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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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I got a few books and started self study...I must say some of friends were the real motivating factors for me to go ahead and give a good try, one thing was for sure--I had no support from home, they thought I was only wasting money and rather should get married as I was about to turn 24 (which is kind of right for a female acc to them ) .. during all this , my Dad resigned and they shifted to chn.. I tried for a transfer from Pune to chn where i had been working so I cud support my family till my Dad got a new job.. those were testing times for sure when I almost felt like giving up. If dad hadn't got a new job in oct, i dunno wht i wud have done cos it wud have not been right for me to leave my job and take up higher studies then..

Oct-Jan 08-- totally hard pressed for time.. too much of work at home, at office... almost nil time devoted towards studies except the weekly TIME tests..stopped taking IMS tests as the test centre was way too far...the TIME scores plummeted ... cud hardly manage b/w 70-80's.. I still didn't lose all hope.. took a week's leave before CAT and took several mocks.. had invested some time in maths in the early months so on that front situation was not downright bad.. On the D-day , I reached the test centre and took my seat.. I, who was feeling confident till then , broke down in sweat wondering what I wud do if I did not make it this time.. that's it, I was done for.. when the paper was distributed , I knew I had lost the battle even before fighting it.. even Verbal and DI which were my strong points had taken a hiding and refused to help me out when I tried to work them out.. came home and attempted all those Q's which i cud not do sitting in the exam hall..I believe each one of us can attempt those q's , ultimately it is not how hard the Q is, but how hard your brain is prepared to work in those 2 hrs.. result was a meagre-70%'ile..(it is self deprecating to even quote this ridiculous figure on this sacred forum but am only quoting this in the hope that when you read this you will know that this is but a score, and you shouldn't give up just yet!!) , because of my poor preps, I had not applied to any of the colleges under CAT... which I should have done as it simply translates into not believing much in myself.. lose everything, but never self belief!

One week before XAT, and I was working in office for more than 12 hrs each day.... 3rd Jan,Sat-instead of revising my fundas, I was in office mailing the client till night 9 pm.. I rushed to my test centre on Jan 4th , went thru the paper , gave my best shot.. (not literally..there were a no of attempts that I got wrong as i didn't read th options carefully).. and then rushed back to the office again..(what a Sunday!) ..when results came I had 90%'ile, was quite disappointed... I hadn't applied to XL, but had thought I might still be able to make it to XIMB.. but I couldn't complain... I was happy I had turned up at least this much given the circumstances at home and office.., BTW, by this time my parents had already started searching for grooms and I was left with no peace of mind at home... I knew that once I got married an MBA would only be a distant dream...

I got calls from SCIT, Welingkar and XIME... I converted SCIT , so am not going for the WE interview... I have an IT experience of almost 3 yrs so I believe I might as well specialise in this stream, my parents who had been almost against my getting into an MBA this yr are now willing to let me study... :p

I would not have written this post today if not for the great difference PG has made to my life..I feel like I know a lot of people here though I have never personally interacted with them.. It has kept motivating me to get better every time and helped me stay focussed when I was down and ready to give up..I hope that for all of you who have problems and have often thought of giving up, this post shall in some way help to keep fighting till the end for your cause, no matter what...

I have read most of the Posts on this forum, and see people here have a lot to offer in terms of advice that really needs to be followed..so I won't repeat them again..but a few of my learnings which I think may help others:


I had a decent profile throughout.. maintained 80+ record throughout 10th and 12th , and managed to get into an NIT... but was never too ambitious or so I thought...
Dec 05- I was in the final yr of my college when I decided with a few other friends to give CAT 05.. joined IMS for coaching during my project training and decided to give it my best shot.. I knew from the start that I lacked in maths, but I decided to turn a blind eye to it... I trudged on with the coaching and after August started taking mocks...at that time we had just about 8 tests or so... I used to get a city rank of 2/3 , but considering that the city was Jalandhar it hardly used to mean much as the test taking population there might have been very less... my percentiles used to range b/w 75-85 and I was actually not getting anywhere... I got this CTS job offer at the same time, but despite that it didn't do much to ease the pressure.

I thought of CAT as a matter of life and death, and before the D'day didn't sleep at all.. was downright nervous and `unable to think clearly. CAT came and went and it was clearly a disaster..I went home with the belief that I had screwed it up big time,and shed copious tears when I saw my results in jan..I had ended up with a meagre 78%ile . I was ashamed to say the least... XAT was even worse with only 70%ile....
Now that I look back I realize that CAT is such an exam where we sacrifice a lot-our sleep, movies, fun,peace of mind...just to make sure we get that coveted IIM seat, so it tends to rule our mind, becomes our master and we get emotionally involved with something that is just an exam.Another mistake I did was not concentrating on my weak points..ignoring maths only made it worse..

Anyway, coming back to my story, I decided that I really was not interested in an MBA and took up my job with CTS in 2006.. was happy and excited the way people generally are with a new job. In 2007, many of friends who were taking CAT ,coerced me to take CAT again.. I visualized that i didn't have enough conviction or time to prepare as it was already sep..so I just let it go, but bought the XAT form nevertheless... I started preparing for XAT in december , and as a part of prep took NMAT and SNAP exams too.. In xat 2008, I ended up with 83%ile..not much , but still a vast improvement considering the efforts I had put in which were negligible..
Here , the one thing which helped me was my less prep... since I hadn't prepared well, I expected less of myself , and thus was under lesser pressure to deliver..the other thing was PG ..I followed all threads relentlessly, don't know why but something just kept pulling me back to where I thought , I belonged..

