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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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November 20, 2005

The D-Day arrived. My mother didn't even know that I was going to write the exam. I got up early and started to prepare. The previous two Sundays two of my friend's marriage was there. My mother thought that there was a marriage even on that day. I just got ready and left. I went over to the exam centre and was standing looking at all the tensed faces of the other students. I wrote the exam and this time the paper had only 90 questions. I hadn't observed that too. I was coming out of the exam hall and the other student were discussing that the paper had just 90 questions and they were taken aback because of that. That was when I realised that there were only 90 questions in the paper.

I had no hopes of clearing the cut offs and did not bother to check my result on the day, when it was announced. That evening one more friend of mine called up and told me that he had calls from 4 IIMs and pestered me to check my results. I was so sure, that I wouldn't get a call, that I didn't even check the result. The next day in the office, due to his pester I decided to check my result and to my amazement found that I had calls from IIM B and IIM L. I had scored 98.73 percentile.

And did it make me serious. No. I was as aloof as I was always and went to the L interview, without even preparing for the basic question of "Tell me something about yourself". No wonder I was royally screwed in it and though I did put in some effort for my B interview, I couldn't clear it.

As far as my friend was concerned, he got thru IIM I in the waitlist. That was when I got a bit serious about my life and the CAT. Moreover, I was bothered by the politics which goes on at work place and wanted to get out of there. So, I thought that clearing CAT and getting into a B-School was the only option.

So I dropped the idea of a correspondence course and took up the matter seriously. I was lucky to find two more friends in office who were also taking up CAT. I decided that I will take up the mock tests and enrolled for one of them. After the ups and downs of all the mock tests, came the D-Day one more time.

November 19, 2006

Well, this time once again the CAT had changed it colours. It had just 75 questions, with a screwing English section. After the test, I was fairly confident that I had done well. But then came the stuffs about wrong questions in the paper, and what the IIMs had to do. There were demands for retest. Arguments and counter arguments, both for and against the retest. After the tense and nervous month of December, the results came on Jan 2nd. But this time, unlike the previous years, they had just put up the scores and the calls were given much later.

I had a score of 99.59 percentile and was confident that I would get a few calls at the least. I joined one of the coaching centers for the GD/PI preparation. When the calls came out I had a BLACKI.

Well let me skip the part about the interviews and the experience and the quota struggle et al, which all of us know of. Finally when the results were announced, I had calls from L, I and K. After some trepidation, I decided to join IIM L and sent them the DD and the acceptance letter through speed post on 7th of May. 14th of May was the last day for the DD to reach them. I called them up on the 10th and found that the DD hadn't reached them. Again a call on 11th, and I was told that the DD hadn't reached them and that my candidature would be annulled, if the DD didn't reach them by 5PM on 14th of May. I called up on 12th in the afternoon and when I came to know that the DD hadn't reached there, I decided to fly to Lucknow, with another DD. Finally on the 14th of May, I gave them another DD in person. Till this day, the original DD has not reached IIML and nobody knows where it is.

24th of May 2007

My manager announced to the team that I will be leaving HP and joining IIML and after all the congratulations and adulations, I came back to my seat, only to find a mail from IIM Calcutta, offering me admission for PGDM. So that's how I am going to Joka now.

6th of June 2007

That is today.... Today was my last day at work. Last day as a Software Engg....
Sometime in August 2003

The mock CATs started and still we weren't serious enough to go for the kill. We just wrote a few mock CATs, bunking a lot more. And to top it all, I was usually among the top 100 in the national ranking, whenever I wrote the mocks. This made it easier for the complacency to set into me. To add to all these confusions I had been offered a job at Infosys and was to join the next August.

November 23rd 2003

The D-Day had arrived and I went in to the exam hall full of confidence and expectations of cracking it. The new thing in that paper was the presence of a poem in the English comprehension section. After 2 hrs of the test, I came back home with a sense of accomplishment. YesI gave my first CAT.

The same afternoon, I had just finished my lunch and was sleeping peacefully. The phone rang. I picked up the phone bleary eyed. It was my friend at the other end. She too had given CAT. She sounded a bit worried and was telling something, nothing of which was being registered by my mind which was still in a sleepy state. Finally she gave up the effort of pushing the news into my head and asked me to switch on the news channel. I switched on the news channel and the breaking news was. CAT PAPER LEAKED. EXAM HELD TODAY CANCELLED. RE-EXAM DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY.

Off went my sleep and when the enormity of the situation sunk in I was royally pissed off. So, off went my dreams of cracking CAT and joining an IIM.

It took nearly a month or so for me to finally start concentrating on the re-exam. But unfortunately, our semester exams were scheduled at the same time. The CAT retest was announced to be sometime in February, just 2 or 3 days after my semester exams.

I wrote both of them and what ended up happening was that, I scored my lowest marks in my engineering, just scraping through one of the paper for the first time in my life and ended up scoring just 95.7 percentile in the CAT retest. And of course, no calls from anywhere. I ended up joining Infosys in the August of 2004 and got submerged in the rigor over there.

I didn't give CAT 2004. But some time after the last date for the submittal of the CAT application, I got disillusioned with the life at Infy. My daily routine was like get up at 6 in the morning and rush through my daily chores and rush to catch a bus at 6:45 AM. Work in the office till 11 or 12 or sometimes even 1 in the night and comeback home by around 1:45. Sleep till 6 and the routine continues. That was the time when I decided I need to change job and give one more attempt at CAT. Finally in the month of March 2005, I broke the bond and quit infy to join HP.

I applied for the CAT 2005, but was not too interested in it now. I loved this job as I was new to it and it was in my favourite domain of Unix operating system. I was thinking about a correspondence MBA. I didn't study properly. I just brushed up the basics. My mother tried to push me to study, failed and gave up the effort. She thought that I was not going to write CAT.

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Well, after a lot of pestering and cajoling by abhi_g1, I finally decided that I will write my story in this sacred thread. First of all something about me.

My Profile

X - 88.8% (SSLC)
XII - 91 %
BE - 81.1% from VTU in Information Science and Engineering
Work Exp - 34 months (9 months in Infosys (yes I broke the bond) and 25 months in HP)

Now coming to my CAT Experience

Sometime in December 2002

Well, we were in our third year in engineering and the job market was not too good. It was the boom time for the IT job market and we were getting worried a bit, cause the improvement in job market was nowhere in sight. So, a lot of us were thinking of the next logical step, if we don't get a job.higher studies.

A chunk of my classmates decided to take up GRE and went to the preparation classes. I being allergic to the technical field decided that it was not my cup of tea. So I was looking around to find what else I could do. CAT 2002 had completed recently and as a few of my seniors had taken up the exam, I could hear some discussions going on in the corridors of our college (That was the place where we spent most of the time anywayscorridors I mean).

So, after some discussions with my seniors, I decided that this is the thing which I wanted to do. And that was when the pagalpan of CAT got into me. Thus began the search for a good coaching institute for CAT and that was when I found out that another chunk of our group of friends have also decided to take up CAT. We went around inquiring in a few institutes and finally settled with Career Forum (It still intrigues me as to why we chose that over all others.)

So, off we went to the classes from the middle of February. Actually, in the hindsight I think, we were not really serious about the amount of commitment needed for cracking CAT. We were just going for the classes in the weekend and were sitting and solving a few exercise problems during the boring lectures in the class during the week.


