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My journey of this MBA season was so rigorous and thrilling that even if I say all I had to say, there will be something left. Still below is something which, I hope, can be interesting.
The beginning and prep
It all started in April of 2013 when I was slowly getting bored in office after enjoying 1 year GET period on site. Prior to that my only exposure to CAT was sometime during my 3rd year of engineering when I opened my neighbor's CAT book and realized humse na ho paega after going through verbal section.
Anyways those were childhood days, MBA was the only option in front of me now so I decided to start preparing for it. I purchased e-test series and started self prep after office hours. Life was cool for 2-3 months with little office work and that too with a great team. Then came July and 2 old and stagnant projects were dumped on me. I tried to resist as I knew my CAT prep would be affected by this but I didn't knew that no one can win over HR. They bought my ego in discussion and I displayed heroics (read stupidity) and accepted transfer. Work pressure started increasing day by day and by August end work pressure was really high as I was assigned 2 projects at a time and it involved lot of travelling but by that time I was addicted to test format and work pressure hardly mattered. After giving various practice tests I realized that RC is the section which can dig my grave and I cannot leave prepping RC because I had already left prepping grammar and vocab. My mock's score ranged from 85 to 95 with RC always playing foul in game and by chance if scored decent in RC, DI was spoiler. I was just not able to perform decent in both RC & DI at once. The only solution to overcome this problem in front of me was extensive practice. I used to practice all the time while travelling, between lunch breaks and obviously during my normal morning time dedicated to CAT.
And finally came 10th of November. I attempted 16 each in both the sections and felt that I could have attempted at least 2 more in 1st section. I guestimated 96-97 %ile provided nothing stupid was done by me in exam. Came 14th of January and I woke up around 1 in afternoon as it was a much needed holiday for me. I was brushing my teeth when I recalled that results would have come by now and opened the website. Contents from my mouth fell on key pad when I saw overall %ile. 99.89. I closed and reopened it 5-6 times to verify but it still displayed 99.89.
Two weeks later, after getting congratulated, as if IIMs are now in my pocket, by friends, family and relatives whom I hardly knew, I was sitting and wondering how to convert the calls I have got as I had around 20 days only for the 1st two interviews which were SPJIMR and IIM-L. Now the biggest problem in front of me was my job as even though my projects were almost over my boss had asked me to sit on site and overlook pending construction activities. I knew it was not at all possible for me to prepare in that sort of condition and as days were passing, pressure and desperation was mounting on me. Finally I took a long leave on the risk of job termination unaware of the fact that the battle for next 2 months is going to be mentally much more chanllenging compared to the one I won but I was aware of the fact that interviews has a lot of weight in final merit list and I wanted my name on at least 1 of those lists. I used to prepare 3-4 hours daily and was jobless for remaining time which was very difficult for me to pass.
Interview phase 1
Some how days passed and came my 1st interview of SPJIMR. I entered the center with lot of excitement but came out with a reject. That was highly demotivating and my confidence level was on the verge of crashing which I couldn't have afforded as IIM L interview was a day after. I tried hard to forget what happened in the interview and sleep but was unable to avoid that dark night. I gathered all my confidence which was left in a day and tried to build some by reading some stuffs which I thought might be relevant to the interview and reached for IIM L interview. That process went really smooth and my interview was more like a discussion on my job experience. I was not able to make anything out of it but was kind of feeling good after the interview but I stopped myself from sinking in that feeling because I had to prepare for my biggest call, IIM C, which was after four weeks.
And then started the chain of sleepless nights with frustrations creeping in due to lot of free time and the biggest demon was fear of ending up with no converts and losing job. I tried to overcome these negative thoughts by reading lot of relevant articles and talking with fellow call getters. Came 12th of march and I was sitting in the interview room with 3 panel members in front of me, 2 of them with 'lets see what have u got' sarcastic look and 1 with 'I hardly care' look. Entire interview was debate on socio-economic situation and policies with all 3 interviewers shooting questions at me and I responded back with half baked and some really stupid points but 1-2 points were killer.
I left the room with a really bad feeling but I had little hope due to the fact that call to seat ratio of C was low. Any how it was over and by mid april all my other interviews were also over with my insomnia growing by this time.
I was just sitting and smoking on the evening of 16th April when my friend called and asked about C result. I became little shaky and asked him to check as I was not having internet that time. WL-77 he told and I was like are yaar ab L ke results tak wait na hoga then suddenly it occurred to me that I had PGDCM call too and asked him to check that. WL-5 he told and I knew that was as good as convert. The feeling following that was simply awesome and knowing that all the hard work has finally paid off, I had the best sleep in years that night and the nights after that with IIM L , S , MDI also getting converted.
Now that when I thought about everything I did and faced during last 1 year, while writing this, I realized that converts or no converts, I am proud of what I did.
As I pen this down I cannot describe the feelings, emotions, and adrenaline running down my veins..(Tread with caution .This post is gigantic and might bore you off ...read only when u have enough time..)
Here is how and why it started...Recap..
Always was a top ranker in school since childhood. Had scored 93% in Xth.But somehow lost track in class 12 and could not make it to even a NIT.Secured a mediocre rank is state engg entrance exam and could only make it to a private engg college.
This debacle was too much for not only me but for my entire family and relatives.Even friends were shocked. I went into a depression for the 2 months post results. Did not meet anyone or take up calls. For mom this was an even bigger failure having always stressed the importance of getting into IIT/NIT. Few of friends who went to IIT and NIT started displaying their t shirt logos during vacations..And I severed all childhood contacts. Period.
Went to college but for the first 6 months did not make even a single friend. (Had realised that having too many friends was one major reason why I was here today). Was not that interested in Electronics and lost more hope when I learnt that the only way I could make it big was thorugh GATE or CAT. Neways did not decide upon anything yet. Meanwhile my cousin was also staying in kol and we became very good friends and I started enjoying the life of freedom in kolkata. Left studies completely and even forgot that I was still a student.
1st year over. Below average GPA's made me realise during the summer break that this way I will land up nowhere. Took some time and then decided I would go for CAT. But i was very low in confidence at that time having screwed all entrance exams. Heard about the exam being very competetive and getting into one of the top 5 colleges namely A,B,C,XL,FMS takes a lot of determination...
CAT 2011..(The immature year..)
Nevertheless I started my journey but had no directions. I started off with Norman Lewis and build my vocabulary very rigorously. This initial phase was very interesting and I enjoyed a lot. Joined TIME classroom in june 2010.Went to classes very enthusiastically. But as I soon could realise, it wasnt helping me that much. One year passed, I was in final year.When I went to write my fisrt mock I had no clue of many questions.I got to know about pagalguy from a friend in the month of Oct 2011. Browsed through Quant thread and I was aghast with my level of knowledge. (Except for Pnc and and algebra)I could hardly solve anything. I knew then, that CAT 2011 would become just a formality now.Went to the exam hall half heartedly. My roommate took the seat beside me. I somehow got overexcited with Quant having been able to solve first 5-6 question in quick time and breezed through the paper. Va was tough that year. Attempts: QA26 VA24. I was thinking even though I was out of practice and had not rechecked any question I was sure to get 20 correct atleast.I was very happy untill the day of the results. Jan 11th. QA 65 VA 83 OA 75.xx The result screen brought back those very memories of entrance exams and I for the first time did not show any emotions. I sat with a placid face.I could nto make head and tail out of anything... Did I get 20 incorrect in quant out of 26 was what I was thinking.My roommate called up and said he got 91.xx overall and he was kinda happy as we had gone without preparation..But the result that turned me around was of one of my collegemates. He had suffered a similar trauma like me, unable to get into a top engg college. He secured 98.6 in his first attempt and converted NITIE finally. I checked the results of some of the Pagalguy stalwarts and found that many had scored surprisingly very low in one of the sections.
CAT 2012...The year of slogging ..
I knew that I had my task cut out, if I were to even continue with my dream of getting into a reputed B-school. Neways, this was one of the turning points in my preparation. I started solving quant like hell form that very day. PaGalguY Quant thread became my home. Started solving questions from there and within 2 motnhs I was a certified Pagal(only with the help of quant thread, not bakar). Meanwhile I made some very good friends in pagalguy, and preparation went on with full pace. I and my roommate started solving mocks of previous years. We somewhat abandoned the outer world and concentrated only on preparation.Then came the mock season. Enrolled for CL and TIME basic.1st proc I was in toppers list with 95%ile and to be honest that was my 1st ever serious mock and I was happy. Then the wrong move.. I over pressurised myself. Set daunting targets without working out strategies. Thought I need to get 50+ in quant having practised so much in quant thread.Took the mocks as if they were real CAT and as a result Scores started dipping from 2nd mock onwards. I was getting extremely frustrated. On seeing a familiar question I was pushing myself too hard to get that question correct within 30 sec. As a result I ended up with mediocre scores in 80's
Meanwhile I got placed into 2 IT companies.. Accenture and TCS. Chose TCS even though it would put a Aam Admi stamp as I thought of long term gains in choosing a company with relatively less stricter rules.Went to hyderabad just 1 month prior to cat. New place, new environment, etc took a toll on my prep. 3 days prior to cat I wrote PM 10. Scored 108.
Went to the exam hall a little tensed as I knew that I was much better prepared than last time. Memories of Quant thread gave me confidence. But QA was very tough and VA was okayish. Attempted 20 and 24 resp. Did not write XAT or IIFT as I knew preparing amidst all the new brouhaha in a new city wont be possible.(A big mistake..I later realised...). Results came...And once again I was devastated.. QA 91, VA 89 OA 91.5. I was beginning to feel I would never be able to crack any entrance exam. Its better if I switch job and take refuge in PSU bank etc.
CAT 2013 ... The year when all the dots joined....
Post results till march/april I was completely clueless as to how I would shape my career. Images of living a genteel life were fast vanishing...and then came the big turnaround...
I became very good friends with the girl who sat beside me in office. She is a telugu and 2 years senior to me. But unlike others in the office something was very different in her. I loved talking to her. And she reciprocated the same. She was pretty reserved in the office with her other colleagues but she enjoyed my company very much.
I narrated my dream to her and all about taking CAT that year.(as I had decided that this is going to be my last attempt at the feline)..She somehow empathized with my dreams completely..She took up my dream as her own and treated me like a 5 year old kid, promising me gifts after every mock. I started studying from mid may...revising old mocks etc..But something inside was bugging both me and her...It had been only 2 months we had met... But it seemed like we knew each other for more than 5 years...One day she was telling me about her the then ongoing marriage proposals and I instantly said can u wait for 2 more years for me..? She was surprised but very happy with fact that finally I had come up with the thing..And her answer....YES..
Both were happy but we knew instantly that our families wont accept.
Reason 1. Girl elder.
Reason 2 Girl telegu brahmin , boy bengali.
If anyhting I knew I had to get into a top college, as that would be my only saviour. I would then proudly be able to stand up to face the world.
With this I went into my 1st mock... Excited, but I did not pressurise myself. I knew a lot had been happening in life lately and it was diffcult to get things going right from day 1. I planned that whatever I knew I would attempt, rest I would simply skip and check at the last even if that meant I was skipping questions from my favourite areas. Result:99.36%ile.Both of us were ecstatic. She promised me that she would take me to a new place or restaurant after every mock.
I enrolled for TIME and IMS as well. Wrote the 1st Ims mock again a 99 plus %ile.1st Time mock and Iwas the city topper in VA..Everything was going in a way I couldnt have imagined better. Mid august, and my scores averaged to about 97.5... I nominated myself for UDT and surprisingly was selected as the Captain... I was very sceptical in the beginning to be a member of such a coveted family leave aside being the captain.. But my gf always reposed faith in me..She always said that she believed I can do it at a time when even my parents had lost much hope after my continued failure since class12...
If ever I was wee bit sad after a mock, her presence and words comforted me and I started focussing on startegies.Ther were weekends when she had made many plans of us hanging out after my mock but only to find out that I was in no mood to talk about anyhting else having experienced a bad mock. But she never pegged me or got frstrated herself. She sat down beside me and constantly encouraged to concentrate for the next mock.
I struck a perfect strategy in Va becuase of which my scores consistently crossed 60 in every mock i took. She cooked and brought food for me to my flat,and drove me to every mock center (as distant as 20 km from wehre I stay.)so that I could save time for my studies.....I applied for XAT and IIFT as well and booked CAT on 1st nov...The day before CAT I was completely chilled and relaxed. We were roaming the streets of Hyd like free birds at 12 am in the night.
Then came the moment.. She dropped me at the center and wished me good luck....While I was waiting for my exam to start looking at the computer screen, I was cursing the bloody exam. (To ease my nerves... )'So what if I am not able to beat the hell out of u.. My life would not end..I have a lovely girl and I would be happy...'
Neways.. Started the paper. Qa was tough as was already the rumours...Neways I proceeded with a cool mind. Went through all the questions... Few were very tough and I did not even waste a second on them.. Rest I rechecked.. Attempted 22.
When I switched to VA.. i felt very confident as I had the backing of consistent 60+ scores in the last 2 months prior to cat. Rc's were tough. Still attmepted 9/10. One Lr set was easy. Second set I left 1q. When I came to the 3rd set I could not solve it due to contradictory clues.Rechecked it thrice only to find out that it wasworng. I wasnt nervous .. but only cursed and abused the paper setter...(i was expecting a wrong question having experienced the same the previous year...).. Neways... did not even bother to attmept the grammar and phrasal verbs. Proceeded with PJ, PC's and FIB's. Attmepted 22.. I knew I had attempted decent numbers in both.. Only worry was accuracy. I had a long history of screwing up exams with poor accuracy. In the mocks leading upto cat, my accuracy had dropped in QA. So, in effect I wanst that hopefull ....or rather I did not want to pin any hopes, having suffered the pain of failure many times by now.. I was so hopeless that I did not apply to FMS..:(
Next came IIFT .. I screwed it up due to one wrong strategy and calculated my score...a measly 43.xx. Suddenly, I started feeling nervous again about the future.. This time it was not only about me alone.. it was about both of us..I started feeling tense as to how I wouls stand up and face my parents leave aside her. Time was running out and we knew that we had to tell our parents soon as it was getting difficult for her to ignore all the marriage proposals she was getting. I was thinking if it isnt this year, I will not get another year.. Besides i had run out of steam, after so many failures.. one more and it would permanently hamper out future..With all this in mind I started preparing seriously for Xat. Solved mocks of IMS. Compared scores with other DT and UDT members. Devised a strategy.. This was going to be my first well prepared XAT( having skipped it the previous year)
Alas.! The paper was extemely tough. All 3 sections were tough. I was scoring somewhere in the mid 40's in the mocks.. Here I was 10 min remaining, attempted 17 in VA, 6-7 in DM, 9-11 in QA..
