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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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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.
Finally I get to post on this sacred thread, a thread which was the source of inspiration when I felt low, when the marks in mocks did not reflect the effort I was putting in.
Disclaimer: This post is written when I had nothing else to do,
hence may seem loong and boring.
Bit of background
(Pre High-school)
Initial 16 years, till class X, I was in a small town. I had no idea what engineering was all about, forget about CAT. Due to very less competition there, I was the district topper. And poor me, I thought I was doin quite well.
The Preparations for IIT-JEE
All these notions were shattered when my family moved to a tier-2 city, only because coaching facilities for IIT-JEE were present there. There I found out that I had a lot of catching-up to do. Worked really hard, could not get into IIT, however got a good NIT, with branch of my choice.
The College
Did nothing worth mentioning in the initial years. When I realized that itsdifficult to be amongst the toppers, started participating in different sports and won few awards as well , this however led to more decline in academic performance
Things started heating up in final year,it being the yr of placement. Appeared in the first company which visited our campus as I thought I had a decent chance to get selected as most of my batch-mates were skipping it. Expectedly, I got through. Also MegaHard came to our college that year, and when I made it to final round of Interview, I could see disbelief in the eyes of some of my batch-mates. This unexpected performance really gave me a lot of confidence and helped me to get into one of the dream companies. Also I started preparations for CAT 06, joined two test series. But my percentiles were way low, in 70s and seeing that I did not stand a chance, I gradually started losing focus. Finally there was a bit of improvement, and I managed to touch 90s in a couple of them, however it was too late to consolidate.
CAT -06
Went to give CAT with zero expectations.Started with DI, DI being my consistent nemesis, thought to conquer it first. Could not crack first set, attempted 3 sets more, a few questions here and there and moved on to Quants. Found Quants somewhat easy, attempted it with good speed and accuracy. Then came English, I found it a bit dicey, attempted a few questions more to overcome the trickier ones.
When the result came, I managed to get 97.6% OA, with 99% in VA, 97% in Quants. DI turned out the way I was dreading Now I was pulling my hairs coz I had not filled any forms other than CAT. At least this would have given me some exposure to the GD-PI process, which I knew would be more difficult. For now this result helped me in at least becoming more recognized face in college. End College-days and was eager to join the company.
CAT -07
Joined the organization in Pune, and was enjoying time there. The CAT preparation took a back-seat.I did join the test series but the enthu was lacking. By the time I realized, it was the month of October. Gave the exam and as soon as I was out of hall, I knew that I had screwed the paper big time. The result was a meager 90%.I knew I had taken it casually but was not expecting to be massacred like this.:banghead: Also I was able to get calls from some IITs and my performance there was pathetic, to say the least. By now I had realized that GD-PI also will be a tough nut to crack.

Here is my story....
CAT 2007 : After completing my engineering in May with pathetic grades i really had few options...the Infosys placement seemed fine....so decided to enjoy my vacation....but Infosys had other plans..after 3 months of drinking and merrymaking it was August and still no call from Infy

My father was getting annoyed at my prolonged enjoyment filled routine...."kuch karega life mein..3 mahine ho gaye...infy nahi bula raha hai toh kuch padh...dusra job dhund...kuch toh kar"
OK i said..CAT padhta hun...started studying TIME mocks..home mocks.. everthing.....filled all forms....
Infosys called me on Oct 29th....few days before CAT....
scrwed up VA on D-Day...however got thru SIBM and NM....
NM join kar liya...ghar ke pass tha....
CAT 2008 :
NM was going well....decided to give CFA level 1 in december...was studying hard for it....but dunno why I filled the CAT form...on the last day at 3 o clock just before the bank closes.....

Did not give any mock.....na time tha na ichha thi....FMS in Jan 08 was my last mock..

i was in 2 minds whether to go for the exam or not....1 of my friends called and said "exam dede apun dono ka centre pass mein hai uske baad peene chalenge"...so chala gaya

had a no pressure situation...bahar 3 sutta mara and then....

paper dekha....1st page...some problem about road intersection...solved in flat 2 mins solved....after 45 mins i has solved 15 problems in QA....was satisfied....

moved on to DI...saw the problem on houses...damn easy...flat 3 mins 4 questions....sab bahut simple lag raha tha...50 mins 20 questions attempted

then VA...seemed easier than last year...did 31 questions in 45 mins...maza aa raha tha....jo marzi mark kar raha tha....

