What strategy did I follow to prepare for the PGDBA exam?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

What strategy did I follow to prepare for the PGDBA exam

If you Google the word PGDBA, 'PGDBA preparation' doesn't come anywhere on the first page of the search results. And rightly so. This exam has not been there since ages. The course is a 5-year-old course, with the PGDBA exam has just been conducted 4 times till now. It is totally acceptable to be inquisitive about what to prepare and how to prepare for this exam. In this blogpost we are going to talk about this.

I am a 2017-19 graduate of this course. I appeared in the exam in February 2017. During this time, I was preparing for the exams of management courses too for a couple of reasons. One because I was not crystal clear on if I need to join this unconventional course investing in a lot of money when no placement report was out back then. And two because this course has very limited seats. They just enrol around 50-60 students each year. Even if we consider 3000-5000 students appearing in the exam (This is my estimate and not the official figures), you must be in the top ~98-99 percentile. Hence, to be on the safer side, I was preparing for the entrance exams of other management courses. Though the dynamics have changed now. We now have handy the placement reports of the three batches that have already graduated. We now have some idea on what the prospects are. We now know (at least we have started) to understand how to crack this exam. Don’t worry if you are just preparing for this exam and no other exam, this blogpost should help you.

I will discuss in detail the strategy that I followed for the PGDBA exam. As I mentioned before, I was preparing religiously for CAT. I was a working professional, so finding time to prepare for the exams was hard but not impossible. I used to take sectional mocks, full mocks as well as I used to test some of the specific topics. If we talk about timeline:

5 Mock Tests for PGDBA

a) The mock tests are in the latest pattern
b) They include questions in the same ratio as the actual paper
c) They include questions on advance math topics
d) All questions come with answers and detailed explanations

  • I started preparing in August for CAT which happened on 4th December in 2016. I devoted a couple of months to learn/revise the concepts that they ask in the exam.
  • From October onwards, I started taking mock tests – sectional as well as full mock tests. I used to take 3 full mock tests a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I kept to analyse the mocks. On Sundays, I used to strengthen the topics which I performed poorly in during the mock tests of that week. I used to try out different and shorter ways of solving the same problem. I also used to test myself on the specific topics which did not fall in my greatest strengths.
  • I stopped taking mocks 10 days prior to the exam. I strongly believe any exam is a mental game. No matter how hard you prepare, if your mental state is not at the highest on the D-day and if you are in the panic mode then you are doomed to fail. On the other hand, if you’ve prepared well and you are calm, composed and your mental state is right on track, you would ace the exam. I stopped taking any mocks in the last 10 days prior to the exam because I believed that if I do well in the mocks, I might become complacent and on the other hand if my performance in the mocks somehow deteriorates, I might lose on confidence.

So, I was all ready for CAT and in my eyes I did well in CAT 2016. I could have done better but again that’s how insatiable humans are. I don’t have any complaints now.

As mentioned before, I was all set for CAT or other management exams. But PGDBA requires you to walk an extra mile. And this extra mile is the trickiest. I am talking about the Quantitative Ability (QA) section. Consulting the students of this course as well as going through the course syllabus online, I understood that the topics are what I have studied in higher mathematics in class 11 and 12. Now, I had a couple of months – December and January – to prepare for this exam since PGDBA 2017 exam was on Feb 19 in 2017 . I started preparing for this exam in December post CAT. I thought of completing the NCERT textbooks of class 11 and 12 first before moving on to more advanced questions. In my humble opinion, the questions in NCERT textbooks are designed beautifully. They test all your concepts and yet I often find people complaining how easy and insufficient they think NCERT textbooks are. According to me, these books are the bible for the PGDBA exam, and I knew if I was able to thoroughly go through these books, I have a good chance of acing this section.

I always loved Maths. So more than anything else, I was excited to revisit the topics that I studied in class 11 and 12. Though there were some topics which I really loved (like Calculus, Coordinate geometry, etc.) and there were some topics which I struggled to cope up with (like Permutations and Combinations, Probability, etc.). I focused my energy more on the latter part than the former. When I say I put in more efforts on the topics I was weak in, I meant I practiced more and thought of different ways of solving the problem from these topics.

Download PGDBA Previous Year Examination Papers 2018-2019

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In a nutshell, I did the following:

  • For the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section, which had 15 questions (30% weightage), I prepared by taking sectional mocks. I took 3 sectional mocks every week (and analyse those thoroughly) in December and January. I found this to be enough to clear the VARC section. People who ace the RC section usually are voracious readers. They grasp the whole passage in a single reading saving them a lot of time. For anyone who does not read regularly, I would suggest solving at least 3 RCs a day for a couple of months keeping the timer always on. The goal should be to solve a 4 question RC in less than 10 minutes.
  • For the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI) section, which has 10 questions (20% weightage), I again prepared by taking sectional mocks. Though the questions in the sample paper on the official PGDBA website seemed as easy as a pie, I didn’t want to risk this section by not preparing well. This is an important section in the sense that if you can crack the essence of the passage, you would have answers to all the questions in no time. This could be a make or break section. DO NOT take this section lightly just because it carries 20% weightage.
  • For the Quantitative Ability (QA) section, which had 25 questions (50% weightage), I prepared by thoroughly going through the NCERT textbooks of Mathematics for class 11 and 12. I religiously solved each example, each question. I laid down my foundation strong. I knew no matter how hard the question gets, only these concepts would be used. How to use them would be the key. This section is what scares most of the people. And rightly so for a couple of reasons. One because we never studied the concepts asked in this section after class 11 and 12. And two because the questions asked in this section are not asked in any other exam.

PGDBA is a hard exam to crack because of the limited information available on the internet. Only around 160 students have graduated till now, so very less people to get opinions from too. But I hope with this blogpost, you would have gotten some idea on how you can embark this wonderful journey by building on the strategy that I followed. Though the number of intakes for the PGDBA course is very less, always remember that you just need 1 seat and that is all that you need. Godspeed!

About the author:

Arjun Gupta is an alumnus of PGDBA batch of 2017-19. He is currently working with a Singapore based fashion start-up as a senior PMO in their Business Intelligence and Analytics division. You can find him on LinkedIn: Arjun Gupta

What is PGDBA and how it is different from CAT?

5 Mock Tests for PGDBA

a) The mock tests are in the latest pattern
b) They include questions in the same ratio as the actual paper
c) They include questions on advance math topics
d) All questions come with answers and detailed explanations

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