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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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Statutory warning :

1. This post is a little longer than usual and you could get yourself bored to death
2. Its been a crazy 3 months for me, the post may get a wee bit touchy.
3. If you are looking for advice on how to bell the CAT, go get yourself a beer and read this post.

My journey with CAT began in 2002 when I was in 10th (although I was least aware of the term MBA and even lesser aware of the IIMs) . I had scored close to 90 percent in the pre boards and was quite confident before the big ones.

28th February 2002 : Godhra Carnage , CBSE announces delay in exams for Gujarat.

I was heartbroken and more sad witnessing the bloodshed in the aftermath to the riots. Ultimately got myself back to my feet for the exams again which were held in April but of course I was a distracted mind and the performance was not going to be the same. To my displeasure, the papers were tougher and ended with 80.6 % which was a very decent score in that year for Gujarat, a state well known for whopping scores of 90+ in Ajmer region of CBSE.

2004 : Big year , 12th Boards , decided to pursue engineering for my future and like every 12th standard student in India does appeared for IIT Jee and AIEEE.
The marks for my boards were gonna suffer but still managed a 87% in 12th despite a very unexpected 74 in my favorite subject- physics. Applied for rechecking but I guess its just re evaluation that happens and there was no change in my score.
Couldnt clear JEE but got through NIT Allahabad and was fairly happy.

4 years in college had it all : love , rock , lust , poor grades , subject backs, poor attendance, crazy joints and of course, OLD MONK. The experience had been a dissapointment for me to say the least. (apart from the friends that I made there)
And thats when I met r11gupta (DT Member '10) in college just before my placements . Appeared for my summers before placements and just touched the CPI of 6.00 which is the criterion for most companies.
CPI Score after 6 semesters : 6.00 Exact .. A grade low in any of the subjects in the 6th sem and I wont be eligible for placements.

Sat for TCS , the first company to visit the campus, flirted with the HR and got through. Finally life seemed to move on track after 3 chaotic years in college (of course, only I was to blame for that)

r11gupta and myself learnt about the IIMs and we decided to settle our scores after having missed out on an IIT seat . We dedicated our lives to revising 10th standard maths, solving logical questions using crazy methods, memorizing numbers like crazy and reading the dullest of passages that we could find for each other.
We had joined classes of a premier institute and mocks preparation seemed much like preparation for a war.
Verdict : CAT 2007 : 93.xx Converts : FORE, NIRMA

Didnt join either, joined TCS, the IIM dream was still on ! Fared very well in TCS, won the Technical Excellence award, Star of the Quarter and many appreciation for my work. Life was moving on track and the SAP experience was going to act a boon for MBA as well. Didnt join any classes, but gave the mocks very seriously and was all geared up for CAT 2008.

Verdict : CAT 2008: 94.xx

Thats wen I realized CAT isnt about how good you can solve maths problems or how many words do you know in the English language. It was about something else: confidence, exam temperament and the belief that you are meant to be there right in the best of B schools ....
Didnt join any classes, appeared for 4 mocks, scores of which were dismal to say the least and gave CAT 2009 on my 23rd birthday with virtually zero bookish preparation but total mental preparation that this was the year that was meant to be.

Verdict :

XAT 2010 : 98.xx with no calls from XL.. missed Verbal cutoff for PMIR by 0.5 percentile.....
CAT 2009 : 99.68
QA : 99.05
DI : 99.85
VA : 89.77 with 67 marks

The experience CAT 2009 is


Considering the fact that I scored the least in the section I was most confident about was a shocker to say the least. I didnt crib as I was confident of earning the IIM tag and didnt care that I would be missing A and C.

In the last 3 months :
A/C rejected me for my verbal score
B rejected me because of my graduation score.
I L K rejected me because probably they thought I cheated in CAT and that a guy with 80 percent in 10th can never be good enough for them. (Pity them for not knowing the entire story)
Shillong .. I didnt even bother checking the shortlist .. because if you get good placements by having a super studious batch ... it defies logic of being an IIM .. a C grade B school could also get good placements if they are given that sort of a batch.

I still didnt give up hope. IMT called and I was happy.. SP jain didnt which came as a shocker to me to say the least .. I believe even a 100 percentile in CAT would satisfy their appetite ! I was still hopeful for an IIM call.. ranchi that is .. the tag was all that mattered.
And today when r11gupta ... got through Joka even IIM Ranchi ditched me for I missed the verbal cutoff by 1 mark .. they wanted a whopping 99.68 overall and 68 marks in english (and 67 I was)

Advice to aspirants:
CAT is a big tamasha to say the least and coaching classes are just looking for people like you to continue the story. Every guy has an aptitude and it cant be changed by those lewd lectures and weird problems. English is the only subject that could be improved but being a 22+ year old, you dont need a teacher for that, do you ? In a nutshell, have the right temperament, solve a few problems / mocks before the big day and read the paper regularly just to get your brain cells working and that would be your best attempt at the CAT. The formulas which they try to teach you wont strike you anyways in those chaotic 135 minutes so avoid paying big bucks to teachers who dont deserve it. Stay good, stay positive and yes not everyone is made for an IIM, the sooner you realize this, the better.

