All I Wanted To Speak About CAT 2020 Edition – AIWTSAC 2020

“Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for…
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience”

Trying to keep up the cherished age-old tradition : let us know about your experiences while preparing and finally facing the CAT2020, the thoughts that you had, the Dreams that kept you awake.
We would love to know it all.
May we all keep soaring new Highs.

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**Reposting AIWTSAC 2020 Probably the first of the season but here it goes. CAT started for me in my 3rd year of engineering. I joined IMS Tambram in 2017 for CAT 2018. Quant was always my strong section, verbal was weak. LRDI was something I found easy but my first attempt proved me wrong. I scored in the range of 110-120 in mocks but could manage only 20-25 in verbal. One day, I suddenly scored 60+ marks in verbal in a mock & got 99+ percentile. I made a false assumption that verbal is more luck based and I don't need to worry about it. Came the D-day, mine was Slot 2 and I was pretty excited for it tbh. I got a heads-up that DILR was one of the most difficult in the history of CAT and the rest was easy. After the exam, I had a neutral feeling about it and didn't see answer keys, hoping for lrdi cutoff to clear. CAT 2018 - OA 94.67 (QA 97.9 DILR 84.94 VA 88.41). Calls- None My placement at Musigma and the final year parties drifted me away. Did not join mu sigma, I had applied to LeadSquared for an internship in my final year and got a full-time offer from there. June 2019, A fresh beginning. Worked hard this time and trust me working and cat prep needs a lot of sacrifices. I had to ditch many plans just so that I could give mocks on weekends. Came the D-Day, CAT 2019 Slot 2. Was fairly confident this time as I had prepared hard. The paper got over, I was confident that I had killed Quant and LRDI. My doubts with VARC proved to be true, CAT 2019 had a very tough verbal section. CAT 2019 - OA 97.60 (QA 98.9 DILR 98.74 VA 78.81). Calls- SPJIMR One of the biggest mistakes I made was not taking my interview prep seriously. I got out in GI1 itself at SP. I was shattered but drawing inspiration from @Arsene96, I decided to give another fight. Started preparing for CAT 2020 with full force as covid started. SIMCATS and AIMCATS became my best friends. I was scoring decently well in all my mocks and my verbal scores had also improved and then the pattern changed. The early mornings before office and late nights, I remember it all. D-Day CAT 2020 SLOT 1. My centre was a 5 min walk from my home. The paper started and it ended, it was damn quick. I was shattered after the paper as I had messed up my strongest section, Quant, and I knew this the moment the exam got over. Decided to give NMAT and SNAP as well this time along with XAT and IIFT. Results: CAT 2020- OA 97.61 (QA 95 LRDI 98.5 VARC 89.4) A 0.01 improvement in 1 year was heartbreaking. NMAT 251 SNAP- 99.61 XAT and IIFT- Nevermind Calls: NMIMS, SIBM P, SCMHRD, MDI, SPJIMR One thing I knew this time was that the interviews can be a game-changer and prepared really hard for it. SPJIMR 1st Feb SCMHRD 17th Feb NMIMS 19th Feb SIBM P 21st Feb MDI 6th April This was the lineup. 3rd March- Converted NM 10th March- SIBM P, Waitlist 469 16th March- Converted SCMHRD The SIBM P waitlist had hit me hard and I decided to join SCMHRD as SPJIMR seemed like a far fetched dream given the odds of conversion and I had lost all my energy to prepare for MDI. Fast forward, 23 March 6:14 pm. SPJIMR Results were out. The feeling when I saw the word “Congratulations” cannot be explained in words. I had a flashback of the last 4 years. I was shaking for the first 1 hour and for a split second, I thought that they had given admits by mistake to everyone like the shortlist error of last year. Checked some groups to find some people with waitlists to realise that I had actually made it. The feeling still hasn't sunk in. My very dear friend @van_hohenheim has also made it through in his first attempt and believe me when I say he is a real OG. To all those who feel demotivated or lost, I hope this post gives you some motivation that every single one of you can do it if the right efforts are put in. It is not over till you believe it is. PG has been a great family which has always stuck by. Signing off.. SPJIMR 2021-23 #IamSPJIMR

My AIWTSAC 2020.