10 mins remaining....suddenly i start thinking i have an awesome chance this time...if i just do few more QA problems...got under pressure.fought with many problems....in the end i counldnt solve even 1.....

out of the 2.5 hrs i was under pressure for just 10 mins...and in that i couldnt solve any problem....

anyway did not give much thought to CAT afterwards....gave my CFA at kathmandu in december
fir result aaye....
OA- 99.83...CIK calls
after that my luck dried away....i only coverted I...dont know if i will continue at NM or join I....
but all said and done...."Waqt se pehle aur kismet se jyada(kam) kuch nahi milta"


Hi All,

First of all a thanks to PG and all of us pagals for making my journey to IIM Lucknow a memorable one!

My story is as follows:

CAT 2006 --> If I have to describe it, I would call it a suicide mission. It wasn`t easy for me, as I had lost my dad and my family and I were still coping with it. I knew I was ok in QA and DI, English was something which would let me down and that is exactly wat happened on 19 November 2006. What a paper! English really kicked my a** with me managing 44%ile. Even DI was screwed up, with my saving grace was Quant. Week after week, I came face to face with a disaster until January 21 2007 - FMS gave me the sole call of the season. However, it seems i was not ready and didn't convert the call. End of season 1.

CAT 2007 --> Now yours truly has been working with Evalueserve. Gr8 start, acing everything, including English. Mocks were going well, except for DI. I didnt give too much heed to it as I wanted to crack English. Come 18 November 2007 and wholla - QA - 98.04%, EU - 97.97%ile but DI - 56%ile. And this marked my season, my luck was not on my side. No calls and end of season 2.

CAT 2008 --> This was the season, yaa toh is paar ya uss paar. Job was becoming mundane and I started to sulk. So the pressure was dugnaa and I had to make it this time. The mocks were going good but in the last month i was screwing up and did not want to complete the trilogy by messing up QA this time. So I asked for advice from experienced PG ites and practised like anything in last two weeks. The end result - 4 calls CLIK, MDI and IMI. Also, I tasted success in other exams as well - IIFT, FMS (again ), JMET - 1294 (did not apply) and NMIMS (gave exam for FMS practise).

Now joined Malay sir's classes. After going to his classes, I came to know that a person like me (INTROVERT, SHY) can dominate a group, influence an outcome and demand respect. Interviews went well with success in IIM L, K (W/L 9), MDI and IMI. In IIM C, I committed the blunder of becoming adamant about a question which I had done wrong.

So I am going to join IIM L.

My advice:

1. Believe in yourself, if you believe you can and you should get it, dont waste time and go for it. It is for you to decide when to say you had enough.
2. Practise un-attempted mocks two weeks prior to the D-day.
3. In case CAT goes online, start reading articles on net.
4. Never become adamant, be patient in an interview and always take hints from the interviewer (trust me, I learnt this point the hardest way)

In the end, just out of the context, I would like to say this to future aspirants, batchmates and seniors - Our country expects something from all of us and she deserves it. She is in need and we must deliver. No matter what we do in the future, we must keep her in our priority list.

This is something I have understood from Malay sir's classes and I hope many of us develop such feeling towards our country.

All the best puys, go get your dreams.

My CAT story

Finally I am writing my story on the thread where I always wanted to write. Its been a year into my B School life at IIM C and its been an amazing experience for me
Well, here's my story.
When I was in my 2nd year I had two choices whether to go for GATE or CAT..Although I was a decent student as far as acads were concerned I decided to go for management since I wanted to prove a point to others that I have it in me to clear the best of the exams. I had this feeling since the time I missed out on IIT JEE and joined Electronics engineering in Government Engineering College Bhopal. In the 3rd year of college I started my preps for CAT 2005 It helped that I had a group of friends and we joined a coaching institute together ..From the beginning I had a belief that I have it in me to clear this exam though I knew nothing about the GD/PI part. In the initial few days in my coaching institute we were given a previous CAT paper to solve. Though we were expecting nothing from that paper but when our tutor gave us the actual cutoffs for the paper I was taken in for a surprise.I had performed fairly well and that paper really boosted my confidence levels and our group really started preparing with full josh for the exam. I would like to point out that I was never an extra-ordinary student but a student who can put in as much hard work as possible.