I knew XAT was gone, even if I consider that the paper would be very tough.. I was sure DM would play the spoil sport. I was very sad that day.. Cat was as always very unpredicatble, coupled with my accuracy issues..IIFT screwed.. And now XAT...Did not care to check the solutions...
Slowly results time arrived.. I was feeling very hopeless the night before 14th JAN.. I was telling my gf, dont expect anyhting... i am feeling bad for u.. despite so much effort and sacrifice by u, I will not be able to give u perfect gift..She insisted, 'dekhna tumhara achha hi hoga... I am sure'... But still I had no hope.. We knew results would be out by 9 am..I asked her to check mine as I considered myself cursed..:P She entered the details..The screen flashed...My eyes went straight to the Overall perentile section.. ............................................99.43................................................:)
I shouted at a voice which would make even the dead curse me from their graves...I checked the individual scores.. QA 99.21, VA 97.1 OA 99.43... The next moment I started crying loudly... Called up my mom, and for the first 3 mintues only cried and cried and cried...She started crying as well...Dad later told me the way she started crying, he thought that something must have happened to my grandmother..:P .Posted in FB the result screenshot ... The thing which I wanted to do so badly for such a long time.....
But soon the enjoyment was cut short becuase of the IIM's and their criteria. Did not get a call from A,B,C,L,I. Only calls IIMK, S, SPJAIN,MDI, NITIE, IIT B. Somehow, I was dejected at not having a single call among the top 4 IIM's. That feeling made me regret about XAT all the more... If only i had attempted a little more in DM..
Jan 31st came.. My gf called me up while I was at office and told me that I had got 97.21 with QA 88.69, VA 92.5 and DM....94.5..
Interview season started...
SPJAIN was a reject in the first round.. I became very nervous.. After all the excitement, expectations has soured from every corner... Evryone already had been saying 'tum to IIM jaoge..' and Here I am with only XL and IIM K to fight for.. XL interview was in Bangalore, and somehow I wanted to take my lucky charm with me... I knew deep inside that if she is with me then I would definitely succeed..
As I hadhoped for, XL interview went exceedinlgy well... I could manipulate the interview towards my preapred areas and answered everything ...Did well in the GD too...
Post XL interview, I did not study much and just went to every interview a confident stance..
Attended IIM K interview and did well in the gd but with a average PI I was not that hopeful.
I decided, If I convert a biggie, I would immediately tell my parents about my relationship. And I even planned to take her to my home.
April 7th 2014 7: 20 PM..
I heard that XL Results have been declared. I immediately called up my gf and asked her to take me home where she would be checking the results. I could have checked it in my mobile almost 1 hour back.But i did not. On my way back to home my heart started beating at the pace of usain bolt. She checked the result and said.......
XL HRM waitlist No 6.
The shout returned. The ecstacy returned. But this time it was relief... It was mission accomplished..Childhood dream to study in a reputed institute finally came alive.. When I look back and reflect it still feels that may be I am in some sort fo dream... It was like answering all those critics with a bang... i cannot describe better of what it was....
One after the other results came..
Nitie, MDI both convert..But then came the next biggie.
IIM K. @ibanez asked me my credentials over phone checked the results.
IIM Kozhikode converted.And I made up my mind..XL would remain close to my heart and I would never forget 7th april 2014 for the happiness it gave me, but it was going to be God's own campus.
In short If I have to write a message for all fellow aspirants who are struggling just like I did from 2008 to 2013.. I would say, 'Hard work never goes unrewarded forever and never ever give up in life..' . I never lost the belief in myself that I deserve the best, during my entire journey.
As for me I still have a long way to go far as career and relationship goes... Have a lot of struggles ahead of me..But today as I write this down, I am feeling very confident of the road ahead of me..I will work hard and I dont fear to compete with the best of the best.
P:S would write a separate post for strategies in interview prep...
IIM KOZHIKODE PGP (2014-16)
I'm a General, non-engineer, female. I'm skeptical whether my story can inspire anyone, but it surely has been one hell of a ride (that ended up in helL ) for me, so thought of penning it down just for records.
I did not score a great percentile in CAT, getting into an IIM may be a wish but was never a realistic dream for me.
I had below average academic record, no formal work experience, absolutely no extracurricular activity after school, in fact, I had no idea what am I going to do with my life after college gets over! I was studying (was I?) Biotechnology and was enjoying my life to the fullest. Every one of my class had made plans of career in final year but I was still clueless. There were two prominent choices, Msc or MBA. I wrote competitive exams of both, the CBEE (Combined Biotech Entrance Exam) and CAT. I was not much concerned about why should I go for either of them. I didn't qualify the CBEE and scored 55 percentile in CAT '11.
My friends started advising me; CAT is not for people like us to crack. It's cracked by engineers, IITians and all big shots who have excellent mathematical skills and extraordinary brain. I found some weight in this and gave up the thought for a while and continued having fun during final days of college. In every small or big exam I have done last minute study, by borrowing notes from here and there and somehow scored average marks.
After packing my bags from college, on my way to home, my brother asked me €œWhat's the plan? €? and I was silent. He continued, either you can go for Msc or you can go to IIM for MBA. (Are you kidding me?!). I reached home and found CAT study material waiting for me!
Anyhow, I started focusing on CAT as it seemed the only choice. I studied diligently, day and night, for coming 4-5 months. Finished syllabus in 2 months, then took a CL mock only to realize that I could hardly solve 4-5 questions in maths and hit 15-16 wrong in verbal. That was a sinking feeling. I started getting depressed and sleepless nights. It was September and I stood nowhere. With just 1 mock, everything seemed to have ended. Words of my friends were echoing in my ears and expectations of family flashing in eyes. I deactivated fb, blocked my boyfriend's no. from phone without telling him (he was a big distraction in my path, I'm yet to meet a guy who can encourage a girl for higher studies rather than putting easy choices in front of her), cut-off from all sorts of friends and focused only and only on CAT'12. It was no less than a battle of life for me where almost everything was on stake including my life. (I had no plan B if I could not crack CAT).
Results: 68%ile in CAT, 48%ile in XAT and similar performance in other exams too.
With each failure I was getting more and more triggered. Surprisingly, the results could no longer depress me or falter my determination to make it to a top B school. Instead I evolved more and more with each failure and faced them all with a tough smile on my face. By then, I knew why I needed MBA to fulfill my dreams and nothing could change my direction now. I was getting crazy and passionate for this MBA and IIM dream now!
This change in attitude toward my goals in life, in 1 year, was itself an accomplishment. I felt proud on myself that I'm able to- at least- think about my life and take my own decisions.
I started working for a startup- which later on induced the entrepreneurship keeda inside me too- and prepared parallel for CAT '13. I forcefully made reading as my habit and apart from news (which I already used to read), I made myself read good novels and editorials of Hindu and ET on a daily basis. Among online sources, livemint is my favorite. I have come to know so many diverse and awesome things about life through Philosophy passages in RC. Gradually, reading became my hobby.
Mostly, I used to read Hindu with my dictionary on and a notebook beside to write down new words. In my initial days I didn't even know words like 'haste' and 'conviction' (now I laugh at myself). My big fat notebook was slowly getting filled and my vocab stronger (at least for CAT level). For quant, I tried a lot focusing on my weak areas but as exams approached, I focused only on my strong areas, practiced them and forgot about everything else. I knew basics about every topic but never cared to know what a 'chinese remainder theorem' or a 'wilson's theorem' is. (Though, heard these names in quant thread a lot). I emphasized on DI, TnD, Profit and Loss, percentage, average and only basics of PnC, probability and other dirty maths.
Even this much was very difficult for me. I could never get my name in CL's toppers' list. But I kept on practicing, analyzing and practicing.
CAT, IIFT, SNAP, TISS, XAT
93.28 %ile in CAT, 50.66 marks in IIFT, 96.78%ile in XAT(Couldn't clear Quant cut-off)
Calls from IIFT, IMT-Ghaziabad, IMI delhi, IIM Lucknow ABM
I considered IIFT as my best call; IIM L seemed too good to be true. How could I convert at such a low percentile with nothing special in my profile? I focused on IIFT, it became my dream college. I read all business news, made notes, learnt facts and figures related with Indian Economy, practiced answering all probable questions I could think of. I used to visit Zzeke's post daily to see whether I'm anywhere near to his interview prep.
Something was wrong on IIFT day, I got really very nervous after reaching there. Essay went ok, but I could hardly speak in GD and was given a chance in the end to conclude. PI was even more terrible. I knew I was not getting in there.
I had IIFT reject (I didn't even make it to waiting list) when I went for IIM L WAT/PI. My mind was abnormally relaxed and pretty chilled out as if I had nothing to fear. I was reading Geeta sitting outside the PI room waiting for my call. (I have it in my phone and I was on 'karmayog' chapter). I went inside. I was unable to answer most of the acad based questions thoroughly, but maintained my composure. Rest of the questions was politics and elections based and I answered all of them. I was explaining how presidential elections happen; they stopped me in middle and said ok, we're done.
Meanwhile, I got IMT Ghaziabad DCP which was the lone offer I got this season. My parents were not ready to send me to Dubai, but my brother was, and I was eagerly waiting for IMI result so that all this tension can be sorted out.
Result came, and it was a straight reject.
I cried, cried and cried for hours. Was it IMI that made me cry? No. It was disbelief, a loss of faith in my own capability. I had toiled for days and nights not taking care of my own health, and got nothing in return. I lost faith in my own hard work. After this, I promised myself I will never cry for these results. Every time I felt low, there was a voice coming from inside 'I will not let you cry'. I felt tougher and stronger.
One result was yet to go and odds were all against me. I couldn't convert college like IMI, how could I even think of IIM L?
One day (27th April, Sunday) I was strolling on pagalguy and read 'ABM results out'. A result is a result. Heartbeats gone up, hoping for a miracle. I became the most optimistic person on this earth. Entered my CAT ID and email, pressed enter.
It was a 'Congratulation!' message. I didn't know how to react, I was silent
The girl who was clueless about her career after graduation, has just made it to one of the finest B schools in country. It's not IIM that makes me happy, it's the transformation in these 2 years that I feel good about. The state of mind and the emotions that I had that time would be belittled if I could arrange them in words. There is no way I can tell what it was like seeing the proud face of my Brother, Mom and Dad.
All's well that ends well. But if only this was the end. This is the beginning of something far more crazy and trying. I hope I make the best of this opportunity offered to me and come out as a bigger, better and brighter person in life.
For those who don't want to go through the whole story, the crux is-( actually the gyaan from my side )
-Never take the judgments by other people about you seriously. No one can know you and your ambitions in life, better than yourself. Dream high, but also, keep judging yourself very seriously.
-Hard work can make any damn thing on this earth possible. I have always heard this, but now I truly got the meaning. A hard worker can never be a loser.
-The moment you stop thinking about results, the moment you become far more efficient in efforts. Keeping one eye on result leaves only one eye for the real work.
-Last and the most important, never ever put everything on stake for this CAT, MBA or anything. Always have a plan B ready. This again makes you steady and more efficient. (Though I took a big risk by not doing so, I don't advice this to anyone).
Thanks a lot for spending your time reading this. Have a great life.
[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in her own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]
My journey of MBA :----
First of all, this post is not for those people who intend to aim for IIM's or those who scroll down quickly to see, which college I finally converted.
All it started from :--
I am pass out of 2011 batch (B.E.). I was placed in TCS (along with my entire batch of college). I was enjoying, waiting for my joining to come. On 14th June, during last day of college, all of my batch mates got their joining (except ME ) I waited for around two months (till my class mates got their salary twice ). Day by day i went into frustration and feeling that MAY be TCS would cheat me .
August end 2011, I decided to give CAT casually, enrolled for TIME Indore (I am from Ujjain, so I had to travel 60 Km for each AIMCAT during those days).
1209 was my first Aimcat without any preparation and I got 89.6%ile. I was happy in that ... 20 Days till 1205, I studied like hell. Then I got TCS joining and again Mauj masti started. Left studies. Went TCS Hyderabad training center. Given CAT 2011 in Time pass.
Result : QA :98.6 , VA :65.xx (OA :95.xx).
2012: I came to Mumbai, I was okay with my project.Till March got feeling, TCS may be not suitable for me in long run. Mind again switched to CAT. Enrolled TIME Boriwali classes. (This was the first time ever I joined any coaching or tuition class in my life)
These Aimcats came very dicey for me. For QA it was okay, VA got 56%ile in 1320 . Started working on VA. Day by day I started working on VA. But still I was struggling with 60-80% zone. I still remember, it was 1313 where i got 95.xx in VA (without any help of LR
But what I felt now onward, QA went on declining side. Also I guess TIME Aimcat were on same pattern, I really took TIME AIMCATS for GRANTED. Went into high spirits. I was very much sure that this time I will really nail it and will go to top college. I went into overconfidence.
CAT2012 :Result (A disaster :Do not want to mention it)
Also my performance at office affected, Got the least rating, Break up, Rejection, all things came together like if god is punishing me for some crime. I went into depression. I went like kite whose regulating knot gone. I decided to leave my job , leave Mumbai, bleakness just engulfed me.
Finally decided, either I will stay depressed or move out and find out better ways to find my own self.
I started reading. Animal farm was first book during that season I read, I don't know what happened into me but then I felt, I guess it is reading which could pacify or calm my mind (From that date of last march, till now I almost read more than 30+ books ).
I also started teaching poor children, got opportunity from TCS LFT group. When I saw them I got feeling that I am very blessed that god has given such a beautiful life to me.
I also started watching plays at Prithvi theater, with 4 friends we all started discussing GK at CCD. NOT for exam purpose, but for knowledge purpose.
Along with I started enjoying my work as well.
Slowly I released that I started enjoying my life. Enrolled only for CL, was NOT serious this time .
Given all PG mocks (I was in decent zone of 85-95 %ile ).
What I realized this year was that I am not typical made for IIM's and all. May be colleges like IRMA, MICA, TISS is more inclined with my interest. I realized that I am not into mainstream. (I am into other thinks as film making during college, story writing, teaching children etc. were my passion)
So CAT was just a formality. But IRMA shocked me that 80% CAT score will be considered.
So worked little on CAT :
My CAT 2013 CAT experience :
It went BAD.
CAT 2013 result : 95 %ile with 90+ in both section. (and I thought I was expecting 40-50 %ile ) .
Then came TISS : Given.
MICA :(Yes, Here it came for me it is my DREAM college. Those who know me personally, they always say I am perfect MICA material ). Did not even sleep one night before exam. (Not even for a single second ,went five times to wash my face during exam).