My story might not be the most inspiring one as there really wasn't any emotional ride I went through, but I'll be happy to share my experience of getting a decent CAT score and converting a college I always looked up to - SPJIMR. 

It was about 5 months before my CAT 2019 when I was in my final year of B.Tech that I had decided that I was no good to do an M.Tech later on in life despite having a scholarship for good grades in college. I realised that with my interests and skillsets, an MBA would be a better option. I really didnt have an idea about how the CAT scores are considered, what the top colleges were and how to nail the exam to secure admission in the top B Schools of the country. Without hardly any preparation, I scored 81.66% in CAT 2019 and got a few calls from the Tier 3 Band - SIBM Bengaluru, Tapmi, GLIM, GIM and so on. That was the time where I felt that SIBM - B was fine for me. I really found it hard to believe that I could compete with several others in the Indian education system to secure a seat in the top 20, leave alone top 10 B schools in India. 

I paid the fees for SIBM Bengaluru but as Covid struck, I decided to give CAT one more crack with good preparation. I had a job offer in hand anyways and I was going to join a better college at whatever cost so I knew I had nothing to loose. 

CAT 2020 was six months away when I had bought my ebooks on CL and prepared a plan for myself to give it my best shot. I never really had any emotional turbulences during my CAT preperation, although there was anxiety when my mock scores were not too great. I was always in the 90-95% bracket in my mocks and it wasn't until my very last AIMCAT that I breached 100 marks in a mock (revised format). 

CAT 2020 surprised me in many ways. There were questions which I felt I knew the answer but marked them incorrectly and a few where I felt I was taking a gamble but it paid off. With some luck (ngl), I secured 97.96%. It was not enough to secure a BLACKI call being a GEM, but I managed to get a call from the only other institute I had applied for, SPJIMR.

There were a few things I did before my SP interview. I brushed up on my UG, went through the basics of marketing and gave a few mock interviews before the 12th of Feb when the interview happened. The interview was a bit rusty, but I managed to put forward decent answers in the end.

It was a battle against anxiety after that. The results took a long time to come and I had not slept properly for a few days prior to the results. More than me, my mum would refresh the SPJIMR PG page to see if any of you would annouce that the results are out! The wait paid off in the end, as I had converted. Don't think my parents were ever that happy and proud of me before as they let out emotion I have never seen. 

All I would like to say is, at times you got to believe in the cliche "Never give up". You may feel your destiny is what you see in front of you, but you may have something bigger in store waiting for you. Always trust your heart and keep hustling. I would not have believed myself a year back if one told me that I would convert SPJIMR after paying the fees for SIBM Bengaluru.

I really hope all the CAT 21 aspirants reading this follow what I've said above and wish you guys all the best! Sorry for the long read! 

#Repost because people asked me to post this here aswell. 

This AIWTSAC is just about my experience with the exam, not about my profile, calls, interview experiences or even possible converts.

A story of an attempt at academic redemption.

I guess it’s very natural for us humans to constantly wonder what could have happened. The way this CAT season has turned out for me, I find myself in a very similar position quite often. Having unfortunately made major blunders on D-Day, I try not to think about the kind of percentile I could have possibly achieved had things gone according to plan.

I must admit, doing well in CAT meant much more to me than just hoping to eventually get into a dream B-School. All my life, I have done quite badly at almost every academic challenge I have decided to take up, mostly due to a lackadaisical attitude towards what was important. Growing up I believed every person who ever told me that I possessed an above average intelligence, given my repeated failures there was a point where I wondered if I had been lied to about the same my entire damn life. For me, upon deciding to do an MBA, the desire to do well at a national level aptitude test was primarily fueled by a desperation to excel at atleast one exam in life.

I believe most people on this forum are no strangers to balancing their work, personal lives and CAT preparation all at the same time, my case was no different. This being my second attempt (had a 98.43%ile in my first one) I was already familiar with my strengths and weaknesses, I knew how to prepare and was very quick to start taking mocks. I knew how big a challenge it is to go from a 98.xx%ile to a 99.9x%ile, needless to say my dream was to get a 100 (lol)!!