Come 2008 may and I decided I wanted to take CAT one last time,I decided that this would be my last try as my parents back home were contemplating my marriage.I had to fight and convince at home that I really wanted to take the exams this season..It was difficult, but I managed.. I decided not to join any coaching as I believed that I could do good on my own if I tried hard.. I joined the TIME test series and IMS series as well.. it was difficult to give both tests the same day,... I usually ended up doing good in the first test i took and fared poorly in the second due to lack on concentration or mental fatigue.
I always heard people saying 'dream comes true' and wondered why it never happened with me.
My CAT story started in 2006. Common frustrations after working for a couple of years in IT industry gave me the first impetus of preparing for CAT. Did not get enough time to prepare but fared decently on the D-day. Just after taking the CAT, I got the coveted onsite opportunity. Thanks to the keys released by the coaching institutes. I was getting 5 in VA so did not bother to stay back and went to the UK. One month later CAT came up with the result and I had 97 percentile in VA. Got call from B and I. After a lot of fight with my PM, I got a leave for 5 days just to attend these two interviews. Unfortunately I flunked on both.
Back to normal life again. This time I was not that averse to my work. Did my work very sincerely for the next one year. Could not get release from my onsite engagement in 2007 as well and finally after another round of fight with my manager, managed to come back home in the mid 2008. As expected my manager paid me back with a poor appraisal.
Started preparing for CAT again. This time much more seriously. Now, I'm not taking CAT just because I don't like my work. The long journey towards CAT has now taught me exactly why I want to do an MBA from a premier institute. Now, I also have the confidence and I know I can achieve what I want. So, any new onsite opportunity or a better job offer will not be able to lure me. I know that because of this, I've come back early from onsite, I've got a poor rating and more importantly I did not get the growth in my job which I would have got otherwise. All these sacrifices have to be worth now.
Prepared for CAT really well this time. Finally the D-Day comes. Again coaching institutes are showing a poor score in VA. But this time I know how to ignore them and concentrate for the next exams. CAT result came up with a 99.53 percentile and 4 IIM calls for me. The rest of the path was comparatively easy. I had my longest interview in IIMB. The panelists asked me almost all kind of possible questions. I had a good feeling after the interview and have been waiting eagerly for the verdict. Finally, IIMB came out with the list today with my name in it.
Now I know that dream just does not come true for nothing. I now truly believe what Paulo Coelho said. 'If you desperately want something, the whole world conspires in helping you achieve it'. Dream comes true only when we really want to make it true and give our best effort for it.
Now that I couldn't get through" L"..One obvious question woud be..Iam I joining XL or not..
My answer is a big "NO"I cant risk my life for a 1 year program
What's my next plan of action: Now my focus will be to ensure my Students at Spurti getting into an IIM this year