CAT 05 preparation
I decided that I want to do a MBA in 3rd yr of my BE and luckily many of my friends also had the same desire. We all went to IMS one fine day in July (yes, it was 16 months before our first CAT) just to inquire about classes and give that preliminary test and stuff. But then we decided we will go to goa this dec after exams and join IMS later. Finally joined IMS Jan2006 Ruia batch (Mumbai). I got the material and started of very steadily. I used to normally do all the required exercise before the class, continued all this till the end of 3rd yr, not much preparation but everything very steadily. Then in beginning of 4th yr I got placed in TCS. After this I picked up pace and completed all my BRM before first simcat on Aug 28. Till this time I had no confidence of doing well in CAT. But in my first simcat which I gave very casually I scored around 97 percentile. That brought a tremendous amount of confidence in me. But unfortunately my percentile never improved and I was stuck with 97 percentile or less in all my SIM CATs. May be something was wrong with my preparation for CAT, I never analyzed the tests I gave and I gave importance to the no of tests I could give rather than analyzing those tests. With 2 weeks to go for CAT in November I gave a mock almost daily which actually denigrated my performance.

CAT 05
It was now time for CAT 05. I started with quant, got stuck in it, moved to verbal, jumped to DI and kept on moving between sections. I couldn't handle the pressure of the big day and this switching between sections costed me dearly. I got 97.7 percentile in CAT 05 with quant being the lowest at 89.7, verbal and DI where good, both more than 96. As expected no IIMs but I got calls from NITIE thru CAT and SIIB and SCMHRD thru SNAP. My first GD/PI was SCMHRD and I gave it without any preparation and needless to say my performance was pathetic. Same happened with SIIB. Now I felt the need to prepare and I prepare extensively for NITIE, but unfortunately in my PI I was asked academic questions from the only subject which I didn't prepare. (I was asked about stages of a "compiler") I was very disappointed and I couldn't get a call, not even a waitlist from any 3. By this time I had decided I will now join TCS and try for CAT again next yr. I gave Maharashtra CET just for the heck of it without much preparation. But to my surprise I scored 99.82 percentile in it, everyone started telling me you will surely get JBIMS. But I knew I won't be a good fit to JBIMS and neither will JBIMS be a good fit to me, I was not too keen on joining a non-residential B-School(just my personal opinion, I don't intend to say that non-residential programs are bad). I gave CET GP/PI again without any preparation and GD/PI were decent. I was expecting around 13 out of 17 in both GD and PI and was mostly thinking of joining JBIMS now due to family pressure, But again when I had almost decided that I would join JBIMS the results came and I got only 11 out of 17 in both GD and PI and I missed JBIMS by exactly 4 marks.

Now I had to join TCS within one week and I was so disappointed with my performance that I decided to give GRE and apply for MS (in Financial Engineering and not CS) as a backup. My CET results came around June 10 and I had to join TCS in June 19. I decided to give TOEFL before joining TCS and without any proper preparation I gave it on June 16 and I scored 277/300. I joined TCS training in pune and started preparation for GRE. My training went well and I topped the mid term test of TCS. I hoped after training I would return back to Mumbai and prepare for my GRE and CAT 06. But one more shock came my way and I got allocated to Ahmedabad. All my GRE and CAT plans went down the drain. I wrote a lot of mails to HR, MATC and fought hard and finally I was allocated again to Mumbai. I gave GRE on Oct 19 and I scored 1440/1600 in it. CAT 06 was on Nov 19 and I just had one month to prepare for it along with my job at TCS. By this time I had joined Career Launcher mocks and gave around 3 mocks before my GRE and I had 3 more to give after my GRE. I didn't intend to prepare anything for verbal/RC as it had tremendously improved coz of GRE preparations. With just 6 mock CATs and nothing else I went to give CAT 06. This time I didn't prepare anything but at the same time I neither had any expectations so I gave CAT with a completely chilled mind. I found the paper very easy and I performed OK but not up to my full potential. I got a correct answer for a question in DI but unfortunately marked the wrong option in the OMR seat which costed me very dearly. I got 98.77 in CAT 06 with lowest being in DI at 91 percentile (that one wrong answer was the reason for no IIM calls). I got 96.5 in Quant and 99.2 in verbal (this was due to GRE preparation). I was expecting atleast 1/2 IIM calls considering last years call pattern of IIMs at my percentile. But I didn't get any. I had only filled MDI, SPJain and IMT. No other exams as I was pretty sure I will be doing a MS. I got calls MDI and IMT (didn't get a call from SPJain due to reasons unknown to me). I prepared very hard for my GD/PI, even more than my GRE preparation. My colleagues in office were very supportive.
My IMT GD was good and PI was just for 90 seconds where I wasn't asked anything. They ridiculed me for opting finance as first option after doing IT engg and then asked me to go. Needless to say I was again very disappointed with such a PI. By this time I had applied for MS to 6 univs and I had got admit from one which wasn't my first choice. But I had to pay $750 there to confirm my admission and since I had no other option by that time I had to pay. I prepared extensively for MDI GD/PI and finally the day came. I had a very good GD and decent PI.
My IMT result came and I had a rank of 547(which was expected after a weird PI). I was getting IT/HR at IMT but since I was interested in finance, I didn't take it up. Then was there was a long wait for MDI result as the results got delayed due to OBC Quota issue. Finally MDI results came I was waitlisted at 284. I knew my chance of converting was very slim. But I kept hope. By this time I had got rejects from Stanford, NYU, and Columbia for my MS applications and I had been waitlisted at Michigan, CMU. I had already confirmed my admit at UIUC by paying $750. My Michigan waitlist converted which I preferred over UIUC. I had to pay $500 at Michigan to confirm my admit by May 18. MDI waitlist started moving and it moved till 200 by May 8. Now I had hope of converting MDI. I requested Michigan to postpone my deadline till May 25 which they agreed. By this time there where rumors of increase in seats at MDI which gave more hope of me getting a confirmed offer from MDI. Now I also had a confusion regarding whether to join Michigan or MDI. After much deliberation and thinking I decided to join MDI if I get it. But on May 23 to my disappointment and shock the waitlist moved till 270 and I was at 284. I had no other option but to pay $500 at Michigan. With $750 already gone at UIUC this $500 was pinching me the most. But since the next waitlist movement at MDI was expected around June 6, I had to pay at Michigan as they were unwilling to extend my deadline further. I paid $500 to Michigan on May 23 and exactly a week later on May 30 I got a confirmed from MDI. I was overjoyed but at the same time I was disappointed of losing $1250 at UIUC and Michigan. But I was happy that finally the uncertainty has ended and now its almost decided where am I going. I still have CMU admit which if convert (only with a aid) then I might join CMU (I said might).

I would like to say only 2 things about CAT:

1] People say it is very difficult to crack CAT. I would say it is difficult but cracking GD/PI is more difficult than getting a 98 odd percentile in CAT. So getting a good percentile in CAT doesn't mean half the job is done, infact the job had just begun now.

2] I personally feel work ex makes a lot of difference to person's thinking, ability to work and he gets clearer about his goals. Even with a small work ex of 12 months I feel so. It doesn't matter you working for IT/finance/marketing Company before MBA. Work ex from any company where you do good work makes a difference.