My strongest section was VARC, deriving inferences in RCs was something that luckily came quite naturally to me. My accuracy often faltered in the VA section but was able to work on it to an extent. However, the biggest challenge I faced in the 40 min format was to attempt the entire section (something that somehow felt much easier in the 1-hour format). I’d often rush through the section just hoping to somehow attempt everything, something invariably resulting in bad accuracy. By the time November arrived, I had started to make peace with the fact that I may have to leave a few questions and maximize my accuracy instead.

As a part of my LRDI preparation in the 40 min format, I had started practicing sets with an 8-minute timer, regardless of the difficulty level I’d allocate 8 mins, if the clock ran out, I’d simply leave it and move on to the next set. Over the course of 7 months, I started developing the speed to solve most sets in such a time frame. The idea was to not spend any time scrolling through sets, it was to allocate 40 mins to properly attempting 5 and hopefully solving a minimum of 3 (many have criticized this strategy but I felt it worked for me). Eventually on good days I started successfully solving 4 sets in 40 mins (somehow was never able to successfully solve 5, I guess that would have been too ambitious). By november, my aim was to solve 4 sets on D-Day.

QA was the section I absolutely dreaded, I consulted a number of people on how to prepare, spent countless hours solving problems but somehow, I was never able to dominate this section. Most of my mocks, my sectional percentile would fluctuate between 90-95 having occasionally gone as low as 60. 

I cannot remember how many times I have turned to legendary AIWTSACs such as that of Arsene96 for motivation. This period of balancing preparation and a demanding target driven sales job was arguably the hardest I have ever worked in my life. The kind of toll COVID-19 has taken on our personal and professional lives certainly didn’t make things any easier.

All of this said and done, I didn’t cross the 99%ile mark in mocks too often. The best I have ever done was a 99.86 OA in a SIMCAT. In fact, I had an unfortunate string of 3-4 rather low scoring mocks right before CAT. But the belief was still there, even though the dream of scoring a 100 seemed farfetched, I just wanted to get as near as I possibly could.


I was allotted slot-2 and my center was in Pune. 

Was able to attempt 16 questions in RC and everything in the VA section except for the 2 odd man out questions in which I went for the infamous akkad-bakkad given that there was no negative marking in them (total 24 attempts in VARC). Attempted 15 questions spread over 4 sets in the LRDI section and 16 questions in quant. Was satisfied with my VARC and LRDI attempts but not nearly as much with QA.

Then came the day of my horrible realization when IIM Indore released the response sheets. 

In the VARC section I got a raw score of 48 which didn’t seem half bad, despite a few mistakes that could have been avoided, I wasn’t too disappointed.

Made stupid errors in Quant though, I was baffled by the fact that I got 5 questions wrong (just 68.75% accuracy, wtf) out of which 4 were quite easy, my raw score was 29. However, the biggest blunder was yet to come. 

I somehow solved two entire LRDI sets incorrectly, out of my 15 attempts, 8 questions were wrong, this is something that has never happened in any mock. I was sure of a 100% accuracy in LRDI given it was a common occurrence in mocks, and here it dropped down to less than 50. Needless to say, I was completely shattered, having lost 27 marks in the blunder and with a raw score of just 18, in that moment I felt I wasn’t going to clear any sectional cutoff what so ever. The thought of an entire season of preparation going in vain over a silly sectional cutoff was heartbreaking. Tears rolled down my eyes whenever I thought of it.


VARC- 50.42 (99.83%ile)

LRDI- 20.24 (89.95%ile)

QA- 31.17 (95.84)

Overall- 101.84 (99.00%ile)

Thankfully my LRDI sectional percentile wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. Even though many near and dear ones celebrated my CAT score as a good accomplishment, I was somehow still left with a sense on dissatisfaction. I’d be lying if I were to say that I haven’t calculated what my percentile would have been had the LRDI blunder not happened (99.8x, lol), not that it would have made much of a difference in regards to the calls I got owing to my pathetic academics but the satisfaction of stepping into a national level competition and truly exceling was something I felt would have been beautiful. On a side note, I have always been in awe of many legends I have come across on PG, being in a similar league as them atleast in terms of my percentile would have certainly felt nice.