What did I do for the preparation?
If some one has to ask me, what was the difference between the yester years & now, I would say, I had a controlled emotion this year, I started believing that CAT is just an exam, I started treating Mocks seriously (only in terms of the learnings- After every Mock, I used to store the mistakes, learnings, good things etc in an XL sheet), I started enjoying Life & I took the exam with the minimal possible emotions..Rather I have understood the art of cracking CAT..
So no hardwork only smart work
Having read this story, now you know what it takes to hold nerves..
Today I agree completely with HARSHAROCKS that CAT is not an emotion , its an examLet it be that way, that's when you wont feel bad when you loose
Dreaming about doing an MBA is always good, but don't make dreams your master
In this journey I have learnt so many things, which I have been sharing with all of you whenever possible. Will keep doing that but without an MBA J
In this time, I want to thank couple of people here
Bengali Bhondhus
I always share a good rapport with Bhabhumoshais...My best in college was a Bong bhai..CAT 2007 gave me Anirban Das & 2008 gave me 2 Bong friends..
Soham:My driving force this year has been Soham & Soham only....Every moment he keeps saying "Bhai CAL aajavo"......Every day keeps calling me to check, whether I have read my Newspaper or not....
Sinchan (rik_12): This guy has been my Guru at times..Happy that he is joining JOKA
Kamalaandi: Cribbing but a nice soul.Joining JOKA again
Live2Die: My Interviewer J..Joining JOKA again
Amrutesh666: My Financier, who sponsored for my CAT form..Joining JOKA again
Karanmaroo: Marooo, whenever you say "Prem Bhai"..I feel so good
Greenspan:Mera Bhai, Hum dononko Naukri jaada fit hotha hae J
People from IIML
People from IIMB
All these guys have played a Major role in my Life as such (sorry If I have missed out some names)..
Now you know IIM is a means and not the end..CAT is a beautiful journey..agonising though, but worth traversing..So if you feel you can, keep trying..Nothing will stop you..
May GOD bless you all & give the Patience, enery, emotions, strength, aptitude and attitude to get through your dream institute, one day or the other in Life..
All the Best Guys
Success retained me as a boy, but failure(s) made me a man IIM Calcutta - Class of 2012
NOVEMBER 16: My Birthday/ CAT.
Reached the Centre just on time due to traffic Jam. Sat in my seat, was allocated with the first seat in the hall. So no diversions. Till the last minute tried recollecting, what my mentors have told me throughout the yearThe Five Rules:
1.Its just an exam ie AIMCAT 900
2.Dont look at the fielders , look at the gaps
3.Strick to basics ie 45-45-45, 15 minutes buffer
4.try attempting more if the paper is easy else if its tough go for accuracy
5. Try solving questions individually without emotions.
I just recollected this 1 minute before the paper was handed over.
10:15: Paper was givenChange in pattern, with which my point no 3 had to be tweaked..
Decided to start with QA (40 Mins), followed by DI (40 Mins) , Verbal (55 Mins) & 15 Mins buffer.
Started the exam.
QA: wasn't appearing easy, hence it has to be a low attempt-high accuracy game..40 Mins over & I had shaded 9 ovalsFor a minute tension started creeping..Tried remembering point 4 & 5 of my rule book..decided to move on to DI..
DI: Set 1 - cannot touch, Set 2- Don't even look, Set 3 - What was that..15 mins over , 0 ovals shaded. Surprising wasn't tensed..Moved to LR 11 attempts 15 minutes..then tried Set 3 of DI..40 minutes up with 14 attempts.
VA- what was that Crap. 40 questions should have been like CAT 02-03.But it was more like CAT 06/07 with more questions. VA took 25 minutes with 13 attempts & RC took 35 minutes with 13 attempts.
1 hour over with 26 attempts..
Last 10 minutes: was sure about where to go..Obviously QA..2 more questions & time up was the call
Came out with a neutral feel..Knew that Paper wasn't that great but wasn't that bad as well
QA-11 attempts
DI-14 attempts
VA-26 attempts
Total-51 attempts
Everybody said QA was easy & DI was tough..I had a neutral feel..Went for the PG meet to celebrate my Birthday .
Nov ember 17: 3*5*5*5= 500 L
Couple of mistakes like the one above had made my QA to be in the border & it turned out as if it is going to be the decider
DI was safe with a score of 51 & VA was dangling between 44-59..
Next 15 days there were lots of predictions & every institute assured atleast one call with my score
Was in touch with every other fellow competitor whom I know & my buddies in IIMs..Everyone felt that Iam safe.
So the next phase started with the expected frustration
Meanwhile the tought of opening a coaching class for the special kids started eating my head & I finally jorted down a plan to roll it(With the help of PG/Career Launcher)
December 23, 2008: Passion Vs Reality
The question ie what if I get or convert only calls from L or I or K started eating my head..More than IK (which I might reject), the question about L becoming extremely confusing. Infact had a lengthy talk with many who are in the IIMs..Whenever I spoke about this, I also remembered that my Passion can turn the table completely down inspite of people saying not to Join
Januar y 8, 2009: Nervous Minutes
By 3 PM, Shabad pinged me saying that the link published in PG is the actual one & he has got CLIK..
Now, now I was really nervous..Mind kept on praying..GOD, don't force me into a situation which will confuse me yet again & was praying hard that I should see C, when I get my results
Wanted to check the results of my friends so that I can see where Iam going to land??
Gave one registration No after the other to Shabad
Rik_12: Lone C
Kamalaandi: BLACKI
Yogsconnect: LI
By now I started feeling that Shabad is the angel in disguise as whosever results he is checking, they have callsGave my number now & was waiting (literally tensed ) with phone in one hand & cigarette on the other..After few seconds Shabad said "Bhai, L sae call hai".I said thank u & it took 10 minutes & 2 more cigarettes to accept the reality..For a minute I thought, look at this, I could predict my result almost 15-20 days back & GOD has given me to analyse it & get mentally prepared rather than me getting shocked at the result
As I said my passion helped me to decide what should be done..Whatelse, convert it & Join J

January 9, 2009: Hard Facts - Sad Memories for a Life time
In 1995, when I missed my MBBS seat by 3 marks or 0.3 %ile..It hurt & its hurting even today..
But today I got a new episode to erase the old one
Came to know that through Live2Die I missed out my dream institute this year, IIMC by 1 mark & that too in QA
Also it was a shocker when I learnt that I have cleared all the cutoffs given by IIMK & had a good workex too..Still no call
January 12, 2009: It tooks 3 days to come to terms with the reality that yet again I have got a lone call..But this year the resolution was to convert it..I was all set to gooooo
Joined TIME as well as CL and was very irregular in the beginning..Reason: Lots my Students got > 4 calls.I was feeling bad & the memories of loosing C by 1 mark started hitting me hard. That's when Soham said "Be proud bhai. It proves that you are a good teacher". The actual realization came, only after the CL boot camp, when I realized, where & what Iam lacking from converting a call..
February 1 -10: Yet again I went to US and from there to Mexico. Zero preps during this period & was enjoying every single minute.
Jan 17: SPURTI takes her first step..
Finally I decided to go ahead with opening an institute to help the people who with little support can Crack CAT. This institute is for people who have disabilities & economically weak. This was the happiest day in my life as I started it after a lot of struggle (see the link attached in my signature to know the details)