I am very happy to join MDI now and I am happier to post on this thread which I wanted to do from long. I had even lost hope that I will ever get a chance to do so. This is the beginning of a new journey for me on pagalguy as from now I won't be a CAT aspirant but a student of MDI.


gr8 post sesadri.r

I m one of those who had decided that if I dont get a call this yr then thats the end of CAT for me, I know its a very hard decision to take but it ur call.

Although I wanted to post cat story on this thread but somehow I am not able to do so, whenever I start to write I get overwhelmed by ideas.

But I would like to say one thing that I do feel in the end that CAT is a little over hyped exam after all its not the end of life
Every yr only arnd 1500 odd people pass that coverted colidor and make it into IIMs but wat abt the rest?? are they not good enough?? are they lagging behind others??

I dont think so more because even after getting 98+ percentile twice and once over 95 I still feel I dont have good basis of either English or Maths and more over truly speaking I still dont know what it needs to crack CAT even after getting into the IIMs...

I have always felt that CAT is just like another test in life you dont qualify it doesnt necessarily means that you have lost a big part in life but maybe it should give inspiration to people to scale new heights (GMAT, entrepreneurship) Maybe its just a sign of good things to come

So this post is for all those who cannot crack CAT lift ur spirits for there might be better things in life waiting for u......



2005 June:

I came to meet my cousin who resigned from Infy and now
he is in IRMA.I saw pg with him and there was one query abt
"when to read" raised by a s/w Er.i laughed at that question
(ironically i started "CAT'07 for Working Junta" thread).Then something
stuck my mind about the seriousness of People taking exams.
From May to Sep i was idle as Patni called me at Sep and i didnt utilise
time effectively.I was watching TV 24*7 and absolutely Did NOTHING.
I had to pay the piper for not being serious and joined patni.
Thus CAT'05 went un attended.
After training i got posted in "Management Information Systems" Businees Unit
and put on a project (i'm working on that till today)

2006 Feb:

I saw CF materials with my cousin so having some senti
without doing any reasearch i just enrolled for classroom course in CF.
Class would be at Sat and Sun from 4- 8 or so.Before that and after that
i seldom read and i had a misconception that enrolling for a classroom course
would take u ahead in CAT.
Nothing improved till june.My grandmother was admitted in Appollo
and i had to go to chennai.i was morally low again(i cried for first time
in that 22 yrs).Later she recovered and me too.Then Aug came with
NCATS and i got very low %le.I had decided that CAT is not for first timers
and we r writing for practise.In one of NCATS i got 94 %le that gave me
a confidence.

Reg QA:
I seldom prep and was over confident as i was Engineer.
Frenz prep more for this sec as this is the scoring one.


I simply practised few caselets monotonosuly leading
no fruit.


I prep bit seriously for this and sometimes that was also

I had applied for IIFT,NMAT,XAT.

CAT gave me 55.xx %le and XAT -72%le was better(wrt previous one)

IIFT,NMAT had same result:Ding.

I started a thread for CAT 07 prep expecting my project would be
over by June and i'd be able to prep.But now when Q4 is set as target
i hardly see any chance of cracking CAT.

I hav planned to skip CAT'07.I'd do a certification(have not decided what to go for) for 1 yr or so then write GMAT next yr with 3 yrs of Prep and of course
i'd write CAT too.I hav taken this decision considering many factors.

1.I shd be able to get thro rigours of any and i shd be
mentally prepared for same.

2. I shd hav the thirst for knowledge,rather than hostility for IT .

3. I belive that a certification would definitley create a interest
in that field.

My Request to future Aspirants:

Learn from my mistakes and take me as example
for "how not to prep for CAT".
I'm not right person to giv u tips for various sections.u hav got pg for this

What is that i hav achieved?

Got couple of Letters of Appreciation (Q1 and Q4 2006).

Cleared IBM Certification (RPM the word i had lived with
more than CAT).

I hereby like to thank my grandmother,parents,my room mates(Sriram,Bestus)
for their support for CAT'06.
This is my last post in CAT section. I'd post in pg but in GMAT related
and other stuffs.

PS:I didnt thank pg bcoz i dont desrve to thank pg as it is a
place of IIM/XL grads.

I'd come back after a year by this time and i say a temporary gud bye
to u my frenz.

PS:My decision may be absurd but i have decided and parting now.
All the best for working junta frenz and other serious CAT aspirants.

Parting with Tears,
Seshadri Renganathan


At The outset:

This would not be an motivational post,rather guyz u'd not be benifited in ur CAT
prep even to little extent.This post would tell you the worst things you can face
during ur CAT PRep.

To know about me u'd hav to go to 2001,yes 2001 July 9th

On 2001 July 9th:

After my TNPCEE results i got a cut off with 272.32/300 which is
abysmal to any OC Candidate.My mother wanted me to do B.E
only in Electronics and Communication Engineering.So i was admitted
in a private engineering college(decent one).The fee was 25K/sem
My mind didnt agree for this.In the mean time i had written entrance
for "Pondicherry Engineering College".During my initial days in Shanmuga
Now SASTRA i convinced my mother telling that i'd do MBA(i was not
knowing any thing about this,the efforts to be put) and it doesnt
matter in which branch ur going to do ur Engineering and moved to
"Pondicherry Engineering College" for Chemical Engineering Class.

First Year:

The Dark ages of my life.I got two arrears in first sem and one in the
second.I was morally down as gud as grass.I had thought of
dropping engineering at that stage,but my father has consoled me
and gave me the confidence to get through first year.

Second Year:

My aim was to clear the Arrears and clear the papers with decent score.
I had bought GATE books worth 4000 at that time and envisaged doing
M.Tech from IIT 'X'.

Third Year:

Slowly the core papers came in and i concluded that,i'm not suitable
for Masters in this field.So thought of doing MBA but i have not
started preparations.I was not knowing about pg at that time.had i known
who knows i'd hav finished my MBA from decent college by this time.

Fourth Year:

In 3rd yr vacation companies started coming in and as a chemical engineer
i didnt get much chances.The Co's i attended were TCS,Infy,Satyam
and current employer (Patni).I was kicked by first three(obviously).
My first Managment Enterance Exam was MAT in Sep.I scored 612/800.
I was glad,i didnt knew it was the easiest exam(comparitively).

Though i hav applied for CAT'04 my semester exams came in between
and i didnt hav guts to write CAT sparing the study holiday couple of days
before university examination.(i had job at that time and i feared failure).
That was the first biggest mistake i did in my life.

Then wrote XAT'05(aiming to join BIM).During Jan my college conducted
our Symposia and i was the Convenor for one of the committe's and
neverthless i scored 22%le.I was the T&P; Rep for my dept and
i was the one to get placed at last among the Reps'.
Then project came into picture becoz of Deadlines and Reviews(a typical
of Engg college).
The only motivating part was i improved my B.Tech %ge from sem to
sem.It started at 66.xx at I and ended at 79.45 at VIII leading to
aggregate of 72.72 . I missed distinction (by 3 arrears and 3 %),Ironically
My father is a Gold Medalist in B.Com and Silver Medalist in M.Com
and he is an AICWA.

