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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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My Advice To cat Aspirants---

Whether you are ordinary or extra-ordinary it does not matter.
Ultimately the motivation to succeed should drive you.
And do not stick to conventional methods.
Find your own way of approaching the exam.
do not get pessimistic by thinking there are lakhs of candidates or low mock
scores .
Realize your strengths and weaknesses. It will keep your nerves in fray.
Introspection is very necessary for GD and PI.
It may help us a long way in life.
Speak to as many people as possible and get their perspective to issues.
This helps during GD-PI.
Enjoy the challenge thrown to you.
Things will automatically fall in place


@ Avi@tel
Great story boss!It went for pages. Hope that ur date is a success.
Waise mera bhi kuch kuch aisa hi kahani hai(but the girl is not an MBA!)! But this is not the right place to tell those stories.
Add to it I am also from Kolkata(now @ Gurgaon)

@ Other puys
Please don't groan much. I seriously could not resist from replying.


I had taken 3 days of leave from work to concentrate on my preparation.
Had a sound sleep on the last night and I was ready to face the reality.

As usual because of more number of questions in english I gave more time to it.
Scored 3 RC and a bit of grammar.
Performed quant smoothly
Messed up in DI with one set.Spent 20 mins in that but could not crack it.
Took my chance in that set .there were 2 questions for which I could eliminate 2 options.
I took my chance..I marked randomly which I felt was the right answer.
both were correct.THAT WAS PURE LUCK

Results came out .
Percentile was usual in 96 to 97 range 96.89
My god if those 2 probs were wrong then my cat story would have ended then & there.

Except for IMT ghazibad I did not get call from any institute
Filled forms for BIM ,SIMSr,GLIM
Also Xat was disastrous .got a call fro SIIB and SCHMRD from snap,
I started preparing hard.Gave TIME mock interviews and gds,Read lots of books and magazines and went through pagalguy extensively.Captured as much as possible from gyan and live experiences of interviews
But anyways I am always positive in life and felt something was better there for me.
mother of all surprises
And then ..Got a call from SPJAIN .
Could not believe at first.I realized I had a
to beat her in life and to prove that I am worth for it.

Now I was fully into it .Spent 16 to 17 hrs a day going through pg and different experiences.
Introspected myself length and breadth to fill the SOPs.
I wanted it badly,something more than anything else

Initially I appeared for all other interviews.Got dings from SIIB,SCHMRD,GLIM
but my focus was SPJAIN and I believed in success.
IMT came as first success
and rest all is only success.
I got through it.
I told her and she was happy and was looking forward to coming in mumbai
I have proved that a very ordinary student like me can do it.
And now in a few months I will be going to Mumbai and will ask her for a date.

I do not know the aftermaths but I hope that it is POSITIVE

Let me tell you puys I never have looked back(analyzed) any mock other than the 3rd last and 2nd last mock.
Once the mocks started I realised certain topics be it in Quant ,DI or English were not in my comfort zone.
For eg.In quant -- Coordinate geometry,Probability,Modern maths
Di --- Calculation centric DI
English---Grammar part

I started avoiding these topics altogether .
But equally I started working on other topics harder.
It may look silly,but I was happy and was able to get more motivated.

Intially I was getting 80 percentiles in mock with no cut-offs cleared.
I started to work smarter. After coming back from office I would take
one practise exercise from time .Select the exercise which was in my comfort zone and would take a 20 min exercise on that.After that another 10 min break and 20 min exercise. This way it was easy and I could maintain the level of concentration.

More mocks passed and after 10 mocks I have not scored over 95% .
with very very poor accuracy in all sections.

In the meantime work pressure was getting higher and higher and I
was given more and more responsibility.My boss also came to know
about my work and started discouraging me and told that I am not fit for management.
It only motivated me further.
At all the time at the back of my mind was the girl from NITIE who
has got a job in P&G; and earning a cool 13 lakhs yearly.
I had to beat her and show her my capability.

My room-mates who are and will be very close to me always lead an
easygoing life and I had to devote time to them with one drink-party
in week .They teased me with the girl and the isolated life I have to lead after my mba .But no I was not to be broken down


at this point of time I realized that I was never going to score an envying
percentile in cat.I simply do not have that intelligence or whatever it is.
But I have to come near to that so that I can get call form other good
institutes .I may not be able to beat her but still I would make a good career.

In the 12th mock I scored 96% with 2 cutoffs cleared.
I was happy and practiced the exercises harder.Chatted with my TIME friends a lot more and with the teachers also.
I never missed any time mock.
Even from Calcutta I gave time mock during puja.

