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I wish I knew these a couple of years back- My
ruminations that may help you
I am working "in a stable job" since 2009. I gave CAT 4 times from 2010 till 2013.U may ask y CAT? Every endeavor in life has a trigger moment and mine goes like this, I gave CAT because I was content with my job and so my mind thought this way-being content means I am rotting and starting to lose intellectual skills. I was self deluding myself. Around the same time a intelligent and trustworthy friend of mine(who is not from IIM-C) told me how cool IIM-C is, how vibrant the campus is and what an IIM-C alumini can do. Vaguely I remember him telling me "Indira Nooyi...math and extra curricular heaven...place to be among all IIM's" Road to IIM-C is named CAT so I decided CAT it is!
Trigger moment aside other reasons include,
1. More opportunities to collaborate with a(the) intellectual, like minded and ethnically diverse opposite sex. I was shy and from a boy's school. I didnt use opportunities to change in this area during Undergrad.
2."Mr.ABC from IIM" tag means u r intelligent and branded for life that way. A sense of accomplishment. Self deception again.
3.FB being the way of life reading newsfeeds of close and many times unknown college/school friends which read like, "coverted the coveted IIM call" "feeling elated" "by gods grace..." made me feel,
(a)I was missing out
(b)I didnt do enough and was being dumb
(c)When will I get to post these messages? In short I felt "peer pressure"
Out with all the correct reasons for Y I took up CAT I must admit that all the time (during my 4 attempts) I kept churning out reasons other than these honest ones to keep me going. They did just that "kept me going"
After 2 long years of preparation I became very confident of acing CAT from 2013. Particularly last year, 2014, the year I came very close. But somehow I didnt get there.
Out of CAT fever and now pursuing different things in life I was subconciously introspecting the causes for my not clinching the exam. And today morning I couldnt work and couldnt think of doing anything other than writing my thoughts.
Coming to what you guys must have come to read in the first place. Maybe someone, someone like "me of 2012", may be able to put his senses in the right place.
Here I go,
1.There is no perfect study material or perfect place (tution) to learn Quant, English or DI. No one can teach you what is required to ace CAT. Stop searching and reading forums on the above subjects. For Quant,DI-Solve questions For English- I dont know. I did very well(i am being v humble here) in this section of CAT but lost out last year due to verbal. Maybe reading helps. I never read to improve english and I only read those which interested me. I started reading v late, 3rd yr in college. Never too late and its always difficult to begin with, not reading anything.
2.Excellence is incremental and only happens step by step. "Camera of Iphone 6 plus is great but IPhone 1st gen had the dumbest of all if you look back" Small steps towards improving ur aptitude is the correct way. Dont expect too much from yourself and stop comparing performances.
3.Minus scores in mocks and continuous flops will make u feel worse and depressed. Acknowledge and make fun of yourself and move on.
4.Dont plan too much and dont make timetables for prep.
5.Dont read success stories et al for inspiration. Solving the next problem is inspiration enough. Never feel elated when someone praises you for your supposed skills.
6.Dont think too far ahead i.e like during prep dont imagine being in an IIM interview and play roles. Dreaming too far ahead is bad for health.
7.Indulge yourself in a game.Team game. No I am not talking of chess here. I took to carrom last year and what started as mindless striking of coins slowly took hold of me and now my analytical skills have improved leaps. I am able to realise that myself.
8.Accept ur reasons for giving CAT even if they are very dumb. Write them out like me. Share them if u feel OK. It will definitely help you and a lot others.
9.I read a lot of philosophy books. I like them. Osho et al. They helped me improve my english tremendously i think. But they killed the "Ambitious" me. It was one of the most trying phases of my prep life. Think twice before philosophy.
10.I read this somewhere when i was preparing for CAT. "CAT is not the end of the world." True this. Most of the guys who prep'ed with me have left to join IIM's and other insti's. Some are still with me. Some still trying. I should be feeling distraught.I should be feeling depressed. But I am not and it is very surprising because during prep days I even repressed myself from imagining not clearing CAT.
I finally move on.
All the best puys!
I think its finally time to put my story on this thread.