Thus four years passed and now i was at 2005 May(23) when i vacated the hostel.
Contd in next post

I had by then a call from Wipro and headed for Bangalore in October with the spirit of CAT still not completely extinguished. So, I moved on and filled the form so CAT 2006 was inevitable now.
But when you are in IT sector and that too while you are undergoing training lifes pretty rigorous. So, for 2 months till the Cat couldn't even pick up the book.
So, finally comes the d date. I was brimming with confidence that I will definitely improve my score though based on hollow practices, had not even touched the book for last two months. I had a decent paper with time division for each section being DI-55min, Quant-55 min (Since they were my strong section and had g8 hope from them to improve my overall score) and Verbal- 40 min. Verbal section was a g8 surprise really made for me with no typical, horrible, highly unnecessary vocab. The passage were difficult bt I m good in English (a merit holder of CBSE for X board though my CAT 2005 result wont reflect that).
So finally the results are here. I have a creditable score
Overall - 98 percentile
Verbal-92!!!!!!!! (It wasn't surprising paper was tailor-made for me passages , I Just Love Them)
DI- 89 L (Cudnt believe it, messed a question on weighted average cud you believe it!!!!!!)
So, my IIMs dream died a rather unnatural death (diagnosed with lack of DI in CAT cells though was almost RBC for me in most of the tests!!!!)
Anyways, overcame that set-back n filled forms for Nirma n KJ Somaiya. Had a brilliant PI n good GD with KJ but wasn't finally selected L !!!!!
Nirma horrible PI and good GD had no hope and was finally selected after a rather long wait in WaitlistJ.
Finally I am going to be a MBA graduate.
1. Judge yourself realistically as you finish half your Simcats(No points for having false hopes) .
2. Know what are your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Develop strategy accordingly, strategy differs from person-to-person.
4. IIMs is not the end of the world, really know your potential.
5. CAT for me is:
Hard-Work : 50%
Know your strengths and Waterloo: 25%
Strategy: 10%
Aptitude and Attitude: 15% (the respective ratios might differ, CAT 2006 for me was all about attitude).
7. Always know where you stand and be yourself DONT TRY TO APE SOMEONE
DISCLAIMER: It may or may not work for you but this is the strategy that I used.
Then my Simcats started and I found that I more than prepared for DI n Quant bt seem to b lagging in Verbal section.
I was getting good scores overall but the sectional cut-off of Verbal seems like a far ask for me.
So, I formulated a strategy to let IIMs go and concentrate on good B-schools by securing better overall score. The last Simcat dat I gave was on the same strategy n I scored 90 percentile.
So on the d day I resumed the same strategy and had a decent paper. Though I was quite confused when I came out of exam hall since I found it to be difficult. But to my great satisfaction this was same for most of other guys too.
Finally, the results came out and d results were in line with my expectations.
Overall- 94 percentile
DI- 99
NMIMS-790 rank
Missed FMS cut-off though I had great hope after I d given my entrance test.
I had calls from UBS, LBSIM, NMIMS, Welingkar. But I failed to get into any institute, as though they wanted me to feel sorry for not having a Work-Experience and that too without a B.E. degree dreadful.
Well friends to begin with I am not into the IIM-league but still feel dat my experiences will prove to be more than helpful for most of the junta.
My Profile:
X - 91% (CBSE)
XII -76% (CBSE)
B.Sc Statistics - 63% (D.U.)
Work-Experience- 2 moths in December'06 (so as good as not having any J)
So u can all see that my profile is nothing too much to speak off.
Still I had a desire to get into a good institute.
So, in my third year I started preparing for CAT entrance test.
I didn't join any institute since I never thought it could really help me.
But, I joined IMS simulator test series which I personally feel is the best since the tests are not unrealistically tough n the scores are a good reflection of what score to expect in CAT if not more. So, I started preparing for CAT in my vacations and almost completed DI and Quant in one d half months and was more than satisfied and was sure to do well in these two sections. Then I came back to campus wid a single desire to prep Verbal. But I was more than sure that mugging the words wasn't my cuppa tea. So, I started reading books, newspaper n lots of stuff on which I can lay my hands upon.
But, then being in DU n that too a hosteller there was too many distractions like elections which took my precious time.


Advice to future aspirants
(if you consider me worthy to be givin it )

On Mock Tests:

TIME - Probably the best for experimenting, but real difficult at times - so take a pinch of salt
CL - Superb in Verbal and DI - way too tough in Quant
IMS - Have improved much much more in 2006.
CF - Decent, and good morale-boosters.
PT - Heard they were just about ok.

I would say any of the above with good analysis of where you went wrong after each mock, and noting 'out of the box' problems would suffice more than enough. Of course, above all this, comes solving all the previous CAT papers, being thoroughly sure of every old problem that has appeared, and also of the concept attached to it.

On indivudual sections:

Verbal - My strongest, but didn't help me much when I wanted it to. A good day bad day concept (read my notes elsewhere on PG - and on the new Verbal thread for this year). Be inherently good, and crack it. No one day/two day preparation can help you here. Especially when the ambiguity in it is increasing to large extents. Focus more on comprehending stuff - watever it may be. Will be very hepful - both in Verbal and in RC.

Quant - Past CAT papers - the best source of information. Besides these come the 'out of box' problems. Try things like TWI and Vedic Mathematics if only you are very confident about them ( I wasn't, hence they didn't work much for me). But TWI is indeed a very useful approach, especially the 'bottom-up' approach (through the alternatives).

DI - I am not the person to contact for this section. But what I referred - DI A Question A Day on PG, the book on puzzles by George Summers (hardly solved any, but helpful), and of course CAT oriented problems.

On CAT on a whole:

One thing I agree with Munira L on this - the sectional percentiles do matter, but what matters more is the overall percentile. If the overall percentile is low, you are directly out of the race. Though its slowly moving to the stage when the cutoffs wud be sectionally 99/99/99 and overall 99.5. The day is not far when this too will happen..


I attended IMS only - so cant comment much on the others. But this is where there is maximum preparation required on the personal front. I could probably do much better here coz of the confidence I had in myself. Make sure you get a hold of the workshops which IMS/TIME/CL conduct - they are really decent and a very good practice. I am always reachable on PG for help on this phase of the preparation (might not be a very good contender for the previous phase )

On the personal front:

1: Be sure of where you are now, where you want to be, and how would an MBA bridge the gap between the two. Only then can you jump into the ocean of preparation for these entrances - else its useless - believe me.

2: Pagalguy.com. Only this site would give you info, reviews, opinions from thousands of people who have made it, and loads of loads of trivia. I don't think I need to say more about how to tackle CAT mentally/physically etc. Believe me, its more a game of the mind than of anything else. As so many others have said, get out of the hype surrounding it, and be a winner :). Most importantly, (its tough but try it) - be yourself when the time is cricical - around ten to fifteen days countdown to CAT, on the day before, and of course on that day. It will always have surprises, and the aura of the unexpected. Its how you wish to tackle these things, by being prepared and being confident, or by thinking that after all its only an exam . Refer Pagalguy for words of wisdom from Chandoo, PsychoD, Orca, vinz and several other veterans on hundreds of different threads. Since I began on CAT, there has been almost no day when I haven't checked PG - it has become a part and parcel of my life - and will be so too. In the words of Amit Saboo, it is really a goldmine that Allwin discovered 5 years back.

How I believe the CAT should be:

In the current world scenario, I believe that the CAT should have some subjective stuff also, probably an objective screening test, and then a second level test accompanied with essays, SOP's, situational problems etc. This would screen out the real managers from those who make it through plain IQ. Of course following this can be the GD/PIs. The hype surrounding the supposedly 2 lakh aspirants would also be diminished in this case - as those who are worthy, and know why they need to pursue a career in management would be differentiated from those who don't.