My last 3 mocks

Though I was not getting over 97 but I was always getting over 90 percntile.
But the third last mock shattered it.I got 52 % in it.
I thought it was a bad day and I need look what wrong I have done.
for the first time I started analyzing the paper.
I realized that my attempts were low though my accuracy was quite high
and the reason was I was spending too much time to find questions which were in my comfort zone.

I though I will be less choosier next time.I gave the 2nd last attempted many and scored a pathetic 61 percentile.
I was shocked .how could this happen but it happened and after analysis
I told myself that I will practice my old philosophy

Gave the last mock.Surprise 98.9 percentile with all cutoffs cleared.
Performance was at peak and I was happy

To be continued.....

Started preparation early.Enrolled for Time .
Started reading English books and newspaper .
I started with sidney sheldon and arthur conan doyle.
Was pretty easy and I realized I was enjoying reading also.

Job was pretty challenging .Japanese clients are pretty tough .
Had to sometimes slog for more than 20 hours a day.

From cat point of view I did not go through quants and di at all.
My only preparation at home was english. Very soon I start reading ayan rand ,robert ludlum,avitava ghosh and also biographies.
Was enjoying every bit of it.

2007 April.........Bangalore

My friend from NITIE came to Bangalore for summer training at intel.
she was so proud of herself and her career.She told me to go for it
seriously as she felt I was capable of far better

2007 June.....Bangalore

Gave the first mock of time
scored 94.2 percentile and getting a pathetic 50 % in quant .
I remember it.I realized I had look at holistic picture.

My job was eating me though.every week there were deliveries
and normally I would return around 2 to 3 o clock from office.
My hard work paid..........Surprise surprise

2007....... July 28 Bangalore
It was around 1.30 p.m.We were in a weekly status meeting .
Our team size was 60.
Suddenly the manager called me to meet him personally
client has selected 2 people to work in japan and I was one of the chosen.
I was elated at first.It was a great opportunity.
But then I thought about cat and I became a bit skeptical.
But then I could not throw away that opportunity
I accepted it and abandoned my hope of cat.
Went to japan on august .
Came back on february.

2008 .......April Bangalore

After enjoying for 2 months at bangalore once again my thought went back to cat.I realized this was my last chance to go for it.Also I had already
started missing college days.

Once again enrolled for full course at TIME.Got some reduction.
Attended every classes at weekend and tried to prepare ate least for
1 hour a day.

Met two good friends.
Amod who got at IIML ,Nigam who converted MDI and probably has now conveted FMS

And two good teacher...Our mod Prem.ravi and chandradeep
they were good and outspoken at times but the discussion we used to have was good.

My main objective in the initial days of preparation was only brushing up the
I did not go through any practise papers of time.
I did the same problems again and again if possible in different ways
It helped me to grasp the fundamentals of all the subjects.

