaching for the first time because I was not having much idea about the exam. While pursuing bachelors the LRDI section was elusive. I took coaching from IMS institute in 2004.

What should be the timeline to crack CAT entrance exam?

All depends upon your approach.

If you are focussed in your approach then as low as three months to crack CAT. As I personally teach students for the CAT and I have had students who have joined in August and able to score 95 or above percentile in three months. So minimum three months are required and beyond three months, like one or two months it is very difficult to crack exam.

The ideal time to start preparing is January and it will become easy to understand and learn more things and able to give more mock tests and will have more time for revision.

Books for CAT preparation

Which book did you refer?

There is no such study material which would cover all the aspects of CAT. Some books are recommended like

  • Arun Sharma and Nishit Sinha are good in topics like Inequalities and algebra , permutation and combination.
  • LRDI books will give you an idea about the types of questions to be asked in exam and different variants of questions.
  • For English one should go through the grammar books available in the market like Arun sharma verbal english , Wren and martin english grammar books.

It is the combination of different books which a student has to refer.

Tips for CAT preparation

What things should be kept in my before one month of the exam?

A.13 You should be very good with your basics as one month before the exam there is no point starting to learn new concepts or an entirely new topic as you won’t be able to answer them correctly as CAT do not ask you question where you just apply formula and get the answer and something thinking should be there before answering. So before one month you should brush up with your maths basics and you should be thorough with LRDI and english. main focus should be on mock tests and maximum you should give two mock tests in a week and then analyze ?

Which colleges are on your top priority list?

IIMA, IIMB , IIMC IIML, MDI, SP Jain and IIM Indore and FMS.

What is your strategy for GD/PI sessions?

If you are good in speaking and know how to speak you will do good in GD as well as in PI. In PI they can ask general questions and you should be thorough with the topics like what is happening in world, current affairs. If you are not through with all these topics the buy various books from the market. you should also read Business magazines as in GD/PI they ask business related questions also. For GD you should know how to speak and when to speak, when to cut and interrupt, whether to interrupt or not to interrupt. Even most of the top institutes have stopped the GD process instead they have essay writing now so one should be clear how to start an essay and what is the introduction, body of the essay. You should read essay available on the internet and should refer teachers who are expert in essay writing.

What are your plans after MBA?

As this was my sixth attempt and I am not planning to do MBA and just to check and stay in this line of education. I am starting my own institute ‘CUBIX’ and launching it in Kolkata with two centers on 16th Jan 2017 and after that, we will launch on national level and targeting CAT, GMAT, GRE and SAT entrance exams. This is my plan and take it to the high level as most of the institutes have some or the other shortcomings and I want to give students maximum benefits at reasonable price.

What will you advice to the CAT aspirants?

My advice to the CAT aspirants is that firstly they must understand why they need MBA and are actually interested in MBA or not. Just don’t think it will give you more money that’s not the correct approach and should focus on why to do MBA and how it will help you and once you decided and appear for CAT, the clear your basics for the exam and it do not depend upon the number of hours you devote for preparation. Just concentrate and study effectively. If you are starting from January the maximum two hours effective and thorough study is required to crack exam. Don’t loose track and don’t change decisions at any point of your career.

What was your experience on the day of the exam?

This year I started with English section and completed 5-6 minutes before time and then started with LRDI and found nothing is working because this year LRDI was very tough paper and it was my worst experience this year in LRDI where I ended up with attempting only 22 questions only. With maths this year I missed out with two questions and after the exam I felt that this year’s exam has not gone according to plan and will get a disastrous result but got 99 percentile in every section.

Apart from CAT what other MBA entrance exam test you appeared for?

I didn’t appear for any other exam but I keep on taking the GMAT mock tests and plan to take up GMAT exam in January this year to check my standing.
Wow Sujoy, wish you luck in your future endeavors! And those who are reading this and are preparing for CAT, feel free to ask your queries!

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