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Purnachandra Rao @Chandoo


All I wanted to Speak about CAT

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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


Well ,Every Dog has its Day , and today people its mine .

CAT well this three letter word has become more of an over hyped phenomenon ( truly just in my honest opinion ) . My tryst with destiny began ages ago in 2005 the first year i gave CAT. Yes i did the usual things , i went to IMS , I gave the mocks , I was never bad , but I dare say I was also never great ,if there was one thing that got me 99+ percentiles it was verbal . Well as I said I did the usual things , with the exception that things with the sort of unusual person I am , dont always stay very usual. I lost my mind in between and started believing DI would be my nemesis , I was horribily bad at calculation based DI though logic was my strength. On CAT day the IIMs seemed to have guessed my aptitude and 2005 was the year when the pattern for DI changed completely and CAT DI became less calculation based and more logic based , I got a 97+ in DI and a 92 overall.

I had a job from campus ( A Chinese product based company ) , with a Chinese way of life. I did my internship and started working with them , my days and nights comprised of one thing code , code and more code ( for the uninitiated , code , is an abstruce language developed by human beings to keep themselves busy and occupied on lifeless but more intelligent forms of machinery(popularly known as computers) ) . Anyway , never gave CAT 2006 , while two of my best friends got kickass percentiles and went to MDI and IIM C , one went on to win the Aditya birla scholarship . Well what is its relation to me , well you can imagine rock bottom that my self esteem hit at that point , in case you cant , well I really cant help you can I .

That was that , I prepared (yes again for CAT 2007 ) , again the same story , I would sometimes wake up at 3:00 in the morning and wonder what the hell am I going to do . That was that , CAT 2007 was another disastor. I realised one thing PREPARATION IS NOT FOR ME. I realised (or rather was made to realise by some friends whom I am now indebted to) that on any given day , given paper I can solve the number of questions i need to clear the cutoffs in each section all I need is the right ATTITUDE. I got depressed and managed to move around like a zombie. To beat it I got one call and one reject from SP Jain , I had no idea what was wrong.

Hence come 2008 I gave the GRE applied for MS and decided to end this obsession with an arbitrary exam which lakhs of people give each year,I wanted to do a Post grad, have a university life, live in a different country, experience, make my life interesting. The dollar surged against the rupee , the world economy was tumultuous , and the rest as they say is history. But sometime in between Yours Truly decided to fill the CAT form ( by this time I was programmed to do so : ) ).

I attended horse riding classes at palace grounds , went to one of my friends places to vegetate, went to an NGO to work on weekends , filled MS apps when thousands of people were taking and analyzing the mocks, I was living my life .

On Sat November 16th I was thinking hard if i should bunk a horse riding class and waste 5 hours of my time to give an exam I have given twice. Finally I decided to go , my room mate was at the same center as mine and didn't know the location well , I said what the hell , I will go with her. Again ,The rest as they say is history. This year of all , I got calls from IIM B,L,K,S with a 98.73 (OA) and 94+ sectional in all. Yes the one year I did nothing except relax and not take it to heart.

I got a MS accept, I got a promotion at work, I converted my B and K calls ,though L was a straight reject and one of my funniest interviews, I resigned from work ,all in chronological order.

And guess what I got to know about both my calls and my convert at IIM B through PG.

People can make all the difference ...
I owe a pair of JOSE headphones (originally it was BOSE that i had promised but then what the heck 350 $ no chance), a pair of chaddis ( not the pink ones ) to my friends that I had promised if I get through B.

For me this line sums it up ...

"A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long supressed, finds utterance. "

One friend told me that we can never know the bigger scheme of things , and maybe even if we did we would never change it, though we think we would. Chew on it. Read about chaos theory, read albert camus, read marcel proust, Maybe the universe is meant to be in a state of chaos and any attempt to bring it to order is futile.

Cheers and God bless !