I was a consistent performer in the test series and everyone including my parents, mentors and friends were expecting a lot from me. I was also confident that I will do well in the exam. However I would like to draw an analogy between performances in mock CATs as analogous to a Cricket player's performance. A player's FORM is temporary but CLASS is permanent .So if ur performance goes up, it goes up rapidly and if it goes down it goes down in a consistent manner too... . Also as one need to conserve his energies to hit in SLOG overs, similarly one has to keep his energies for the D day. So I really consider this a beauty of the exam. It really tests ur patience and perseverance levels

At last the D Day arrived, with the weight of expectations on my back I reached the exam center and after seeing the paper the CAT ghost got on to me..The format was changed and I was taken unawares..I really got nervous and I knew I have performed really poorly..My one yr of hard work has really gone waste..Looking backwards I see that I didn't save my energies till the last leg and was too nervous to give the exam. This performance really upset me and I was really not able to perform to my abilities in any other exam be it IIFT, XAT, or SNAP. The CAT results were as expected. I scored in the 70s which was really shock for everyone as I have not even scored below 90s in any of the mocks. My friends and family really supported me at that moment and I decided to give it my all in the last FMS examand I cleared it!!!!

I knew I cud have cleared CAT so never really was motivated from inside to prepare for GD/PI for FMS and didn't gave it a serious try.

Then started my preps for CAT 2006I knew I had to clear CAT so started preparing again while working in an IT company simultaneously.. This time I knew I had to save my energies till the end and I was ready for the CAT bouncer this time..After the exam I knew it had gone well but had some doubts in the verbal section as did everyone elseEvery coaching institute was giving different answer keys for verbal and I was really confused I considered VA as my forte as I cleared VA cutoffs in almost each of the mocks.But fate has something else for me in store. When the results came I was again on the different side of table having scored 98.7 overall with no IIM calls. Having scored more than 99 percentiles in both QA and DI, luck was really not on my side and the keys came out to be different from the IIMs as compared to coaching institutes. This again dented my hopes and I was really disappointed. I had worked for the last two years and still I have not been able to make it. That year I got a call from XLRI and SP Jain but was not motivated enough for the interviews.

This really was the toughest time for me as I was on ground zero again .With the help of my family and friends I put my failures behind and started again. Though this year I was not really putting in a lot of time and was just giving mocks and analyzing them. In spite of not preparing much I was getting excellent scores in the mocks. In the mean time I got an offer to go to US on a long term from my organization and that too just a day before the CAT exam. My family was really excited with it and I stopped preparing 15 days before the exam. Since CAT was my ultimate dream so I tried my best to postpone my travel dates by one day.Now I was leaving on the day of CAT in the evening.

I got up early that day , packed my stuff since I was to leave in the evening and I just took the CAT exam casually. I even completed my paper 5 mins b4 the scheduled time as I urgently needed to go to the washroom!!! I then left for US..I knew I had done well and when the results came I was one of the happiest man on earth. I secured 99.58 % and got calls from A, C, L, I, K, S. I still don't know what B wanted!!!

But now I had to take the toughest decision of my life: Whether to leave a high paying job in US in one of the best organizations in the world or to go back and pursue my dream. My family supported me but they had an inclination that I stay back. There was a risk associated since I was still to convert my calls. I decided to come back for GD/PI 's and gave my all for the preparations.I converted all my calls being waitlisted at 45 in IIM A. At last I joined IIM C.. J

Now I look back and see that it was possible only because of my belief in me and my perseverance. I believe more than anything else CAT is an exam of one's patience and how much willing a person is to sacrifice. Though I prepared the hardest for CAT 2005 i performed the worst in that and vice versa for CAT 2007.I have noe become an ardent believer of this quote
"It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."

Looking backwards I think that one can really connect the dots looking backwards. If I wud have been selected in CAT 2006 I would have been passing out this year in the current economic scenario.And I thank God that I am not J
My advice to all of you guys is :
Always prepare a schedule and work according to it
Analyze your mocks this was the only prep that I did religiously
Believe in almighty

In GD/PI don't pretend to be someone else ..I must say honesty really pays. infact I even talked about 'orkutting' being a favourite pastime in one of my interviews' SO always be honest in the interviews.