Signing off for now with a 'kind of' satisfied feeling. The calm mind is yet to see another storm, and even more thunder - the next 2 years promise to be two of the most gruelling years of my life - and yet the most fun-filled. Looking forward to an even more enriching phase of life now .

Ashish Kolvalker
(Batch of 2007-09)


MDI Gurgaon
(Batch of 2009)


CAT 2006 -
North Bangalore - Malleswaram - MES College. Spent the previous evening at the same friend's place. Much much more at ease and confident than on the 2 years before. Enjoyed a bit with these guys before finally hitting the bed at nite. The morning crowd as usual - was used to this more than anything now. The college was a popular one, though not a huge one. Having relieved myself, I sat in my place - and didn't know what to expect - nothin could much of a surprise now - was sure about it. The paper in - 75 questions - 25 per section - one of my expected patterns - but one of the least expected ones. 'What were the IIMs doing reducing questions' was my first thought. This was a desparate way of evaluating people - a single drop would kill - instantly ;). What I missed to see initially was that there were 5 options per question - somehow missed seeing that. Though the neg marking was 1/4th , the only relaxing factor. Besides this, nothing was relaxing for me once I started off with the paper. 20 min into it and 2 bubbles shaded in verbal - an utterly, hopelessly ambiguous section. Was wondering what the others were experiencing. My luck was it that somehow I struck on the right easy questions in DI. Though I couldn't make the most out of the Quant section - how much ever easy it may have seemed at the first shot. But solving earlier CAT papers helped - i spotted lollipops evrywhere from past CAT papers At the end of the entire thing I put my head down - nervousness had once again taken the better of me. Had managed a decent attempt, but could have done much much much better. Knew the others could have blasted this CAT.

Attempts - overall 45 questions - Verbal - 19 questions, DI - 12 questions - Quant - 14 questions. - totally dissatisfactory by my standards.

The drama that followed in the next 2 months is well known - the usual jhagda between the coaching classes over the English answers - it was counted out as an endlessly debatable section - with totally ambiguous answers (and well the IIMs came out with some totally different answers at the end ). The pattern of CAT resembled GMAT this time - but the Verbal section could have been much better. Besides this were the mis-prints and so on. I don't need to state more about it - its well known. The jhagda over the the CAT Retest still rings in PG as of today too ;). Though I stayed aloof from the coaching classes hassles - didn't check my scores/answers etc. Was not at ease - but somehow managed it. Didn't take IIFT this year as I knew I could neva score in that test. JMET was well balanced - but could have done better - though the result was terrible (some 3000 odd rank - useless to say the least). The only other exam which probably boosted me was SNAP this year - decent paper and managed it real well - all due to my sound preparations - a score of 91.25

Though the new year brought sad news again. The score at CAT -

Overall percentile - 94.56
Verbal - 85.35 Quant - 93.XX DI - 89.XX :(

The enthu after CAT results was all lost - faint hope for the other B-schools, but of course not the IIMs. I couldnt believe my verbal scores - that too when I discovered that somehow 10 marks in my paper were absconding - my calculated score was 10 marks lesser than the expected one. Also, in verbal I had certainly been very close in eliminating 3 options, but got caught at the final 2 - almost evrywhere . The worst part was that I noticed that so many of my good PG friends lost out coz of the same - the ambiguous Verbal section. (one of the biggest gang I had made in 2006 - awesome Pgites, all brainies to say the least). And then there were people who made it coz of sheer luck, maybe blind shading, or riduculous reasoning. There was little energy I put after this in XAT - was calm, composed and had a decent paper - though it was the worst possible paper I had seen in my life - perfectly CAT imbibed, though with a monstrous 'none of these' alternative in each question which destroyed it. (sorry XL guys, but I have said this before too ). To add to it the shock at the results - a 28 percentile which XAT gifted me at my birthday - wat the hell was zattt??? was shaken up - but kept control .

I can say that TISS was the only entrance that I blasted this year - left only 3 to 4 questions out of the 120-question paper. After the XL debacle, this was the only best college I was aspiring for. Thankfully it was an easy and decent paper. The DSE paper I took last went well, but I was unlucky - maybe I needed more speed in it.

Feb first week I had all my season-end calls - SIBM, SCMHRD, TISS, MDI (HR).

GD/PI Preparations:

Probably one of the most dear, memorable and enriching phases of my life. Memorable coz we had a good number of PG meets in this phase. . Dear coz it finally bore fruit. Enriching coz I must have neva increased my own knowledge as much as I did during this period :D. As usual, I have always been more confident for the GD/PI phase than for the entrances - though I had neva reached it uptil 2006.

SIBM/SCMHRD involved almost NO GD/PI preparations. Except for an all interview questions doc I prepared - listing out all the 'most common' interview questions and my answers to each - eg Tell me somethin about ureself, why MBA, why HR, best experiences, memorable incidents, work life etc etc. This doc was my only weapon for the interviews. The GD's had almost zilch preparation done. Soon after the first 2 GD/PI's I enrolled at IMS for the GD/PI classes and attended two mock interviews at the Achievers Workshop, which was indeed helpful. But what helped more was my personal preparation - interaction with HR guys in the company, with managers, top-notch introspection, preparation and modulation of the answers, speaking to the college seniors on chat etc - and above all a lot of work on the net. Wikipedia was my biggest source of information. I must have downloaded hundreds of webpages from Wiki about past political and social events, general knowledge, facts, trivia etc etc. Things that have happened in the past in India, and too in detail - most of the things that I wasn't even aware till now. Truly speaking I never had the habit of reading the newspaper since childhood - maybe one reason was coz we always used to get a regional language paper at home. At Bangalore I somehow forced myself into the habit. Though the info I gained from Wiki, Google etc was of immense help to me.

Besides this was of course our great weekend GD/PI 'bash' - the Bangalore PGites meeting up for some GD/PI practice. Anarchy, Prem, Krishanu, Mufasa, Ashwini, Billy, Vijay, Saurav, Atul - some of the people I can enlist, along with whom I really practiced a lot - and the gd/pi sessions were indeed really helpful (hats off to Anarchy's feedback sessions ). Somehow all these things together clubbed to uphold my confidence levels. The interview questions doc expanded like anything, and so did my folders on 'India and issues', 'Docs to read for gd/pi' etc etc. These contained other things like info on institute background, faculty of the institute, about the course, the electives etc etc. Background study of HR subjects like OB (my personal interest), other HR related arenas were also included.

All in all - I was a reasonably confident man on approachin MDI on March 12th at IIMB and TISS at Mumbai on April 16th. The GD/PI links to all my experiences are given below: (for additional details refer Risen from the Ashes)









All done - I was just awaiting the results. Probably this year was the most ridiculous year for MBA aspirants - with an errored CAT paper, a cry for a retest, delayed results initially, vague results, and then the OBC thingy - which delayed the final results even more. WL 15 was my MDI result - was very much hopeful about it - but fingers were crossed. Though the longest wait was on the day of the TISS results. It was something I had expected more than anything - with an excellent test and PI, a decent GD and a decent profile. Though it wasn't to be - I had a reject from TISS - and spent 2 or 3 of the worst days of my life thinkin about why did it happen. The blow was harsh - though things worked out in May second week when MDI converted. Yes - finally it happened - for me - and for u folks too who have been bearing with me throughout this full story .