For one week after the results were announced I did nothing but party and relax - GD/PI prep will come but for the time being I had to live the moment. I was at my hometown, relaxing with my cousins and family members - that provided me the fuel to take a leap into the GD/PI prep. The next week, I came to know about the CL bootcamp and braced myself for that. Now, the bootcamp is something I would recommend to any puy thinking of converting his/her IIM calls. It was one helluva experience - it went for two days and I would say I almost matched a strict Bschool regimen. We did nothing but GDs, Funda gaining session, Mock PIs, GK overhaul etc. I also met some great people out there - bootcamp is something I am not going to forget for quite some time to come. I came to know about my weaknesses (soft voice, need to have enough knowledge of my hobbies etc.) and worked towards filling the gaps. I took the TIME material and went through the various PI experiences. This helped me a lot in knowing the kind of questions that are normally asked. Apart from that, used to attend weekend GD drills at TIME. I knew I am not a great performer in GD - all I needed to make sure was to make 2-3 valid points. Ah, the next thing was acads - I made a word doc about my syllabus from my insti site and started mugging up that I started to learn some 7 years earlier. It was nothing short of a rediscovery. By the time my first interview (IIMB) came, I was mostly ready.

Each IIM interview was unique in its own way. However, I liked the IIMA and IIMC interviews a lot. The former was more of a kind of discussion and we even discussed Hindi Grammar for some time. The latter was a stress interview, but I somehow enjoyed being massacred there.

And again came the wait for results. As the days were nearing I was getting more and more anxious. On 9th afternoon, IIML put up a test link and it said I was through. But then I wanted an official confirmation, and more importantly about the BIG 3 - A,B,C. At night, I came to know that I am not in the list released by B. My anxiety acquired a new dimension - couldn't sleep the whole night. At around 6, woke up from bed knowing there is no use of trying to sleep. Came to know that L had put its official link - my convert was retained there. A sigh of relief - I am heading to an IIM atleast. But needed to know what happened with A,C desperately. Then came the C result - I gathered myself, entered my TR No. and DOB and then came the message - "Congratulations...." - it felt like I had attained nirvana. Waited for A result and I had converted that as well.

Now I was in a dilemma between A and C. I had to make that choice - called up my friends and after a lot of thought, I have almost decided to head for WIMWI. :)

Now I have entered the world of MBA and my next concern is interns. As you see, problems in life never end, and that's what makes it so exciting. :)

Tips to CAT Aspirants:

i) Always keep up your confidence levels, and that doesn't mean assuring yourself that you can do it. It should come from within, it should based on some things which you have achieved through your hard work. Fake confidence doesn't help anytime. Neither does over-confidence.

ii) Get over the "Ego" factor. If you are not able to solve a DI Puzzle Set or a QA problem amidst a test, leave it at that. You probably have the clout to solve the others. And let me assure you - there is never a dearth of questions.

iii) Practice. Practice. Practice. And practice doesn't mean doing some from the basic study material. Practice means solving quality questions from previous (and recent) CAT papers, Mock CATs etc. I would advise you to get the last two years' TIME Mock papers and try to solve each QA and DI question from them. And resort to aid, only if you are convinced that the question is beyond you. Never try to get over the "Ego" factor while practicing. But make sure that you are able to solve questions of similar pattern fast if they reappear.

iv) Read. Read. Read. Read anything you can lay your hands on. It may be the newspaper (esp. the editorials. Would strongly recommend The Hindu), Magazines (would strongly recommend Businessworld), Fiction (would strongly recommend books by Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Ayn Rand & Jhumpa Lahiri) and Non-Fiction (there are a hell lot of topics you can pick from, including Philosophy). Apart from that, somewhat lesser fun to do is to solving the RCs from previous CATs/Mock CATs.

v) Follow PG regularly. But not to the extent that it turns out to be an addiction. Subscribe to mailing lists like QQAD (Quant Question A Day) and DI question a day. Keep updating your mock scores in the thread meant for it and keep assuring yourself. If possible, do track what actually went wrong with a specific mock, so that you can fill in the gaps.

v) CAT is not the end of the world. Allocate a good quantity of your time to your regular activities (acads if you are studying & work if your working). Note that a good percentage in graduation is the requirement of any good college - don't spoil your chances by spoiling your grades. CAT will come many times, but a bad GPA/percentage in your college is going to haunt your profile forever.

i am deletinmg this post..sorrry


I guess I can lay claim ...to writing here ... although I am gonna Join XLRI.

The day I could not get into IIT's and my claim to do so ...after dropping one year..( as is the usual fare in Bihar ...my native place) ..was successfully vetoed by my family ....

I had to get into IIM's ...That is the freaking way my mind perceives things!!

(I still maintain...that I was and am good enough for both the institutions( as so many of fellow puys and my peers are) ...People ..the way I see it is that.. this country of ours ...has such a large talent pool ...that we cannot afford to ..give IIx education to all the deserving people...so ...D day matters ...and a section of people get in ...and the rest ..are left ..back ...to pay ..what I call the "cost" that the bearers ...of a "developing" nation have to pay .. I am not complaining .. I love India.)

