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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 ....
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....
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.
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
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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