March2: XLRI PI.
I would say that it is one of my best interviews...
Meanwhile I started focusing more & more on work as well & every week I was travelling for atleast 2 days (Out of Bangalore)
March 12-25
Four rounds of Mock Interviews with Live2Die..
PI 1: 1.5 hours, result- zero in current affairs, stammering when cornered..Got 5.5/10 from Live2Die
PI 2: 1.5 hours, ok current affairs, fine tune why MBA..Got 6.5/10 from Live2Die
PI3: 1.5 hours, Good Current affairs & Voice Modulation..Got 7.5/10 from Live2Die
PI4: 1.5 hours, Excellent PI-ready for the Interview..Got 9.5 from Live2Die
Infact I became so good at current affairs that I went about telling this which L2D, Sinchan didn't know
March 25: IIML PI & XL results
The greatest MBA Interview..Everything went wellPI was solid
XL results out : I converted my firstever MBA call - GMP programme..
March25-April 9: I wasn't nervous this time around, I was enjoying everyday
April 9: Journey ends with a Shocker..
Around 1.30 got to know from L2D that L results are out & he also checked my results and said "Sorry Bhai"
Success retained me as a boy, but failure(s) made me a man IIM Calcutta - Class of 2012
September 12: Lehman brothers declares bankcruptcy & My company declares the Layoff of a huge number of people..
I met my Boss accidently in the Cafeteria & he projected that they were sending me out as a part of this Layoff..
They could have saved me, IF THEY WANTED..But, as I said, Politics finds Justifications rather than reasons..
September 15: AIMCAT 907
With all these things happening, I went to give the AIMCAT 908...The results were astounding..
I could see myself keeping the Bad/Sad feelings out of my mind for 2.5 hours & the result
AIMCAT 907: 99.04% clearing all three Sections
This exam is worth mentioning, reason I got a new feel that I can do well under pressure..
The following few (sleepless) nights, I was worried about my future (Jobwise)...Sent my CV to loads of companies & contacts...Every alternate day, there was only one question from my TL, " Could you get a Job?". This was not out of concern. This was because, my company had started thinking that Iam a liability.
September 20, 2008 Competitor comes for Rescue
I called up an Account Manager at Company X (an Indian Major), who knew me as a competitor. I told him that I was looking out for a Job & that guy actually helped out by speak to his boss immediately & fixing an interview meeting in the afternoon.
September 21,2008: With Company X showing some positive signs & couple of coaching institutes offering me some role or the other, I started getting the so called positive feel towards life, but still there were lots of ifs & buts.
An Uncertain mind questions a lot: Yes I had loads of questions appearing in my mind. If I get into the Coaching Institutes (worst Case), I will have to forfeit my 8 years of Sales/IT experience & convincing people during the B-School interview or the next interview in an IT firm is going to be extremely difficult.
If I convert Company X, then I will be happy to an extend that I will be in the IT industry, but my brand value goes for a toss.
I was confused, scared , worried & what notI said to myself, "Beggars don't have Choice"
That night I went out for a drink. Over the drink, I started thinking as to how to make this worst situation into a better / best situation. Now getting a dream Job or even the rescue Job is not in my hands. But CAT is definitely in my Hands.
Something flashed in my mind, "Anyways my Current employer is not going to look at my performance, so why to worry about performance in the office at all?".
So the next day I called up my TL & told him that I need time for searching a Job & will be irregular to office. Even he said Ok. From that day, I started being irregular to office ie 1 day in a week to office & 4 days at home preparing for Cat, 2 days part time teaching..This was my life for the next one month or so..
October 12: miracles do happen
This I never believed in. But, it actually happened. I never trusted consultants. But a consultant actually fixed an Interview call with one of the world famous Engineering Software Company. Interview went well & mind started dropping Company X/Coaching Institutes & started praying/expecting this Job.
Four rounds of Interviews. Every interview lasted for 2-3 hours. With every Interview, I had to hide my feelings, learnt the art of hiding my desperation. Except but Hopes & Prayers, I wasn't sure about the next sunrise ie what is in store, the next day.
October 23: First Offer-Company X released its preliminary offer which was humiliating as they gave a 2% hike over my Last salary . In a way I was happy that I got a reason to reject Company X's offer as the other company's offer was expected by next day morning..
Mock Results till then:
AIM906: 91.74%ile
AIM905: 95.61%ile
MOCk1: 66.36
MOCK 4 idnt appear