IIM Calcutta


MY CAT Story- Sorry for this long post:lookround:. I thank GOD with all my heart to give me the chance to post in this sacred thread.
My first acquaintance with CAT
I came to hear about this CAT way back in 1997-98(I was in class 9 , I think:) when my brother came home one day with a brochure and paper in his hand- it was a test being conducted by IMS for scholarships for the CAT prep course. I was good in maths. So just went through that paper of IMS but, oh! ,I was unable to solve more than six-seven out of I think 30 questions. Then my brother told me the shortcut to a few difficult ones- and lo , they appeared to be cakewalk after the explanation. I became interested. :

Like many making it to top B-schools I am also from an engineering background, but there is a twist. After my class 10, I wanted to study commerce(as my whole family was into that line) but was forced to take science(the typical Indian mentality-science->eng->job) .However, after my 12 board exams I could not give the eng entrance exams(call it my callousness or lack of preparation). I took admission in B.Sc (physics). But people in my locality(including friends) used to taunt me for not making it to engineering(as if it was the end of the world for me). After B.SC I took admission in B.Tech in Jadavpur University(the course was only for B.Sc. degree holders). My acads were pretty good.

The Motivation for taking CAT
During engineering , I became bored with the useless subjects taught and then I decided I want to do something else. I was also seeing my friends(who had taunted me, going for CAT'06) thus giving me the feeling that the job was not satisfactory. It was during this period that the CAT frenzy was catching everyone. I was also one of them . But I did not start studying for it in the final year. I skipped a few offers from PSU's like EIL,ONGC just to sit for CAT(these companies make you stay at sites in remote villages). In 2007 I took up a job in a software company (just to stay in a city as I wanted to prepare fort CAT). However , at that time I was not confident. In the office (though enjoyable in the beginning as you earn ur first salary) , I was just slogging. I was a good programmer(as per college standards) but over here I was just slogging , trying only to save my job. The colleagues were not very helpful ( thinking themselves to be the bonds)and I could not understand the system(nobody helped me ,they were very busy every time ) . It was then that I decided to take CAT seriously, as I found that it was the only way out from this f**king place!
Also, the desire to move away from the technical field resurfaced and the old love-commerce- came back to me. I would specialise in Finance: if I make it to a good B-school( away from this coding shit)

The Preparation
I joined Career Launcher in Gurgaon in Dec'07. I utilised each and every moment I got. In my office i used to carry my study materials and I used to study whenever I got time. I started hating my job as the opprtunities were limited. I used to get up at 7 in the morning and studied for 2 hours. I office I tried completing my work asap and sat down to solve a few QA/LR questions. In the evening, after I reached home, I sat down for 1-2 hours before dinner and then at 11 p.m to solve CAT papers. In my office my peers and colleagues came to know about my prep and soon my position in office deteriorated. It became a hell for me. But still i had just one goal in mind - CAT'08.
In June'08 the mock cat series started. In my first mock I scored 90 %tile. Good enough start for a first timer like me. But soon the situation changed . Instead of improving the scores declined hovering between 85-90 % tile in the subsequent tests. I started feeling less confident and the fear of failure crept in. Added to that the situation in office was killing me. I did not know what to do if I failed in CAT. In August I bought the last years test papers of IMS and TIME. In the night from 11p.m-1.30a.m. I usd to solve the papers . But the performance was not satisfactory:banghead:. QA was my strongest followed by DI/LR and then VA/RC. However, i was constantly scoring poor marks in QA. I still remember that the 3rd mock was my best when I scored a good 120 out of 300. But still the percentiles never improved. I was frustated. I started talking to people who had CAT experience- they told me that you need atleast 95 %tile in your mocks. I was nowhere near. But then , my brother helped me(though he never appeared for CAT:cheerio:). He told me to ignore the performance in MOCKS and just concentrate on the various kind of problems - the variety- as the real CAT is totally different from the MOCKS. This piece of advice worked. I was no longer worried about the 80 odd percentiles that I was scoring - though I was always trying to improve.
During my classes in Career Launcher I met a guy called Pankaj:cheers:. We started discussing about CAT as he too was in the same boat like me - not scoring well in mocks. He joined the TIME test series and gave me the TIME MOCK papers. That was of great help as I found that I was doing well in the TIME papers - which were closer to the actual CAT. It gave me some confidence. I took a break - I did not appear for 2 mocks in September. I worked on a strategy. Initially I was devoting time in the order 40/40/40 for the three sections and then 30 minutes for the section which could maximise my marks. This was not working for me. So simply I put 50 mins for each section. This worked well for me in a few mocks. So I decide that I am going to stick with this strategy in the D-day also. Even after the breaks and strategising I failed in the subsequent mocks to score well . I decide that I am not going to appear for any more mocks. I was still not sure which section was my strongest- as the marks were always varying.I started solving whatever Mock papers I had with me for the next few weeks. I slowly came to realise that accuracy is THE most important in CAT. In the next few tests that I took I attempted a very few questions and aimed for accuracy. This worked.;)
Meanwhile, in office , I was not performing to my potential and my situation was real bad. I did whatever was assigned to me but that vigour was lacking. My one time favourite-coding was like a tasteless thing for me. I just slogged .:sneaky:

The Final Preparations
In October I realised that if I stay in my office I would never be able to give CAT well. So I decided that I would go home -to kolkata. I left for home just before Diwali in October'08 stating jaundice in my office. Once in home I started dedicatedly preparing for CAT. In the morning I used to go through the materials and then from 11 a.m to 1.30p.m I used to solve one paper. In the evening I followed a similar routine. I decided that accuracy is the one that I am going to aim for in QA and DI. In English it was just the opposite- i would aim for speed.:grin:
CAT'99-04- These papers were different. The questions were relatively easy but the no. of questions were 50 in each section. I could solve these papers and scored consistently around 120 out of 300. This gave me some confidence.
But CAT -05 onwards the pattern changed . CAT had become difficult and I also had difficulty scoring well in these papers. But then my strategy was - accuracy in QA and DI and speed in English. I was doing comparitively well. Remeber , at this time I had no way to know my relative standing as i had stopped taking mocks from mid October.:oops:
Just a few days before CAT I stopped all paper solving and just concentrated on brushing up the basics- according to my brother's advice(his advice always helps me:cheerio:). I was prepared for the D-day - I knew that I had to perform otherwise there was no way out for me( I would be ridiculed in office as everyone knew I was preparing for CAT).
I had to do it on 16th Nov 2008.

The D-day-16th Nov'08
I went to the examination hall . Settled down . I brushed up in my mind - accuracy in QA/DI and speed in English. The paper started.
I began with my strongest section Quant. It began well .I progressed well and I knew that I was doing them right. I skipped a few. After 45 minutes I found that I have done only 10. I scanned the Quant section again- Ha there it was -on the lines of a sum in the TIME test series a geometry problem and then another. 50 minutes up I had done 12(got all of them correct. Whew!)
DI/LR- Got the simplest set right at the beginning(lucky !).5 minutes and three done , but then DI was not so easy. 50 minutes gone and I had done 11.
English- Oh! 40 questions. I adjusted . I fixed my target . 2 RC passages and rest EU/VA. 50 minutes gone and i had done 22.
Came out quite contended. Felling good about QA and LR/DI but skeptical about English section.:oops:

The results
Came back to office . Had a brawl with my manager- I just hate this job. Attended the other exams -SNAP,IIFT,NMIMS and XAT. Then came the results season. IIFT (missed by 1 mark). Tension was creeping in for 9th Jan(the CAT results day). Then it came . Wow! I had three calls B,I and L( I thanked GOD heartily). Great! Now I can go the office with pride.On 10th came the Snap results. Managed calls from SIBM(pune & bangalore).,SCMHRD and SIIB. NMIMS(I missed by 8 marks). XAT-disaster. But these did not matter any more.I started my GD/PI prep and ultimately conquerd IIM-Indore.
The hard work payed off. I resigned from office on 10th April itself- the day the IIM results came out. But surprisingly, the peers who had doubted my abilities now congratulate me and look to me with respect. Even my manager! Wow! I love it . Just waiting for my notice period to end and say bye-bye to this office and job.