I also tried to go through hindu editorials and economic times

To be continued...
Unable to sustain the constant onsite assignment threats, I shifted to 'Company B' and this time kept a low profile in my company, finishing off the work quickly and preparing. Motivation from parents, roommates and seniors kept me sane whenever the chips were down. I also became a regular at PG esp. in DI and QQAD threads. This time I had a clearer picture of my strengths and weaknesses and the need to strategize my approach to tests. I was also a regular reader of the UDT'07 thread and had somehow formed a strong conviction that if I join UDT this year I will be able to crack CAT. Again the same sequence of mocks started. This time also the performance varied but the fluctuation was very less compared to last year's scores. Most importantly I spent a good time solving and analyzing each mock. The new job also helped quite a lot as the workload was pretty manageable. The first major breakthrough was making it to THE UDT. This gave me a belief that I can also perform well given my day. Interacting with my fellow UDTians, their constant guidance made the desire to succeed all the more strong. Each and every one of them is an inspiration. But then in my last few mocks, the performance suddenly went downhill steeply. Despite my best efforts I screwed one section or the other. But amidst all this chaos, somewhere deep inside, I knew that I have it in me to crack it.
In the hindsight, pathetic performance in the last 2 mocks had a strange detaching effect on me. I went into the exam hall but this time I was not nervous; I was not worried about the result and the future. The moment I saw the paper where one section had 40 questions (I guessed it was VA - my loyal friend), my confidence levels soared. I started with QA and attempted 12. I knew the accuracy was good and attempts sufficient. Then came DI - my bugbear - solved the easier caselets in a jiffy but lost my concentration mid-way. Read a question wrongly and made a mistake in another one. But still nothing was lost. I was on time for VA. Started with RCs and finding them easy solved all. Moved to the verbal part aiming for full monty but ran out of time and missed the FIB sitters. People say that you know if you have cracked it or not immediately after the test. But frankly speaking, I had no idea how I had fared vis--vis others. I just knew that I had performed close to my best. Only in the evening when keys came out and scores started trickling in that I knew I had a decent chance of securing multiple calls.
The toughest part was to leave the baggage behind and give other exams seriously. I fared reasonably well in others except XAT (somehow I haven't got the hang of it.). This time I had promised myself that I will garner as many calls as possible so that no call becomes a matter of life and death for me. I started the GD/PI preps early this time by joining coaching classes and honing my speaking skills and widening the knowledge base. Decent mock GDs and PIs raised my confidence. On 9th Jan, my friend called me in the morning and told that I had scored 99.78% with calls from IIMs I, K and L. But this time my hands didn't shake with pleasure, I was not overwhelmed with joy. Instead I had a calm sense of purpose. I chalked out different areas of preparation like GK, acads, hobbies etc. and started to work on them. These two months were remarkable in terms of the value-addition I did to myself as a person.
One thing about confidence is that it comes from knowledge. I brushed up everything I could cover and made sure that I can answer whatever questions are thrown at me from these areas, strengthening my self-belief to face the interviews. Another valuable learning was that GD performance matters a lot if the panel is same for PI. I tried to make sure that I sealed the deal in the GDs. My personal experience says that if you do well in GD the PI will be relatively cool. The night before results was one of the longest. I was jittery despite having a feeling that I did well in the interviews. I could not sit still, tried to watch movies, listen songs but to no avail. Finally slept in front of my laptop and when woke up in the morning saw in PG that L results are out. With trembling hands I entered the roll no. and DOB. When the screen flashed "Congratulations" in the pink background I went momentarily numb, then all the pains, efforts, sacrifices for the last 2 years came rushing in. This time I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by them. It felt good. The proud voice of my parents on the phone that morning has got to be one of the best moments of my life.
As I prepare to join the hallowed portals, I would just like to give my 0.02$ of advice. I feel that the key to crack CAT is by taking it one question at a time without being awed by it. You don't need to co-relate your future with your performance in CAT and you don't need to make it a matter of life and death. (I know I'm being clichd but it is the truth.) Don't get bogged down by failures because eventually something good will come out of it. And MBA is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. In the end of this marathon post, I would like to reiterate that if an average person like me can crack it then anyone of you can.
My girlfriend asked me to be more affectionate....now I have two.
My journey with CAT is not about any magical turnaround or any fairy tale interspersed with tragedy and ecstasy. It is just about how an average person dared to dream big and went about achieving it. This one is straight from the heart, for all those out here who carry on fighting with hardships and struggles, to achieve what they aspire for.

I was in the final year of my engineering when few of my friends started to whip up the hysteria about this thing CAT. I had read about the attractive salaries notched up by IIM Grads but was not overtly concerned about management education at that time. I was an out-n-out techie whose worries at the time were improving the grades, watching movies and whiling away time. My roomie came back after giving CAT05 and just out of curiosity I picked up the paper but did not find it amusing enough to sustain my interest. The episode was promptly forgotten and I was back to enjoying my last semester in the college.

I landed up a decent job in campus and joined Company A. Meanwhile parents at home started pressurizing about some higher education as they thought a mere B.Tech wont suffice in these times. I thought of gaining some experience first and then go for higher studies (no MBA). I liked the training period a lot in my company and was very enthusiastic about the domain I was allocated. Topped in my batch there and was raring to go for some good project. But the nave me, I did not realize that it is not your interest or performance but requirement. that decides your quality of work. Got a project in a completely different technology which I used to detest even in college. To cap it all, the work was maintenance activity with little scope of applying your brains. A little disillusionment crept in and out of sheer boredom and frustration I sat for CAT. I had not solved even a single mock before that and just had some basic info about CAT. Started the paper with VA (being my favorite). CAT06 VA is by far the toughest one till date. But yours truly did not go there to crack the exam. So I lazed around in the section for an hour, enjoyed the beauty of the questions and members of the fairer sex, did some DI and QA and came back home thinking smugly that the paper aint that tough. I summarily forgot everything about the key, answers et all. When the results came out I had scored a lowly 49.xx percentile failing to clear even a single sectional. The self-confidence took a hit and the feeling of worthlessness started to grow in me. On the job front, despite my acute lack of interest I was clocking long hours to meet deadlines. Along side I was undergoing a quiet period of self-introspection regarding my abilities, my skill sets and my suitability for the IT job. I was beginning to realize that I would use them better in some other avenue and MBA started looking as an interesting proposition.