IRMA :Given .
Rest college I did not care.
GOT all THREE CALLS (
But for me MICA was obsession (I cried a lot when in 2012 I was rejected). I knew what I have to do.
First TISS interview came. It was okay. I was also not in full mood. REJECTED
It was during this 1st interview where I realized that my pros and cons, I am a bakar express kind of a person and I was trying to be intelligent.
I decided, even if I am DUMB, I will remain that, next was MICA my dream. Any wrong move, it could lead me ... No.... ).
There were things asked in form "likes and dislikes".
People said you to lie somewhere, make it marketing related, IMPRESSIVE.
I did not listen to them.
I wrote Books, Street dogs, Ayushman khurana (As my role model, please don't take it otherwise ).
I read almost 5 books on brand management. Researched on every nook of my life , my belonging, communications industry.
My interview went super awesome. I was told to make a movie on UJJAIN. I made entire script in front of interview panel .... Mohan jodaro ---Ashoka ----Vikramaditya----Samudragupta--- ITTUTMISH----Scidia -Kumbha mela---Mahakaal temple---23 and half degree tropic of cancer---ENTIRE HISTORY OF UJJAIN---IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER ----NAMED MY MOVIE (ITIHAS KA MAHANAGAR UJJAIN ).
KALIDAS ---ABHIGYANSHANKUTALAM , MEGHDOOT. Everything they asked I knew.
They asked how many languages I know. I said give me any indian language I can sing a song. Tamil, Kannad, Malayam, Gujrati etc. They got puzzled and said god forgot to put stop button in my tape recoder. Offered TEA and BISCUITS .
Awesome 30 Minutes of life. The moment I came I knew I have done it this time.
When result came. 1st spot offer name. I was there. I Nailed it finally MICA MY DREAM.
Then IRMA came : I was original : Converted.
Then Big Trouble came : College fee.
My personal life: I have huge communication gap with my parents and not good terms with them (Very bad terms )... After 10th.. DID NOT HAVE A PROPER TALK WITH THEM..They do not much about my padhai likhaai... typical business dhande waali family... They don't know MICA, IIM, IIT... for them dukaandaari is best option ... Its not financial but they are not much into supporting education.. Business is of primary importance.. May be it sound strange to you . They wanted to drag me into business and I retaliated... Long back fight happened.. result :Bleak relations ...So bank wanted a coborrower ..for which my father did not give much support... and fear started of losing MICA.
I did not find any person as guarantee. From 12th April to 5th May was most painful days of my life. I ran everywhere. Nothing worked. Finally HDFC credilla also refused me on account of Co-borrower. Finally, I typed this letter to MICA :
Dear MICA Team,
Today is 5th May 2014, I was told by MICA representative regarding my last mail that as I got an spot offer and I was not informed prior about deduction of 25,000/- . So I will be given full 50,000 If I cancel my admission before 6th May 2014.
I tried everything, but finally failed in this task. Today, Bank rejected my loan request on account of poor co-borrower profile.
MICA is my dream college and it will always remain as my dream, When I came there for interview I took some MICA soil with me. I will preserve it forever along with me .
I have one REQUEST with MICA. Please, if possible for authorities to provide me a MICA T-shirt. I am not okay and it is painful for me to leave MICA due to such reasons. But if it is possible, please send me a MICA T-shirt, so that I will always preserve it as a memento from MICA. That day of 9th April will always remain alive in my memory. Even if some charge would deduct for it I am okay with it. (My T-shirt size is medium)
One thing which I want to share is that whether I gained anything or not, but one thing for sure. MICA gave me confidence in my life, that I can do anything now.
MICA is great college and It will always remain.
Now, with silent weight on my heart, I would like to say please treat this mail as cancellation of my admission from MICA.
My bank details for amount transfer are as follows :--
Name :Ravi Gangani
IFSC code: CITI0000006
Account number :- XXXXXXXXX.
and I lost MICA when I received their cancellation confirm.
But this time I am not shattered, Infact I am happy, MAY BE GOD HAS BETTER FOR ME AHEAD, I REALLY BELIEVE .
In fact I have seen many people who left their journey in between due to failure in exam or interview. At least I was among those fortunate ones who CONVERTED their dream. I am really proud of fact that till 10th I was not even able to read English (I am from typical GOVT. HINDI MEDIUM SCHOOL ) and I converted (Spot offer - flaunt
IRMA :A highly respectable college, but will not join it, as I feel I am not fit for it.
VERDICT : WILL REMAIN WITH TCS. (Yes, I got here good ratings and opportunities as well, my project team is like home to me .)
Life is how you see it, if you see it positively even little happiness brim you with satisfaction. But if you see it -ve ,even kings throne will look very bleak.
I am very happy with my life. Don't know what to do next. I am not in mood of giving any exam now just enjoying and yes my days do not mere pass-by or drag off. They are dancing on their feet.
Good luck to all for your journey. Only mantra for success .
BE ORIGINAL AND INSANELY DIFFERENT .
Its time i jot down my experience of CAT.. Would make a good 5 page article actually, but lets put it short
Pagalguy has always had a surprise for me.. I never knew what a dream team would be till the day I got nominated there…! I wasn't really serious about my CAT till the day people brought serious in me with their doubts..! Being a part of legacy of PG Dream Team was an honor but I was extremely worried people around me were too giant a killer to think about, leave alone to compete along. But today, I stand jubilant after cracking the toughest entrance in the world(source: WiKi)
The journey of this WIMWIAN flowed like this..
My most serious n sincere attempt to crack CAT. Fighting alone with hardly anyone to get guidance from and to remind you all, I never knew what PaGalguY was too. I worked hard as my final year in college hardly posed trouble to me. I wondered how in this world could I not crack CAT. I prepared well I would say though not my best but once I wrote the exam I was sure I did well. Wrote other OMETs, all were decent except for FMS which I floundered. I never bothered till the results gave a shock to me. A paltry 98 shouted loudly in my ears. “You are done buddy”. That day I thought I might not write CAT again in my life. XAT followed with a 99 and JMET with 89AIR. I could now easily put the blame on Normalization for ruining my chances. I never prepared for interviews. I still remember having around 15 calls in top 20. I could manage to ruin all of them except for a couple in which I wasn't interested. I had an attractive job as a trader and hardly bothered about them.
And I though the journey ended…!
Though I was never serious about it, I just gave it to be on safer side for I might get fired from FF.(People who know about FF should know why I am saying so). And to my surprise I got a 93 in CAT. Couldn't I have imagined a worse no. like that. And I agained cracked XAT comfortably at 99.8
Happily messed up XL interview as I wasn't interested to join. I was planning to continue my job as I got confirmed in office by then.. Dint make it to XL even with that score…!
And again I thought the journey finally ended…!
It was Feb 2013 when I realized what my career was..What it offered and what I wanted.. Money is never bad but I wanted something else. I wanted to fulfill my dreams.. I wanted to conquer the eluding.
I started to focus and revisited every damn concept in CAT. I joined PG..started to work on even minor problems. Practiced and practiced. Though I knew I was doing the same thing which I always did, I knew there got to be some difference. I still remember those days when I came back at 2 in the night and opened an article to read from philosophy..Crazy stuff…!
I actually hoped to clear CAT this time in spite of all the hardwork I put in. This time the result was a bit more favourable though not the one to quench my thirst. 99.4 with a good balance of secs at 99 n 97.
I was hoping to get some calls. Got A B L K S calls…!
And the XAT result had a surprise waiting for me.. this time it was 99.96 and I was like, I can crack XAT in sleep too..!
I promised myself not to let go this opportunity. People wouldn't believe if I say I even read about why seasons occur across the world. The amount of effort I put in, I myself was surprised. I actually grew fond of curiosity to know things. I went to the extent of reading about World war 1 n 2 because the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug 9( It happens to be my B'day). I learnt about every damn ibank in US. For the first time, I was happy I gave my best. Gave all my interviews in a flock..15 days around 10 interviews. And I availed only a day's leave. I couldn't afford any.. You know my profession is so….!
Had an iift reject.. I realized I had a low score and irrelevant work ex for iift (fin is not for their liking). So thought its ok.
Had an spjain reject- Oh man.. this was unexpected.. I was hardly asked any questions. Never thought this was coming..!
Next had an XL reject.. This hit me on my face.. I was worried .. I still wonder why this happened. I had a 40 min interview and I did relatively well. I thought it was the end..!
Next came the B reject: though expected I hoped for a miracle. There wasn't any… I couldn't see myself doing an MBA. One of my friends told.. Once some one says u aren't fit for an MBA how do u expect to get in
And the Blast came after all this… Couldn't have been a better moment to see this.. I could see my mom cry with me when we saw my IIM A convert. I cherish it and will forever.
L,K, MDI followed …!
Now its my turn to reject them…!
End of the day I had the final laugh..!
Some thoughts for aspirants:
Never think u can never make it though it looks obvious. There is always some thing hidden.
Work on every tiny detail u can think of. They help at some point.
Give ur best and keep giving ur best…! All the best…!
P.S: I could have written more but its already too lengthy…!
For all my experiences u can check out the DT thread…!
Special mention for @visionIIM-ACL and DT team who had supported me at all times.. All the Best to every one of them
K. Harsha Vardhan
IIM A 2014-16
So FINALLY, I feel I am deserving enough to post something on this "Holy" thread!
Reading tens of posts on this very thread was one of the first inspirations I had to give CAT 2013. Guys, my journey is quite different from most others posted here. I see others posting their journey which spans over 2-4 years, and ultimately shows that how consistent hard work and passion can make your percentile improve from as low as 60 to as high as 99.99. I feel grateful because this was my FIRST attempt at CAT and I scored a99.8
percentile with both sectionals 99+. Now you may think that either I'm some super intelligent genius from an IIT/NIT or it was just plain luck. But it was neither.
I am a guy who has been AVERAGE at best, all his life. Throughout school, I barely managed to get an 80-85% to get that "Scholar Badge" (I'm from a DPS) , that too only to make my parents satisfied. I NEVER had any medals/awards etc. for extra curriculars or academics,NOTHING SPECIAL AT ALL
. I screwed all my exams like AIEEE and JEE and finally went to NIIT University to pursue Computer Science Engineering. Most of you might have never even heard of this University and I don't blame you. Mine was the second batch here, with a strength of just 35! I was so de-motivated that I started screwing my grades even there, with a horrible 5.27 in the first semester.
It was during the second year, that I started realising that all thisHAS TO STOP
. My biggest fear now was stayingMEDIOCRE
for the rest of my life. Hearing people from IITs/NITs getting these huge pay packages at these "DREAM" companies added to the depression. So, I started taking part in various extra curricular activities, developed an interest in Marketing, did a lot of certifications/internships etc, took up a lot of leadership positions in the University and started improving my GPA. I knew that if I don't do all this I will stand no where at the end of my engineering and it was a very scary thought. Today, I feel great that after that first semester my GPA NEVER went down till the last semester, and I have a CGPA of 6.82 now (not great but compare it to 5.2!).
As the third year started, I started to think about what to do next. I was always more interested in going to the US for studies but of course, that option was almost cancelled out when I got to know that the average age of MBA candidates in the top US schools is 28! I was 20, and so that's how CAT became the only option left.
I started preparing for CAT 2013 in May 2013. As my University was 3 hours outside of Delhi, I couldn't even enroll in any coaching class. So I bought TIME correspondance, some online test series and Arun Sharma books (which almost everyone does). But frankly, I didn't study even in May because of my college exams
! Then came JUNE and JULY, the vacations. This is when I got REALLY REALLY serious about MBA. I didn't take up any internship, stayed at home, and studied for almost 8-10 hours everyday for the whole 2 months. In the first mock I gave, I got a 35%ile in QA/DI and a 98.7 in VA/LR, and it was clear what I had to do next. I slogged it out day and night but still was barely able to attempt 10/30 questions in QA/DI. But I just kept practicing, without stopping, without thinking. By September (when I was back in campus), the results started to show improvement. I realised that I had practiced so much that many questions seemed like repetitions and I didn't even have to think a lot for them. Then started the WEIRD fluctuations in percentiles. 91->91->65->90->98->85 This was what my mock scores used to look like. But still, getting demotivated was not even an option. I gave 4-5 sectional tests daily and a full mock once in 2-3 days for almost 2 months, and spent 4-5 hours just ANALYSING the results. Finally the date was coming closer, the last mock I gave showed me a 94%ile. With completely NOTHING in mind except a strong passion, some hope, and the STRATEGIES I had made, I went and wrote the CAT.
I attempted 20 questions in QA/DI and 24 in VA/LR. I had never attempted over 40 questions in a mock, and I somehow knew that I had done well.
On the day of the results ----> 99.8! That was probably the happiest moment of my life. I quickly analysed that if 2,00,000 gave the paper, I was in the TOP 400! I WAS NO LONGER AVERAGE.I WAS NO LONGER AVERAGE
. That single thought made me EXTREMELY happy.
To summarise, I think the MOST important things for CAT are:
-> NEVER GIVING UP/ NEVER LOSING HOPE
-> Putting in a lot of dedicated time and LOTS of practise (specially if you're not good at Maths or English like I wasn't)
-> The MOCK ANALYSIS and Personal STRATEGY-making as to how you'll ATTEMPT the paper (Give at least 20-30 mocks before giving CAT)
-> Remember that "Being very intelligent" and "Doing well in a exam" can be slightly different things. Giving exams (specially ones which are MCQ based) is an ART. You have to know the exam well and how to attempt it, more precisely what NOT to attempt. A super intelligent person may score lower than an above average person who knows the exam and has developed excellent strategies for it.
So it's clear that with all these things and of course a little luck, an Average guy at an Average college CAN get a 99.8%ile (or even 100 for that matter) in 5 months!
In the end, I want to also mention something important to future aspirants, that please work on your PROFILE, Extra-Curriculars, General Knowledge and Awareness etc. before giving the CAT. Because once you get your results, you'll realise that CAT is just a step towards joining your dream college, and it will be late by then. I didn't even get calls from IIM ABLI even after getting a 99.8! GD/PIs are a different game altogether, and you also need to be prepared for them beforehand. Read a lot, Current Affairs, newspapers/magazines anything, just READ.
For those who want to know where I'm going: IIM Kozhikode 2014-16
PS I'm also waiting for FMS Delhi like many others
ALL THE BEST TO ALL FUTURE CAT ASPIRANTS!!!!
EDIT - On request some tips for QA/DI specifically:
The most cliched, yet the most important thing for QA DI is practise! At first it may seem like you're not improving, but after some time you'll notice the difference.