Well.. joined ..NIT Surathkal.(engg folks ..know about this better than "good" college )..after a fair enough performance in AIEEE 2004.
Turned out to be best decision of my life till date.
All other great things like ...an international size swimming pool, a private college beach ...a cosmopolitan culture ..and awesome placements apart ...this college is the best ..launching pad for higher studies. Consider this .. of my class of 34 students ...passing out ....15 straightaway went for MS in USA/Canada etc.

So after ... reading novels .... playing CS .. wasting time for 3 years in college ... CAT 2007 was in sight ...and I was damn confident.
Gave some initial mocks...and all.. performed very well...and worked really hard ...like practised and all....
My college has a history kind of ..of sending 12-15 people to IIM's every year ...and all my friends believed I would also ...get in .

The biggest mistake around this time that I did was ... ignored ..my almost ...constant failure to ...cross sectional percentiles ..in any one section ...throughout the mocks season ..!!!

I thought ...ek din ki baat hai ..it will come good on the good day !!
I used to get good enough overall scores( 99 +- 0.1 percentiles ) ...so that was also fair enough!!

Screwed up DI in CAT 2008 big time. And it was the easiest section.
percentile : 96.57
I never got less than ..98.5 in mocks... but i was disappointed ...only with myself !!
I remember my Mom said to me the day results were out ...only this much ..
Does it matter ?? You know ..that you are good enough ...I know that you are good enough ?? Your friends know that ?? what else ?? How many times they will refuse ?? you have 4 months of final year ..enjoy karo "

I tried to forget ....enjoyed my last few days in college to the limit ...went home before joining my company.
It was around July 2008. CAT was again back to my mind. Still I did nothing. I dint want to overwork...I had a fair idea of things ...I was not so to say " weak" in any of the sections ..like ...none of the sections were like pulling me down ...I knew it was the day that mattered !!

So around August .. I joined ...IMS ..(decide to change ..it was...TIME in college) ... decent enough i felt .. but felt like more practice... So took Career launcher ...also..on saturday ... I must thank my two flatmates ...they r friends bk from college ...and they joined with me ..!!

IMS gives a good all around ... competition ...and Carrer Launcher's individual questions are really good.....sometime CL goofs up on setting a nice paper overall...too tough or too easy ...!!

Was performing well ....never below 98.5 .. in the later stages ...also ...came in below AIR 100 also many times.

I also realised three things :

1. Any student, however brilliant and balanced HAS to surrender himself to the demands of the exam pattern in front of him. You just cant be egoistic and hard headed.

2. Self analysis is the key. You can't survive such immense competition if you dont understand how does your mind behaves during a test. When does it need rest ?? When should you stop attempting a DI set ...and go back to a chilled out VA questions ?? Things like that !!

3. Accuracy In Quant and DI is the key. It serves you immensely if you can get the feel of balancing your attempts and their accuracy as per the needs of the paper ! Period !!

just went and gave CAT 2008. I knew as soon as I came out ki ...I had screwed it up ...As a principle, I never check my scores with online results and all...But pata tha ki ...Quant was screwed up ...again the easiest one !!

Had a call from IIFT meanwhile ... but heart was not there ... would not have joined even ...if I had got it..at least this year !!

So went home ...10 days .. came back ...Lots of work in office .. dint touch pen for one month ..till XAT ...4th Jan ..

Decided on 3rd jan after seeing last year's actual XAT paper of mine ..

Only one strategy ... forget it was XAT ... Convert XAT to CAT .. ignore all special types of questions ....choose CAT tyoe questions and solve them !!

The minute I came outta XAT, i knew ...it was good ....I would surely get a call!!

Finally got ...99.7
My mom was happier than I was ...hehe ...coz she had seen ...that ..I had screwed up quant again !! I just kept telling her .ki ..mummy ..luck bhi chahiye ...kaafi logon ke saath hota hai !! Its a one-day thing !!

Interviews...and all...no special preparation..

rejects from IIFT .. expected ... very bad interview ...because I was brutally honest ..all throughout the intrvw.

FMS .. god only knos ..why they rejected me .. 99.75 .. and a good gd/PI ...

xlri .. CONVERTED ...jOINING ..NTHNG SPECIAL ...they asked me ..some different questions ..which I could manage !!

