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Meet best friends Nikhil and Ekansh who cracked JEE Main, CAT 2023 together

Meet best friends Nikhil and Ekansh who cracked JEE Main, CAT 2023 together

'I will recommend students to read a few newspapers on a daily basis. One should regularly read The Indian Express and The Hindu to improve reading speed,' the topper said.

Twenty-six-year-old Nikhil and Ekansh scored 99.99 percentile in CAT 2023 and they thank each other for their success. Originally from Bihar, the two childhood friends started preparing for the Common Admission Test (CAT) together and are now hoping to get into one of the top management colleges.

Both friends also prepared and cracked the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main in 2015. While Nikhil started pursuing a degree in biotechnology from IIT-Guwahati, Ekansh got admission to BITS Pilani. After earning their engineering degree, both started working together in the same company in Gurugram, and that is when they realised their desire to get a management degree. With this determination, the two friends first appeared for CAT in 2023.

“I scored 99 percentile in CAT last year and I was sure that I would not get a seat at either IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore or Calcutta. Therefore, I decided to re-appear for the exam,” Nikhil told indianexpress.com. CAT 2023 was Ekansh’s first effort.

Identify and solve easy questions first

“Since I had appeared for the exam last year too, I already knew my weak spots and for the first six months, I worked on strengthening those,” Nikhil said. Both candidates had taken coaching from TIME Institute.

The 26-year-old believes that it is important to identify and solve the easy questions first. “CAT is one of the most complex exams and so it becomes all the more important to learn time management. Therefore, do not waste time on those questions that you won’t be able to solve, or the time-consuming. I solved the easy questions first,” he said.

When asked how can one identify these easy questions, Nikhil quickly added that the only way to acquire that skill is to practice a lot of mock tests. “After we were done strengthening our weak areas, we solved mock tests in the second half of the year. It then became a habit and it also got easier to identify the difficult questions. It helped us save a lot of time,” the duo said.

Competitive friends = success

Since childhood, both Nikhil and Ekansh had their eyes set on their targets. This is one of the reasons they followed the same academic path without getting distracted. “We are very competitive. There wasn’t a single day when one of us asked the other if he wanted to study or go out and the other person demotivated them. We always grabbed the opportunity to have study sessions. There were days when Nikhil used to inform me that he had completed a certain number of chapters. I would then try to finish that much as soon as possible so that we can discuss if any query arises. That helped us stay determined and consistent during our preparation time,” Ekansh shared.

Having each other also helped the two strengthen the weak areas. Nikhil’s weak area was Verbal Ability (VA) but his strength was Quantitative Aptitude (Quant), which was the opposite of Ekansh’s strengths. So, Ekansh ended up helping Nikhil with VA and Nikhil helped Ekansh understand Quant better.

The time to start preparing is ‘right now’ When asked about what would be their big tip to future CAT aspirants, Nikhil said the aspirants should “start preparing as early as possible.”

The duo also strongly recommends candidates to read a lot of lot of newspapers to stay updated with current affairs and also to improve reading habits. “I will recommend students to read a few newspapers daily. One should regularly read The Indian Express and The Hindu to improve reading speed. Last year, I wasn’t that habitual and I lost marks in VA, but developing that habit this time surely helped me score better,” Nikhil advised. (The Indian Express) 

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