Take a lot of sectional tests and TOPIC tests, and identify 5-6 of your STRONG topics...After that make them stronger. DI is usually easier to master because it requires mostly just practise and there's almost no "theory" to study.
In mocks, try to attempt at least 2 out of the 3 DI sets (6-7 questions) and 6-8 questions from your strong topics. (which makes it around 12-15 questions). You should ideally be left with 10-15 minutes after these, in which you can try your hand at other questions. Many times it is those 10-15 minutes which make all the difference between a 90 and a 99 percentile.
Don't skip any question without reading it, only because it's from your weak topic. Sometimes there are very easy questions which you can solve even if you're not good at the topic.
Finally, everything depends on the difficulty level of the paper, how you manage your time and attempt the paper, and some luck!
EDIT 30th June: Finally joining FMS Delhi 2014-16
This post is continuation of the previous post and shall focus on 2 things…. How I attempted CAT and my strategy… how I prepared for GD PI
How to prepare for CAT … you have Arun Sharma, coaching class material… shortcuts etc.. But below is a short write up on prep for written
One thing I would like to mention as to why writing the Part 2 is totally different from 1st and I target a diff audience cause when I started... I found few tips on how to prepare and how to strategize .... I had talked with so many but still couldn't come up with how to actually prepare a strategy to my needs.... But after so much experimentation...luck... failing... etc.. I found something that worked for me...
1) Written Prep
For written, I knew I had to start from scratch, unlearn most of things…. Hence I solved Arun Sharma again completely…. Also solved most of the questions on QA VA lessons threads at Total gadha…. I believe they are the definitive work on basic and advance concepts of Quant… It helped me strengthen the topics I was weak at or help me memorize shoortcuts…. Topics like euler,crt,last 2 digits etc were definitely a time saver and helped me gain an edge…. If you do not have much time before CAT.. do not go for Total gadha as these require practice and patience to understand, learn and imbibe
For VA, mocks were enough… but I focused more on attempting the paper rather than preparing for VA….I do not have any Verbal improvement tips as it's the last thing I can offer.
2) How to beat CAT ??
Before you read further, bear in mind, this strategy is not one solution fit all strategy… worked for me.. but may not work for you… so find your own strat or tweak mine… but find something that works for you... it helped me from 90 percentiler to 99.9 percentiler
To sum my strat in a line, here goes
" Moderate attempts of 20 in each section with very very high accuracy is enough"
I had tried everything, but all were a failure.. so this was something I hadn't done before and felt…lets see how this shapes up.
I decided first to find out how many qstns I can solve without taking a risk , or being 90% sure of…. Soon I found it was around 14- 15 in QA and accuracy reached 80-85% and VA around 70% with 20 qstns… VA will still giving me goosebumps
I started trying to analyse mocks more deeply, not just question wise, but time wise, how much time was on productive qstns, was my question selection right, did I miss easy qstns, finding a pattern of qstns that I am doing wrong again and again… so as to either improve upon… or ignore them completely so as to save time and improve my attempts
In QA, I found Geometry, TSD took more time and accuracy was not good, Number syatems can be solved using shortcuts and accuracy was good… PNC was above average accuracy and Probability was time consuming….Venn diagrams were pretty much easy…
In DI, I had worst accuracy and time was wasted a lot on caselet style qstns, but hey… Histograms and pie charts were good .. and I had good accuracy… Also in most caselets 2 out of 3/4 questions were simple and took least time… but overall QA accuracy was better than DI accuracy
In VA this was tougher, but soon I realized grammar qstns, phrasal verbs, had to be left out completely as accuracy was losing and it was completely random…. PJs and PCs were to be attempted if I am 90% sure… I have to
RCs , I found philosophy articles were tough for me… Science…Economics were high scoring for me as I used to find it interesting…. Literature RCs were average ….
LRs were my favourite but little time consuming depending on sets
So, after all introspection I knew now which areas to focus,…. Which qstns to completely give up… which qstns to leave… but how do I develop a knack of all this info and apply in exam…
So this strategy had to be practiced a lot in mocks… a lot…. Mocks were my area of experimentation… a lot of experimentation was done and theoretical expectancies were verified with actual results and soon it was showing in mocks… Stratgy was working… but nothing could have been said … that would it work in CAT??
So now comes how to solve an exam with so much info at my disposal?
Being hyperselective in selecting questions in attempting [ I do only 1 set of DI, touched only 3 question of VA (but made sure LR was all correct and RC I attempted , i think, 6-7 out of 9) and solved around 14-15 questions of QA]
my strength QA,RC,LR
my weakness- VA n DI [only caselets I hate] my strength 36-40 qstns my weakness -20 qstns my CAT attempts - 36 [32-33 from my strengths]
I knew my CAT attempts were low from any standards…. Will it yield results… Will it work ?? Well the result showed I was right…
Why I did this 1) so that I give more time on things I can solve better 2) Accuracy improves when I give more time and playing on my strengths
Advice to future aspirants
First of all... My advice is anti advice of what everyone might have given you... people say increase your reading speed, improve ur weakness, - didnt work for me
Only way to crack cat according to me - Find your strength - make them stronger and attempt only those
Why i say this - cause I attempt 18-20 each section , with 90-95% accuracy and your percentile will go up
Stop wasting time on attempting more qsns in least time.... CAT is all abt accuracy
RCs are not that tough that u need to read fast and attempt maximum... I spent 25 mins on 3 Rcs and attempted 7 qsns... In LR i attempted all 9-10 with 100% accuracy and VA- I skipped grammar qstns [truly speaking I dont bother to even check if easy or tough...I just skip it.... Also I skipped Phrasal verbs... ].... when i said i know i need to attempt 18-20 .... i know i will be skipping many... so whichever i attempt ... i am able to give 3.5-4+ min time to each questions so that my accuracy doesn't dwindle
Similarly in QA. I hated Geometry and rarely did I attempt geometry.... Also I didn't bother to read TSD qstns with long paras [who has the time for it]
This strategy is very risky... you can say high risk ...high rewards or no risk no rewards But I always made sure.... I MARK ONLY THOSE QSTNS whose ANSWR I WAS DAMN sure.... else skip it or dont bother
How I developed such skill..... You need to be calm n composed before you develop such practice over time.... When you start....you may not have guts to skip a qstn you like... bt accept it.... every qstn is not doable.... Find your strengths...my case QA and LR
Also... this may seem a shocker.... I attempt only 1 set of DI or none and spend rest of time in QA as it was my strength
Now skipping DI, VA and focusing on QA,LR and RC was my forte and I developed it really hard.... may not work for you... find what works for you... But be sure... it works for you
One more thing, Mocks were for me experimentation ground..... I sometimes scored low ... sometimes in triple digit... but what mattered most was my accuracy and use of time....High Percentiles did not matter at all as low accuracy would be against my strategy and efforts... the game was for me now about accuracy... I tried not to be sad or happy with low or high percentiles... but yes I was angry on me when my accuracy levels dropped below 85 %... So accuracy in mocks is a better judging criteria and more inline with normalization according to me (not sure how much valid that statement is)
Dont apply this strategy to SNAP.... IIFT and XAT , I applied this with a little change
But another honest thing... nobody can teach you how to attempt a paper...you need to learn yourself that maintaining a composure in exam with forgetting all your worries, past and mistakes made in any section or while solving will help you clear .... Coaching teaches you only IQ... Its upto you to build an EQ...
3) GD PI Preperation
Regarding GD PI i am the last person, who has a history of failures.... and would recommend reading Zzeke' post which I always respect and consider as definitive work but there are few thing extra I did and would like to mention here… I would say… A long term strategy in 4th year's beginning helped… a lot
When I had 99.9 CAT, I knew I had to do something different…. Such percentile and calls I got would be a one time opportunity and letting it go like I had done for XL and SPJ like last year would be a disaster
So these steps were taken... some long before I had a call...
1) I joined Toastmasters International in Infosys, it helped me how to prepare a speech, review content, speak and get hold of audience . It helped me in debates,speeches,extempores etc
2) I prepared GK along side an IAS friend.... he is one of the most knowledgeable friend I have met.... We preapred notes tgether on History, Geography, Gk,current affairs, Politics(both are favourite), stats from newspaper editorials etc
3) Also refer to a post by Zzeke on AIWSTAC His method of preparation for GD PI is an eye opener.... I realized I had done nothing till now... as much he had for his GD PI. Blindly followed his strategy and it worked
4) Strategies tips/techniques/ content in GD PI workshops at @GenesisMentors helped a lot.... They helped me get personalized feedback and I felt one needs feedback from friends or mentors on your improvement…. Preparing all alone would be a disaster as you would never knew where you need to improve…. I would like to thank @manish_harodia Sir, Brijesh Sir and Rakesh Sir for having faith in me and instill confidence when I didn't have in myself.
5) I am a regular reader of Indian Express and Business Standard and Jagran Josh [GK books].... since an year and made notes, or have healthy discussions on important topics with my IAS friend.... So all this I did and unconsciously it helped me a lot
6) I also had a friend who was preparing for GMAT…. He guided me on how to write essays…SOP etc… IF it wasn't for him my IIM C/FMS SOP would have been disaster
7) Prepared notes on HR questions/some important technical questions GK as I had forgotten and revised them daily…. While alone, spoke aloud the answers for these to depict confidence as and when Interviewer asked them….
8) Introspect yourself…. The most difficult thing I think is to know yourself… once you do more of that… you shall have more clarity of thought and confidence
9) Personally like to thank @Sandeep_PT sir, his contribution on GK thread and PT education's WAT and GD topics availability online helped a lot in staying aware and really good points which I spoke in GD
So yes that is somewhat I did unconventional...........
But Read Zzeke's post though.... that's enough to crack any GD PI
Also if you think how did I have so much time for this.... the answer is I worked in a project which was more like Bench
[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]
All I wanted to speak about CAT and B-schools admissions. - PART 1.
Prologue: 14th January 2014. The time was 9 AM. I had never felt more pessimistic or had lower expectations ever in my life. CAT'11 and CAT'12 had instilled this sense of cynicism in me. Anything can happen in CAT – blame it or normalization or your slot – but accept it and live with it. After 30 minutes of failed loading, the screen finally showed some text – it asked for the CAT ID and a couple of personal details. Finally the moment had dawned upon me. I million thoughts rushed through my head – that question 30 in CAT which I missed out on by a second, all the AIMCATs/Byjus Classes, all the sacrifices I had made in order to focus more on CAT. My hands were shaking as I entered my details and blood rushed through my head. Finally the result screen loaded and it read – 99.73 percentile! My eyes became the size of golf balls and I reloaded the page to confirm the result. Finally, everything I had worked on had paid off. The feeling was surreal, probably the best feeling ever. You got to experience it to know how much it means.
Chapter I. CAT 2011: Just like every other confused person in my batch I joined the TIME long term coaching in my campus (NIT-K Surathkal) in the beginning of my 3rd year. For the next one year, I attended most classes regularly and even shifted the branch to Bangalore during the summer holidays. AIMCATs started and I was regularly in the 95 percentile+ bracket. I had a load of responsibilities in the 7th semester and couldn't quite dedicate much time to CAT prep but never lost touch. Thankfully I didn't take placements for granted and got placed in one of m target companies (which – in hindsight - is one of the best things that could have happened to me). I felt that I had a messed up undergraduation in terms of academic performance and was quite hell bent on making up for it in MBA. CAT 2011 came – I was always the reckless attempter and had attempted 25+29 Qs. I felt I had done just about okay. Wrote XAT and felt more assured.
CAT results day – I was actually playing DOTA on LAN when the news was out. After a lot of effort (rubbish wireless dongle based internet) I finally got to know my fate – 93 (odd) percentile. I was shattered, felt a huge sense of emptiness and went to sleep. The next morning I woke up late and heard excited voices outside my room. Some of my batchmates did well and as much as I felt happy for some of my friends (who were a part of my peer CAT/AIMCAT giving group) , I felt extreme low reflecting on my percentile and even didn't come online to FB or Gmail for 3 weeks.
XAT result came out and I got a pleasant surprise – 98.91 percentile and calls from BM and HRM. Apart from the obvious happiness of getting a call from a tier-1 b school, it also saved my ass in terms of reputation I think. I didn't work very hard towards the call from XL (had 2 full months to my interview day and I even went to Goa a few days before my interviews!) The BM interview was an intense grilling session and HRM was much nicer. But unfortunately then (and I think it was a good thing in hindsight) I got rejects from both.
Chapter 2 -CAT 2012- I had joined my job as a Risk Analyst in a global bank in June 2012. I joined the AIMCATs and SIMCATs in July and started giving them soon enough. I certainly didn't prepare much for CAT but to my surprise I was getting better percentiles then the last season. Although I didn't really study much – I wasn't as outgoing as any fresher joining his/her first job should be (living with parents after 4 years in a hostel felt a little restricting). I made a mistake by letting people in office about my CAT/MBA plans and soon enough my manager (a pretty poor manager albeit his individual skills) got the hint of it and started panicking.
Anyway, the D-day arrived and I attempted an even higher number of Qs – 28+30. XAT came and I annihilated Quant but was on the receiving end in Verbal/DM and I knew immediately that I won't get through the sectional cut-offs. CAT result day – I got 97%tile. Given the experience last time around, I had much lower expectations this time. I got over the disappointment quite quickly and happened to have got a call from SP Jain marketing (my lone call). My GI-2 was mainly about why I applied for marketing while working for a bank and I didn't do too well to justify my choice and expectedly got a reject. I never felt any regrets during the season as I knew that 2 years of work-ex was vital to my chances next year (partly make up for my avg acads) and even inside the b school.
Chapter 3 -CAT 2013. Even before my SP Jain interview in Feb 2013, I had my sights set on CAT 2013. This time I would take it seriously and more methodically than my previous attempts. I joined Byjus Classes against my wishes (mom forced me to!) and attended only the quant/DI classes (didn't want to pay for verbal) 3 times a month on every Sunday at 8 AM for the next 7 months. Till June 2013, I was only in second gear and it was only when the AIMCATs season started is when I shifted to third gear.
I had slowly started realizing the benefit of joining Byjus classes – no his methods aren't as magical or ingenious as he claims they are and heck I barely ever even listened to him. But I religiously solved each and every questions in the question bank which was handed out every week in those 4 hour long sessions in that auditorium with 1000+ people. I was quite sure that I wouldn't bother solving so many Qs on my own sitting at home. Not a chance.
Most importantly – this is when I had developed the single most important habit of my eventual success story – always have the mindset that 'This question can be solved – I just need to think of the fastest way'.