My tips to CAT aspirants

1)Make a strategy- it is very important. What works for others may not work for you.
2)Identify ur weak areas and strong areas. Work for ur weaknesses but don't ignore ur strong ones- remember ur strong areas will give u the edge.
3)Make a routine and stick to it. Never ever deviate from it - however tired you maybe.
4)Don't let the Mocks rule you- remember doing well in mocks doesn't guarantee you anything. Moreover,mock CAT and CAT are totally different.Performance on your D-day matters.
5) Finally believe in yourself and GOD. You are the best Judge of your abilities and GOD is the best judge of your efforts.


CAT is most an adventurous thing that happens suddenly in the middle of a boring life for most of the people. Like for many my story is also a similar one. Having decently scored in both 10th n 12th and then securing admission in a Decent Engineering college, I thought now after so many years, life would ease out. My parents always told me that it is the last hurdle clear it. I tried and cleared that realizing that as per their expectation one more needs to be fulfilled and this time people said it was really the last one (God Knows). After completing my engineering got a job in a Decent MNC. I had a profile of Sales and Marketing, company given Ford Ikon, I thought that MBA is not required for me. Many of my friends in the company were preparing but i never thought i will ever prepare for CAT. Many oldies in the company also told me that. In the first year I thought the same way.After around a lil over 2 years I was really sucked up with my job. Really wanted to run away. Then I thought of giving CAT. If I would clear CAT I would be the amongst the last ones from batch to go into MBA. This was infact my last chance coz if I did not, i would ve been a married man .

As per my conversation, I bought the material from CL and joined the test series. But my job kept on haunting me. Regularly I had to travel to other places, and could manage to give one one third of the tests. Self study was not happening. I had almost given up. Then my promotion was delayed by 3 months. Really bugged I thought I had enuf. Had to get some self discipline. But with just 1 month to go, odds were not in my favour. Bringing in some discliline I started giving roughy 1.5 hrs av daily. I tried to brush up formulas for Quant, increase my stamina so that I can sit for three hours and concentrate. I also ensured that I fill all the forms even ICFAI :grin:. Before the CAT took one week off.

My focus was on two things- 1. SHould know all formulas and fundas 2. Tried to get my speed right and that I can hold it for 2.5 hrs. Finally the D day came CAT 2008. Not very hopeful went for the test. Had always practice on a strategy. I started with Quant. Did well in attemping arnd 20 questions. People found it difficult but I found it pretty chill. Then DI. handled it well too. same arnd 20 questions. It was easy for all but DI has always been my strength. Finally came the most Dicy section VA. It was the section that could swing the things. ANd it really did. I saw the watch. I clearly rem that moment 12.58. Just 32 min and a bloody whole section left. My plans were hay wire. My real life quant was shattered. Such a big mistake. In the hurry started answering but could not focus. So it was guess work all the way. I knew I was screwing it up, but the urge in me forced to keep guessing. CAT was gone, then started giving other exams. But again job kept coming in. With great lies, setting, jugad was able to give the other tests. Mostly it was like Sat night I come back and Sunday I gave the tests.

After all the tests then was the time for results. CAT was the first to come. I din ve the time and guts to calculate my score. On the DAY was not able to check the result online. SOmeone told me to send an sms. With that you can check your percentile but cannot check your calls. I asked my frnd to do that. I was told my percentile 80 in VA :oops:, 99.77 in QA & 99.81 in DI, Overall 99.77. I was shattered. I knew that I would have no IIM calls. That was confiormed next day. So waited for other resutls. Similar near misses. 97.9 in FMS (98 was the cut off), 84 in NMIMS (85 Cut off), arnd 30 in IIFT ( Cut off 32). Managed to score decently in SNAP. Screwed in XAT & JMET. After a long wait finally managed to get calls from some CAT colleges also. My total calls were NITIE, MDI, IMT, SIBM, SCMHRD, Great Lakes and yea ICFAI too.

Started the interview season with SCMHRD. Was confidant on my GD skills. Did not do any preparation. Got kicked out in the GD itself. It was a real shock for me. Then again did all my consulting, a lil self practice. Finally in the end convertered all the calls except SCMHRD. Fianlly I decided jo join the best of the these institutes NITIE.

Now life has started out here but the hurdles are still not over. First came summers. Doing that in P&G.; now the next big hurdle would be a job and then after that the hurdles will keep coming. Guess will have to make these hurdles a habbit


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