So here’s my story of being so close yet so far from a desirable percentile. I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed, however difficult this journey of preparation has been, I actually ended up discovering there is great joy and thrill in actually setting a goal and committing everything while working towards it. This is one big lesson I hope to keep with me for as long as I can. I guess its time to move on to other things, I have decided to not fuss over my possible prospects, I believe I’ve prepared well for my PIs and plan on enrolling for an MBA this year wherever my best convert comes from. With bigger goals in mind and a newfound mindset on actively working towards what is important, I’m sure achieving a metaphorical 100 percentile down the line in these other domains will feel even better, till then, ciao!!

It might be too early posting my AIWTSAC. But i hope it might help the aspirants who are planning to take CAT next year. Here is the link to my journey


My #AIWTSAC (Repost)

Well, I finally get to write it lol Almost thought this day would not come. Profile? GNEM 7/9/7 profile. Pretty much average or below average for some. :P

2019 was my first attempt, a comparatively much casual one – 97.93%ile. Knew that this was not my best, additionally there were a few external factors I could not have avoided. So, decided to try again. Started my prep in June, wrote a mock, scored a 99%ile. A much-needed confidence boost. But as we all know too well now, the next few mocks were the much needed “awakening” that I needed lol The next few months were pretty much what any aspirant would have faced – ups and downs in scores etc. 

Then came the D-day. Throughout my mocks, I scored well in VARC – the only section in which I got 100%ile 3 times lol But something happened and I just couldn’t attempt the section how I usually do, messed it up. Managed to perform roughly to my expectations in both DILR and QA. Result – 99.75%ile. I was satisfied with my %ile, almost too satisfied. My XAT centre was 3 hours away, almost did not take the exam because of my overconfidence lol. Thank god I had some common sense. Took XAT, got a 99.96%ile – I knew it instantly that XLRI was my best shot. Then the calls started coming in. Tbh, being a NE, I expected that after 99.75 I would probably get 3 or more old IIMs, this was mainly because I was blinded throughout 2020 by my goal of scoring a high %ile. To the extent that I never really thought about selection criteria etc of the top colleges. 

Shortlists – 

XL, L, FMS and K. 

I decided to appear for NMIMS PI process as a “mock” for my other PIs. I regret this decision even today. Why? I did not prepare for it at all, my score was pretty average – 257. Verdict – reject. Even though I knew I had not prepared, the rejection did hurt my confidence, and this directly affected my IIML PI which was a few days after NM results. I completely messed it up, after this I knew I had to pull myself together otherwise CAT 2021 dena padega. Next was K, then XL and finally FMS. 

K – Shortlisted 

XLRI BM – Shortlisted 

FMS – Direct Reject

L – WL (Pretty much rejected)

Today, I am extremely happy to tell you guys that I will be joining XLRI. Honestly, I am glad. Getting shortlisted by one of the top institutes is a much needed “pat on the back”. That being said, do not let rejections affect you as much I let them affect me. One interview is not going to tell you your worth or any number of interviews for that matter. 

My 2 cents – 

Do not appear for interviews of colleges you do not want. [unless you’re giving your 100%]

Prepare with a motivated group of 2-3 friends. [Trust me, learning from others is the best way to crack CAT]

Do not get complacent at any point of time during this process. A lot of luck is in play, all you can do is give your best. 

Finally, Id like to thank all the peeps here on PG who kept me motivated directly or indirectly. This is the end of my CAT journey; all I can say is – it was worth it. A single piece of paper cannot decide your future, but it can definitely make your future. 

Congratulations to those who made it to their desired colleges, and best of luck to those who are not willing to compromise! 

PS - Future aspirants can contact me, I'll help as much as I can. 

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This is my AIWTSAC 2020!

 I wish you all well. Cheers! 


This is my AIWTSAC 2020

Cheers :)

Here's my AIWTSAC



Read if you have some free time. This is a pretty unusual story.

Long story short-- Journey of a GEM with 9/7/7 acads with 34 months of workex and 1-year gap who made it to the IIM Kozhikode.

Note- My English is not that strong. So please ignore any grammatical error.