Believe me guys – this mantra had worked wonders for me even in the MOCK CATs I wrote. AIMCAT season started and I scored 99.5+ in most of my initial AIMCATs. Sometime during September I feared that I was already past my peak and feared that I had burnt out and was losing focus and even my AIMCAT scores went down to the mid 90s. I took a 2 week leave from work just before my d-day 30th October 2013. I didn't really do much during this time and played a lot of Roller Coaster Tycoon 2!
D-day arrived and I choose an afternoon slot (for the first time) and drank 2-3 cups of tea to ensure a level of alertness (It so happens that I had empirically proven to myself that I feel more sleepy at 3 PM than at 3 AM. :O) I went in with the same mindset as every Mock CAT. Every question can be solved. I attempted 23 odd in section 1 and 29 in section 2. Given the toughness of the previous slots this year, I thought it was decent enough.
I completely forgot about CAT in the next 2 months and decided to relax a little after months of sacrifice. I was super cynical about CAT anyway, had almost no expectations despite my decent performance. XAT came and I somehow managed to give a well balanced attempt.
Now refer the prologue again. 99 point freaking 73! QA – 98.6 VA -99.51 OA- 99.73
I have read innumerous stories about the feeling but you have to FEEL IT to know how good it feels. All the effort – a 100 Mock CATs, innumerous classes, so so many sacrifices – all paid off and I felt vindicated. It was the first ever entrance exam that I smashed (after a disastrous JEE, below avg AIEEE+BITSAT+KCET and 2 failed attempts at CAT) Family and friends were thrilled for me any I had become a mini celebrity. XAT result came and I was almost equally surprised - 99.85!
Felt grateful to my parent for their efforts to aid my prep; my friends for instilling faith in me and to PG - for keeping me on track and motivated throughout.
But I knew that only half the story was over and it was the time when my dented academic history would come back to haunt me for my calls and interview.
My next post will be about my GDPI prep as it deserves another fresh post.
Epilogue: My 2 cents about CAT:
1. NEVER think that it beyond you. Always believe that you can do it.
2. But then – don't be complacent either – maintain long term focus – every question solved, every AIMCAT given is stepping stone and a part of the learning curve.
3. Again – EVERY question can be solved. It's a high risk mindset which paid off for me.
4. During d-day – know thy question and keep track of time
5. For verbal ability- I never took it for granted. I read the GRE Wordlist for months to improve my vocab. I learnt sentence correction through GMAT videos on YouTube. I tried identifying all the kinds of errors. I brushed up many Grammar rules. I read newspaper columns regularly.
6. For QADI – SPEED is the key. Despite being my weakest link, I had improved dramatically in Quant in this season.
7. Keep yourself motivated and enjoy the prep. You should FEEL that you are improving – it is the best indicator of your progress.
1. Analyse your mock CATs and solve the Qs you couldn't solve and try seeing patterns on why you weren't able to solve it in the test. Lack of time? Lack of know-how? Carelessness?
2. This is not JEE. Don't lose track of your interests or things happening around you. My interest in Eco/Fin/Current Affairs helped me in my GDPI.
3. Select your slot carefully and plan the time around it.
4. Improve calculations speeds drastically. Improve Vocab (helps you indirectly in RCs as well)
5. Give your work-ex your possible best and don't begrudge it. It will help you in your PI/Applications and inside and after b-school as well.
1. Give mock CATs and ignore them thereafter.
2. Put all your faith in one mock CAT series/coaching class.
3. Think of only one way to solve a question. Multiple ways usually exist and it broadens your ability to solve a problem.
Good luck to all aspirants and I'd be thrilled if my post improved you motivation levels even by 2%!
Finally, penning down my thoughts on this sacred thread. This post shall be big in terms of length, so tread with caution and read it when you have enough time and of course, a coffee is a must!
This post is dedicated to all those who dream and every fellow puy on PG I have met and has helped me reach where I am today. I am not boasting of my achievement through this post, but I want to share this because I have achieved something so big in life that even I hadn't dreamt of. I just want to share the journey of accomplishment of my dream that I had set 4 years back, which came to actualization this year. I would like to thank everyone (puys and non-puys) who have helped me knowingly or unknowingly in my strife for success.
This post is about facing failures 3 times to achieve the greatest feat in the 4th attempt. The failures laid three huge stepping stones to which I completely owe my success. So, those who want to succeed without going through these failures may find the tips that I would share in this post helpful and those who are preparing for CAT for the 2nd or 3rd time may be able to relate themselves well to my story and also find answers to their questions like, “Where am I going wrong?”, “How do I improve”, etc. For those who are just looking for my preparation strategy can scroll down to the end at the 4th year chapter where I have mentioned both my written as well as GD PI preparation thread.
This post is the summary of the 4 years of my preparation and most importantly the 4th year. The aim is to pen down how I changed and improved to be a person from a self-thought “nobody” to actually a “somebody”. Why have I used such a title shall be clear as you read.
PS: My verbal sucks, especially my grammar. So, pardon my mistakes. But still I secured a big score in VA. I will also share how I managed to get it right.
84/88/73 (MAIT-IP Univ) (GEM)
Wrk ex Infy 32 months
2010 Chapter 1: The Ignorant One
I am an engineering college graduate from a not much known college of a not much known university (GGSIPU). I was more of a guy thought of to be one of those who liked technology and everyone thought I would take M.Tech or break into some good company. I was a shy person and used to keep many things to myself. Till the 2nd year, life was never about a job, MBA or career, but having fun in learning new stuff, technology, sometimes reading fiction etc. By the 3rd year, a decision had to be taken. Coming from a business family, life was never about a job. With most of my cousins taking up their own path or joining business, only one of them did an MBA from XIMB 6 years back and had set an example in family. So, it was my choice to choose among all the options in front of me. I explored the option of taking a job after graduation or doing an M.Tech or an MBA.
It had to be these three. Even though I was close to my brother who was a XIMB alumni and seeing his growth I also wanted a similar option for me, I couldn't give up the techie in me. So, the decision was made: MBA, but focus on IT sector, but at the same time targeting some good IT Product based company. If I would have succeeded in the 2nd choice, I might have never pursued MBA, but alas....
17th Jan 2010, I joined Career Launcher 7:30 am weekend batch. The first introduction lecture was by an IIM grad telling something about why MBA and what you can achieve, etc. Next lecture was by a Quant teacher Deepak Dhamija Sir (if I remember correctly) and as far as I remember he wrote these words on the board, "Last Chance, Everything Maaf" and explained that if you still have grudges that you didn't crack IITs, or are stuck in some bad job, or whatever it is that has not been quite right in your career decisions, etc, focus your energies on achieving MBA this time because it is your decision now. I felt it motivated me to some extent, but I was still not convinced about the things yet to come. But I wrote this line on the first page of my QA register (which I still have and used it for QA revision even during my last attempt). So, classes started. They were fun. I loved going back to 8th & 9th standard Maths and learning English was fun, but when it came to mocks, I was always a 70 to 80 percentiler. Also I used to study alone, never asked anyone doubts, solved questions in free time and in my first year did not join Pagalguy, the reason I suppose I never moved beyond 70-80 was that I never analyzed mocks after I had taken them. I saw some of my mistakes, but never planned to improve myself on what to do, how to plan out my prep. So, like an ignorant fool, I just studied, took mocks, but never inculcated how to improve my percentile. Also, my one foot was still on the second thought of getting into a product based company.
So, a 20 something teen I was, balancing college, studies, new found college friends (used to be a shy and introvert guy), family and MBA prep. So, like many of the people around me I was doing the same mistake which many do and I realized the same in my 3rd and 4th year only, 'MBA prep took a backseat when it came to time management.' 30th Oct, 2010, my first CAT. It was the 2nd or 3rd year of CAT going online, everyone was complaining that the online evaluation was unfair. Nobody knows normalization and how it works, technical glitches, etc. So, I gave my CAT, attempted 45-48 questions with 70% accuracy I guess. Also, I gave XAT, IIFT and SNAP.
Results came and at the same time I was selected for Infosys, so had a backup and a failure of 88 percentile in CAT (used to have 3 sections at that time I guess), 95 percentile in XAT, 23 in IIFT, 96 or 97 in SNAP. I knew in my heart that my prep was not serious at all. So, scoring such marks did not make me sad but rather disappointed. But I had calls from XIMB, GIM and SCMHRD. So was happy. Also, in these 4 years of my prep, I had never dreamt about IIMs or XLRI or FMS. My targets were the colleges which were not in the top 15 but the ones which came later.
So, CL prepared me for GD and interviews, but I did not do self-learning and preparation here also, while everyone did group study or prep, I did my prep all alone and that screwed me up big time. It was all messed up. GDs, I don't even remember as I never spoke much. The problem was I did not know much about myself, what I could expect to know about the things around me. I was also not much serious about interviews as it was the first time. In XAT 2010, there was an essay to be written on an Adam Smith's quote from Wealth of nations. It was a nightmare for all as far as I remember. My XIMB essay was all ignorant and I couldn't answer what's a statesman in the XIMB interview and made a fool out of myself in XIMB. Similar fate was bestowed upon me in almost all the interviews.
By the time results started coming up, it was all a series of failure. Only one heartening mail, which was that XIMB WL candidates were being offered HR program if they wish to opt for. Being some 279 in the waitlist, I knew I would not clear the waitlist. After a lot of thought I gave up the sole XIMB -HRM convert I had.
So, the chapters of CAT “Attempt 1” finished as the engineering days almost were nearing an end and I restarted my prep along with joining Infosys and CAT was yet again coming up in few months. I did not have many expectations, but this time I had some friends who were preparing alongside and hence I was a little confident of getting good calls.
2011 Chapter 2: The studious one
Alas, College came to end, Infosys joining was 2-3 months ahead, results were a disappointment, but the mock season was soon to begin. I remember the new found friends with the same interest in MBA. The best thing I learnt from them was, though all of us shared a common goal, whenever we all met they never talked much about preparation or strategy, but about things like common college goers teens do. They were more interested in gym, Kareem's chicken, visiting places, while I was more tensed about how to prepare, and looked forward to them to share some tips, which they felt should be discussed at appropriate times, but not always. I now understand how right they were. MBA was a goal, but not to occupy every part of our lives, there is a personal life, emotions, family, friends which should be given due importance. I rarely remember sharing and learning any prep strategy from them, even though they were mock maulers. It was not like they never bothered telling me or were hiding their strategy but their priorities were right (MBA when alone preparing, non MBA discussion stuff when with friends. They all are now ahead of me as I was the only one pursuing it till the 4th year after failure. They took their options as they felt them to be right. One passed out of XLRI HR, one is a 2nd year student at NM, another, an Income tax inspector, one passed out of IIM Udaipur etc. While I am going to start my MBA now! Hence the lesson I learnt (unfortunately took me 4 years) was prioritizing your MBA prep without other things being neglected. Give less time to others but don't neglect them. This is the time you will make some of the best friends in your life. Don't waste it. In the last chapter it will be clear, how I prepared less for MBA and gave more time to myself and everything I never did in my life.
It was these friends who introduced me to Pagalguy and even though a much computer and tech enthusiast I was, I never felt the need to be on Pagalguy (which occupies now more than 80% of my time on Internet surfing). I remember they used to talk about solving old quant threads where QA gods like “chillfactor” were active and the concept of DTs etc. Users like “Implex”,”Slashsword” etc were legends in their own games and I just thought, “This place might be for the Gods and what chance do I stand. But unlike my friends, I used to struggle a lot while solving QA thread. A friend of mine, who had converted XL in first go, advised me to regularly solve 10 pages of old QA threads sincerely and daily. He was good in VA but lacked in QA. He did the same for 6 months and scored good percentile in QA. His username is “nuclearvipul” on PG if I remember correctly. He was more of a silent spectator and not much active.
When I used to tell them I wish to do MBA in IT, they always said, you are born for NITIE and I also dreamt of NITIE and NITIE PGDITM alone(during one drunken escapades, a friend wrote on top of my register NITIE 2013-15. I still have that register. Luckily the convert came a year late, but something big was also in store)
My QA was my strength but deep down I know I needed VA tips, which unfortunately till this day I don't have. My lack of VA prep was partially responsible for my 3 failures and I accept it. Somebody has rightly said, “QA can be improved by practice, but VA either you have it or you don't.” Unfortunately, I still don't but there is a way to circumvent this in CAT. I will discuss this in the last chapters.
My VA is average to say the least, but 4 years of solving RCs, PJ, PC tips and strats helped me. I like reading and this was my VA advantage but lack of grammar skills and communication skills were my bête noire. But my VA percentiles fluctuated a lot from 50's to 90's but never crossed more than that.
Meanwhile the news came that, “IIM C changed the CAT pattern from 3 sections to 2 sections with first section QA –DI and which needed to be attempted first.” Nobody gauged the effect of this decision. Some felt it was good, some felt otherwise. As earlier it was about managing your 3 sections and managing time according to your choice, but not anymore. Like others I also could not gauge any outcome.
Meanwhile, the Infosys Mysore journey began; time to enter the corporate world. For the first time, I was away from home and focus on CAT still wasn't there. The first year of CAT prep was still fresh in mind. It helped me gauge most of the sums in quant as I was used to them, but percentiles reached maximum 85 and sometimes early 90s. VA as usual fluctuated. Reading improved, I made my own vocabulary dictionary, but the improvement was not that much as VA was still an unplanned prep.
Meanwhile some personal problem at home occupied my mind; so again, I was losing focus on CAT. But QA was improving. I started analyzing mocks a little, but this time was more confident to score 90's, filled CAT form, this time it was Bengaluru as centre. I still remember after CAT my friends were angry and disappointed as the slot we had chosen was the most tough and ill-fated slot of our time. Whether you like it or not, slot does have an impact on your percentile. To what extent, only Prometric knows. On that day while returning to Mysore, we were late and stayed in a hotel, as Infy does not allow coming late. Then we drank and shouted on top of our voice, weeping for what had happened and knowing our low attempts would yield a low percentile.
Results came, XAT 85, CAT 95, IIFT screwed, SNAP I hadn't filled ,NM 210 I guess.
Calls: – XIMB, NITIE PGDITM and NM.
I still remember, XIMB interview was scheduled in Bangalore and during my PI; I got a call from a colleague about Infy postings coming up. After the interview I answered his call and got to know my posting was in Hyderabad. But luckily, I asked my friend to swap it with Pune, as Chandigarh and Jaipur were rarely available. And Infy Pune it was.
My friends had SCMHRD, XL and IIFT calls, but given our screwed fate, none of us converted the calls, not even WL. A series of rejection! But this time the hurt was more personal and more heartfelt, not like the previous disappointment. I knew I had prepared hard this time. This year I had prepared a lot. I cried, but deep down I somewhere knew that my introvert and shy nature was partially responsible for me not speaking in GDs and lack of preparation for PI, it was doomed to happen.
