I went from 78%ile in CAT 2010 to 97.9 %ile in CAT 2013. Here’s How.

As i write this post, I have completed (I presume) a term at IIM Bangalore. Back at home, with Term 2 about to start, I felt I would pen down my thoughts in this sacred thread which motivated me and kept me going for 4 years. I still remember the AIWTSAC of Rohit Gupta and @the_hate I remember these distinctly because, whenever I was down, I had always looked upto these posts which kept me going


– Pretty long post

My profile

X – 92% (Tamil Nadu)

XII – 97% (Tamil Nadu)

B.Tech(IT) – 88% (2009 passed out – Private engineering college at Chennai)

Category – General

Any remarks – Just another General,Engineer, Male who had 53 months of IT experience when he cracked the CAT



I was just 8 months experienced at the IT Industry. A faccha, who wrote CAT in October 2010. There was no real preparation and hardwork this time. Wrote CAT owing to “What are you going to do with your life” question. As expected secured 78%ile. Had calls from a few Tier 2 B-schools and was rejected by all of them in their GD-PI 😃

CAT 2011

My nerves started to beat faster now. I became highly insecure of my position. Was not sure where life was taking me. I gave a deep thought and was convinced that MS wasn’t my career choice. I wanted to pursue an MBA, and from an IIM. With the kind of preparation and mindset I was in at that point of time, this seemed to be a tough ask. I was out of touch with acads for over 2 years. My work needed me to be at office for nearly 12-13 hours. I initially wanted to take a test series alone and prepare in the remaining time which I got by myself. I went to CL, Tambaram on 7th May 2011. I should say this was the beginning of a change. I met Ajay Zener, an IIM A Alumnus. He was the most genuine and awesome person to talk to. He apprised me of CAT and the strategies to take CAT. I understood that my base wasn’t strong and that classroom coaching would enable me to strengthen my base. I joined the CL full time classes and started attending them religiously. Every class was a unique experience. I interacted with serious mock maulers and some best brains. I could see that I was improving slowly and steadily in this process. I still remember, my initial scores were 24/180 in the mocks.. Slowly it improved to early 40s and touched 70s fetching a 90+ percentile. I started to follow a crazy schedule. I came back from office at 9 PM. I slogged for CAT upto morning 2 AM. Slept and again studied for CAT from 6.30 AM to 8 AM before leaving to office. I covered pretty much all concepts by August and gave nearly 15 mocks before giving actual CAT on October. My best score of the season was around 94 percentile. To admit, CAT 2011 was a pretty simple paper. In fact my first question was a simple area problem from co-ordinate geometry. I performed to the best of my ability. I scored a 202 in NMAT and screwed up IIFT/ XAT. I stayed hopeful of CAT . The results were out and dreams were crushed. An amateurish 80 percentile. My quant had gone good. But VA had hit an all time low of 61 percentile. I had no other calls. I had 2 years of experience in IT. I thought, I will try harder..I was decent in all concepts, but there wasn’t an area wherein I was strong. So i decided to work harder again.

CAT 2012

This was the year wherein I decided to put in all my energy and effort once more. The mistakes of 2011 made me realize several key lessons. I started to slog much early, as early as February. I completed all basic books of CL once more and started with the mocks from April. This time, I touched the 98 percentiles quite a few times. With experience, My work slightly relaxed at office and I started to stay full time at CL Tambaram. I used to be back from office by 8 PM. stayed at the center and studied till 3AM. Got back at 7 AM and practiced problems till 9.45 AM and left straight to office. I realized that everyday, I should do a bit of QA, VA and LR-DI. As days passed, I was frequented by the question “More than 2 years in IT ? Not leaving abroad ?” , “CAT is all about luck..dont waste your life dreaming about it..Try GRE”. I quietly set aside all these. As August approached, I became very sharp at all concepts. I was helping several of my friends with quants and I was determined to crack CAT this time. I was able to articulate the concepts very well. If you are not able to explain a concept in simple terms, you haven’t got it enough. I checked myself to ensure I had learnt everything the right way. I solved more mocks and sectional tests. Early October, NMAT came and I secured a 215. This slightly boosted my spirits. CAT went like a breeze. I thought, I had done well. A well-connected study group or in other words a friends group was formed at CL tambaram. I also got to know many nice people from PG. Can never the bunch of amazing people who shared loads of their knowledge to the threads. It was January and I was extremely eager to view my CAT results. As I checked mine, my heart stopped..80 percentile again with balanced sectionals though 😛 I thought whether this was some jinx associated with me ! I felt very quiet. I moved on to NMAT, gave the CD-PI and converted NMIMS. Now I took the big decision of my life. I am not joining NMIMS, Mumbai. NM had declared it’s average package as 14.5 L. I already had 42 months of workex in IT. Many felt I was getting old (goddamn !! 😃 ) Everyone around me thought, I should join a B-school without fail. I went upto Ajay sir and conveyed him my desire of not joining NM.  Ajay supported me and asked me to try once more. He was the only person who believed in my dreams and asked me to try once more. Some guys asked me to join NM quoting the placements, some asked me to try an Onsite opportunity from office quoting the returns. I guess I did the best thing under these perils. I shut myself for sometime and proceed with my dreams