Advice to IIMs:
This may sound like a sob story, but how would you ever normalize my 10th marks (given its a totally incomparable scenario). I still believe Bangalore has the best selection criteria and that half the IIMs should be laying emphasis on acads and other half on CAT score. It gives an opportunity to everyone and it makes sense also ! Isnt it a tad ironic that a guy who screws up CAT gets a call from an IIM but another with decent acads and a great CAT score doesnt. Doesnt it defy the purpose of having a CAT afterall ?

For the puys:
The pagalguy forum is for fun and meeting new compatriots, dont get too serious and devote your life to the tamasha that the CAT is. Its upto you to make a succesful life, an IIM degree is just a catalyst and nothing more. Sorry if this demotivates anyone, but the exam has taken its toll on me and I just had to write this.

I dont know if I will get an admit to IMT this year and whether I would join it. But yes, I may give the exams another shot next year as I respect XAT and FMS. IIMs yes, another shot next year but CAT seems more of a joke to me now !

@ fanaticsin ... sirjee .. your scores have been a source of constant inspiration. You deserve big and trust me you would achieve it one day.

@ srivastavvaibhav.... Thanks for being there always although I wish you didnt clear IIFT this year so that we could have a INGLORIOUS BASTARDS team in PG for CAT 2010 ( Puys with 99.5+ and no IIM calls ) :biggrin:

Would edit this post when I get to learn more about the TAMASHA that is called CAT

EDIT 1: Hopefully the last one :)

19th May 2010 : Puys here on PG were discussing and meeting people in their to-be B-schools and I stared at all this drama for the third consecutive year. Mindlessly went through the "Class of 2012" thread and wondered I could have been part of the glory.

Around 12 noon that day, received a mail from IIM Ranchi, who for some reason wanted me to come for GD PI and I was more than pleased.

I was scheduled for June 2 that meant I hardly had anytime for any preparations and thats when r11gupta, who had come to visit at my place before his WIMWI session, came to my rescue. The perfectionist, that he is, he sat with me, illustrating and bombarding me with material that he had accumalated over the year. Life had come a full circle. I was back with my study partner again just that this time, only I was the aspirant and he, the demi-god (having converted IIM A) :D
I realized aint too much of a hard worker, just brushed through the topics and tried my best memorizing the stats in the crazy PPTs that he had given me, but it wont work. I have a very volatile memory. I decided to trust my instinct and form an original opinion on things / answers !

2nd June 2010 : GD PI was strange ! I was very frank with all my answers. More of my experience at IIM Calcutta is here :


and my tips for GD PI go here :

11th June 2010 : The list comes out and I find my name ! I have been absolutely ecstatic about. I really think that a college is made great by the efforts of its students and I trust myself to make IIM RAUNCHY big !!!!

Its been a really crazy journey for me .. and its not been a slogging one too but my self belief and instinct got me through. Thats how I would love to put it
MBA aur MBA ke baad ki life ne KEH KE LELI !!

Once upon a time, there was a young boy, who like most other boys in their early teens thought that there is nothing in this world that he can't do; he tried his hands at playing cricket, cricket commentary, poetry, debate and he wanted to be an engineer, a cricketer, a writer, a farmer, a politician and god knows what not.

Then the boy learned about a certain thing called NDA, he being a son of an army-man, always knew the pride that only an Indian army-man can afford; as all his friend were appearing for the written exam he did the same, when the results came the boy was one of the very few who got calls for the Interview or as they say SSB Interview, the boy was glittering with confidence, flying high on the clouds of hope but then some-how he couldn't clear the interview; the dreams shattered, the hopes devastated, this was the first taste of real life for the young boy.

The journey continued for 4 more times, and every-time the results were the same, SSB not cleared; somehow the boy never thought that may be he is not made for this job, or that may be lacks something needed for the job, he just went back more determined to come back harder and failed again, while among these failures the boy managed to get between 80-85 percentage in 10'th and 12'th which were supposedly good enough for his parents et al, and though he couldn't clear IIT JEE, he did get an okeyish rank in AIEEE and a decent rank in UPTU. To have some time for living alone, and to run from the constant expectations of doing good, the boy decided to chuck UPTU colleges and join an almost unknown engineering college in Bhubaneswar.

This boy was never really very talented, nor very hard-working; rather he was, one of the laziest and careless person you will ever come across. But he had a few good qualities, the ability to think smart and the ability to back himself no matter what.

Based on these qualities, the boy managed to clear his semesters with okeyish grades, somehow in the mind the boy realized that somehow he actually enjoyed that burden of expectations and hence he started searching for avenues where he can show his mettle, and as luck would have it, it was just around the corner; in the form of CAT and other management entrance exams, when he came to know that there is some place where in even the so-called-talented IITians strive to enter, he only became more determined to do it, or as they say make it to one of those coveted colleges.

He appeared in the mock-Cat cum scholarship tests of various institutes and with-out exception secured a city rank 1 in all, decided to join the class-room coaching of TIME - because it gave maximum discount and because he didn't like the attitude of another coaching's director. Somewhere in the mean-time he heard about a few forums for CAT aspirants with crazy but captivating names forums like Totalgadha, pagalguy, crazyustad, testfunda and a lot more he joined all of them, stayed there for some time and finally decided to settle on the most active of them all (yes this is PG - a no brainer -).

The mocks (aimcats) started, the boy started doing fair enough, scoring mostly in 99.xx percentile range with all cut-offs cleared, the not so talented, lazy and dreamy eyed the boy was, he always thought this " I am doing good as of now, so no need to think about strategy or time allocation, with time I will read everything I need - as I've enough time for that - and then I will score better than what I am scoring now without preparation; that the mentioned preparation thing never came is a different story.