MOCK5: 80.13
MOCK6: 99.30
MOCK10: 99.73
October 24: One of the Happiest days of my Life
Received the Offer of the other company with a 70% hike & a better role. Also they had a plan to send me to the US on Dec 7th for a training followed by a trip to Mexico on January 31.
Resigned my Job that day.
Night 8 PM: The joy & happiness were yet to sink, I got the next heart attack.
The Company X HR called me & started blasting me left right centre, saying that there were some obscene mails, which have come from my ID & she is going to escalate the same. I tried convincing her saying that Iam a genuine person & someone has hacked my email account , also having sort an opportunity with Company X, no person with common sense will do such a third rated thing & that too given my marital status & my responsibilities. I tried hard to prove my innocence. Even she hanged the phone down as ifshe has understood that Iam genuine & did as she said.
October 30:I came back to office after the Diwali vacation. Saw a mail from Company X saying that the offer has been withdrawn. I was feeling "OK. Now I needn't have to feel sorry for saying a No to the people who came for my rescue by offering me a role"
My Manager called me over a coffee & told me that Company X's legal has asked my Company's legal to take some action against me else they wanted to take route 2, which was filling an FIR with the Police.
The Earth under me had slipped by then. My legal cell replied saying that they cant take any action against me as the next day was my last working day.
Whole night I couldn't sleep. So many things came into my mind. With just 16 days to go for the exam. Mind was screwed up totally.Mind was totally Void & thoughts of CAT had disappeared by then.
October 31: Met the Legal Cell head & he knew me personally.Had a lengthy talk & he told me what can be Company X's next move & the repercussions. It was scarifying to say the least.Heart was throbbing at 100+ beats a minute.
Sat at the smoking zone, thinking what needs to be done. Garnered all my courage & energy to prove my innocence. Called up the DGM legal of Company X. He was reluctant to talk to me in the beginning, but I pleaded him to hear my version. He started hearing & as we spoke for about 20 minutes, he appreciated my courage & admitted that I might be innocent & he said he will try his level best to protect me & will recommend to the HR not to proceed any further.
The emotions were evident from the results
AIMCAT 902: 87%ile
MocKCAT11: 76%ile
November 2: Truth always wins
My friend who recommended me at company X called me up to say that the HR had decided to drop the case.
That minute I was happy/relieved to say the least.
The 2 by gone months had thought me so many things & had made me much more stronger.Before every CAT something had to happen & for this year, this is what has happened, but this time I could handle it..
There was a period, when I had lost my Job. Almost for 2 months I was at home with out proper salary. I had learnt cooking by then. I was blamed for something, which I would not even have thought in my weirdest dreams. Still I could survive that 2 months with Just one feel,"Even this will change, I need to believe that its all passing clouds". Rather I told this to rik_12, Soham & Greenspan that if everything goes well this situation would be a blessing in disguise.
On September 12th I told rik exactly these words & , " I should get an offer after Oct 16, so that I can join by Nov 17th after CAT".
Except but the spine chilling experience with Company X, everything happened as planned.
Started waiting for my Birthday errrrr my D-Day.
Soham/ rik were there for me in this period to ensure that I come out of the shocks & get ready for the D-day. My mentor (Soham) helped me to keep my mind away from CAT & rik prepared my mind ensuring that I treat CAT 2008 as AIMCAT 900.
AIMCAT 901: 96.19%ile
MOCK12: 99.81%ile
The season ended with an AIR 12. So it was all set.
November 15, 2008
One of my ex-colleagues called me to say that he has a friend who is physically challenged, who has difficulty in talking, walking, writing & what not L. He also added that, he is trying to crack CAT for the past 3 years & needs some motivation as it is D Day the next day, & asked if I can please talk to him. I said "OK".
His friend called me. His voice was shacking, for sometime it was very difficult for me to comprehend, but his emotions, yes I could understand even the unsaid.
Whenever he said, 3-4 of us (Physically challenged) prepared together, tears started rolling down . I motivated him to the extend I knew, but to be frank I was motivated looking at his determination.
We are nothing infront of these special children rather the GOD's own kids.
These feelings have been haunting me since then..
Success retained me as a boy, but failure(s) made me a man IIM Calcutta - Class of 2012
This Post is not to gain any sympathy J.The Incidences mentioned here were all written on the same dates on which they happened..
This post is all about some facts which many of us would have faced. This is just a post for people who want to say Let me give up. Things around me are bad. I cannot focus on one more struggle called CAT. This CAT has ruined my Life badly.
Some of us might also think, why this guy is writing all personal stuff here. Believe me, this is just to let some of our friends help themselves with handling all other issues in life along with CAT.
Well, there was a movie which got released in 2000, the theme of the movie is that, the hero tries to become a music director & till the climax he keeps trying...
One classic dialogue, which I liked in that movie is as follows:-
Heroine's Dad: Mr.Hero, Decide between my daughter & your Music Director dream..
Hero: When somebody offers a toffee, a kid will go to him/her, but 2 minutes later, the kid will search for its mom & starts crying if the other person stops...
Where am I directing you now using the above dialogue....You will understand by the end of this post...
XLRI chucked me without offering me a seat, 10 minutes I was speechless as my arrogance of a sure shot convert was thrashed...But there was this usual stupid feel, CAT 2008.....here I come...
But what the heck...How many more years..No No No..No more CAT...This is the end of the so called emotion, dream, exam called CAT...
5th April:The day we had the south India PG meet..After couple of drinks, Soham, Hameed & Raghu (Obsessed about MBA), took me aside & started asking "Why not CAT again?".I was thoroughly confused, I kept on saying " no no..Not anymore ...Soham didnt leave me, till evening he was talking only about this..I drove back with a heavy heart...Heart saying Yes for CAT & mind saying "No"
May 1 2008:CAT final results were out and I was in Mumbai, when the results were declared, Soham was desperate reaching me....SMS, SMS , SMS.."Bhai kahaan ho, mera C convert hogaya..hurray"..This is what it read, as soon as I switched on my phone after the flight landed at the Mumbai Airport..Second SMS from Mac..C converted..Immediately called up everyone, I could feel their happiness actually getting transferred to my heart.
By end of the day, I was happy to know that my best buddies have converted one call or the other IIM calls they had,
Soham: CLIK
Nithin: K
JustLikethat (Manish): BLIK
Eshnil: L
Viggy123: LIK
most importantly
Harshad: LIK...
I was very very happy, at the same time there was this uneasy feeling of me loosing out & it started spreading inside my mind & heart..Yet again, heart started saying "CAT, CAT,CAT"...Couldnt decide, kept quite....
End of May 2008: This is the same time I was working on the Laptop deal for the fresh batch, so I had to meet the IIM student council guys repeatedly & most of the times at IIMB..This time mind along with heart started saying CAT CAT CAT...Every now & then this feel started eating me & every phone call from my friend updating me about their admission status, fee payment, laptop, train reservation etc etc..started dragging me towards CAT ......
Soham on the day he reached Calcutta, called me to say how he was feeling travelling towards IIMC (Anir too was with him"..For whatever he said, I replied "I can understand that", but out of the blue one line came out of my mouth.."Will I ever get this feel, Soham"..Soham caught this line & said " Bhai, Between Will I ? & I will its just one shuffling which is needed & its in the faith you carry..You are giving CAT"...
I was 100% convinced..I DECIDED TO Go on..
Now, I didnt want to reveal it to any one,...One clear thing, I understood was more than Hardwork CAT requires luck, more than an exam CAT has become an unpredictable game & so on..So I really didnt had enough reasons to give CAT except but the fact that it is an unfullfilled dream...
But eventually told about my decision to my best buddies...From there the Journey started...
Joined the mock series (TIME) along with amrutesh..
Mock History so far;
916-75 :-(
August 10, 2008:
This was the most crucial day, when I went about screwing a Mock very badly...Concentration went for a toss, Time management went for a toss..Did every possible thing to screw this Mock.
I was humiliated, when I came to know that my students have beaten me comfortably by miles.
I was hurt to say the least.Soham called me & enquired about the mock..After listening to the comedy, he started laughing sarcasstically..Sinchan was screaming..
August 11, 2008:
Got up with a fresh mind. Decided to go the 2006 way..Preparing hard..
Sat down & jorted a plan...
Percentiles were out & it hit the lowest of this season
912: 69%ile
Had a decent Mocks from here on with scores moving out of the MAC graph
911: 93.5%ile
910: 96.5%ile
September 9, 2008: Dad's Birthday & my Death Day...
I was very happy on September 9th morning, It was my Dad's Birthday. The person whom I admire the most in the world. The happiness just existed for a while, before I reached the office. The moment I stepped in my TL called me & said, " lets sit down for a meeting". It was pretty unusual for me because, every half an hour I keep updating him about the developments though in an informal way. My mind started hinting that something is horribly wrong.
We sat for the so called meeting at 7.30 PM..
My TL started asking for the performance report & then he started the long speech which shook the earth below me..
"Well Prem, Report is OK, but we feel that you lack the passion in life. We are actually surprised, how come a person with your experience can lack the Multitasking Capabilities. You dont fit into this transaction business rather you might shine in the presales role/ Software Sales role. You are a Cultural Mismatch"
I asked directly, "Is there something, you wanted to communicate, if so, say it straight"
My TL replied with a stiff voice, "Look out for a Job & do let me know, if you need any help in that"
I dont know what was passing through my heart, was it the uncertainity about the future or the humiliation, I didnt know..
With a feel of a death blow I said, " Shall we end the meeting?"
That night, I was totally drunk..I called up Greenspan at 12.00 which was very unusual. He said " haan bhai, bhol, kya hua?" I said "Dont talk, I wanna cry'..I didnt allowed him to talk & I kept on crying .After 1o minutes , I told him what has happened..He tried consoling me, but I was beyond the stage of getting consoled..Yet again, the feel about Life going to be screwed started haunting me..
September 10, 2008: Boss says "Bye Bye"
I couldnt believe what I heard was true. I wanted to speak to my Boss on this & my Boss too parroted the samething..He started talking to me as if it was my last working day, wishing me all the best for my next job.
I didnt had an option except but saying "Thank You Sir'.
Politics has did what could do to me. My TL was due for a promotion & my TL wanted me to learn all the skills (in 7 months) which he had learnt in the past 7 years of his stay. When I couldnt do so, they wanted to look at somebody else and oust me out though I had acheived 97% of my target in 4 months & with balance 3% in 2 months to go...
908: 80.78%ile..
Success retained me as a boy, but failure(s) made me a man IIM Calcutta - Class of 2012