Finally it's done. IIM Lucknow it is. Peace -- for now at least. The destination, for which I set out on in the month of January, 11, has finally arrived. The journey might have been over, but it was one I'd never forget. It's this journey which I'd like to share here, albeit in brief.
I'll start from the beginning. January, 11 it was. I was in the 4th semester of college life. Life was going well. Then one fine day, brother got a PPO from a multinational bank, in a foreign locale, with a hefty pay-package. Brother happened to be from IIMB. So, management it was for me. The only problem is, I had no idea what a CAT paper looked like. I knew it comprised of Maths and English questions, but little more.
My 1st reaction. Maths, could be managed, but English – hmm. So, work on English began. First came 'Word Power Made Easy', then the most revered Hindu editorials. Voila -- slowly, slowly my vocabulary started to improve. September came, and I, along with many friends joined CL. After few initial classes we decided not to attend any more quant classes.
April arrived, and with it the Test Series season commenced. With high hopes I gave my 1st complete CAT paper. Result – 66 marks and 85 percentile.
Cat paper – 28 Oct, 13. Quant gets f*****, but English acted as the saving grace.
December, 13. I got placed, and so decided not to apply for FMS. I even gave XAT half-heartedly as I wanted to work for a year or 2.
I ended up getting 99.51 in CAT, against expectations. Quant – 97.34, English – 99.51!!
Soon it was July, and I joined a Global Fortune 500 company, where I had little work to do. So, all-out CAT it was. TIME's AIMCATs joined CL's test series as part of my ammo in my battle against the prometric. 50 tests in 4 months. This was how I decided to prepare for CAT'14. No part tests, no sectional tests. Only full length tests, and that to 50 of them.
I deliberately chose the slot for Cat, 14 same as that of cat, 13(Yes, superstitious I am
As expected, I didn't get an A or B call. I had no intention of joining K, S or the new IIMs (maybe they gauged this fact during the interviews. Got straight rejects from all of them
The interview season started in February. I decided to take 2 leaves per week from office for preparation. Covered everything I could find under the sun. From HR questions, to technical ones. From questions asked in past years (thanks to Pagal Guy's 'Previous Years' experience' thread), to potential questions related to my work profile. However all this came to no use as my C interview lasted no more than 7-8 minutes, resulting in me getting a straight reject from both their profiles
However, L wasn't this cruel to me (they did however give me a moment of scare, showing rejected status before changing it to converted moments later) A good WAT, GD followed by a decent interview, had raised my hopes. As it happened, L turned out to be my 1st and last convert of the season. I knew I had screwed up my K interview, but seeing S release a wait-list of 700, and not finding my name even in it was disheartening. Even the new IIM's didn't bestow their kindness on me. But the important thing, from my perspective, was that I converted my 2nd best call.
Still many self- doubts remain. How could I convert only 1 of the 4 calls? How bad were my C and K interviews that I couldn't convert even a single new IIM? Will I be able to ace the interviews during the summers, and final placements? Is my profile good enough?
But still the excitement of getting into a top IIM is enough to suppress all these self-doubts – at least for now. And also a little nervousness is good, it keeps you on your toes, prevents you from getting lazy (This is what I said in my L interview when asked 'you look slightly nervous'
With this I'd like to bid adieu. Thank you Pagal Guy. You have been really helpful. I hope this post will help someone who might be in a similar spot I was 1 or 2 years back.
My journey of this MBA season was so rigorous and thrilling that even if I say all I had to say, there will be something left. Still below is something which, I hope, can be interesting.
The beginning and prep
It all started in April of 2013 when I was slowly getting bored in office after enjoying 1 year GET period on site. Prior to that my only exposure to CAT was sometime during my 3rd year of engineering when I opened my neighbor's CAT book and realized humse na ho paega after going through verbal section.