Looking back now I want to leave all my regrets behind. The HR course at MDI ranks third best in India, and MDI is definitely in the top ten colleges - hence it ascertains my target (one in the top 10). Maybe whatever happens always happens for the good (a dear friend's advice which I shall always remember). My losses through the entire journey would probably be mainly monetary, and psychological - but my gains were totally on the intellectual and on the social side. I have grown - have matured - as I can see now - to someone who didn't know CAT - to someone who will be doing his masters from one of the best colleges in India now. I have gained a lot of experience and wisdom in the entire experience - and would be more than grateful to grant it to others. Along with this, I have gained friendship of some of the most intelligent people in India through PG - one of the best places I have been at. Friendships that would last for a lifetime - that too even before I have done my MBA.



MDI Gurgaon
(Batch of 2009)


Expectations came crashing down, thoughts of wrong bubbles shaded passed by - well, so many other things happened. The first reactions were, of course, its useless for me to take it up again. Had already lost so much money having applied to NITIE, MDI etc in the same year. Anyway I had my campus placement secure, though I had lost out in the seventh semester marks, after having topped the University in the sixth semester.

I couldn't get over the entire thing so easily. This was soon followed by a mediocre IIFT entrance (Mumbai again) and a mediocre XAT (some 85 percentile again). Still the thought of the coveted schools wasn't leaving me. But I had to forego it for sometime at least. Finished my engineering, and was awaiting the joining letter from my company. In the meanwhile I applied to several other companies (maybe to prove myself to me) - companies vied by several others. The joining letter hadnt arrived, and I had some other personal issues on my head. Thoughts of CAT 2005 floated by, and I grabbed hold of them. I had to leave Goa, and opt for a better test series, and of course work harder. With some news of my posting being at Bangalore, I left for the city in the end of July 2005. I signed up for the TIME test series, and started taking them up eagerly. At the same time I also sat for some company tests/ interviews. September 2 2005 - I come to know that I have made it to one of the best MNCs in the world, and my joy knew no bounds . Eventually I joined it on September 19 2005. During this period the mock cat series was on, but my scores were diminishing badly. Only once or twice could I get the score to a 95 percentile or a 96 percentile. To make up for my confidence, I enrolled at Career Avenues and interacted with Amit Saboo - who gave me some amount of confidence in the entire thing. I took up his mock cats too, in which I would at least score better than what I did at the TIME mock cats. I took up some of the old CAT papers and managed to solve quite a few. I tried to understand some of the mistakes I had made in CAT 2004 - but probably they are too many to enlist. I made sure somehow that I did not burn out myself with mock cats as I had done in 2004. I somehow got a broader horizon to CAT by having interacted with a lot of people - grasped it more as a skill gauging test, rather than a flat 3 section paper and so on.

At the same time I made some very close lifetime friends through PG, who took the mock cats with me - nicked as akhil_agrawal, bhandari, nitin_jain etc on PG. We shared thoughts, exchanged loads of views, took mock cats together etc. Besides these of course I made tons of other friends on PG. Enjoyed at some PG meets in Bangalore - finally met Psychodementia and some other known Pgites like Orca (was in my company itself), bingo (one of the first timers on PG) and many many others - most of who might be absconding from the scene now. A simple evaluation would tell me that I was strong on my HR skills, and I needed an MBA to get on into that field. It was the only thing which would get me there. And well - no compromises on the institutes - this being my last education - only a college in the top ten wud suffice . Though, somehow with the hectic training etc at my company I was kinda all lost. I decided to give a couple of entrances, but apply to not more than one college in each. Thru CAT it was only the IIMs - probably as I wasn't at all confident, and gauging myself from the mock scores, I could see that nothing was possible for me this time. But I simply couldn't resist taking the exams.

CAT 2005- North Bangalore, Vivekananda College. I stayed overnite at a friends place the day before and it was quite a normal day, with absolutely no stress from my side. And why should there be - I had nothing to lose if I didn't make it. Probably the attitude was lacking this time though. The morning of CAT - the normal crowd. My friend departed just before the exam - and I sat there, expecting the worst to happen - well, its CAT - and there are bound to be surprises . The paper had even more reduced questions, 90 this time, with continued differential marking, though this time more structured. My method of solving was simple - the same - Verbal/DI/Quant - 40 min each. Whizzed through Verbal, and landed up at DI - the usual nervousness. This was one section I could neva get even with - and well, the nervousness existed in some small amount coz I had neva managed to practice enough for this section - had always got bored during my entire preparation cycle. Solved only 13 marks here and moved ahead to Quant - where I could solve at least some of the questions with ease. I had kept in mind this time that I only had to pick the sitters, and had practised well at it. Hence I could do it with some ease at least. Attempted only 65 marks on the whole. I knew it was very less the moment I counted it out.

Just a week later I came to know that I had made a very silly mistake in the lone 2-marker set I had solved in DI. That ends the story - I didn't need to look more at the result - the loss with that one set was mammoth. The tragedy was that of course, I had to get the bad news on yet another new year ;)

Overall percentile - 89.XX :(
Verbal - 93.XX Quant - 93.XX DI - 35.XX (holy cow !! )

Immediate thoughts - no more CAT for me. I would never be able to solve the kind of problems which came for DI. I was a loser at these puzzles - and would neva manage them inside the exam hall. Yes of course, given some good amount of time, maybe I could do it, but not there in the hall .

Yes, to provide some solace were the other entrances - IIFT, which was immediately after CAT that year - went good, but eventually a shocking reject - couldn't believe it, but I guess I was getting used to the bad luck. JMET banged right in my face - disqualified - not even a rank, XAT had the same mark left - some 85.XX percentile. And well, there was FMS too this time - with a cascaded reject effect What went really wrong was the TISS application - one real big tragedy in my life - my TISS application somehow never reached them - and got stuck due to some problem in the courier office :(. I came to know this only after the list for the students answering the exam was released, and my name was missing. I was devastated - the only exam left in the year also had had me bowled out - that too without taking it.

Eventually after the GD/PI some of my friends made it to some B-schools, and left from Bangalore with a promise from my side that I would make it the next year. I really don't know why I committed in that way - did I have any confidence left in me, when nature itself was turning against me and telling me a different tale? At this point of time, I really didn't know. I needed a lot of time to myself - and I made good use of it. I put to thinking as to whether I really needed an MBA - the answer was surprisingly a 'yes'. The roads to the HR sector branched through this field of education - it was either some correspondence course I had to do, or a residential MBA, and I would have anytime have preferred the latter. 2006 was a turning point in my maturity and my thinking levels. I put in a lot of hard work at the work place, and spent the remaining time mulling over the entire thing and also reading a lot of books. Did loads of research in the HR field too. The road ahead appeared tough, but it was definitely my last shot - couldn't take it once more, as probably I was giving a lot of my personal self and resources to it. I decided to give it all I have this time.

I was hell bent on making the preparation more structured this time. Mocks - yes - but not without proper analysis. I introspected myself well, and saw that I was an average CAT taker, who could make it to an average 97 to 98 range - but on a high scale could just peak if the score required was less. (People in this case always pray for a difficult CAT paper). I can say that in 2006 I must have spent around 65 percent of time at devising strategies, and 35 percent for concepts . If I enlist whatever preparation I did in the latter half of 2006 - it would probably lag on for a few more thousands of words - so lets keep it minumum. I enrolled for both TIME and CL mock test series. I used to take the TIME tests on Sunday mornings and CL tests on Sunday afternoons (read as useless - in fact the quality of the mocks deteriorated and so did my performance). Besides these I would take up the CAV mocks posted on PG too. I started giving more time to preparations and lesser to the office work.