Its "success" (maybe after meticulous preparation or rise from ashes type) which has been the theme of inspirational stories
all thorugh this "sacred thread".I feel my failure (although on this day , I am yet to have confirmed any admission offer -
with final results to be declared although I am almost sure of making through the waitlists (thanks again to the domicile
quota for Orissa candidates in XIMB) can be even more inspiring about what all can go wrong - to the point of frustration and
even desperation.
I know this is "save it for blog" stuff - but PG - rather this "holy thread"...i simply could not stop myself :D...here it

Story before -

Decent enough grades till graduation (84.4% in CBSE Xth, 80.2% in 10+2), and joined Mechanical Engg in the "elite" "pedigree"
"Oldest Engineering College" of Orissa - UCE, Burla (inception year 1956) , I thought it was quite an achievement. Although
I joined Mechanical stream(year 2002), still the appeal of "MIT phenomena" (Male - IT engineer - this was and even today is
predominant phenomenon in Orissa prompted me to be sincere enough to keep my "MIT" option open by changing my branch to
either Electrical or Electronics. I did that with my scores in 1st & 2nd sems (again achievement no.2 - actually those who
had changed our streams on the basis of sem scores had a sort of 'rockstar' aura around them - and I was no exception, I
clung to that feeling). Planned for GATE exams , thought it would be a cakewalk.When 3rd sem i realised how much depth i had
about my courses. I didnt ever cross the 70% mark barrier after 3rd sem till 8th (consistently scoring in 63-68% range
whatever be my approach).These semester results provoked me to rethink about GATE plans, by 5th sem I had shunned the GATE
idea completly...so what to do now then (i didnt knew since when, but that had been a subconscious urge in me that atleast I
will definitely have a Master's degree, maybe family was the main motivator here, but it had been assumed and inherent all

Prep Stage -

Started off with CAT preparations by end of 4th semester, purchased those Abhijit Guha, Arun Sharma, M K Pandey (Banking
Reasoning book) and subscribed to B&M; chronicle . Looks picture perfect. Now comes the loopholes - it was full time
residential college, so hostel life is pretty cluttered (although the best enriching phase of anyone's career - same for me
too). Make a routine, follow it for a day and flunk it the very next. Smoke and booze sessions fill up most of the timetables
- bunking course classes, messing up assignments, additional memory devices - everything that can be expected from hosteliers
(many puys would concur with me on this).
But whatever be the 'masti' factor, I was determined to bell the CAT - atleast more determined than many of my batchmates
with whom I shared those booze and smoke sessions. Scattered look at those chapters of the books (it was sort of a 'nobel
prize' to solve couple of LOD 3 problems chosen by someone else after a booze/smoke session) , casual reading of magazines,
even at times I was addicted to novels (thinking it would improve my RC skills), thought freecell & solitaire to be better at
improving reasoning skills than any book - I had my own way of preparing - nothing systematic - no regularity - but I was to
'bell the CAT'.Seniors making through the IIMs were 'demigods' to me. I simply dreamt about myself in the same status
(sometimes these were day dreams, sometimes hallucinations under 'smoky' influence).
By start of 2005, I was almost done with my prep books (I thought it so). Purchased some old second hand TIME & IMS materials
by Jan- Feb and showed the same sincerity level with my huge collection of materials (I was proud that I had the whole prep
material at my disposal - and this was enough to push me into the IIMs - forgetting completely how messy was my sincerity
with all those prep books).July- Aug 2005 CAT notifications out - bells started ringing - now I carried these TIME/IMS stuff
to classroom and started rather showed off solving them there - escaping our prof's eyes. Naturally I shouldnt be hoping my
sem scores to improve, rather thought CAT to compensate all my disgrace.