My performance appraisal for the year was rated M.E. (Meets Expectations) even after my committed efforts and initiatives and no satisfactory reasons were cited for it. This incident introduced me to the arena of petty one-upmanship in the company and spurred me on to go for CAT07 with proper preparation. I joined TIME classes and attended sessions religiously. I even shifted to live with friends who were also preparing for CAT. The mock season started and I debuted with 98.xx which boosted my morale and self-belief. But the flip side was that it gave rise to a little complacency. The subsequent mocks followed a sine curve, with one going good and the next deplorable. After 3 months I started losing interest in the classes and just attended mocks. My biggest mistake in this phase was that I did not analyze them properly. On the job front, things started getting complicated. I was offered an onsite opportunity but I turned it down. Told my manager about my study plans hoping that hell co-operate but things turned otherwise.

Went for CAT07 feeling a tinge of nervousness, as this time it involved a years investment of efforts and some big, some small personal and professional sacrifices. Started the paper with VA to get into the flow. The section was tough but not more than the previous years paper. Moved to DI after 50 minutes and realized that it was the easiest of the three. To increase my number of attempts I spent 10 more minutes than estimated for it. This turned out to be a cardinal sin as QA- my nemesis was the toughest of the three. I had always relied upon geometry to bail me out in mocks but could see very few questions from that. Still, started the section but 10 minutes into it I had not solved even one question. I lost my nerves at that point of time and in panic, made some horrible addition mistakes and missed out on some sitters. The moment I came out I knew that QA had messed up my chances. The misfortune continued in all other exams. Results came out and unsurprisingly I scored 96.45% with 47.xx in QA. After the season was over I sought to pay attention to my so-far neglected job. Through CAT I had an IMT call and another one from SCMHRD but was not too keen to prepare for them. Then suddenly one fine February morning I just decided to scroll through FMS results and couldnt believe my eyes when I saw my name in the list. But the GD-PI was just 10 days away and I couldnt prepare sufficiently for it. Still gave all the 3 interviews. SCMHRD was an unexpected reject, converted IMT but did not take it up. I started treating the FMS interview as a matter of life and death thus putting undue pressure on myself. As a result I was a bundle of nerves and messed it up big time. But one good thing this interview did was to make me realize the importance of knowing myself, my aspirations, my inadequacies and last-but-not-the-least gave me the ability to handle success/failure with equanimity.
My girlfriend asked me to be more affectionate....now I have two.
The Story Takes a drastic turn now

2006 ...... Bengali New Year's Day ,Calcutta

around 9 o clock in the morning my father received a call from my uncle that
my cousin has suffered a heart attack and has died in a five-star hotel in
Bhubaneswar,orrissa .Doctor's diagnosis --stress took his life.He was very fit
and agile.

Could not believe it.
A guy at 34 with a child 3 years old died because of stress.
Immediately decided I will not go for mba and do a cool IT job and later
try to move to public sector.

2006......June Bangalore
Came for my job immediately after my graduation.
In the meantime my friend had started her classes at NITIE .

But the urge to go for Cat was too much.
Main reason was to prove something to myself that I am capable of doing
much better
Just filled up the form in 2006 .
In the meantime my friend has already started avoiding me

2006......Nov Bangalore

Just chilled out exam with zero preparation
Once again scored around 84% with 42 % in verbal.
Pathetic display puys:banghead:

In the meantime our 6 months training at job was over and we
thrown into projects

2007.....Jan 23 Calcutta

I came back to calcutta with 2 weeks leave.
Went to a professional counselor with telling anybody.
I was not sure of myself and was so confused.
That was an eye-opening day for me.
My simplest question to him was How would I judge myself whether I am fit
for mba or not
Gave me lots of gyaan but he told me one thing which I still practice

To be continued ........
1994 ......September IIM Calcutta.

A little boy 11 years old with parents goes to visit his cousin 5 kms from home
He does'nt understand what his cousin is doing in a small room
cramped with lots of books. But he enjoys thoroughly the atmosphere .

As he grows up and sees his cousin he understands the significance of the room he saw .
1998 ..... Calcutta
He comes to know about the exam which allowed his cousin to enter into that room

Yes that's how I got to know about CAT,at a very early age .
But being an easygoing guy and very very ordinary student I knew it will be difficult for me to crack it.