This story involves multiple instances of love, happiness, heartbreaks, failures and at last success. Post my engineering in 2017, I worked at an MNC in Bangalore. Here during the initial training period, I had a huge crush on this girl AJ (who was from my college), not because she was one of the most popular girls back in college but because she and I shared most of our hobbies, our craving for street food, our love for movies and travelling to different places, and the most important, our aim to clear CAT and get into a good B-school. Soon we started dating and instantly hit it off.

Fast forward to CAT 2017- my score- 95.84%ile. And she had scored 93.xx. We were sad but thought of giving it one more time with more effort. So our journey for CAT 2018 started in January.

I ordered the TIME materials and we started again from the basics. On weekends, we used to give mocks at the TIME's and IMS's Marathahalli centres. We used to compare our scores. She used to beat me in VARC and I used to beat her in QA. But this very competition pushed us to touch 99+ in mocks by September end. We filled SPJIMR, FMS, MDI, CAT, XAT and IIFT. We were confident of cracking at least one of the good colleges. Fast forward to the D-Day. I had the 2nd slot. And the worst thing happened- mental blackout. I couldn’t solve even the basic questions. I knew I had screwed up real bad. And the results showed the same-  CAT 2018 - 88.24%ile. I screwed up in other exams as well- XAT- 96.xx and iift 95.xx 

But I was super happy that AJ had scored 96.xx %ile. Soon, she got a profile-based call from SPJIMR in Information Management. Like I said earlier that she was popular in college, well, she was actively involved in competitions, debates, MUNs etc. and with a 9/9/8 profile along with good extracurriculars achievements and workex, the call was inevitable. I helped her throughout in every way possible. Forced her to go to various Mock PIs on weekends( she was as lazy as a sloth). Introduced her to a few of my contacts who were pursuing an MBA from SPJIMR. Fast forward, she got a mail of her selection and believe me I was the happiest. But soon the realization came that she would be leaving Bangalore soon, by god it hurt a lot at that time. But anyway, she left soon for her home town, and then to Mumbai.

And after all this, I started again, hoping to get into SPJIMR. I studied harder. I joined an online coaching where I met with some amazing friends like Kirti and LM. I spent hours solving doubt problems on various platforms just to keep myself from distraction. Also, in the office, I started to spend more time. Kept myself busy, learned automation and implemented it in the project. My TL was happy with my progress and soon assigned me a team to handle. AJ was also pretty much busy with her 1st-year hectic schedule. We rarely used to talk. I never confessed this to her, but at times when I wanted to talk to someone, nobody was there. Be it sharing the news that I broke into the top 50 Rank in mocks or the times when I used to screw up the whole paper. Meanwhile, to cheer me up, a few of my close friends, made a plan with AJ and decided that we would be going to Panchgani. Well, it was a good time. I felt refreshed. AJ got a break from her schedule and things were back to normal. But after some days we were back to square one. So we discussed it finally and decided that we would break up. It did hurt for few days but then we were fine. I was back to my preparation. Fast forward to CAT 2019- OA- 98.87%ile. I was so happy thinking that I would get a call from SPJIMR. But boy, I didn’t get even a profile+score based call. Few other calls I got like CAP, MDI, NITIE, IIT B, XLRI BM, HR. . Meanwhile, during CAT prep, I got close with this girl LM. Initially, we used to solve each other's doubts, nothing was serious. But post my breakup and CAT result, I kind of needed some support which I got from her. Again kind of déjà vu happened. We hit it off and started dating. She too had got similar calls. And I was dreaming that we would be joining the same college. And boy, exactly the opposite happened. She converted almost all her calls and soon decided to join NITIE. And here I was- NITIE- 800+ wl, MDI 400+ wl, XL BM HR reject, SJMSOM reject. My only converts were New IIMs. I was shattered totally. I couldn’t believe that it happened yet again. 

Also, LM felt that she was kind of a rebound post my breakup. So she too decided to call it off. So, I messed up many things by May 2020. Multiple heartbreaks at once. People asked me to join one of the new IIMs, AJ and LM both told me to settle for IIM U. But I didn’t want to settle. Also, I had put papers in January 2020 thinking I would convert at least one good college and my workex would not exceed 36 months barrier. So, by May end, I did not have any good convert and a job. It is when I talked to my best friend Romy, and asked her suggestions. She was the only person apart from my family who supported my decision of taking a drop and preparing again, one last time. Hence, the journey of my final attempt at CAT started.