In the mean-while there came an e-book called " ALL I wanted to say about CAT" by PG, the guy read it and thought that may be even my story will be published like this (you see, I've told you the boy dreamed a lot :P). Among all the all-so-tough AIMCATs, there came an AIMCAT which was very simple and high-scoring, so confident and arrogant this boy was that he decided to give the paper a ditch 27 mintues before the finish time and went ahead to criticize the paper on PG; a newbie that he was, quite expectedly he was thrashed by people - this boy always tried to help people, just because he loved doing so, as long as they recognized and appreciated his efforts - and the boy, unable to take all this thrashing decided to call "I quit" to the forum.

Then as the boy thought more on it, and as his friends told him (special mention to Abhishek Sharma) he came to realize that he was at some fault in the whole and that quitting is not the solution, meanwhile in came a call from estranged_gnrs, out went the ego and there was a return of the boy, this time more active, more cautious and more mature.

Meanwhile the boy was nominated for the dream team of PG by many people, and the boy felt he finally achieved the thing he loved to have, the burden of expectations but then this perhaps was just one sweet part of an otherwise bitter and testing year including a long, bad and hurting cold-war with the roomies and best friends(at one time, the boy actually considered either committing a murder or a suicide), demise of first his bhabhi(she was very young with just a girl of 2 years) and then his father followed by a sine die in the college and subsequent college suspension for 1 month and many more incidents which would have broken his young heart had it not been strengthened by the earlier blows.

Then came the news which gave a ray of hope in the dark night, the selection into PGDT and into KDT. The zeal had returned and it showed in various forms, with more aimcats and a few other mocks following that boy heard a lot about why and how he was wrong, he heard a lot of advice on emphasizing more on accuracy than on speed, mug up the vocab lists and formulae and the tables and what not.

The boy did give them a serious thought -though he never showed so -but he somehow realized that they were all complicating the things too much, the boy read the books on vedic maths and the likes but never applied them in exam as he found that he could do well without them and hence thought the best way to do things is "to keep things simple and have fun". The idea basically never changed, except for a short time when he decided to do like others, thinking and implementing various time allocation strategies etc and attained the new lows in his percentiles ranging from lower 99s to 96.xx; soon he realized that this isn't what he loves doing and came back to his philosophy -"to keep things simple and have fun".- and started getting the same upper 99 percentiles.

The dreams once again started growing, so much so that the boy started hoping to join only one of the two institutes WIMWI (IIM A) or FMS (DU, New Delhi) -for reasons PM me -the boy first decided to appear only for two exams CAT and FMS (with no affiliate colleges) -what arrogance, eh -but then filled XAT(for XLRI, Jamshedpur).

Soon the mock phase ended, and the second phase "the real game" started, as the all so famous Mr. Murphy would have it, the XAT paper started 15 mintues late at the poor boy's center, the boy was still hope-full for a good enough overall percentile and was only worried a little for his sectional in LR -rest two he was sure to clear - in FMS exam the boy decided to go all out and attempt all the 200 questions -this ended up with the boy being known for his 200 attempts in his college and on PG for some days to come -the papers ended and the wait for results started. Every-one told the boy, he is gonna rock but then the fate had slightly different plans, he scored a 99.7x in XAT but missed out on VA cut-off (at 83.xx). When the phase of written results ended the boy had two calls in his hand, both from his second favorite institute -FMS.

The end of the story -for now -is the boy is joining FMS, New Delhi.
Some more Gyan :

1.) For people like me(neither very talented, nor hard-working still aspiring to make it big) the key is to keep things simple and have fun.

2.) Try to learn; whatever people suggest you, think about them -if possible try them -but accept them only when you are convinced with them.

3.) Life is long -one college, one exam, one degree, one accident or one misfortune can't define it -one always gets a chance to prove his worth, provided he carries on.

4.) Fate may delay one's success but it can't deter it.

Hope it helps to some ....

Finally I got a link where I could share my experience.

Read my blog for my CAT experience.

Richa_Ritwika_Bloggers_World: The Cat Story
Its a little long story so have patience while reading. :-)

Its rightly said that experience makes you wiser....this is not about those who clear entrances at one go...this abt the others who learn from their mistakes and finally make it......

2004 : IIT JEE - Screening : AIR 6000
Mains : AIR 5102
AIEEE - AIR 6200
It was at this time my father, who is a tough taskmaster, told me seems thats your level....around the top 6000 in the country...as all your ranks are in that range...
Come 2007, and in college started writing mocks....abysmal performance ..missed half of the mocks and never scored above 85 %ile..
Wrote CAT 2007 fearing I will surpass my previous records and fall even down...

CAT 2007 : Full of tension hardly could sleep the night before.....had a splitting head ache....started QA and got nowhere and my lack of practice showed... Finally gained momentum and at the end was quite satisfied with my performance
Results...97.9 %ile....although not good for the IIMs...gave me immense confidence...by far the best including my mocks......
But again my rank was around 5000....which my father was quick to point out....