Not IIM's but XLRI ..Fair deal ...considering ...how unlucky ..you can be ...on the basis ...of 3 hrs .. or ..one bad day at GD/ PI.

Pagalguy .. has been awesome throughout
.. I cant thank ....puys enough !!

The net result is
" Always ask yourself ...Do you want it that bad ??? "


"it" always listens and responds !!

I cannot thank the Almighty enough for giving me a chance to post on this sacred thread. This one is straight from the heart for God, for him, for you all.
I think I am special out of lots of people who clear CAT because I have a unique "quant-phobia" (like many arts/ commerce girls) but despite that I got through IIML.
From the begining I despised maths That's why I had chosen the commerce stream after 10th (despite being a 'National Science Olympiad' winner...). In 12th I got 82 in maths. Yet my other papers managed to fetch me a 92% and I got through Economics (Hons.) in SRCC, my dream college.
Maths didn't desert me in SRCC. The story continued since Economics is a maths-heavy course. I became a mediocre in SRCC because I scored badly in maths, stats and related papers.
Maths didn't desert me after SRCC also. It started haunting me with a new name - QUANT - in my dream paper, CAT. And now I have to go for maths foundation course at IIML. Life is such a bitch!
My tryst with the CAT began in 2006 Novemeber when I planned to write this over hyped exam
CAT 2006 - CAT threw a big surprise - 75 questions- 25 in all 3 sections! I got into the trap. I think I did 20-22 questions in VA (why! Why! Why!)and 10 each in DI & QA. When the result came I realized I had 35 each in DI & QA (both the sections fetched me close to a 90%ile) and a hopeless 12 marks in VA - that gave me a 72%ile in VA. I was shattered not coz of a low score but because my strength - VA dinged me! No calls of course.:|
Finally in the 2006 season I got a lone TISS call. I thought I had a great GD (I started the GD) & a decent PI (except for the why HR question, about which I had no clue, being a fresher). But TISS rejected me. I was not very sad because I wanted to give the CAT again. I joined Hewitt and started working in 2007.
Lessons Learned: Do not underestimate any section or the GDPI process:nono:. Any section or any stage of the process could be your nemesis, even your perceived strength area.
Thankfully I got through a good company, a consulting firm in September 2007 (again because of their verbal based written paper). I was enjoying my work and prepared a little bit for CAT 2007. I also realized about GMAT sametime & this gave me the hope that I need not settle for a bad B-school since I can always go to Amrika if not IIM
CAT 2007: A replica of CAT 2006. I gave the paper without serious prep. Still VA & DI were good. Both sections fetched me a 95+. But my under-preparation in quant was my nemesis. CAT 2007 Qaunt was much tougher than CAT 2006 quant. & I got a BIG ZERO with 25%ile in QA in CAT 2007!!!!!!
This scared me big time. I knew that quant was the problem area. I could do fairly ok in an easy SNAP or NMAT type quant paper but for a CAT & XAT my quant needed major work. CAT 2007 did not do anything to me except that it further developed my quanto-phobia.
Lessons Learned: QUANT / QUANT / QUANT / QUANT
I was doing fairly well in my job. & Simultaneously I decided to 'give-it-all' to CAT in 2008. I joined TIME mocks. From May 2008 onwards I studied for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the eve after office, daily. Left every worldly pleasure for 6 months and only concentrated on CAT.
But I continued to score miserably in TIME in QA section. :|
Meanwhile God sent an angel for me. A dear friend of mine, and a gem of a person helped me out with QA. He patiently made me understand fundamentals of quant. We studied together & that greatly helped me. I cant thank him enuf ever :)
And yes this time my hard work bore fruits. This is how my score card looked on 9th Jan 2009:
Test Section Score Percentile
Section - I Quantitative 28.00 (out of 100) 88.40 (just managed :p)
Section - II Logic & Data Interpretation 43.00 (out of 96) 98.11
Section - III Verbal 89.00 (out of 160) 99.87
Total 160.00 (out of 356) 99.81
You have been shortlisted by the following IIM's for their PGP interviews. Details available on the individual institute's website (candidates for IIMC should check whether they are shortlisted for PGDM or PGDCM or both):
Indore Lucknow
And then began the GDPI prep - a journey of self introspection, lots of fun, learning & unlearning.
Finally on April 10th I came to know that I had converted both IIML & IIMI (WL, but should convert). I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The feeling is awesome!
So I am off to helL!!!!