Here I missed another interesting mis-preparation aspect - TIME people were conducting Mock tests in college classrooms, I
made it a point not to attend them ever (I did save some 3000 bucks - but I was of the belief that I can score more than
anyone else who appeared for those Mocks) - this I would now say was my biggest mistake rather cardinal sin - but then I used
to think this as my "confidence".
Nov - CAT 2005 - around 60 attempts - I didnt know then there was something like section cut offs - overall cutoffs -
nothing. I had been preparing my own CAT. When I came out one of my friends Somesh (he was another CAT..err MBA fanatic - he
was determined ,of course not my type determination but in real sense, to join a b-school in 2006) talked to me about the
sectional attempts, what could be the possible cut -offs - it was like I was listening to 'rocket science stuff in Chinese'.
Further prodding revealed the facts about sectional /overall cutoffs.Then I realised the importance of prospectus' details.
Still I had fared well enough by my standards. Although didnt expect any IIM calls still expected it to be around 96-97 odd.
I had applied to MDI, NITIE, IMT & SPJIMR by then (next best insti to IIMs). CAT result out - final score 95.36 % - pathetic
in VA section though(something around 40s-50s). QA & DI were decent (around 95 in each section). I thought I scored in my
strength Quant Section (this was actually a self created demon which would destroy me later).
I got GD/PI calls from IMT, but could just crawl through - confirmed HR.But I had a strong bias against HRs (maybe repeated
rejection in campus selection interviews ignited this bias) - whatever be the reason I didnt join IMT- HR.

"Catch up period"

April-May 2006 - My engineering honeymoon period was over (mandatory 4 years with no back papers - thanks to my booze/smoke
sessions that destroyed all my sincerity with studies - helped India increase its unemployed 'qualified' youth poulation) -
but I knew that I had to crack CAT - maybe the magical thought itself kept the hopes alive in me. Till June 2006 - I thought
to stay back at home, prepare hard for a year and get through the ivy league insti. but then who would accept a engineer who
had been doing nothing for a year but just preparing for stuff that he had learnt during school days - but those answers i
would seek once i get the GD/PI calls - i thought so then. I was into serious preparation - May - June 2006 - joined coaching
institute at Bhubaneswar itself, got myself completely into CAT prep mode - then I realised what all I had goofed in those
prep books that I thought I had completed earlier. I hadnt even had a complete look of all varieties that a lesson posed.
Anyway better late than never I thought. By June end 2006 I was done with all those prep books purchased two years earlier
(this time i had a real feel of the lessons). But now what? The coaching inst materials neednt be read all day - I realised I
was wasting my time - literally wastage of time devoting whole day for CAT.
July 2006 - I moved out to Bangalore - to atleast try for job, i neednt make any excuses atleast in PI stage.CAT 2006 being
the target - again joined full time classroom course with TIME (not sure what affinity with TIME folks) in Bangalore and
started applying for Job interviews.By september I was through - got a job in an Indian IT company "Wipro Technologies"- my
plan of MIT was successful now - but there was a catch - my joining date got delayed by 3 months - December mid . CAT 2006 in
Nov. With having secured something - I went back to my messy ways - same hanging around, boozing, missing the TIME coaching
classes (but religiously collecting TIME materials on schedule).
Expectedly CAT 2006 - pathetic 78.XX percentile - but atleast something paid off this time - XAT 2007 - made it through for
XIMB (Orissa domicile after all) & GIM...could convert none of them. But thought that picture isnt as bad - I still have a
job , can try it once more

"CAT 2007"

Did quite well enough in job - couple of awards, customer appreciations - onsite assignment - it was all happening for me.
"But I had to crack CAT" - only Mock Tests - AIMCATs (same TIME folks - they have earned quite few bucks from my failures).
Same project pressure, meetings, code issues, incident /problem tickets (run-of-the-mill excuses , I never fell short of
them) - in spite of these excuses - MOCK TESTS. Regular in attending AIMCATs (used to score around 90-95 range whichever
tactic I tried) - but "consistently fickle" in analysing the Mocks. I never used to give a second look at the mock tests
after those 2.5 hrs. But it was sort of a 'ego' issue now - "I had to make into the ivy league inst.".
CAT 2007 was bound to be no different with such messy effort, in fact left for the onsite assignment on C-Day itself (Nov
18. Excitement of first overseas trip, 3rd shot at CAT - all happening on the same day. I thought I did well enough - even
had no ime to discuss the paper with friends - finally by the time I was back after 2.5 mnths CAT was out - I had no idea
till then about my expected percentile range - absolute blank. Hadnt applied anywhere else - only IIMs. Results finally out -
94.36 percentile.
Thought that "providence has something huge in store for me" - I am meant for IIMs - maybe next time - even I have a couple
of colourful feathers of Onsite work-experience up my sleeves, should be a cakewalk if I give another sigh at CAT 2008

"CAT 2008"