Read a huge lot of stuff from the net/PG/other areas on tackling the entrances. I had it entrenched in my mind that the concepts are best wrapped up fast and all problems of similar kinds which had to be broomed. . There were two main things I did. From August, I solved all the old original CAT papers from 1996 till 2005. I knew that the problems coming in the mocks had a style picked up from old CAT papers, and I was right. Besides I noticed something strange and advantageous - the questions in the CAT papers were repeated too - believe it or not, several quant questions had been repeated, some styles of verbal questions, and some DI types. This would be great as the questions could be repeated now too . The second thing I did was keeping a notebook to note something I called 'Out of the box fundae/problems'. These were fundae that one would hardly find in the basic concepts books, and in normal problems. You can find some of them floating on PG now, but previously they were hardly present. Some problems too, which had fundae which cyclically repeated throughout mock tests and entrance exams. I found this extremely advantageous in the mocks.

Though I saw that my scores did not improve in the mocks - in fact, they worsened. I would score in the CL mocks, and not do so in the TIME mocks. I would score the best in the CAV mocks, which I felt were really designed well. Then I did something drastic - I stopped seeing my TIME and CL mock scores. I did this for two months upto CAT. Believe me, I just used to answer the test, come home, solve the unsolved problems - that's it. I made a 'repeated mistakes' doc separately - which I would keep seeing after October. The only mock scores I would check were those of CL FLT's and the CAV mocks that I took at home. These were my only morale boosters.

However much one is prepared, the CAT surprise throws him off guard. This is something well heard of. As usual there were rumours and half truths on PG on how CAT would be this time. 2.5 hours - of course that was the in-thing new for 2006. But anything else was unknown. I had decided there would be no surprise in terms of paper pattern that could throw me off-guard - and well - definitely the mock tests were helpful in it (in fact TIME covered almost all patterns possible). Besides this, I myself made a 'countdown' doc in which I prepared my final strategy - as to how I would answer CAT 2006. This strategy was devised by having put all the initial 8 to 10 mock cats of the season to severe experimentation in terms of order of sections, break up time etc. This would be what I was most comfy with. Besides this there was a supplement in the doc that made the adjustments for all kinds of patterns - starting from 75 questions, 25 per section to 200 plus questions (which was also predicted by TIME, Munira L etc). All such things boosted my confidence - inspite of low or unseen scores in mocks etc. Besides all this, I would continue solving home tests, and new problems. The struggle continued till Nov 17th.



MDI Gurgaon
(Batch of 2009)

MBA Entrance Examinations, Determination and ME... :)
Disclaimer: All characters/ incidences below are purely real - and any attempt of associating the stuff with fictional mumbo-jumbo will NOT be tolerated. ;).

Acknowledgements: Chandoo's first article. (I always dreamt of writing one just like that - some day :))

Warning: This article is meant for fun-reading, inspiration - and may be of some help only to the average percentilers at CAT and other entrances. If the top scorers and absolutely confident 100 percentilers at CAT think that they need better gyaan, they better look elsewhere

Amidst the myriad questions of 'Why MBA', 'Long-term goals', 'Short-term goals' etc etc - was me - somewhere in July or August 2003 - when we began with Semester 5 in my engineering college. Probably that was the semester, which kicks off Computer Science on the whole - and here I was - dreaming of some other things - like how was my life proceeding, and whether I was evaluating myself properly. Programming certainly wasn't the thing I would be happy doing for the rest of my life . I believed more in the Howard Roark philosophy - When I have around 50 more years to live, I feel I should be spending them in the way I like - and work in the field I am best at.

Probably it was the Economics and Management subject in Sem 5, which set me thinking in some direction about the same. The ideas inspired me - and I could associate with the subject better - maybe also because the teaching of the faculty rocked. A post-graduation in the field of Management - an MBA, had heard about it long back - even before I had joined my engineering college. Was it the real push for a great career? Was it the thing I would need to build myself to better prospects? I needed to find out. Got some magazines - old IMS magazines (Advancedge) - read more. Inspiring stories, great institutes - yes - maybe I had to get there. This is probably what is real education - real learning.

The Common Admission Test - had heard about this before - but never knew that I would be taking it at any stage in life. I enrolled for the IMS Correspondence package at Goa, and they sent me some average kinda material. One of the days in June 2004 I was sitting listening to an inspiring lecture from a student who had made it to IIML that year - a senior Goan. At the end of the lecture, he had one piece of advice - use this site - its really very helpful. I rubbed my eyes and for a second couldn't understand what he wrote - whatever did that name mean in the world of MBA entrance examinations. Nevertheless I took it down on my book and thought I would sign in right away. Pagalguy.com. :)

From then on began a roller coaster ride of studying DI, Verbal and Quant. CAT had leaked just the year before and had come out in a terrible form at the time of the re-test - with a terribly tough Quant section. Hence of course the normal rigmarole which I wasn't aware of, at that stage at least - the coaching classes start putting up mock tests which have difficult Quant sections only. At that time however, IMS was the only institute I was aware of - being the only one in Goa. The additional info would come from PG - for some days I failed to understand why were threads entitled AIMCAT 0503, 0504 etc etc. It really took me some time to know that these were mock cat names - or rather numbers J. Goa still had to open out in terms of coaching classes and the prepratory environment for MBA preparations.

Sectional tests, Mock tests - I was on a spree - I wasn't scoring great - but well kya mazaa aa raha tha competition - nice fun. Got some TIME mocks, CL mocks xeroxed from my cousin who had taken the test series in Pune. They seemed tougher than the IMS Simcats (except for the godly IMS DI :D). I must have taken around 60 to 70 mocks in those 4 months or so - in the end it was almost every day - with the hope that the max score dwells on D Day. I made many friends in PG - some high-edged mock cat'ers, who would beat the hell out of the others in the percentiles. I would hardly be studying the college stuff at that time - the seventh semester passed away so fast that I hardly came to know. I had only one thought - CAT. Probably that's why what awaited me on that day took its share of fun - and I had my share of misery.

CAT 2004 - Dadar, Mumbai. Goa had been removed as a CAT center that year itself (to my bad luck) - so the trip to Mumbai was necessary. Kept cool on the previous day while revising only very important stuff. What was landlocked in my mind was how I had to answer the paper, my 'strategy', my scoring sections etc. Yes - childish stuff. November 21 2004. IES School at Dadar was crowded (had already been there the previous day). Once I was seated at my place I was simply praying was a 3 section paper like CAT 2003. What came was a 3 section paper - but with a blast of surprises - differential marking for the first time, reduced no of questions (to 123), and well, loads of surprises inside the paper too. What I did in the next 2 hours involved more of praying and less of confident problem solving - yes - I wasn't confident - of each and every question. Even in Verbal, which had been my strongest section. I tackled the markers, the 1 markers and then the 2 markers - in that order. My order was supposed to be verbal/DI/Quant - 40 min for each. I must have taken 45 min for Verbal, then came to DI (my weakest section) and tried to go in for the 2 markers (read as overconfidence ). Unfortunately I attacked that question which was wrong - the infamous hockey set problem of CAT 2004 . Checked it out for some time, cudnt make any sense out of it, and then moved to the one markers - no more himmat left for the two markers. Managed to solve some of the one-marker sets and then moved to Quant - tried to blast this section, but apparently I ended up 'not' doing it. This section had loads of scoring problems, which I managed to oversee . The two markers were a piece of cake, but in my spree I didn't even notice it. Managed an attempt of some 75 marks in the paper and came out quite shaky.