CAT 2008: Not letting that stop me...I started preparing for CAT 2008...this time I had some idea what to expect and my performances in the mocks improved....used to get around 95%ile in the AIMCATs......did a lot of quant and DI cause m good in it.......
D Day : same story of tension and no sleep the previous night...got the paper and started with QA and then DI.....after that realized had only 35 mins for 40 VA qs......did as much as I could..
Results : was ecstatic and depressed at the same time..99.56 %ile but a lone IIMK call....because of my poor VA score.... finally came in the top 1200 ...which I pointed out to my father this time around
But again screwed up my GDPI due to sheer lack of preparation....

2009 season: With all the experience of the last two years...I started off the mocks on a good note consistently in the 99+%ile range....CAT went online and kind off threw my PP strategies out of the window but attempted 56....no clue about the accuracy.....
XAT 2010 scored 99.88 which brought me in the top 150 .....which again I pointed out to my father
Awaiting CAT results now......

The lesson what I learnt was that all it takes to ace CAT, XAT, FMS etc...is a lot of dedication, practice and common sense.....which sadly for people like me comes in stages and takes a bit of time sometimes years.......

So, all those appearing for the first , even the second time don't lose hope if you don't clear it right away....also in the meantime the experience you gain in your workplace will only make you more mature....

Don't know how this year CAT results are going to pan out.....but I always keep hoping that I would get better with time....

ATB to all puys......on a lighter note this time around the IIMs seems to be also trying to test the patience levels of the candidates....

Class of Successful Failures

One truly realises the strength of Indian population when he/she gives some of the most mind crackling entrance exams like JEE, CAT etc..
Now, there are some who make it and some who dont make it
But then there are also those who seem to nearly make it or perhaps nearly fail to make it...
So sometimes you just get that score but know for sure that you are not going to study in any of those coveted instis


(1) You found out there are thousands of others who have same score as yours
(2) and there are even more who are 0.5 marks ahead of you and 0.5 marks behind you

Well, 'thode ke liye reh gaya' is a very common phrase among us
I am yet to give CAT and there is indeed a lot of time remaining(2011). I havent started any prep yet but I keep myself updated through PG.

I am writing this post for all those who "just" got in, but others may anuway read it. It's 'muh se niwala cheen liya gaya'. and this comes in the wake of my tryst with another kind of suicide bomber called JEE.

Pardon me because CAT and JEE are complete different realms of competition and style of prep but they do indeed have something in common. Like:

1. Those who worked harded but could not make it.
2. Those who failed because they were mesmerised by the hype of 'the toughest exam' in India
3. Those who just got blown away and never understood what happened
4. Those who feel ' thoda aur padh liya hota'
5. And those who say "ek aur question attempt kar liya hota"

Lastly those who get ranks and percentiles good enuf to say they cracked it but not good enuf to say they got in
I fall in the same league atleat for now as I had got a JEE rank of 7629 in '08 but did not get admission. There are few lessons I have learned from my experience of an entrance test and also from friends who got in with some mind boggling ranks.

(1) Always remember that the exam is not bigger than you

(2) Discipline is very important. If you are studying 2 hrs a day make sure that you do it in the same time frame everday

(3) Dont think about ur prep 24X7. It will make you too anxious.

(4) All of us have tendency to avoid topics that we hate. Just make sure you do them.

These are just small observations which I think really work. But of'course its a personal opinion.

Entrance exams are something which are to be given parallely to ur boards so jus give them that much importance

I never gave JEE in the next year again . Of'course I had worked hard and failure was emotionally hurting. There are many ppl who go thru this be it CAT or JEE. And then everybody keeps asking you - "Aree you were giving cat na? kya hua?" But trust me puys years down the line you'll realise that it's not as big a deal as it seemed.
Consider CAT like an aptitude test you gave in ur 10th to select ur field of interest.

I have learned that you should never take your defeat in an entrance test at a personal level

2 years after my JEE disaster I am rejuvinated and kicked up for CAT
Ultimately you should live your life and not just go through it
Acad is just a part of life, not way of life. Accepting this has eased of a lot of pressure and stress of performance from my mind.

So now if someone looks at my JEE rank and CET score and exclaims - "tu to na ghar ka raha na ghat ka" , I dont feel bad because I got a chance to learn a lot which the other person has no idea how much it's gonna help me for my CAT prep

What a successful failure!!

Hello everybody,
Never thought of cracking the CAT:splat:........But as all of my friends were joining TIME so I did too.The weekend classes were just a formality for me as faculty used to come from Kolkata(as I was studying at NIT jamshedpur) nd I was never too serious though I had my ambitions at the back of my mind.So, hurridly came the september of 2009 and I started thinking to be a little serious.I filled CAT,IIFT nd JMET skipping XAT nd FMS thinking of my incompetency.I had my mock percentiles in the range of 94 which prompted me to become a little more serious as I was performing beyond my own expectation.I had my only target set on IMT so I filled IMT form.The doomsday arrived and I knew that I hadn't done that bad.I checked out my score nd it was going to be around 125:w00t:.So, I started thinking that I had good enough chance for SP jain call too so, I filled in that after the CAT xam.This way around I had already missed MDI nd NITIE forms which I was really repenting on.The result came nd I had scored 98.37%ile :-Pwith quant-95.1 DI-84.92 Verbal-97.74 with no IIM calls which was expected.Then came the SP jain nd IMT calls nd of course IITM call....(not through JMET as my rank was around 3000).At one place I wasnt expecting a single call nd suddenly I had 3.I was really repenting hard on not filling the MDI nd NITIE forms.My confidence went high nd I planned to skip the IITM interview as I had to attend it in Chennai.So, I attended the IMT nd SP jain interviews but could convert onli IMT-G.As my confidence was high enough I took a brave decision of not joining IMT-G nd give one more try at better colleges.This way I thought of writing CAT,XAT nd FMS 2010 seriously with 2 yrs of work-ex which would give me a fair chance.By the way I changed my mind nd writing CAT 2009,XAT,FMS nd JMET (strange choices....forms updated) though without much prep..Lets see wat the destiny has in its bag for me.Wish me luck.................