I attribute a few other reasons to not speaking in GD which were lack of knowledge and not following news, which I realized that later were most of the GD topics of B school. I remember the Kudamkulam nuclear plant protest being sponsored by Foreign NGO's was my NITIE GD discussion topic, but I was talking about NGOs in general and now I realize that many times , I myself digressed from topics during GD's during the previous attempts. Hence Please follow news, you must have something RELEVANT to say which unfortunately cost me 2 precious years.
While I accepted Infy Pune, my friends left Infy as they never liked Infy at all and thought IT work ex would be a hindrance in what they wanted. Thus, I was left all alone to prepare this time.
Thus, ended another year with a failure but lessons were learnt. A journey started in Delhi, continued in Mysore, ended in Pune.
2012 Chapter 3 : The Hardworking, the semi-successful and the complacent one
I reached Pune on Holi, with heavy heart and thinking this would be my last attempt… whichever college I get…. I shall take it…. But I knew things need to be straighten out.. More IT work ex.. more I might lose out.
The Pune journey began with joining old college friends posted in Pune and soon the need of planning things out.. Finding new place to live in new city.. setting up things… finding CL,TIME Test center from home… starting the preparation again…. Finally independent and so many decisions to make… the freedom and responsibility were 2 sides of coin… I now started realizing this….
But as things were planning out, the only thing constant was Pagalguy and I was active on QA thread and results started showing…. In Cl,TIME mocks, I was scoring 95+ in most of my mocks… Now 95 barrier was crossed and automatically my attempts had increased due to repetition of questions and knowing how to solve it…. The 2 years of prep, mocks and pagalguy was showing results.
At the same time UDT nominations were opened…. I tried for the same but was not selected… no problem, I joined Pune Dream Team… we were not as active like other DT's but they were awesome people… unfortunately I interacted less with them. But still I like to thank them all @PaceIsAce @sabya.sachi @deepak_pgi @audiq7 @dreamer87 @anshul_mechie
Now I got my first project in Infy, it was a support profile in afternoon shift but work load was close to nil and for the next 1.5 year…. I actually had zero or very less work.. This was a rare advantage I had .. and don't know if anyone ever had it …but I did… J … Unfortunately at the same time if I had to continue in company if MBA did not worked out… I was screwed for life….
The old wounds had healed and it was time for CAT…. Wrote CAT and other exams….
Results started coming in SNAP 98.5,XAT 99.05, CAT 91, NM 212 ….
Again CAT had screwed me but the calls I got this time were…. XIMB,XLRI,SPJain,NM,SIBM,SCMHRD
I felt successful after such a long time …. The failure of CAT was there and I did cried …. A lot ….but SNAP result and XL calls pacified me… For the first time I felt…. I have XL and SPJ.,.. one of the best MBA colleges in India…
This feeling led to my downfall…. I became complacent thinking … so many calls…and 99 perccentile I shall convert at least one…I joined Genesis Mentors… they were good in teaching GD PI… but I unfortunately did not do self-introspection and prepare answers for questions for HR round questions that are asked… Hence deep down this complacency costed me my XLRI and SPJain which I still regret till today… Hence I still say … having a call and not converting is more painful than getting a call…. And with colleges like XLRi and SPJain bein taken lightly… it was bound to happen
SP Jain rejected in first round, XLRI GD was a screw up, XIMB WL 360 (hinted my preference over SPJ IT over XIMB…my fault), SIBM n SCMHRD rejects, NM Waitlisted…
My confidence was blown into pieces , I realized my mistake of complacency and felt everything was over.
NM finally converted…. Parents were happy that I converted but the loan amount I needed to take and pressure to take it up as it was my 3rd year of CAT attempt… Fees sky rocketing in the years, I had decided to take up but due to last moment financial constraints and my parents not finding me happy over my taking it…they said if I want to reconsider I can… So against all odds and giving another chance but this time, giving everything or nothing, I gave up NM, my sole convert which shocked my parents and many around me.
Many friends around me gave up CAT , due to Normalization which was unpredictable , IIM's weird criteria, no more a level field and I also felt that they might be right and I am being stubborn enough to pursue or I cannot go back to my decision now. I remember someone said to me during IIT prep days, everyone blames others if something goes wrong, some say I took Engg cause my parents said so, some because friends were taking it, some say peer pressure… but in the end its our decision and soon we realize and work for it the better. I realized the same… the decision may not be mine then, but has been taken, and it is mine now, I should respect it, cause nobody forced me to take MBA prep, It was I alone. I had the chance for M.Tech, job but I did not. Hence I should respect my decision and do what has not been done till now… clear CAT last time or finally surrender and continue with my IT life, but won't give up before trying for the last time.
2013 The year when everything fell into place…. Everything
I feel the most important part of this year were the learnings and importance of looking into this as a journey and no more as just a destination… I had forgotten to relish the journey and things in life… Since the time I started serious prep in 2nd year till the beginning of this year I felt I had wasted my life… CAT or no CAT… No day has gone where I felt I did something fruitful… I just woke up …gave mocks.. Went to office on weekdays but studied there as had ample time, weekends were spent in mocks…going to center… it was all wrong.
I knew I had to change this… I need to be myself… I had to be more detach to CAT exam… I needed to give time to things I never did in my life… And this year marked my keeping myself happy by doing physical activities like gym, running, travelling, enjoying with friends etc (never indu;ged in sports in my life
I knew my weaknesses had to be improved from the starting… this included my VA, fear of speaking in GD and PI.. etc… the answer lied in introspecting myself…. I did lot of introspection and started planning out a lot of things…. I joined Toastmasters Club … which helped me improve my communication skill and confidence of speaking among people…. I was regular in attending their meetings and understanding how these Public speakers infused confidence in their listener and I followed them and this slowly built my confidence of speaking in PI and GD… And in the GDs and PI , I was not just calculative but I spoke well construed sentences that made impact…
Second I started reading newspapers sincerely…. These were tips from 100/99.9 percentilers of last year and starting early built my knowledge base and when we conversed I felt … I actually had something to share….
While on mocks front after lot of introspection and reading 100 percentiler strats, I decided I shall make my own strategy which focuses on accuracy than attempts… it was a big risk I was going to take… but what option did I have… all other options were exhausted, tried, tested and failed….. So this was the only thing I could do….
There are 2 things which one should prepare… what to attempt in paper and how to attempt the paper…. I personally found… you can be taught the former… but latter you need to find yourself … and the latter makes the difference
I will share my strategy for how I solved the paper as 1st you can do yourself. basics now... detail post later
The most important decision I also took was being impervious to these results… not too happy on scoring 99+ and not disappointed on scoring 90 below in some section… just regularly studying , analysing and tweaking my strategy on which questions to attempt…. Selection was the key and I did just that…rather Rejection is the key and once you know which question not to attempt… It's all done….
My focus was on 2/3rd of both sections (20 questions each from 2 sections) which meant spending 3/2th time more on questions I select
As it is said… I was preparing without caring for result… detached but focused….and that made all the difference
I joined Genesis Mentors for workshops… That actually helped me a lot as the workshops revised the course in 2 months before the exam…
Finally 23rd Oct 2013… D day…. Only thought in my mind was to forget all the pressure and just focus that it's just an exam…just an exam… don't give it so much importance that I lose focus… And luckily that happened…. In the whole 140 min, I relaxed the whole time… focused on selecting the questions I need to do…. Solved and moved on… the details will be in the end….
SNAP result came – 99.96 – The effort had started paying….was happy that SIBM call was secured.
14th Jan 2014…. Early morning- the whole time I had learnt to be impervious to result – but not today- I was listening to “SKYFALL – the world shall crumble” – thinking, result may be good or bad, but I would be impervious to it, I will prepare hard, trying hard to keep calm… so many emotions flowing just before I checked the result… and the page loaded
“OA 99.90 , QA 98.8 VA 99.8” OMG
I still remember saying the words in disbelief for so many times loud “This cannot be mine, ye mera nahi ho sakta…. This cannot be mine….” But it was mine and elated to say the least
XAT result 98.49, IIFT 54.75
Almost every exam I had cracked, I knew I will get most of the calls…. And the most unexpected IIM calls also…. Deep down the feeling hadn't sinked and till now as I write this the feeling still hasn't sinked in of converting an IIM- that too one of the holy trinity IIM…. One more thing I would like to mention that I had pledged to myself whatever CAT result I get, whichever college I get,small or big, I will accept my fate…. IIMs or no IIMS… reaching here was important..
Calls – IIM C,L,K,S, new IIMs, XL, SIBM, XL BM +HR, IIT B,NITIE,MDI
As the results came, I was more nervous and knew I need to change everything… put in everything and do my best …. The last year blunders should not repeat… no more being complacent… And the guiding light was @Zzeke AIWTSAC post… which I still believe is the best post for GD PI prep… I knew I had to achieve such a level….
I did a lot of introspection and prepared really hard. The previous interview mistakes and GD Prep needed to be revisited…..I still remember after the disastrous interview of SJMSOM … I was sullen and dejected the rest of the day…. But the next day when I had IIM C…. I was not trying to think …Oh its IIM C …what do I do… what shall happen, what if I am not able to answer….. I just went in with a calm and relaxed mind…. Which made the biggest difference and helped me express myself in the best way I could…. And when I write this I would like to humbly say thank you to every puy I met in this journey of 4 years
Converts : all the above mentioned except IIFT,IIM L,IIT B,IIM Ranchi ( converted in final waitlist)
Joining IIM C
Honestly speaking, In the 4 years, I never targeted Joka or dreamt of Joka, felt they were out of my league. Always felt I will settle for the colleges after top 15 …but Joka was a God Gift to say the least. And when I say everything fell into place… I can say, God made everything fall into place. I might have not ended in joka , had I taken NM, so believe in dreams….. cause they do come true.
Special thanks to friends/legends I followed on QA thread
@jain4444 @Budokai001 @sujamait @scrabbler @ScareCrow28 @deedeedudu @sid2222000 @Estallar12 @Logrhythm @Love_CAT @pratskool
1) Introspect yourself
2) Enjoy the journey, the destination shall follow
3) Find your mistakes and work on it
4) Do what you like, don't give it up in the name of CAT preparation, and learn to manage things you like….
5) Be happy… but not complacent
6) Focus on accuracy than attempts for CAT
The written Prep strategy and GD PI prep strategy…. in another post
[Note: This is a post on the user's CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]
Well getting to write down on this thread is an honor. It is a privilege which one earns after loads of hard work and success.....on the hindsight this would b a very long post….emotional …philosophical…motivating…and wld try humor where ever possible…as every1 my fav post here is of @the_hate and @prem_ravi ..both JOKArs
First of all my profile
Xth – 85%
XIIth – 86%
Grads – 69% (DCE)
CFA L2 candidate…Fin enthusiast …trader at Futures First….
So it all began in early 2010…I used to go to college with 2 of my frens in a pooled car…so v 3 wr having discussion abt MBA…pros cons etc etc…do v require it if yes which all cllg…one of my frens had all the info…so I checked all of it…CAT paper pencil to online version…infact in 2009 I did write an original CAT paper just to check my aptitude…it was CAT 2008…a 360 marks paper…I kno scoring decent enuf in QA DI…but VA was just below par…I think I scored a triple digit score but VA was single digit…so I knew then and there that VA is my nemesis…I had to work for it…so after consulting with my fren he told me to join CL early as we wr getting a handsome discount…so all three of us joined CL in May 2010…classes began in july…side by side I began doing norman lewis and reading hindu….i simply hated hindu initially…enjoyed doing norman lewis…so v 3 of us used to discuss vocab words in the car…so it began with a frisk pace…all wr enjoying it…suddenly v realized that only learning words will not get us anywhere…so v started buying novels…I kno I read all the novels from Paulo Coelho…as I found all of them inspirational…dan brown..sidney Sheldon…( blv me I never read anything except chetan bhagat..i hated reading novels )….so this is how I started reading…doing the books religiously…was going well…lets rollover quickly…
So in January 2011 the CL unproctored mocks went live…I thot of giving one…so in feb 2011 gave one…scored a decent 96%ile…but again the laggard being VA…I knew I had my work cut out…so kept working hard on VA…without real improvement…all this while I was a silent observer on PG…then the real CL proctored mocks started …I still remember the scores…
QA and DI 30 each…VA was 15…so total of 75…I had a OA of 95 but VA was only 70 odd…I suddenly realized RCs are a big problem…I got IMS VA material now and had their mock test series as well…started doing their RC book…slowly and slowly gaining confidence…the mocks on the other side wr not going great guns…but then their wr rumors CAT pattern is undergoing a change from being a 3 section test to being differently timed 2 section test…so QA combined with DI and VA combined with LR…I knew then and there that some part of my problem is solved…so I changed my strategy completely…now every coaching institute changed their mocks…but still there was a lot of confusion…leading to unhealthy speculation…I knew I had an advantage …I can maximize the score in section 1 and do my best in sectn 2 with the assurance of LR…now scores started going northwards…I started enjoying it…I still remember my final 2 CL mocks gave me 125 and 128…with VA being 99.7+…so I was confident 1 month b4 CAT …attempts wr pretty good as well…just 2 weeks prior to CAT v had a CL toppers workshop …wherein we underwent a rigorous 2 day schedule…and v practiced everything from QA to LR…so I was all set for CAT 2011…
Had booked oct 31 morning slot...morning meant i cldn't sleep the whole night...
