[Part 1] My Experiences in Belling the CAT

Male. Engineer. Non-IITian. General category. That’s my profile. And I still ended up in an IIM. For all the pessimists out there, it is possible! Read on..

The first time I ever thought about giving CAT was in the third year of engineering. Before that, I was a regular student, enjoying student life, without a care in the world about my future. I did decently well in academics (nothing to write home about) and participated in a few competitions here and there in college. Just the usual profile. Till the third year of engineering, I was not sure if I wanted to do Masters (MSc) or MBA. I even went to a career consultant to help make a choice. But to make matters worse, as I read more on these two areas, I got even more confused. But coming from a business family, I wanted to do business. Hence, I picked MBA over MSc, and joined a coaching institute on campus itself.

To be frank, I disliked going for coaching classes. Not because they were not good, but because I thought that other students were way better than me, and I often felt belittled in the classroom. But it was the peer pressure, more than anything else, that made me go to the class on a regular basis. Also the fact that I had paid thousands to join the class. Beyond that, I had no motivation. I did not aim to get a 95+ percentile, nor did I know which college I wanted to join. At that time, I went to the coaching class just because everyone did.

So there I was – in coaching, struggling to solve math and doing okay in English. I bought a CAT guide to help me solve quant questions. But I still found maths difficult, whereas others in my class solved them quickly and accurately. I was dreading my chance at CAT already. I registered for mock exams. The first few exams were a disaster, and I scored in the mid 70s. Due to these performances, I started losing interest in CAT, and the coaching classes quickly became a pass-time activity for me. However, I continued making notes in class and kept collecting the additional sheets that I got from the coaching class.

Year 2009. One month away from CAT. I was concentrating on my engineering studies. Placements were around the corner, and took centre stage. I somehow managed to get a good placement in college. Anyway, I knew that CAT was a month away. But I had no confidence, no motivation to do well. The CAT day came. There was news about some servers failing. I did not care. I knew I was not a sincere CAT aspirant anyway. Whats the worse that could have happened? So I gave CAT 2009.. and got a dismal 86 percentile!

To be continued..