My 7 cents for all future CAT aspirants:
  1. Have faith in your abilities. If you believe you can, you will. (Clich but true)
  2. If you fail, don't give up. Try again. (Clich but true)
  3. Analysis of mocks is the most important part of your preparation. (key to CAT)
  4. Work regularly in all sections (any section can ding you, trust me).
  5. To improve in your weak area, study with some one who is good at that and probably bad in the section that is your strength. (this helps immensely):thumbsup:
  6. Total Gadha number system book, QQAD & Arun Sharma material is great for scoring in QA (I am not advertising but only sharing what helped me in QA).
  7. Pagalguy is a great place and a must for all CAT aspirants. Period.
Rock on!!


After the results came for CAT 2007, I decided that CAT 2008 would be the last CAT I would be giving and that I would put in my 100%. Two of my room-mates made it to A & C and that indeed inspired me. But still, I didn't hurry it up - I was waiting for the mock season to start. I came to know about the utilities of PG through a colleague of mine. I subscribed to the QQAD mailing list and I would say that it took my Quant skills to the next level. I would strongly recommend it to anyone preparing for CAT. The questions are no doubt tougher than CAT, but once you start solving them, CAT questions just seem like cake-walk. I also picked up previous AIMCATs and started solving various DI sets. I came to know about many tips for solving puzzle based LR questions and various patterns involved. This segregation helped me in seeing through the clutter and provided me a solid framework for handling the dreaded LR questions. It was during the same time that the pagalguy premiere league was formed - and I became part of the Bangalore DT - I saw some awesome people there. This motivated me even more to perform well in the mocks. This time I joined two series - one of CL and one of TIME. Used to give CL mocks on Saturdays and TIME mocks on Sundays. That made sure that I was kept busy for most of the next week. When the mocks started, I started with a bang (99.85) partly because of the lack of prepared junta joining the mocks and partly due to the efforts that I had put in for around 1 month before that. I tried to keep maintaining my percentiles about 99 trying to clear all cutoffs. The more important thing I did was to not get bogged down by an occasionally low score. Such scores helped me in filling gaps and handling situations not encountered before. Plus, I made it a point to analyze each mock and solve each of the problem I left unattempted (Especially the DI sets). I continued with QQAD and started reading lots of stuff over internet and I picked up some good books like Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. Load on the work front was lesser than the last year, so was able to dedicate some time of mine to these activities. I thought I was all set for the BIG one (the last Mock at TIME was indeed a confidence booster in this respect). One more good thing I did was to take a leave from work starting Wednesday (CAT was on Sunday). I gave some mocks during the time, and gave the easiest of the lot I had preserved for myself just the day before the exam. As expected I had blasted the Mock and that gave me the required confidence. I slept early and surprisingly was able to get at least around 7 hrs of sleep. Now all set for the exam - reached exam center about half an hour before - and braced myself for the MAINCAT0900.

Found 160 marks for VA, 100 each for DI&QA; - thought of giving more time to VA but ended up giving equal time to all three sections. Started with QA and found it easier than the last time and was smoothly going along without any speed-breakers. I wanted to maximize my score through Quant so decided to persist and attempted it for full 50 minutes. Then DI. DI was the toughest section in CAT 2008 and it did take a toll on me, given that DI is my weakest section. It was calculation intensive as well. Just managed to do 12 questions and hoped to get most of them correct. Started with the verbal part of VA - found it a bit difficult, but attempted some nevertheless. Then to RCs. RCs were a welcome development this time. The passages were easier to comprehend and there was lesser ambiguity in answer choices. This helped me gain the confidence and I did all except one RC. In the last 5 minutes and solved some questions in another VA set. Overall, I had committed some mistakes in all sections but the damage was limited.

I started worrying about DI after the dust settled. I had got two questions wrong for sure and that put my score at 38 - which turned out to be borderline case. Now began the excruciating wait for the results. But I would say that wait was worth it! Meanwhile the JMET results came and I was AIR 3. Now I was sure of making it to at least one good bschool (SJMSOM). On 8th Jan, the site was opening for some puys and I gave my TR. No. to enstranged_gnrs. I would be thankful to him for ever for posting that result. It was a dream come true. I had got all of the coveted BLACKI calls, and a whopping percentile of 99.88
Finally, I cracked CAT, and that too in a bang. Now was the time to pass the next hurdle - the GD/PI round.

(GD/PI Process aka the after-effects of CAT cracking)

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