The wait till the New Year was long and unbearable - and the result - one of the biggest shocks of my life.

Overall percentile - 85.XX :(
DI - 84.XX Quant 83.XX Verbal - 77.XX


MDI Gurgaon
(Batch of 2009)

This post is kind of inspired by ORCA's; just above. Reading his story I recalled my CAT days. Here how it all unfolded: Don't remember a few dates though

Well 1st attempt at CAT in 2004, scored 99.65%ile ..... never expected it to be that good, guess the unusual DI paper made my day like it spoiled for many. And luckily for me I even had the good balance in my sectional scores to get all 6 calls, add to it the MDI, SPJAIN, NITIE, IITB and XLRI calls. Well FMS booted me in the entrance exam itself.

Decided not to be picky for interviews as I wasn't for applying either and to go for as many interviews as possible. Finally managed to attend all of them except IITB. Yeah traveling from Kolkata to Mumbai twice for SPJAIN and NITIE and then once to Jamshedpur took its toll on my dad's bank account, but it taught me few important lessons for the rest of the interviews too.??:

The MDI interview kick started the process, thankfully it was in Kolkata only. However the final results were declared on the notice board of the institute and even before my second interview with SPJAIN !!! PG came to my rescue at that time, the MDI-tes in PG were literally running up and down collecting registration numbers from the posts and then posting the results. Thanks a lot to them, I still remember the refreshing button in browser was clicked some thousand times that day. Few tense hours on my side and result a REJECT :neutral:. Well it isn't the best start I was looking for there were lot more to go, so dint feel that bad. What I din't know at that time is the wait for me would be longer than I expected.

Second SPJAIN, pathetic interview, booted in the 1st round itself. some 8000 bucks worth air tickets went down the drain

Third XLRI, well I now feel the interviewers were willing to take me, I just din't give them enough reasons to do so. I was extremely silent and the interview went no where. Still had some hopes in mind .....

4th IIMK (as far as I remember 5th March). Dont know what happened to me that day, just before leaving for IIMC campus for the IIMK intvw, logged into PG and came to know some non-confirmed link was out for XLRI results. Din't want to see but couldn't resist, went to the site and got a REJECT. Yeah still somewhere hopes were alive, for once I was praying that it shudn't be the right link, but news of admits had started pouring in...... and I wasn't even waitlisted :(. Well life moves on and went to the IIMK intvw with some desperation having creeped in already. 3 consecutive rejects so far, the world is not all the same as it was 2 months back when the intvw calls started coming.
The IIMK invw for me is a story in itself which I remember to have posted somewhere else. To sum it up I dint feel I aced it.:neutral:

5th NITIE (7th March) Some 8/9000 bucks once again for an intvw which lasted 7 mins. They never told me it was a reject but I learnt from the student volunteers that every1 in my panel had atleast 20 min intvw. The truth was too hard to accept for me at that stage, came back with lot of self doubts and a confidence level which urged me to start preparing for CAT 2005........ even with 5 interviews left to go.

6th IIMC (14/15th March) In the meantime XLRI formal results were out and my prayers were unanswered this time, it was the same link. I wasnt in the mental condition to attend rest of the intvws even. Thanks to a few friends who brought me back to my senses and I finally decided to give it a last try. And this time I was praying that no more results should come out before it all ends. Well IIMC (PGDM and PGDCM): my best GD ever and the coolest intvw ever. However not always a peaceful intvw brings peace to the mind.

7th IIMA (20th March) Nothing much to mention other than it was long and I did well. Still did a small goof up and therefore cudnt take any guess on the result.??:

8th IIML (21st March) Having attended IIMA previous day, somehow I was boiling with confidence, was totally prepared to handle it. However as it's said there is a very thin line between supreme self confidence and arrogance. Unfortunately in the last part of the intvw I was the 2nd. Very odinary GD for me and the intvw went well until they decided to put some pressure on me and I became too bold and started answering some of the questions with abrupt one liners.

9th IIMI (30/31 March) In the meantime NITIE results were out and I wasnt surprised not to be selected. Din't feel that bad though. Now the intvw: One of my worst days. Was a total stress/steam rolling intv. Was asked all kinds of questions under then sun. Never let my guards down but still felt exposed . Had a rapid fire round too, scored some 2/12 in that. And the panel decided to enjoy my situation for 30 mins before they let me go :grab:. Nothing against the panel but I felt better once again to be in the open air of IIMC . Had it been my choice I would have walked out in 10 mins. Was taunted, ridiculed and pinched again and again and in the end I was left wondering what went wrong. Well at that time I din't know that not everything went wrong:

10th and last IIMB (6th March). the last day of my intvw, the last day of intvw for B across India, the last day for any IIM to conduct intvw and the 1st day the IIM results came out. But for now let's keep the results out of the picture since they came out arnd 10/11am and I was waiting for my intvw at that time with my cell switched off. Well the GD just had too many good people. Tried my best, result was so-so. Knew the intvw would be the deciding factor. was 3rd for the intvw. Had THE best intvw of all, answered each and every question, be it from current affairs, acads or extracurrics. However the funniest part happened later. Came out of the room to find the next guy talking over phone and already rejoicing. Someone told me he got a convert from IIMA, and he knew it even before going for the B intvw. Only one thing came to my mind at that time JEALOUSY !!!!! Found out that IIMA results were out and I was just waiting to get back home.

On my way back home one frnd called me up to inform IIMK results were out too and he had an IIMA call and IIMK waitlist. I was eager and scared at the same time, wanted to be in his shoes for once:satisfie: Another friend calls up to inform she has a reject both from IIMA and IIMK. (She finally made it to IIMC which was her 1st choice)

Came back and decided to check IIMK 1st. The result : REJECT !!!!! Perhaps I got too used of the term to have it any effect on me or having a fantastic IIMB intvw i was banking on it. Whatever it was I had 5 consecutive rejects and was well on way to create a record of maximum rejects

Next the big thing for me: IIMA. Was literally putting the numbers in with trembling fingers. After pressing enter I was only looking for one word "Not", yeah was that negative after all this. Funnily the page neither had the word "Congratulations" nor "Sorry". Was confused and started reading the entire paragraph which read something like "You have been selected..... ". Was left dumbfounded !!!! Read it over and over again to find out the mistake in my understanding
Yeah at last a convert and that too from my 1st choice, something that at times I felt was not achievable for me. Still I was scared and the worries finally ended when I got the letter few weeks later.

The rest of calls, well IIMA opened the gates for me and I converted IIMC (PGDCM), IIMI (!!!!! yeah even after that) and IIML (waitlist which finally got converted).

Rejected by IIMK and IIMB (Yeah dint expect this !!!)

Hence ended my CAT journey in a sweet note which taught me a lot and has changed atleast one thing in me, I am a super optimist now, I have seen lows and survived through that, something that gives me inner strength to withstand initial setbacks and be confident to start from the scratch again.


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