From Feb I had made up my mind, that this year (for 2009-2011) I "will" make it through. But same story again - AIMCATS with
TIME . 5 days of work 9 AM to 8 PM at office, 8:30 PM to 11 PM TV,complete sleep, friday night
booze, saturday - magazine, movies (or occasional look at lessons/formulae - whatever came in my grip) - this was in brief
summary of the routine I had been following.
But "I will crack CAT" - whatever be my activities, I will make it big on C-Day , I will perform couple of notches better
than I do with Mock tests.
All through the Mock Tests and even in the exam hall, I always start off with QA (i feel its a disgrace as engineer to have
something else as strength section) - but due to the same "mental block" I fare pretty awful in QA section, while perform
exceptionally well in VA section (be it CAT, XAT - all through I have never scored less than 90 percentile in any VA section
in CAT or XAT - prompting me to believe that first attempt CAT 2005 VA score maybe was an aberration) . Now not that VA is my strength, even till date I think QA is my strength - but performance shows something
else. There has been simply no resurrection till date - I consistently repeat same mistakes each time, I appear each exam
with the same bias/prejudice.
Finally Nov 16 2008, my performance was no different from the mocks - but with the "mock effort" i wasnt cracking CAT, I
tried something different "guesswork". I attempted 5 VA questions with "blind guesses" - 'RAM, LAKHAN, SITA type' - all 5 of
them were wrong. Checked performance with few tutorials' , I was getting in the range of same 90-95 percentiles "wondered the
story might have been bit brighter, had I not tried "something different""...but I was strong willed - its enough now,
whichever inst i get through, I am definitely going for it this time. Enough is enough. This was my fourth attempt, I was
getting impatient at the same CAT stuff (well words arent enough to describe impatience - many puys would have gone hrough
the same themselves)
Applied for a couple of inst in the 90-95 percentile range (final score CAT 2008 93.66 percentile). Screwed up IIFT big time,
thought JMET went well enough (until results said I had not qualified), thanks to Orissa domicile quota in XIMB - XAT score
of 91.66 percentile also gave me a GD/PI call.
Finally gd/pi calls from IMT (nagpur), TAPMI, MICA, SIMSR and XIMB - nothing spectacular performance in any of them - but
neither bad ones.
Now confirmed with IMT (N), Waitlisted with XIMB , rest results awaited.
Almost confident of getting through XIMB, i value this much much more- it means a lot to me. I couldnot correct my
flaws/habits - inspite of which I made it through, i certainly feel I have acheived something "finally got rid of this CAT
stuff" - my routines are my own "no more section bias, no further mocks" - its all over this time - finally.

Guys after so much of "pakaoing" strict no-no 'learning from my failures' , all this shouldnt be done ever -

1)Never mess up your schedules - fun is part of life - not the complete picture - right word would be "DISCIPLINE"
2)Too much preparatory material isnt an asset - rather practising whatever one has is the most important
3)Never take the Mocks lightly - these are actual confidence builders, and its where the real preparation bears fruit
(atleast it gives one a chance to 'fail' - which the real CAT doesnt)
4)Regarding CAT sections, never have any prejudice/bias for any section - all sections can be equally rewarding, equally easy
- never does one get kudos for proving one to be strong - its bottomline "CAT score" which matters
5)Never flunk your priorities - setting and identification of priorities is the foremost aspect
6)Its never late, impatience isnt going to help - work out what you want, rather than compromising what you get
7)Finally never never never evr make any wild guesses , calculated guesses after elimination of options is fine (but that
wont work with CAT now coming with 5 options per Q).

Enough of "bakar" now PUYs...do PM me your comments/groans whatever you feel...


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  • 1 Like  
That was a terrific post Chandoo.....
But..er........that raises the BIGGEST question!
Is it really necessary to prepare for CAT?
Am no kidding here guys.......
Its been my belief that CAT is just an aptitude test and it requires no preparation!

All CAT does is test your 'basic' language and analytical skills.A majority of us would be able to answer most of the questions if given infinite time.So CAT just puts one under 'pressure' because you have 150 questions to answer in 120 mins.In a way,CAT just simulates the working condition one might face when he/she becomes a manager.So CAT does nothing but assess an individual's potential to work as a manager!So why prepare for it?

Again,look what happens when you prepare....(There are people who prepare for 2 years or even more!Please!Am not trying to demean their efforts in anyway!).......When you prepare for an aptitude test like CAT,you are continuously pushing youself to become something that you are actually not. You might even crack CAT.......but believe me!its not the 'real you' who has cracked it......you may not be able to reproduce such a result at all times!For those 2 hours you had 2 years of preparation.......you WILL NOT have 2 years to prepare for every two hours in your work as a manager!Preparation can only create a pseudo-aptitude to crack CAT on that day.....nothing more!It infact spoils the chance to assess ones 'real' aptitude!


Btw,..... I got calls from ACLIK.........n i did not prepare for CAT.Absolutely nothing more than the 2 hours i spent taking the test.

Well!I would love to read the responses!


i agree.. just quoting this post, bcos this has some truth it...

DONT prepare might be a misleading advice.. but i feel that if our basics in maths and english are good, then we need not prepare to crack the CAT ...

IIMs are conducting CAT to pick those candidates with good aptitude and emotional quotient.. only if our preparation helps us to improve our aptitude and thinking ability, it will help..

i see a lot of ppl just putting loads of hours in solving Qs .. they say they want to increase their speed or accuracy.. i think thats immaterial.. what matters is the improvement in their thought process.. inspite of so much preparation, whats the use in getting damn tensed during the exam?? cant those nerds PREPARE TO STAY COOL AND CALM?? being too serious abt "preparing" for cat, only leads to disasters in most cases.. IMHO, our basic ability and character influences our CAT scores more than the "preparation" for it..

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