Five years in the making… Part 1 of 3

Part – A

Five years in the making…… Hence, this one is going to be a long long one….. apologies in advance for the same!

You learn lessons throughout your life, at all stages of your life but the funny part is that you never know when and where you will have to apply them….  my life is full of such lessons…. ?


Born and brought up in Kolkata….. have seen a lot of downs and some ups in life. My parents have worked very hard to provide for me by sacrificing their own needs and provide for me and I am wt i am because of them and onli them. There were times when my mom had to stay hungry to feed me well, there were times when she had to feed me burnt khichdi and I remember her telling me this with moist eyes (she kept this from me till very recently). This made me stronger and determined. I resolved to ensure that this never happens again and this became my main motivation to do well in life ?

Childhood was tough for me. Was ragged in school for reasons I can’t fathom even now. Was under-confident, was over weight and had difficulty talking to people. That hunger to succeed was not there in the beginning either. However in hindsight overcoming these problems was what made me what I am today. It taught me that every problem can be overcome if you try hard enough.

I have always been a very carefree, careless lad who never cared that much about studies…… somehow used to score decently in school exams which kept my parents from giving me a sound thrashing…. Though my parents and teachers were always of the opinion “Agar padh leta to 1st aata” but  I always felt “1st aake kya hoga, ratoo ka thapaa lag jayega“. At that tym I was oblivious to how this world works and how capability without hardwork is useless.

Then came the 10th boards which were supposed to be a wake up call for me but alas I was as laid back as ever (kaun itna padhega). However, I remember one sentence that my maths tuition teacher has told me “Dekho u give ur best for ur boards, but remember one thing this doesnt matter as much as doing well in Entrance Exams does“. At that time I wasn’t even aware of what entrance exams were (yea, what an idiot i was to have not known what even IIT JEE was when I went to Kota the next year to prepare for the same). Gave my boards gt 83% and went to Kota (Bansals) post that which proved to be a turning point in my life for the first time in my life I was without my parents left to solve my own problems. It was an eye opening experience and made me come out of the protected world I used to reside in before that. Lost close to 35 kgs  and came bk to Kol as a fitter and sorted out individual with clearer goals. 

The Beginning

My journey towards CAT started way back in 2002…… I remember having a discussion with mom and dad discussing about doing an MBA post my engineering & orienting my choices according to that. Coming from a Marwari business family I ultimately aspire to start something of my own and hence, MBA will provide me with a very good platform to exxplore, network and gain some good experience before ultimately giving it a shot! So gave IIT JEE, AIEEE, missed an IIT seat by a few ranks (had an extended merit list rank) due to lack of preps (in Quants ? ), scored decently in AIEEE (thanks to Physics) . Post that had to decide which college and stream to so as to facilitate my MBA preps the most. Chose to pursue CompSci at NIT Dgp as it was in my home state and compsci was supposedly the “Coolest” branch in terms of rigour. The point to be noted here is that I chucked NIT Warangal, chemical (which would have been upgraded later on) and BIT Mesra (Mech) and some other colleges for my MBA dream.

College days passed like a breeze……. however, i found frenz who were like minded and we used to solve Quant and LRDI problems together. I still remember trying to solve the famous “Erdos number” set in my 1st year with my frenz in that crowded room of ours. Solving that set gave me a kick i din kno of till thn…. This gave me a feel of the passion I was gonna feel in the future for this exam, for the colleges I will dream of getting into. Motivated as I was I joined Career Launcher, Kolkata at the end of my 2nd year. Used to travel down every week to kolkata for classes from Dgp.

I knew VA was my achilles heel and I had to improve on the same, however I had no idea as to much I needed to improve. CL really helped realize that. Speed tests, Daily practise problems, grammar classes made me realize that I actually needed to improve a lot. Started reading rigorously, read like 30 books in close to 3 months underlining all the words which i couldnt understand and browsing the dictionary for them. Started conversing with my frenz in English as much as possible. Started using flash cards and using the words consciously on a daily basis. Flash cards are a very good tool to improve ur vocabulary but regular usage and revision of the words is a necessary exercise. I used to keep a small notebook with me all the time where I used note down the words learnt thru the flash cards and revise them on a daily basis whenever I used to be free. All this helped me increase my reading speed 2 fold and improve my grammar and other verbal skills ?