But still the urge to follow my cousin's footsteps was terrible.

2005 .... january Calcutta

My cousin has already reached dizzying heights in his career .
He became the GM of pepsi India at age of 34 earning a cool 36 lakhs yearly.
Also my longtime friend (girl who still has a special place in my heart.She ) started preparing for cat.She was much better student than me

I decided I will go for it.
In the meantime I got a job after failing in the first 6 on-campus interviews.
Motivation level once again came down but seeing my friend working so hard :lookround: had to slog through.
Verbal had always bugged me because simple reason I am bad at language.
Never scored not more than 60% in any of vernacular paper all through my life:banghead:
Gave most of the mocks. In all the mocks except one I failed to clear the cutoffs for verbal.

In the meantime my friend was getting 96-98% regularly.

2005........Nov 23,Calcutta
Was so tensed that could not sleep the previous night.
It kept bugging me that my friend will score more than me and I will
once again lose to her.
Gave it as best as I could.

Results were not surprising at all .
99.04 percentile in maths .92 is DI and 51 in english.
overall 82 .
Guess what my friend scored 98.9 .got calls from IIMB and IIML .
Could not convert and went to NITIE.

2006 ...April Calcutta
When she told me that she had converted NITIE.
It was one of the worst days of my life .
Once again I had lost to her as I have all through my school and college days.

One thing I can say looking back at that time.
I was immature .I did not look at myself ,I tried to compare without having
any purpose for my MBA

To be continued.....

CAT -08
I started early this time, realizing that I should not expect anything until I have given my best. Joined the test series of TIME and CL both being conducted on Sundays. In the professional front the job had also started to become hectic. Saturdays, at times, were spent in offices and there was no scope of preparation in weekdays. My marks in mocks also were stuck in 90-95 % range with skewed sectionals. From my past experiences, I had learnt that I need to remain motivated till the very end and tried to keep composure.
Finally,I was able to score 99% in the final TIME test and that too with balanced sectionals.
On the D-day, was at the center half an hour before the scheduled time and tried to remain calm. This time I started with Quants and managed to do it decently. Then came DI, quickly cracked a small set.However I got stuck in few sets. At the end of 50 minutes spent in DI, I realized that I might have missed the bus this time as well. Tried to solve Eng quickly and did return to DI but it did no good to my chance. Came out of the hall feeling that all the efforts put in have gone down the drain.I had not attempted good number of questions in Eng and DI also was doubtful.
When the results came, It was an absolute shocker, one which I could not have imagined in my wildest of wildest of dreams.I got calls from ABCLIK!!!:w00t:
After the initial euphoria died, I was worried about the interviews.And after attending the mock GD-PI sessions, my self-assessment was also confirmed by the faculties of coaching Institutes. At this level u will be kicked out by all, You have got such a golden opportunity and u are wasting it were their comments. Luckily I had filled all the forms, and had got calls from IIFT, NM, SIBM, SJMSOM etc also. I ended up attending 15 interview in a span of 2 months. Managed to screw most of them.In some GDs. I spoke very less, in some whatever I spoke was not heard. If GD was decent then was tortured in PI. All in all an experience which will remain with me forever.
The Results
Slowly the results started coming in. They were on the expected lines.Did not got selected in IIFT. The same was the case with IMT,NITIE and NM. To add to my woes,Job front was equally disastrous.In the last 2 months, I had earned the reputation of a careless person, of no good. I was reprimanded by manager for neglecting professional responsibilities and was kicked out of the Team. I wonder what prevented them from giving me pink-slip.:lookround: These all description given only to give an idea about the state I was in. The night of 9th was spent in preparing myself for the worst. Came to know about the IIMB reject through PDF which was circulating. I had some :drinking: that night in order to divert my mind. Came back to home by 3 and tried unsuccessfully to sleep.
At 6, I started checking the results. IIML came first and I scraped through. For the first time in my life, I really felt elated. I jumped in joy and there were tears in my eyes. I thanked GOD profusely and had a sense of relief that I was finally going somewhere.I also got selected in IIMC, with waiting in IIMK and I.
1) Remain focussed even if situation seems bleak.
2) Have confidence in your abilities and give your maximum effort.
3) GD-PI requires thorugh preparation, keep yourself updated about what
is happening across the world and you should have an opinion about everything under the sun.
4) CAT is just not the end of road; you should always have Plan B in place.

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