I am presently working in John Deere (Manufacturing Services) at pune.


Should have posted this way back, anyway doing it now. Its about my preparation for CAT.

My first attempt was in 2006 during the final year of engineering. Preparation started of in May with an intense 5 day study of quant and di from a Career Launcher book for MBA entrance exams which i found in the Fort area of Mumbai. Those 5 days were my first and last serious attempt of preparation for CAT that year. After hols i was back in college and there was a free all india mock in july and i got 98+%, while a year ago in a similar free mock i had scored 90%. So i got a 50% discount and joined the aimcat series. I used to write the mocks very seriously till i got placed in September; always scoring 96%+ with the best rank of air 48. But i rarely used to clear DI cutoffs and never reviewed my mistakes or attempted the unanswered questions. After placement, i lost interest and could never get into the 'zone' in exam and mock % started declining to 93%+. Finally in the real CAT, i basically screwed up with a 90% overall and a shocking 75% in both di and quant and 98% in verbal.Then i joined a software company in 2007, and focused on doing well in my role and learning about programming and embedded systems and was enjoying the work. I wasn't sure what future path to take and hence did not apply anywhere for higher education.

In July 2008, after 1 year of thinking about gre\mba\better job in MS,Amazon etc i decided to give CAT with the aim of getting into iima or iimc. Wrote a free mock with the hope of discount but scored only 96%, so had to pay full amount for the aimcats. I started reading The Economist magazine: contents page | The Economist, The New Yorker and practiced atleast 1 puzzle daily. The main difference this time was that i used to review each mock cat for atleast 10 hrs (includes time for revising 2-3 times). So i was improving with each test and started gaining confidence that this would be the first and last serious attempt on CAT. Another major difference was i used to follow mock cat review discussions on PaGaLGuY.com - India's biggest CAT 2009, MBA website by spending at least 1 hr after each test reading strategies and mistakes of the forum members.

Though on average i spent less than 45 min daily for the preparation, i was doing very well with scores >98%. But the DI scores were pathetic again; i just hated the section and found it painful to spend time in it; the lowest di score being a 57%. Slowly through the mock cat reviews i was gaining confidence as i could solve problems after spending lot of time for each one. But even in September scores in DI were always
To lose the DI fear, i took xerox of all previous year aimcat tests and started off in earnest, putting in 2 hours daily. But in mid september i had to go to S.Korea for 1.5 months for the final stage of a project i was working on. Luckily i had more spare time in Korea than in India, but was unable to motivate myself to prepare due to various distractions.
Only in the last week of my stay, i got scared and started DI again and surprisingly after the 5 week break from studies, i was easily able to solve the DI sets. I also realized that my order of VA,QA,DI may not be the right one; so i decided that first i have to attempt the 2nd strongest section QA first, then weakest section of DI and finally my strength - VA (Never got
D-Day - The centre was hard to find and very far away, but as i started early at 7 am i reached the centre 1 hour before the exam. It was a school and my room was a class for 4 th class students; so the seating was very uncomfortable. As we were waiting for the papers, I started to focus only on the exam and did not think about external disturbances (entering the zone :-P...in every other exam i would have a random topic at the back of my mind). Gave 35 minutes for QA and did 8 questions, then gave 55 min for DI and attempted 13, got a feeling that each one of my attempts was right. Then spent 45 minutes on VA and did 24 questions. Now comes the most critical part; in the last 30 minutes i was a bit distracted and was slow. I had 15 minutes left after VA and knew that only if i attempt 3-4 questions more in QA, i could clear the cutoff. I tried 4-5 which seemed easy but could do only 2 of them (Damn, was getting out of the 'zone' :shocked:). The time was up and the invigilator started collecting the papers and i was in the 3rd last bench; i knew i had to attempt 1 more question at least. It was a geometry question, and 2 options were eliminated by quick substitution and one of the remaining options felt like it was the right one; so i circled it.

Result -
QA - 10C, 1W - 39 - 96.02 - A cut off - 37 -geometry question was correct
DI - 13 C, 0 W - 52 - 99.64
VA - 18C, 6 W - 66 - 98.72
Overall - 157 - 99.76% - BLACKI calls - AIK converts


He joined Nirma. Life was good there. He already had a certain reputation as a pagalguy user. He quickly built a rapport with his batchmates. Got involved in the activities and the academic rigor there. But, he always felt a certain sadness at not giving himself another chance. Thus, he thought, why not give it another shot. He had read about people leaving after an year of MBA for better places. He joined the TIME test series again. He had absolutely no time to prepare. He just used to give the mocks on Sunday and that's it. Maybe look at the paper for an hour after that. That too wasn't very regular.

Surprisingly, when the scores started to pour in, he was doing well. He was consistent getting decent percentiles of 96-97. He had never crossed 92 in the previous year even with all the hard work. He regularly featured in the toppers list and was among the top students in his city.