QA DI – extremely easy attempted all…probably went thru the emotions…committed silly errors only to realize after the test…
VA LR – there had been news of VA being the most difficult…so I started with LR..did all 9…came on to VA…was difficult…but attempted all here as well..only to unmark 2 at the end…
So I was confident of doing well uptil the point the test had ended…when I came back home and was writing the exp on PG…all those questns started coming infront of me…I knew I had committed confirmed 4 silly errors…so the impetus was all on VA to sail me thru somehow…
All this while my placement season started in Aug 2011…till that had alrdy faced big interview rejections..mckinsey …big civil MNCs..but was still focused on CAT…I did not sit in ZS process coz that wld have interfered with my CAT prep…and it had its process very near to my CAT day…slowly my frens started getting placed…I never doubted myself one single bit…I knew I had it in me to crack big cos…so aug till nov I did not crack any jobs…nomura was supposed to come in dec 2011..but it did not at the last moment…so all this while I had also given IIFT NMAT and XAT…IIFT was poor…NMAt was good but score had other ideas…XAT DM was totally out of park for me…so last and final hope was CAT results…
11th January 2012:- 12 am CAT results declared…started getting calls from frens abt my result…but my dad told me that he wld check my result in the morning..so I was at my frens place…playing FIFA..still getting calls abt my results till the wee hours….finally in the morning I got my result…was completely heartbroken…
QA – 96.88
VA – 94.88
OA – 97.51
Messaged my frens …shut my fone down and slept for 3-4 hrs in the morning…got up at 11…reached home..dissapointed…seeing ppl on PG getting calls…fellow batchmates scoring huge…was completely broken…now I knew I had to get placed…all the pressure was on it…JP Morgan came in Feb…only to b not shortlisted by it…that time I cursed my luck…coz ppl who had profiles worse than me got a call…so after 2-3 days I got normal…I realized that it was only the first attempt..i can make it large next time…so got down to enjoying final few months in cllg…enjoyed it to the core…but my worst nightmares came true…did not get a placement till the very last (few cos rejected me I rejected others) …till then I had been motivating my unplaced frens that u will get a placement..dont worry…so it was ironical for me…so I enjoyed till may 2012…got down to work in june 2012... completely focused on CAT 2012…this time I had enrolled for TF and TIME…
This time I had a completely diff approach…I did not think much abt anything…just started working in a methodical manner…did not think what wld be the result..if I don't succeed etc etc…in the meanwhile UDT and DT 2012 wr being formed…I thot of being part of them…nominated myself for UDT 12…and few also nominated me for DT 12…got selected for UDT 12…had a call from @visionIIM-ACL …so there was another aspect now…new team players…started enjoying the process now…loving doing those mocks..discussing with fellow team mates…Omkarp raven_007 anupam fsog etc ...so v guys had a gala tym discussing every small thing and our captain was the most bakchod of them all...so in team conferences bakchodi was of prime importance...all this while mocks had been going on...initial ones wr good...lost steam in bw and finally picked up at the end...thou this tym i didnot give much importance to mocks...just used them to analyse...
So booked 2nd nov afternoon slot this tym...to avoid late nite hiccups...slept decent enuf...
heard that QA is very difficult...but i knew QA is my strong part so if it is difficult i can make do with it...
QA - started the test and was a very nervy one...had a lot of speed breakers...did 27...was happy with it..
VA - had a diff strategy this time...1LR 1RC 3-4 VA questns...this done in 3 rounds...so did 26 in this..
overall pretty happy with the performance...was sure of sectn 1...and analysis said that i had atleast 25 correct in QA...cld have been 27 as well..so this meant 2 months of agonising wait...
again gave iift and xat only...got a call from iift..not really interested...XAT had a strategy in place...but this time managed to screw VA...
9th January 2013:- results wr declared at 3 am...again was at the same frens place..having scotch b4 the results...playing fifa yet again...so started the process with half awake ...took me 2 hrs to get thru...finally it paid off
that feeling came in my head...that elation...i had done it...told every1...got calls from xyz ppl congratulating me...was an ecstatic afternoon...slept only for 3-4 hrs yet again...
now the process started of getting myself enrolled in GD PI classes...with new found vengeance...started enjoying reading hindu now...without which i used to feel hopeless...stupid...
Calls - IIMC IIML IIFT FMS...
But who knew that storm was coming...IIMC PI was my best bet...first got a result from IIFT..rejected...next up was FMS...bad luck had a weird extempore topic..rejected...now was the time for IIMC result...rejected..completely shaken heartbroken...done and dusted forever..ppl said u will convert L..but i knew L PI was just a mere formality of rejecting me...
so mid april 2013...didnot knew where to go...being a fin enthusiast IIMC was my dream...all this while i had to prepare for CFA L1 as well...somehow got out of the storm...got the motivation and inspiration back...started preparing for CAT 2013...
All this while i had been helping my uncle with his work in his company...
joined IMS and TIME mocks...just gave mocks and analysed them...mocks wr again good..but this time VA was better than QA...outscored QA a lot of times...scored 99+ more consistently than ever...so had a well placed strategy...this time i was also nominated for DT and got selected..which meant more ppl to play with...all this meanwhile i got selected in Futures first...had a joining right after CAT..so was good in a way..i cld crack my first PI in life...dis tym took a middle slot
25th oct afternoon slot
Again we heard that QA was nightmarish and even few days VA was also nightmarish..so dint knew what to expect..so went in with a lot backing on it...kept calm initially...
QA- started the paper..knocked down 4-5 in 7-8 mins..so was pretty confident now...became a lil complacent...got one 4 set venn diagram singlet...only for it to b a wrng questn..wasted 4-5 mins...that is where my train got derailed...from there everything went downhill...a lil panic set in...got a 4set venn diagram DI questn...missed reading 1 value which meant i wasted another 5 mins...the last part of the paper was full of bouncers...so in th end managed 21 only..was disappointed to the core...
VA- took the baggage of QA to VA..started with LR...somehow solved it quickly..got a lil confidence back...then did 1 RC only to go beyond me...VA not comprehensible...all the thots started flowing thru my head now...missed IIMC 99.85 wasted...what wld fellow DT ppl wld think and what not...so half way thru i had hardly any attempts in VA..with all that stuff going on in my head..i knew i had screwed it..now tried the patch up work..said to me that i wldn't attempt unnecessarily...wld only attempt where i am sure..did all 9 LR confidently...VA was as hellish as it cld get over the 3-4 yrs of prep i had done...probably nothing cld have saved me except luck here...but somehow managed decent attempts with decent confidence..did 22...
Hmm started analysing now...had 2 confirm wrng in QA...VA no idea..was again it was all on VA to save me...again IIFT and XAT...thou applied to non-IIMs as well..MDI SP...
Had planned well for XAT this time...so XAT was good...
14th Jan 2014:- another defining day...had started trading by now...something i loved...so morning 9 am checked the results...and surprisingly was able to get thru the very first time..and it was a huge flop
so back to square one..my dream washed away in a flash...but having a job which i loved meant it didnot affect me too much...realised in a couple of days that i cannot b a JOKAr...destiny is not in sync with IIMC...but fortunately XAT saved me...got a XLRI or the very first time...had all 90+ sectionals this time...
i didnot prepare anything for GDPI..all the efforts i had put in last year gave fruits this year...
first up IIFT PI..got late ..stuck in a traffic jam...half way i turned back and came back home...now this thing hit me real bad...i started crying like anything...all those things came back...IIMC PI ..rejection etc etc..missing CAT 2013..cried for like an hr...with my mother consoling me...thou this helped me in a way that all those emotions went away in those tears...my father told me to go to IIFT and ask them to please give a chance in the second slot...and the person agreed..so got a chance...( to b honest i was not really interested..but as this time i had no GD PI practise ...so IIFT was a precursor to XLRI )..essay was amazing...GD dominated...PI blasted...i knew then and there i was getting an IIFT convert...had never been so confident in a PI..( till that point i had failed a dozen job PIs...4 mba PIs )...
XLRI PI...had a gd here...which was a disaster..had all hopes on PI...so started the PI with a smile..was pretty decent..had hope..
dis tym i didnot attach any emotions with the results...whatever i will get i will accept it...
mid march got an IIFT convert..not really interested..looking forward to XL results...
7th April 2014:- was in the middle of a trading session...with the markets being super active...checked the result and to my amazement got a WL 17...and i knew i had done it..i cld finally crack a top MBA cllg in india...my parents super ecstatic...told my fellow traders..and they said party party...but somehow after a week or so i realised that this is the end to a fitting journey...and i cld never be a JOKAr...with which i had so much hope...cried inside my head on missing that opportunity...but told myself that this is what god wants me to do..so lets make it large..lets get those coveted IB roles i have been yearning for...preparing so hard for...
- Dont give a s h i t about anything...just enjoy the journey..u will sail thru...
- CAT is not for weak hearts...it is an animal where in victory lies beyond ur imagination and u have to again and again face its wrath...
- Dont put everything on one xam...keep ur optns open..which i hardly did...
- Ur ultimate competitor is u..urself...if u can achieve ur own targets than no 1 can stop u...
- In the end follow ur dreams...try to better urself with whatever u have...i have a dream which i will achieve for sure...
i know what difference this MBA prep has brought in me...giving that first GD in 2010 wherein i cldnot speak a word to being dominating the GD takes a lot of effort and energy..my vocab was poorer than a 5th class kid...worked my a s s off ...i never had good communication skills ...worked on them during all these 3-4 yrs...improved a hell lot...i know what my level is now..bring the best of orators and i can challenge them..that is the kind of confidence i have now...had i got thru the first time i wldn't have ever improved so much...so in 2014 i have a purpose in life...a purpose i will achieve for the humanity..i love helping others and will keep doing so for my fellow indians...
"What happens ..happens for the greater good"
PS : please forgive my grammar..which has been as bad as it can be..i am working on my writing skills..but in this modern technological world it will take an eternity to improve...
PPS : i will add few links later on which are my creations on PG...
1. Addressing QA concerns - http://www.pagalguy.com/forums/cat-and-related-bschools/pagalguy-underdogs-team-t-83956/p-3594201/r-3744389 (written by me)
2. Addressing VA concerns - http://www.pagalguy.com/forums/cat-and-related-bschools/pagalguy-underdogs-team-t-83956/p-3594201/r-3742911 (written by omkarp)
ppl who deserve a mention
XLRI BM 2014-16
Well, the story begins in the summer of 2011, when my penultimate yr at IIT KGP was just over, with lots of emotions flowing over graduation of BTech friends (I was a dual degree student).
It was summer of 2011. The endsems and 4th yr project presentations were just over. CL had come to KGP with CAT test series at throwaway price(Rs 499. incl all proc & unproc test series, test gym, etc). Even TIME was offering test series at like 1.5k. So, I registered for both the mock test series, along with few of my friends. Back then, why MBA was very vague. Maybe it was the craze. So, we gave a few mocks, compared scores with each other, and we had a list of those who were good in VA(a couple of those who were good in VA cracked CAT 2011, and one of them has graduated from IIM C(my best friend) while another one from IIM B), a few who were good in QA(myself) and a few consistent ones but averaging out in both sections.
Mistake 1: Over reliance on TIME mocks for analysis.
P.S. In my opinion (obs over 2011-2013), TIME is awesome for LR-DI-QA,, For VA-RC:: CL, IMS
Mistake 2: Not a thought put into what I wanted as my career (which cost me 2 yrs)
So, the false confidence given by TIME mocks, and my failure to do micro-analysis of verbal part cost me CAT 2011, with shocking VA performance (CAT 2011 QA:99.6x %ile, VA: 7x.xx%ile)-Got calls from IIM-K etc.. skipped it. [Yeah I hadn't give any other exams like XAT etc-XAT 2014 was my 1st & last XAT].
And over reliance on CAT to rescue me led me to be careless in my placement, and get placed @ hell of an place.
Well, I went on with the core job that I got through placement, which was at a very remote place of Pipavav (even the nearest proper medical facility or shop was like 45 min away then, that too if I was lucky to get a lift).
Mistake 3: Going on with the job without having a career plan, and not trying for a better off-campus one.
Life at Pipavav was a torturous one.. skipping the details..
Took CAT 2012 just like that, and the results reflected... similar performance as that of CAT 2011 (actually worse perf in 2012's VA than that of 2011).
I finally quit after 7-8 months of job, and had finally decided to go for CAT full throttle, and pursue other good job opportunities after quitting. At this point, it was too large a risk, for I was not sure if I could crack CAT 2013 and if I did not, the stakes were very high for a screwed up career. It would have taken 3-4 yrs just to bring it back on track. Plus I was too arrogant to have not considered how quitting job before finding a better job was a mistake which will haunt me in any job I sit for, in future.
After initial 1-1.5 month of quitting job, once my sister's marriage and all were handled, I started applying for job in analytics as well as carried on my prep for CAT. Well, as I got to hear, the off-campus season was just over for big companies and I had to wait 4-5 months for next round, and the smaller ones took load with my leaving of prev job, etc, and the infinite loop of increasing gap and decreasing options continued.
Meanwhile I carried on with my CAT prep, registered for CL & IMS(whose VA-RC sections really helped me), did a micro-analysis of VA-RC sections, maintained a full track record of mistakes, why those mistakes were made, and how not to repeat them. Even if I was in a desperate position, I was pretty sure the weakness at a very basic level, which I had in RC and all, no coaching centre could handle, unless I was lucky to get guidance of some teacher who understood my issues. The thing was that I was doing good in mocks, like those of previous times. But I had screwed up previous CATs. So, i kept confidence in my sincere preparation. I set weekly goals and tried to achieve and improve as a whole. I made reading and comprehending quality materials a habit.(For starters, articles from thehindu.com, aldaily.com ....). The entire time of my preparation, I was keeping in mind the situation I faced in CAT 2011 VA. What if i get that type of paper this time. That fear as well as the difficulty I had faced in CAT 2011 VA-RC kept me motivated.
At the same time, it was very frustrating not to get a proper job. [I was getting offer from random areas like IP analyst or core mechanical areas, where I did not want to go, bcoz it was not sitting with my long term career.] It was really tough to continue prepration with the frustration, as well as no reliance on CAT results case. Still I carried on, as a last ditch attempt at CAT, having decided that it was to be my final attempt. I also applied for XAT.
Well, finally i got an offer of online marketing analyst at a Pune based startup (Finally the break
I was not realising how much out of touch I was getting on with QA-DI-LR. I just relied that they were my strengths and I can rely on them on the C-Day.
Then arrived Oct 20, afternoon. I had heard that QA was tougher than prev yrs. But as luck had it, my neighboring girl's system did not start for 1st 1 hr. I can understand her situation and really sorry for her. But the technical guys were busy consoling her or talking regarding the issue on phone, there itself. With my concentration breaking regularly, I found that I had attempted only 16 qns, with 15 min left. I found 3-4 of the 30 qns un-attemptable unless I had come across them previously. I took my chances in the remaining questions, took guess at a couple of questions (both the guess turned out to be worng, as soon as I came out of the exam center). So, here was my attempt at QA:24, where I was sure that i had 22 correct, but was not satisfied with my performance(because of the panic attack over last 10-15min of QA-DI section).
Then came the VA-LR section. Typically i attempted VA 1st with a clearer mind, then LR. But the prev night I had thought about it and keeping in mind that 1 of LR sets was typically very tough and lengthy this time, I decided to change my sequence (LR 1st, then RC, then rest). The CAT was to be my 1st mock in that sequence. Thankfully, I was able to attempt all LR, even if out of touch. took me 5min,10min and 15-20 min for the individual sets. Then I went on to RC, PJ etc. My practice in RC areas and a clarity of thought owing to my rigorous understanding of basics made it pretty clear regarding the solutions. Out of 10 qns, I attempted 4 confidently. In other 4, I could see clearly how the answer was zooming onto last 2 options, with different, but correct reasons, with slight inherent assumptions. AT that moment, I thought as to: Yeh dono answers mein se kaunsa answer galat ho ta I would be shocked more; I trusted my instinct and took my chance. Ultimately, I ended with 24/25 attempts.
