CAT 2021 Topper Interview: Meet Shubh Agarwal (99.61 Percentiler), for whom CAT is about Managing ‘Fear and Ego’

Meet Shubh Agarwal – an MBA aspirant from Noida, who has belled the CAT 2021 exam with 99.61 percentile. Shubh shares his journey from being an MBA aspirant to CAT 2021 Topper, his preparation strategy and future plans in an exclusive interview with 

CAT 2021 Topper Interview: IIM Ahmedabad declared the CAT 2021 Result on 3rd January 2022 during evening hours. Post result, the next big thing is to know the toppers and find out their journey which brought them success in the toughest MBA entrance exam of the country. One such candidate who overcame all odds and emerged victorious against the daunting Challenge is Shubh Agarwal – MBA aspirant from Noida – Gautam Bhuddh Nagar, who scored 99.61 percentile overall in the CAT 2021 Exam. In an exclusive interview with, Shubh shares his journey from being an MBA aspirant to CAT 2021 Topper and his preparation strategy and the methods that enabled him bell the CAT exam this year.

Excerpts from the Interview!

Question 1: Congratulations on cracking CAT 2021! What are your overall and sectional scores in CAT 2021?

Thank you so much. My overall percentile is 99.61. Sectionals are 99.98%ile in VARC, 93.65%ile in DILR and 95.35%ile in QA.

Shubh Agarwal - CAT Topper Scorecard

Question 2: When did you start your CAT 2021 Preparation? What is the ideal time required to complete the CAT syllabus before the exam?

For CAT 2021, I couldn't devote as much time as I would've liked to, I started only a week before the exam,but since this wasn't my first attempt at CAT, it allowed me to revise some important concepts. For someone who is about to start from scratch, it might take 4-6 months with full dedication to clear the exam.

Question 3: What was your overall preparation strategy for CAT 2021?

I had a very limited time to prepare so I revised the most important concepts and formulas for QA and practiced questions relating to them, for VARC and DILR, I attempted previous year papers, and carefully analyzed my mistakes, and worked on them.

Question 4: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge? What strategies did you adopt to master that section?

I was weak at Geometry and overall QA except for arithmetic, also in previous attempts, I couldn't do well in VA. To overcome this I tried to choose the most scoring topics and focused on them, for VA I tried to understand the examiner's way of thinking by looking at previous year's papers.

Also Read: CAT 2021 Topper Interview - Soham Katkar

Question 5: Tell us something about yourself, your family, and your interests beyond academics?

I'm a commerce graduate from DU and am currently pursuing CA, My father is a businessman and my mother is a homemaker. My interests are quizzing, watching movies/TV, and sports.

Question 6: Were you a part of any coaching institute? Do you think coaching is necessary to ace CAT?

No, I didn't take any coaching. I think it's a personal choice, but certainly not necessary, if one is able to get the right guidance and has self-discipline, that's more than enough.

Question 7: Any particular book or study material that helped you gain an edge over other candidates?

CAT'S previous year's papers and their detailed solutions on YouTube were very helpful.

Question 8: How can an aspirant avoid negative marking?

Attempt only the questions you're sure of, especially in VARC, and try to be as accurate as possible in LR, as small mistakes can cost many questions.

Question 9: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?

I preferred previous year papers over mocks, and they played a great role in my success, my preparation was based around them only.

I gave 6 papers.

Question 10: Please share your exam-day strategy for the CAT 2021. What was your last-minute preparation? How did you plan your CAT test taking?

My exam centre was allotted around 100km away from my residence, so I had to travel a lot on exam day, so my priority was sleeping properly and being well-rested. I don't like to cram formulas until the last minute, I rather prefer being calm on exam day. I planned to attempt maximum questions, prioritizing my strengths first though, managing time is the key

Question 11: Do you think academic background plays an important role in CAT Prep and Why?

No, I don't think it plays that big a role, CAT provides an almost level playing field for everyone irrespective of their academic background only exception being maths. VARC and DILR can be mastered by anyone with good preparation, and even QA, although with some extra effort for those who didn't have maths at +2 level.

Question 12: Which institutes have you applied to admission and why did you opt for them particularly?

I've applied to all IIM's and FMS. These institutes being the top b-schools of the country can provide me with the perfect launchpad for a career in the management domain.

Also Read: CAT 2021 Topper Interview - Yash Mandhana

Question 13: How are you preparing for GD-PI and WAT rounds of the selection process?

I am yet to start my GDPI preparation, although I am reading newspapers every day.

Question 14: What is your message for CAT aspirants? One crucial piece of advice that you would like them to follow and wish you had known.

My advice is, to do well in CAT, you need to balance Fear and Ego, you need to learn to try hard, and also let go. Because this exam doesn't only test your Maths, English, etc, it also tests how well do you manage a stressful situation, how well do you prioritize.

Question 15: What is your dream career choice after completing your MBA?

I want to have a career where I can use my problem-solving and critical thinking abilities along with my financial knowledge to make a concrete impact and I plan on having my own business in the future.

Also Read:  CAT 2021 Result: 9 Students Get 100 Percentile; Check CAT State-wise Numbers

Cat Percentile Predictor 2022