CAT 2013

I started everything again. Even more harder effort this time. Sleep took a backseat and I got engrossed in solving QA and VA.I completely forgot about the end result. I thought, I am going to give one best shot. I also concentrated on my work to improve my profile. As March came, I took up the basic books of TIME/ CL and some other sources and finished them. I had also solved all papers of CAT. I  found methods for DI and LR and sharpened them. I started concentrating exclusively for CAT. For RCs, I developed a skill of skimming passages to identify if i can/cannot solve them.The last three months became an obsession towards CAT..I was able to recognize/solve almost every Quant problem I was in the All india ranks of CL and TIME many times. My mock scores reached a 140+ with >100 scores many times. I also cracked a 99+ score 7 times at the mocks.This time, I filled every form which I could. I wrote NMAT first and then wrote CAT on the first week slot. To our dismay, CAT 2013 turned to be a tricky paper with lesser attempts. My Quant section did not have arithmetic. But I solved all DI and attempted nearly 18 questions. The Quant paper was indeed challenging. Moving to VA, the LR sets turned out to be tricky. Having solved 10 Lr questions, I saw the clock and my heart froze..45 mins were gone and just 25 minutes were remaining. I checked the RCS…Of the three 2 were philosophical, I left them. 1 was simple and straightforward. I cracked all 3 questions. Since I was good in Vocab and EU, solve every other question within 20 mins. As the exam ended I had attempted 37 questions.. I thought it was over and I had to take either an NMIMS or some other college

NMAT results were out and I had scored a 218. Felt relaxed (Atleast I can join one college now). The other exams went well and the big day of CAT results did arrive.I was scared and in no mood to check it..Finally I did and it was a jinxed 97.9 percentile (93.9 in QA + 98.9 in VA. QA had done me in, but the damage wasn’t so bad). General cut off for IIM Shillong was instantly announced and it was a 98 overall.. IIMS was out, so was IIMK.

I had calls from NITIE, MDI, SCMHRD, IIM-Indore, NMIMS, New IIMs IMT, XIMB and SPJIMR

3 days later, I checked the site of IIM B. To my surprise I had a call from IIMB. Now when you are close to your dream, you feel energized somehow. Now I knew that to overcome a 2 percentile shortage at CAT, I had to give a real good GD-PI. I started studying everything..Current affairs, Credit Crisis, Eurozone crisis, Obamacare, US Healthcare (Since I was working in Healthcare-IT), Basics of economics, Banking, Acads. I felt the 30 days of GD-PI would transformed me greatly. I developed a perspective towards everything. I conveyed my call to my Manager and he provided me some leeway to prepare. Finally the day did arrive March 03,2014. I went to IIM B campus. The WAT went very well and so was the Interview.

As I received the following mail from IIM B, I cried out my heard ,

Congratulations! Indian Institute of Management Bangalore is pleased to offer you admission to the Post Graduate Programme in Management (2014-2016).

After many years, after so many rejects, I felt peaceful. 

A few of my thoughts

1. Never let anyone decide your future. We are adults. We should think and take our own decisions.

2. Believe your intuition. It is always right.

3. Great things take time to happen. Persevere and wait for your turn.

4. You can never change the result. You can only make your chances bright. So slog and do whatever you can

5. The World around us is seldom clear in their thoughts. So better turn a deaf ear to unproductive comments.

6. Surround yourself with people better than you and who bring about positive energy. Lucky for me I had an awesome mentor, Ajay Zener at CL,Tambaram and a bunch of awesome buddies

7. Finally never give up, Tough times do not last long, Tough people do.

BTW I converted all my calls this year except SPJIMR.

Good luck puys ! Never thought would write a post here 😃

Natarajan Ramachandran,

PGP 2014-16 Batch

IIM Bangalore

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