But somehow I was not confident on my QA performance, and there was still a great chance that VA may betray me yet again. I was pretty sure that I must have screwed some-how, and was praying ki at least I get sufficient percentile to get calls from at least 2 of ABCL. Well, my parents, friends (incl. @scrabbler saan) kept me motivated that all is not over even if I screw up CAT, and to chill on, since I had given my best.
I had lost all my energy for XAT prep. Still solved prev yr qn papers as mocks: 1 per weekend not to get out of touch. At the end of XAT. I found that I had screwed up GK and was at boundary level on VA.
Well, I had made up my mind that my next 1-1.5 yrs are going to be spent at the start up.
Then came Jan 14. I heard that the results were out. Waited for 1-2 hour. Made up my mind that i would not be shocked if i was rejected yet again. Well, I opened my CAT result page. and the result stood at:
QA-DI:99.62%ile, VA-LR: 99.6%ile OA: 99.92%ile.
I was so stunned that I called a couple of my colleagues to check the result and pinch me.
Hard work, blessings of my parents and support of my friends who kept me motivated, finally worked.
So my 2 cents for CAT aspirants:
1. Don't put your career at stake on cracking CAT. Cracking CAT is as slippery as holding a cat.
2. Prepare thoroughly for CAT, with proper micro-analysis, but have a back up career option ready, and that too a very good one.
3. Be clear on why you want MBA and what you want with your career.
[Edit*: A tip for aspirants for whom VA section is weakness: Apart from other stuffs, Make reading quality materials a habit. There is no short cut here. I had made it a point to read articles from thehindu.com, aldaily.com, any philosophical/psychological but related to interesting stuffs (and reading it with the aim of understanding what the author is trying to say, how his approach is, etc), daily atleast 1-2hours a day. And once a while interesting stuffs help or else there is a high chance of leaving reading altogether. A clear mind for actually comprehending is also a necessity. Plus nothing should be skipped if not comprehended properly. Initially the speed may be slow, but it will keep increasing with time, and that will never be a concern,
Though it may not guarantee sucess, but it will be a great help in improving the reading stamina, comprehension, ideas,knowledge etc.
Plus its not like you read for a month and expect result. Make it a habit You will observe the change after a relatively long duration, say atleast after 6-7 months. But again, the habit once made, should not be left, even after the CAT is over. You will get a lot of insights, knowledge, etc.
Additionally, it will be of latent but great help during WAT-GD-PIs, if u r like- 'I dont care if it does not help me in my IIM/XLRI/IIFT/FMS/... goal'... ]
All the Best.
IIM B [PGP 2014-16]
*Hoping to make it big, now that I have got a great opportunity, and a chance to bring career on the track I had wished for..
*IIM B WAT/PI experience:
Well I always wanted to write on this thread and finally the day has come. It feels amazing when I think of my struggle for years and that today I am writing about it. My story is not a story of hard work but perseverance. So here it goes:
The Life before CAT
I hail from a very ordinary environment. I was born in a small village with no proper access to education. But even as a child I used to dream big. I did my class 10 and 12 in a not so great vernacular medium schools with decent score. Then came the most fruitful event of my life-my best friend. It was because of him I took engineering entrance test without any preparation and made sure that at least I get into a decent engineering college. I did well there to get good grades but never got around learning anything. It was him again who told me that he was planning to take the CAT 2010 and I too registered for the same.
CAT 2010-Beginer's Game!!
I got enrolled in TIME and started preparing. I enjoyed solving QA but dilli bahot dur thi. I had no idea what colleges to apply to. I did not have any strategy as to how to go about CAT paper. My VA was pathetic to say the least. Anyways, D-Day was 8th November. I started off with DI and man It was hellish. Did not give up..marked some questions and moved to VA. There too made lots of guess and attempted all the questions. Then came QA and attempted around 75% of the questions with good accuracy within 25-30 mins(did well here). Came back to DI made some more educated guesses. I felt I did well even after making guessed attempts (was a novice u see). I think I forgot about the result date and may be got a dream that results are out and woke up at 7:30 AM in the morning to check my result. CAT surprised me:
QA-98.3 VA-94.xx DI-91.xx Overall-98+
It was beginner's luckJ. I got congratulatory messages from many people asking how many IIM calls I got. But to my surprise I did not get any.
CAT 2011- The Learning!!
This time round I only enrolled myself for Mocks. I used to take mocks very seriously but committed the biggest mistake of not analyzing them. I scheduled my D-Day on the last testing day of CAT. I attempted 57 out of 60 questions. And because of my last guessing game success I guessed many questions in VA except LR. Results this time around again surprised me:
I had no clue initially about what happened but I was completely lost. Did not know where to go or what to do. I could not even cry as I was not ready to accept this score. Many of you who have gone through this phase of CAT may be able to understand what I went through. Meanwhile, I was already placed in TCS. Life became a drab. I was not able to be myself with anybody. Just wanted my pain to go away. It was as if my wings had been clipped away and I was falling to meet my fate on the ground. This failure taught me a lot about a lot of things- about myself, my life, my ambition, my dreams, family& friends, Career and what not.
CAT 2012- The fighter in me!!
This year, for the first time in my life, I started making strategies for CAT. After much contemplation I joined a classroom study for VA. Learned a lot about where I was getting it wrong in VA and RC. Meanwhile, I was tagged in a support project in TCS. I had to do morning shifts and night shifts like a CHAUKIDAR. I was not learning anything at my job. My health also started deteriorating. I was finding it very difficult to cope with the study and my job. Mornings used to start with a plan that I would study this and that but after reaching home from office I was too drained out to do anything constructive. However, I used to push myself to take at least a sectional test or a mock because I enjoyed taking mocks. This time I analyzed the mocks and formulated a strategy and was banking highly on accuracy. In some of the mocks I touched 100% accuracy.
I booked a slot on 29th October. Started off pretty well in quants. Solving everything with 100% accuracy. I thought I solved good amount of questions. I looked at the timer- 11 minutes left. Then came the disturbing moment, I counted the no of my attempts. It was 17 out of 30. Panicked big time. I could see all the dreams shattering. I had wasted a lot of time in double checking each and every question that I solved. I wanted to just run away from there as I thought I had screwed up everything. Could not solve any further. I reached a mental block. Even 2+2=4
QA-97.5 around (with 17 attempts..damn..why dint I attempted 2-3 more)
VA-88.xx Overall-96 around
But XAT came as a saving grace. Scored 98+ and got both BM and HRM calls(XLRI). Prepared to the best of my knowledge and abilities. However, did not know the level of competition and my communication skills were pretty ordinary. Got over with interviews and I thought I did decent in HRM call. Results came and I was surprised again and again- was not even waitlistedL. Everyone whom I knew converted were special in some way or the other with strong profiles. I thought my dream to make it to one of the elite B-schools of India was over. May be I was not cut out for the cream. But I had already come a long way and I do not know the art of giving up. Because I am the kind of person who would always regret not achieving what I dreamt of. I could not have turned my back on this. I decided if it would take eternity to crack I will wait till eternity.
CAT 2013: How to spell Happyness !!
This time I made notes of all the important concepts. Wrote down any new type of problem that I came across. Worked on my speed along with accuracy. It started paying dividends. I was frequently scoring 99+%tile in mocks of IMS. Enrolled for test funda too and was getting 99.5+ tile(low user base). Took CAT again and solved 21 QA questions(QA was tough as compared to previous years). Now comes VA..started off with a RC and moved to LR. But man LR was even tougher than what I faced last year. But enough was enough. I was not going to panic this time..not anymore. I kept my cool and started solving .Soon I realized it would take eons to solve such lengthy LRs. So solved each and every LR from options and I was 100% confident of them. But lost a lot of time doing that. Solved other VA questions. Total 19 in this section and I was sure of 17. Took IIFT and XAT seriously too. Scored 55.xx in IIFT with 21.33/25 in QA. Waited for CAT results and my streak of getting surprised did not end:
VA-97.6 QA- 95.3
I did not feel anything but surprised. At least was content that got calls from IIFT,MDI,NITIE,IIMK/I/New IIMs. Prepared religiously despite my constant night and morning shifts. And then one of my dream colleges NITIE gave me a call for the interview. I was happy that NITIE does not have WAT (I suck at it) and that It has most fair process of selection based on only performance in GD/PI. GD was okay and PI was going well till they started asking technical questions that were not even in my b.tech syllabus. I guess they were trying to check my thought process. However, I overwhelmed them with questions pertaining to my job and achievements in life. I honestly told them about the difficulty I faced in my life because of low family income, no proper environment and access to education and despite being from a vernacular medium school I did well in my graduation(B.Tech-92.5%). They were impressed with my attitude.
After so many failures and rejects I saw my name in the merit list of NITIE. Straight convert (merit within 50).
When I look back these years and reason out where I could have done better is attributable to two things:
1. I did not take proper guidance from any experienced persons as to how to go about CAT. I lost first 2 years because of this as I had no idea what cat was about. I used to guess a lot without proper strategy.
2. I should have devoted more time in getting acquainted with new concepts and problems than only taking mocks after mocks and wasting free time(I am a crazy fan of Hollywood movies)
But at the end of the day CAT is somewhat luck game to some extent at least for a mediocre guy like me. And taking unnecessary pressure and making CAT obsession does not work out too well. Emancipate yourself from the fear of losing and you would do well. Now, I just want to be some where I can do something concrete with my life. Life has a nice way to teach us learnings from our actions. After all a simple guy from a village with big dreams did get his share of Happyness.
Few lines from a movie that describe the Happiness I am feeling right now: (Dedicated to my best friend
"I don't know if I will have the time to write any more letters, because I might be too busy trying to participate. So, if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school, and you helped me. Even if you didn't know what I was talking about, or know someone who's gone through it, you made me not feel alone. Because I know there are people who say all these things don't happen. And there are people who forget what it's like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite. "
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Convert IIMK..after much deliberation I have decided to go with K. NITIE will always hold a special place in my heart for believing in me and giving me first convert of my life
IIM KOZHIKODE PGP18(2014-16)
Ok guys ! Finally I'm down to writing my CAT experience and the entire journey here on this sacred thread. It's a long journey and a long post, so please bear with me.
So, it all began with open mock test conducted by IMS way back in 2009. I always wanted to do an MBA as I discovered early on in my engineering course that it is not something which I really like. Coding was something that didn't come naturally to me. I knew I had to get out of it. I was in my second year of engineering and wanted to test what is my current level of preparation and how far I need to go. I decided to write that mock. Scored 78 %ile in it. I felt that the CAT is still far off, and didn't think too much about it. In hindsight, that was a big mistake. The mock had showed my real place and it should have been an eye-opener. Since I was the student of a top NIT, I somehow felt that doing Math would be a piece of cake, and English, bah! who needs to study for it..! Then came the final year of my engineering and I was busy in the placement process. I gave CAT just for the sake of giving it. Result - 60 %ile. Yes. 60 ! I was so embarrassed by my score that I told my friends that I didn't appear for the exam that year. That day was indeed a low point in my life. I saw some of my friends getting 99+ percentiles and it hurt really bad. REALLY bad. But what was really scary was the gap that existed between my score and the target score. I belonged to the GEM(General Engineer Male) category with 75% in Xth and 84% in XIIth. Almost, down and out !
Sometime during the last month of my engg, I fell ill.
Bangalore was the place where my real training for CAT started. I had joined a coaching institute as soon as I landed there. My focus was to put in all I can into CAT preparation. While others were enjoying their weekends, I used to be sitting at home studying. I made a plan to tackle CAT. I knew I need to get my basics right. I picked up Arun Sharma and a Arihant book for Quant. Finished both of them cover to cover, each and every problem within 3 months. That was THE most difficult part of the preparation. When you are a beginner, the target looks very daunting at first. But I persevered. Since I was just beginning my CAT preparation, I didn't want to get demoralized by getting another poor score. I decided not to give CAT that year.
I knew that I had to crack CAT this year itself. This was the honeymoon period at workplace and I knew that I can afford to put all my energy into CAT without focussing on the job for at least 11 to 12 months.
Then came June and I started acing mocks. I became a part of the UDT on PG thanks to the good mock scores I had been getting. It was an amazing group of mock maulers, and remained my inspiration till the end. The second mock I gave - AIMCAT 1319, I scored 99.85 percentile. I knew that I'm getting closer to the target. But was very much focussed towards the actual CAT exam. But sometime near the end of the exam, I started floundering. My mock scores started dipping to early 90's and so was my confidence. Finally the CAT day arrived. The quant section was OK. The VA/LR section was disastrous. I got stuck in one LR for about 20 mins and still couldn't solve it.
After the CAT debacle, I had become somewhat disillusioned with the whole CAT process. I started to explore a lot of opportunities both inside and outside work. I didn't touch anything related to CAT for a few months. I felt that one of the main reasons of my failure last year was that I had overdone things and so was taking things lightly. Took a few mocks during September/October. Got 99.9+ percentiles in all of them. I knew that I still had it in me.
Then came the result day, 14th January,2014. I got up at around 10'oclock after my brother told me that the CAT results are out. I opened my CAT score and was dumbfounded. I had scored 99.90. YES. 99.90.
So this is my journey of CAT. From 60 to 99.9. I've always believed that the hard work you do should never be equated with success/failure. If you are bettering yourself even by an inch everyday, then your hard work is a success. Inch by inch, step by step, always keep moving forward. Success, in terms of end results, is never in our hands, that depends a lot on destiny/luck/karma or whatever you call it, but a failure is guaranteed if the effort is missing. If you can detach yourself from the result and enjoy and love the journey, it would be very fruitful in the end. I never took CAT preparation as a burden on myself. And that is what mattered in the end. A lot of people don't sincerely want what they really want to achieve. This is where they give up when the going gets tough. You have to love the journey, you've to love doing the mocks, the problems. Only then you'll not give up when the times are tough.
And lastly, never be afraid of failing. Instead, find out why you failed at the first time and then try to rectify your mistakes. There is a famous quote that I always keep in mind -
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
I would also stress on the importance of remaining positive throughout the whole journey. If you don't do well in a mock, well, it's just a mock! Not the CAT exam! Instead of being negative and brooding over it, It would help if you find where your mistakes are and how can you avoid them the next mock you give. Small things, but they matter more in the end.
So that's it folks! All the best to everyone who will be taking CAT in the future !
After ABC rejects finally converted !! :-D #Satisfied #LifeTimeAchievement :)
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