Quants, however, was my strength and I always knew that. Always used to do well in classes, sectionals, etc. Hence, the ante was always up in that front. However regularly solving the DPP sheets and problems on Pagalguy helped me stay a notch ahead of competition. Another thing that helped me a lot was the spontaneous mathematics I used to involve myself in. I began to fall in love with numbers and used to play around with them a lot. For ex if a car used to pass by i used try to play around with the numbers on the number plate, phone numbers were another thing that i used to play around with.on  Solving problems (L1 and L2 esp.) from the Arun Sharma’s book Quantitative aptitude helped me a lot (i kno a lot of ppl wont concur with me on this but the book reeli does help). Theory wise Total Gadha and testfunda material also helped sharpen my knowledge with their awesome tricks, shortcuts and examples ?

That was a short gist of how i prepared for CAT and this was all i did in terms of hardcore preps. Post that I never prepared per se and it was all mocks after that! 

Point to note here is that 1 year of sound preps is enough for CAT post which composure and a little bit of luck is all that is required (which didn’t come in that easily in my case ? )

Start of a memorable journey with Pagalguy

I joined PG in July 2009 (phew I am an oldie ? ) and was simply in awe of ppl here. The passion that ppl like @shashank3012  saar, @abhishek_sharma  saar, @manganese   saar, @Roger.Federer  saar, @techgodajay saar, @geminite maam, @sarcastix saar, @the_hate saar, @ThEbmr saar, saar and many others had for CAT simply astounded me. Watching them maul mocks made me push myself harder and harder. 

Sometime during my 3rd year in college I met @Satwinder in Dgp and we held the first PG meet in Dgp. Also became a madcap for PG ?

Through him I also got to know about the concept of Regional and National Dream Teams. Couldn’t apply in 2009 as I joined a bit late. However, these teams played a major role in shaping my journey when I see it now ?

Mocks version 2010

Mocks according to me are the most important part of preps. My tryst with them started in 2010. I still remember getting 70%ile in my first mock. This however improved with time and I consistently used to score above 95 in most of the mocks. Gained a lot of confidence as a result and was up and ready for CAT when it came for me (atleast I thot so ).

Here is a snapshot of my mock scores in 2010:

Season 2010

This was my first CAT and as I stated above I felt well prepared. I booked my slot for the first week of November and was well pumped up. Luckily I got placed in Mu Sigma early into the placement season which meant I had a decent back up and hence, that kinda pressure wasn’t there. The stage was all set for me and I thought I will manage well. Me and one of my college mates (who had also been with me in CL) had booked the slot together. The registration process tuk place smoothly and there were no tech glitches. 

I started off with QA and attempted a decent amount (16 afai remember). Then moved on to VA where i attempted 19 in gud time which left me with LRDI and around 35 minutes which wasn’t that bad. However, after being unable to solve a couple of sets I panicked (the preconceived notion that LRDI was obscure and tough in CAT 2010 did me in) and messed up the paper. After some ill – judged attempts I managed to attempt around 11-12 questions and the time allotted finished. I knew I had screwed up LRDI but there was still a glimmer of hope. 

Waited anxiously for the results hoping against hope. I remember the results getting leaked and my friend (the same friend who gave CAT with me) sending me the result via email after expressing disappointment. It read as follows:

CAT 2010: 96.18%ile(QA:98.xx%ile,VA:97.xx%ile,DILR:57.xx%ile )

As expected LRDI screwed me big time. No calls from anywhere. 

XAT 2011 was a disaster too as I knew I had messed up DMLR and ended up with:

XAT2011: 96.55%ile(QADI:85.xx%ile,VA:99.xx%ile,DMLR:69.xx%ile )

NM and Symbiosis called but i gave them a miss to give CAT, XAT another shot coz deep down I always knew that I can do much better.  

Meanwhile I had landed my 2nd job at ITC Infotech and decided to pursue the same in Bangalore. At that time my focus what totally on CAT and I thought being in ITC will give me time to prepare for CAT while being in Mu sigma wont. Later on I realized how wrong I was but again a lesson in life ?

[Note: This is a post on the user’s CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from]