Following is the scoring pattern for his mocks.

901___ 87.41__ 95.21__ 98.94__ 98.95
903___ 80.18__ 93.11__ 98.98__ 98.09
904___ 61.18__ 90.50__ 94.36__ 91.35
905___ 86.75__ 97.71__ 99.75__ 99.59
906___ 76.63__ 69.97__ 86.72__ 84.63
909___ 76.02__ 97.91__ 85.55__ 95.89
910___ 80.01__ 92.46__ 70.65__ 88.09
913___ 55.89__ 96.66__ 97.57__ 96.36
915___ 70.46__ 82.03__ 69.25__ 78.45
916___ 70.44__ 87.42__ 53.89__ 76.4
917___ 94.74__ 98.23__ 87.17__ 98.07

As can be seen, except for an occasional blip, DI was emerging as a strong point. Va had really rocketed in the last few mocks and QA remained a point of concern.

Looking at these scores, he felt quite confident. He used to give these mocks without any expectation - just for the fun element.

Now, with these scores, he again started expecting himself to do well. He even started dreaming of getting into IIM-A - an institute he used to cross every week to give his mocks. As a result, he again lost his sleep on the night before CAT. Result - another mess up. And this time it was DI. He ended up with a percentile of 95.xx.

He had filled two other forms this year - NMAT and XAT.

A couple of weeks prior to XAT, his paternal grandfather expired. This left him shattered as he was really close to him.

Cut to the night before XAT. He was having a horribly upset stomach. Was not able to stand even. He simply took a medicine and slept - he didn't even realize that he was to give XAT the next day. However, next morning he woke up with a start. He pushed himself out of the bed. He realized that he didn't have the print out for the XAT ID. He thought he would finally reach the venue in time. But fate had other things planned for him. His bike simple refused to start. He reached the centre somehow with just a few min to spare - huffing all the way and not having an iota of strength left. He started solving the paper - his regular pattern, QA,DI and then VA. Just at the end of the exam, he got stuck at a QA puzzle for 10 mins. He simply could not solve it. However, just as he had submitted his OMR and was waiting for the essay to begin, he solved the puzzle. He cursed himself as he knew that 2 marks matter a lot in XAT. Anyway, he moved on and completed the essay.

After coming out, he realized that he had attempted too many questions in DI/LR and very few in QA and VA. He had attempts of 15 in VA, 20-21 in DI, and 10 in QA. On checking the solutions, he found that he was getting all questions in DI right and 4/5 wrong in VA with one being wrong in QA. He knew that he would clear QA and DI but wasn't confident of VA. Consequently, he wasn't very hopeful of a call.

However, when the results came - he was pleasantly surprised.

He had scored

99.54 OA, 94.9 in QA, 91.xx in VA and 99.86 in DI. It was like a dream scorecard for him. He got the call from the BM program. (QA was right at the cut off).

He had also got calls from NMIMS (Written Rank 406) and XIMB.

He prepared for the GD/PI earnestly and with all sincerity. He tried to cover as many points as possible, spoke to people who had given GD/PIs after being in MBA already.

I would not delve into the details of the GD/PIs. The final result was:

XLRI - Reject.
NMIMS - Final rank 308
XIMB - Convert After a WL

I felt the worst ever after looking at the XLRI result. It was always a dream institute for me. It was the worst moment for me.
Anyway, I had to move on. Now, the biggest dilemma was whether it was worth leaving NIRMA for NMIMS/ XIMB after an year. I took opinions from a lot of people - alumni, current students, friends from non MBA background, mentors, PG members, family members. I was in a crazy situation for over 2 months. It was like an eternal dilemma for me. At one moment I felt staying at Nirma was better, at other I felt like joining NMIMS. (I had already given up XIMB - personal reasons).

Everyday was a challenge for me. Every moment was spent thinking about this. The pros and cons were almost equal. Would not enumerate them here. What really made me take the decision of joining NMIMS was the recession. I have basically bought an year against it. Nothing else. And yes, I heard everyone's opinions, but finally went with what my heart said.

Leaving Nirma was the toughest decision of my life. I had a good life there, a certain reputation, great friends - giving that all up wasn't too easy. The day I vacated my room from Nirma, I almost wanted to reverse my decision.

I don't know if this is a motivating story - but it certainly is unusual. I knew I owed this to pagalguy - a place which has given me so much recognition and respect, a place which has given me a very special person and some of closest friends, my roomies here at NM.

I would like to thank anyone and everyone who helped me during my entire journey. I have learnt that it is not only the preparation that matters, but also the state of mind you are in while writing the exam. I would advice everyone not to make CAT, MBA as the end all and be all of life. Make it a part of your life - enjoy it.

PS: I would also like to say that Nirma is an amazing institute. Please do join it. I spent some of my best times there. Please PM me in case of any queries. Please don't clutter this thread.
I also do not wish to malign or disrespect any institute. I admire every institute, exam for its specialty.
Jul 2006 - Jun 2008: The attempt

Deep joined his organization. He quickly also realized that he rather join the weekend coaching classes for CAT. He would require to spend only 2 hours on a sunday morning towards the preparation. He could also concentrate on his job during the first year.