Anyways those were childhood days, MBA was the only option in front of me now so I decided to start preparing for it. I purchased e-test series and started self prep after office hours. Life was cool for 2-3 months with little office work and that too with a great team. Then came July and 2 old and stagnant projects were dumped on me. I tried to resist as I knew my CAT prep would be affected by this but I didn't knew that no one can win over HR. They bought my ego in discussion and I displayed heroics (read stupidity) and accepted transfer. Work pressure started increasing day by day and by August end work pressure was really high as I was assigned 2 projects at a time and it involved lot of travelling but by that time I was addicted to test format and work pressure hardly mattered. After giving various practice tests I realized that RC is the section which can dig my grave and I cannot leave prepping RC because I had already left prepping grammar and vocab. My mock's score ranged from 85 to 95 with RC always playing foul in game and by chance if scored decent in RC, DI was spoiler. I was just not able to perform decent in both RC & DI at once. The only solution to overcome this problem in front of me was extensive practice. I used to practice all the time while travelling, between lunch breaks and obviously during my normal morning time dedicated to CAT.
And finally came 10th of November. I attempted 16 each in both the sections and felt that I could have attempted at least 2 more in 1st section. I guestimated 96-97 %ile provided nothing stupid was done by me in exam. Came 14th of January and I woke up around 1 in afternoon as it was a much needed holiday for me. I was brushing my teeth when I recalled that results would have come by now and opened the website. Contents from my mouth fell on key pad when I saw overall %ile. 99.89. I closed and reopened it 5-6 times to verify but it still displayed 99.89.
Two weeks later, after getting congratulated, as if IIMs are now in my pocket, by friends, family and relatives whom I hardly knew, I was sitting and wondering how to convert the calls I have got as I had around 20 days only for the 1st two interviews which were SPJIMR and IIM-L. Now the biggest problem in front of me was my job as even though my projects were almost over my boss had asked me to sit on site and overlook pending construction activities. I knew it was not at all possible for me to prepare in that sort of condition and as days were passing, pressure and desperation was mounting on me. Finally I took a long leave on the risk of job termination unaware of the fact that the battle for next 2 months is going to be mentally much more chanllenging compared to the one I won but I was aware of the fact that interviews has a lot of weight in final merit list and I wanted my name on at least 1 of those lists. I used to prepare 3-4 hours daily and was jobless for remaining time which was very difficult for me to pass.
Interview phase 1
Some how days passed and came my 1st interview of SPJIMR. I entered the center with lot of excitement but came out with a reject. That was highly demotivating and my confidence level was on the verge of crashing which I couldn't have afforded as IIM L interview was a day after. I tried hard to forget what happened in the interview and sleep but was unable to avoid that dark night. I gathered all my confidence which was left in a day and tried to build some by reading some stuffs which I thought might be relevant to the interview and reached for IIM L interview. That process went really smooth and my interview was more like a discussion on my job experience. I was not able to make anything out of it but was kind of feeling good after the interview but I stopped myself from sinking in that feeling because I had to prepare for my biggest call, IIM C, which was after four weeks.
And then started the chain of sleepless nights with frustrations creeping in due to lot of free time and the biggest demon was fear of ending up with no converts and losing job. I tried to overcome these negative thoughts by reading lot of relevant articles and talking with fellow call getters. Came 12th of march and I was sitting in the interview room with 3 panel members in front of me, 2 of them with 'lets see what have u got' sarcastic look and 1 with 'I hardly care' look. Entire interview was debate on socio-economic situation and policies with all 3 interviewers shooting questions at me and I responded back with half baked and some really stupid points but 1-2 points were killer.
I left the room with a really bad feeling but I had little hope due to the fact that call to seat ratio of C was low. Any how it was over and by mid april all my other interviews were also over with my insomnia growing by this time.
I was just sitting and smoking on the evening of 16th April when my friend called and asked about C result. I became little shaky and asked him to check as I was not having internet that time. WL-77 he told and I was like are yaar ab L ke results tak wait na hoga then suddenly it occurred to me that I had PGDCM call too and asked him to check that. WL-5 he told and I knew that was as good as convert. The feeling following that was simply awesome and knowing that all the hard work has finally paid off, I had the best sleep in years that night and the nights after that with IIM L , S , MDI also getting converted.
Now that when I thought about everything I did and faced during last 1 year, while writing this, I realized that converts or no converts, I am proud of what I did.
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