Engineers dominate toppers-lists in Common Admission Test (CAT), but holding top position in Delhi is St Stephen's College student Rahul Saran, the only non-engineer in the small group of 10 contestants to have scored in the 100 percentile in India.
"He is a bright student and the department is proud of him," says his teacher, Nandita Narain. Saran, a final year student of mathematics honours, himself is "not interested" in talking.
The first thing Sonali Garg did when she spotted her CAT score was rub her computer screen hard as she wanted to be sure that her score really was a 99.99 percentile. A final year student of chemical engineering — a 'dual' course that fetches an MTech degree — she is one of the four women in the country to have scores in the 99.99 percentile in the CAT 2012. Delhi IIT has over 15 students with scores in the 99 and above percentile including about half-a-dozen girls.
"I studied for about 10 days," says Garg, "I was a director for the college festival. The festival was on October 23 and the exam was on November 3. I had little time to prepare." She didn't go for the year-long coaching classes. "It's not really about preparation but about what happens on the day." The unexpectedly stellar show has also thrown some plans off gear. Garg had landed a job through the IIT placements and was in the process of figuring out the posting, but now she'll study further.
But at least one student is planning to forego an IIM degree, for now at any rate, in favour of "work-ex". "A lot of IITians do well every year but not all of them will go finally. The placements happen after the CAT and many students will choose to work," says one student. Celebrations, in any case, are on hold till the calls start coming. "I don't really know who all have got in. Many haven't updated their status on the social media yet," says Sahil Chachan, final year biochemistry and biotech student who scored in the 99.83 percentile.
Engineers lose points at some IIMs, points out Arman Singh Sandhu (biochemical and biotech student) who's in the 99.73 percentile. But they don't have it all easy either. "I had to get out of the habit of using calculators. After five years, I did mental maths."