He got involved in a lot of pursuits which fulfilled his creative side - drama, writing, et al. He quickly became popular in his team and was regularly commended for his quick adaptability to work and good communication skills. He gave CAT 2006 - just for the sake of it. The only thing he knew about CAT was - there are three sections in it. He had fun during the exam - ended up getting 81.xx Percentile. Perfectly nice, he thought. With proper preparation, he was sure he would crack the exam(s).

During this time, he religiously attended his weekend classes - he regularly raced ahead of the class in completing assignments given in class - especially in DI and QA. He was rather happy and felt was doing well.

Sometime in Jan. 2007, he started preparing the theoretical concepts for CAT. He used to solve problems from his coaching institute material.

Now, although he had joined pagalguy in Jan 2006. He had never really cared to login and check it. He started doing that now. Started with the threads on the work completion and other RC and SC threads. Slowly, he started posting. Getting involved with the discussions. He became a regular contributor in the mock threads. Started shouting on the shout box. Made a number of friends who supported and guided him during tough times.

Also, the mock season had started. He joined the TIME series. He used to give two mocks every sunday. One - Career Forum and other one was TIME. He started with a bang in CF. Got an AIR 2 once. This really rocketed his confidence. However, in the TIME mocks - which actually are true reflection of your position, he was performing rather poorly. Averaging about 88-90 Percentile. He could almost never clear the QA cut off. However, he cleared the VA cut off with regularity. DI was in between. He was in a fix. He could not understand what was happening. When he used to solve the problems at leisure, he would crack them rather quickly. However, in mocks he was unable to solve them. This was worrying him. He had bet a lot on CAT/MBA. Almost everyone at his work knew that he was preparing for CAT. And although he wasn't really ignored for any work, he was not given too many new opportunities. He did not mind it. He knew he had to sacrifice his work related commitments.

At this time (Aug 2007), during a session on Shout Box, he with some other regulars came up with the idea of BBLT (Bol Bachchan Losers Team). Starting from a concept which was a bit hazy, the team progressed to a bunch a individuals who were highly motivated and determined. There was great sense of camaraderie between them. Everyone encouraged each other. This infused a new spirit in him. He started working harder with a renewed spirit. Solved problems from online resources.

Finally, as a run up to CAT, he took a leave of 4 weeks. He solved the CAT question papers of the last decade during this time. Gave 3-4 sectional mocks every day. Revised his concepts. On the day before CAT, he relaxed. He relaxed a bit too much. As a result, anxiety took over him. He could not sleep till 4 that night. It was easily the most frustrating time in his life. He knew he just need 4-5 hours of sleep to be fresh enough. However, he could hardly sleep. Next morning, reaching the centre early, he could feel the pang of nervousness. Suddenly, he could feel the weight of expectation he had from himself.

The exam pattern was as expected. 75 questions, 25 questions in each section. However, he found quant exceedingly difficult. He realized this was a game of accuracy - his forte. He attempted only those questions he was sure of. Coming out of the examination centre, he felt uneasy. He felt he could have done well. Checking the scores throughout that day left him in no more doubt. He had messed the CAT. There was no probability of getting any calls.

He was sad. However, as is his wont, he quickly recharged himself and braced himself for the other tests. The same story was repeated in every test - IIFT, JMET (he used to regularly do very well in JMET mocks. Had really high hopes from it), SNAP, NMAT, XAT, FMS and CET.

After all the exams, he was confident of atleast getting a call from IIFT, NMIMS and decent percentile in XAT and a good score in SNAP.

However, the results had a separate story to tell.

He missed the IIFT call by a couple of marks.

CAT score was: 94.3 with a low 81.xx in VA and 93.xx in QA. Surprise, his strength turned into an achilles heel. His first love, QA was still loyal as ever.

JMET: Not qualified.

SNAP: A low score of 75.5.

FMS: No call

XAT: 91.94 OA, 96.xx in QA, 93.xx in DI/LR, and 55.xx. Surprise turned into a shock here. He had expected to get at least a XIMB call here.

He was heartbroken after all these results. He had put in so much of hard work and he had nothing to show for it. Then, within a space of 2 days, he got 2 calls - TAPMI and NMIMS. He had scored only 85 marks (cut off marks) in NMAT. However, he was determined to work hard and convert this call.

His final tally of calls included: NMIMS, NIRMA, TAPMI, GIM.

During this time, he met a person who really supported him through all this. She gave him encouragement, helped him overcome the loss of his grandfather, and made him feel good and confident again - all the while grappling with her own bad string of results. He became even closer to pagalguy as a result of this.

He put in fair amount of hard work for the GD/PI. NMIMS was first up. He performed decently in the GD/PI. But, knowing the skewed weightage against the GD/PI, he was sure of not converting this call. Now, he had simply lost the appetite to give the GD/PIs. He was unsure of what to do. He didn't want to give up in his first attempt. He had already started thinking of the next attempt. He even canceled his trip to Manipal at the last moment.

However, he gave the GD/PIs of GIM and Nirma. He had a blast at GIM and was blasted at Nirma. (Or so he thought).

One day in April when he had even bought books for GMAT and started studying for next year, he received a mail from NIRMA. He had been selected in their first list even after a not so great percentile. Even though it was not a college he was sure he wanted to join, he was overjoyed. So much so that there were moist eyes and all that.

However, now started the eternal dilemma. He wasn't sure of joining Nirma. On one hand, he was not confident enough of going on for another year; on the other hand, he really wanted to try again. Give himself another chance. This went on for over a month. He took opinions from various people.

He gave the first AIMCAT of the season - 0920. Got a 83 odd percentile. It was enough to convince him that he may have more of such bad days.
Hence, he finally took the decision to join. He thought that it is the person who makes the life and not just the college. Finally, what tipped it in favour of joining was his parents' advice to join.

He gave in his papers and served just two weeks of notice period. He looked forward to joining MBA and living away from his family for the first time.

I did what i felt was best at that moment of time. It was a difficult decision to take. Many people were disappointed too with it. However, I was relatively happy. Also, my decision to join wasn't based only on my failure in one mock.

Well. So, here I post.

Deep in 2000:
(July 2000 to August 2002)

Happy go lucky. Is enjoying his eleventh standard - a reward for what he believes - a great result in Standard 10 board examinations; getting admission in the best junior college in the city. His immediate dream is fulfilled and he is on seventh heaven. He is experiencing college life for the first time - the independence, spending time at hangout places, gaming and all that.

In the midst, his more "serious" friends have already started joining tuition classes for standard 12. Now starts the dilemma for him. You see, there is a little twist in his life - his parents, particularly his mother want him to prepare for IIT-JEE. Heeding to this, he buys a book - the fattest book he has ever carried. Now, he browses through the book. Somehow, he feels that he won't be able to cope up with the complex mathematical and chemical structures mentioned in it. He decides that he is not fit for IIT-JEE. He communicates this to his parents. His argument - he doesn't want to be aboard two ships at the same time - jeopardizing his future. He chooses the safer, stabler option of preparing exclusively for 12th standard board examinations. He enrolls himself in a coaching class to pursue this choice.

Meanwhile, he barely manages to pass 11th standard; being in danger of failing in one subject. BTW, he was also attacked by the Hepatitis Virus in the same year. This jaundice affliction weakens his digestion considerably. This point will be of importance later.

Now, he attends the tuition for 12th standard devotedly - but still put-offs studying regularly. It is almost January and he is still performing very poorly in the mock tests being conducted - getting scores in the range of 40-50 percent in chemistry. He is doing very well in mathematics though - scoring well over 90% most of the times. This has a deep impact on him. He resolves to study hard for the last month before exams. However, just as he is getting into the groove, tragedy strikes and he is again attacked by Mr. Hepatitis. He is put on bed rest, has terrible weakness, can't eat anything much other than boiled dal and crushed rice. This period is the most difficult for him. He decides to work smart. He studies hard for the subject he is weak at.
He gives the exams - a very taxing exercise for him to concentrate on. He is fairly confident of doing well in all the subjects - including Chemistry.

Now is the time to relax and unwind. He does give the some entrance exams - AIEEE, Andhra Pradesh Entrance Exam and IIT-JEE. However, he is/was never serious about them, and just goes through the motions.

Finally the results come and as expected, he fails to perform any miracle and ends up getting a rather poor rank in all the entrance exams. He then waits for his 12th standard board exams. They are declared and he scores a very good 93%. (in PCM). Mathematics, as usual is his saviour - 99 marks.

He then gets the option of choosing from either civil in the top college or computer/IT from the second/third best. He chooses to go for computer - listening to what his heart says.

During this phase, I never aimed high. I thought that i wasn't good enough to be among the best.

2002 - 2006

During his first year, he was asked by a cousin of his - what are his future plans. His reply was very firm. "I'll do only an M Tech. " He felt that CAT, MBA and MS, GRE was a horde race. And he didn't like to be a part of it. And plus, he always thought that he'll be some technical geek.

His engineering began with a bang. His overconfidence overcame him - leading to him being inattentive towards studies. As a result, his scores nosedived to unknown waters. This brought about a marked change in him. He started thinking - " After all, technical field is not really for me"

Further, in response to a question posed by his professor with respect to future long term plans - his answer was - being the top notch HR executive in an MNC. His idea of MBA at point was HR and doing it from XLRI, Jamshedpur. It was his first real dream. Yes, there was the glamour of IIMs. But then, that didn't hold as much charm for him.

Now, in third year, all of his classmates were joining coaching institutes for classes on GRE or CAT. Being a low scorer in 1st year made life very difficult for him. He had to fore-go the chance to give CAT in the final year of engineering to ensure that his grades do not fall further. He didn't join any coaching institute. Only worked on his academics. Also, another reason for not preparing for CAT was that he was told by the people he interacted with that he should do an MBA after certain work-ex. (preferably 2 years). It would help understanding the course much better.

He landed a job in a dream company - one which used to recruit only really technical students and toppers. He was, by his own admission, not at all technical and his scores were such that he wasn't even eligible to sit for some of the so called important companies. He was really hurt during this period. However, when he got through the first company he was eligible for, his confidence soared.

Also, during final year, he had to go through a tough time due to some personal issues.

The remaining days were spent in enjoying his last year in college. He didn't even care giving CAT. Only a handful of people gave it from his college and hardly anyone got through any good institute. CAT, MBA was relegated slowly to the back of his mind.

Side note: Sometime during the third year, he went through the NMAT paper published in Competition Success Review. He really enjoyed solving these questions. NMIMS had made an impression on him.

In hindsight, I feel I should have probably given CAT in my final year. Maybe even without preparation. However, being the eldest in the family, i didn't have that kind of guidance.


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