On June 1, I started my preparation again. I uninstalled all the social media apps, changed my phone number and had a total disconnect from everyone. It was pretty surprising that after all these things AJ didn’t stop talking. We were more like good friends. And it was much better than the time when I was in a relationship with her. Hard to believe no. But anyway, I practised real hard, solved 500+ lrdi sets, 60+ past mock papers and 55-60 actual mocks. Since I had the time, I took the TIME, IMS, CL, Cracku test series and started mapping my progress. Fast forward to the D-day, I was surprisingly under no stress as I had nothing to lose. And post the exam, I was satisfied with this final attempt. Soon the results came-

CAT 2020 - OA- 99.76%ile, VARC- 89.xx%ile, LRDI- 99.87%ile and QA- 99.64%ile. I was super happy and disappointed at the same time as I knew that I would miss that C call by a narrow margin. Soon, calls started pouring in, I got LKS, FMS, MDI, SJMSOM, IISc, CAP and IIFT. I screwed up in XAT in DM, hence no call. Didn’t apply to either of SPJIMR and NITIE.

I joined only the Anastasis Academy's Project bloom GDPI course and started preparing for the interviews. It was very effective. AJ and Romy helped me in writing the SOPs and took multiple mock interviews and nearly 70-80 extempore.

Then the results started coming- First two were SJMSOM(worst interview) and IIM Shillong (2nd worst interview). I got reject in SJMSOM and 507 wl equivalent of a reject at IIM Shillong. Then on May 16th, I got a mail saying that IIM K results have been declared. With shaking hands, I typed my registration number, my email id and captcha and clicked enter, and boy I read Congratulations. I was overwhelmed with emotions, told my mum and papa. They were super happy. Soon the calls from friends and relatives started pouring in. It all took a while to settle down. For the next two days, I couldn’t believe that I actually converted one of the BLACKI colleges. Parents were relieved. AJ sent cupcakes, late that night. And this is how that day ended.

Final results-

Rejects/WL- IIM L - 600+ wl, FMS, SJMSOM, IISc, IIM Shillong- 500+ wl

Converts- IIM Kozhikode, MDI, New IIMs

Awaited- IIFT

Joining IIM Kozhikode.

It feels so good to come out of this rat race. But the journey taught me many things. It made me more humble, it made me respect failures. There is this quote- 'If it is still in your mind, it is worth giving a try'. This very quote kept me motivated last year when I decided not to join any college, or join any company, and decided to prepare without any backup. I won't advise anyone to take risks as I did. Evaluate your options and then make your own decision.

So after dwelling for 4 years on Pagalguy, the time has finally come to say Goodbye. I met some very talented people here like @IIM_Groot, Kirti, Shahbaaz and many more in PG and UDT who motivated me throughout.

Goodbye Puys and Pirls. All the best to you all.

Feel free to DM me for any Prep related queries. :)

This is Sudhanshu Satpathy aka Nightcrawler69 signing off. :)


Hey guys, recently discovered Pagalguy

Writing this to put my mind at ease, here's my AIWSAC 2020.

Spoiler alert : 

Giving CAT 2021, Looking forward to enjoy this journey with all of you!


I was welcomed to this thread by the 'About this Group' section, which started with a snippet from CP Cavafy's "Ithaka", a poem that interestingly featured in one of the old CAT papers as well, and one I will touch upon later in this post. 

CAT has been almost a 3 year journey for me in 2 attempts. It all started with me enrolling with the Classroom Program at TIME in BITS Goa sometime in October 2018, when I wasn't really sure what to do in life. Also because discount mil raha tha. For some reason I didn't really care about it much until April 2019, when a batchmate asked me if I had taken the latest AIMCAT, and I asked him "What do you mean AIMCAT? Kya hai ye?" - this conversation marking my entry into this MBA entrance exam game. 

Fast forward to July 2019, my final year internship began in Mumbai. By that time I had subscribed to IMS Mocks as well, and was basically centre hopping all around Western Mumbai, taking mocks here and there, munching on the irresistible Joey's Pizza every other weekend (God, I miss that place). Around the same time, I was also consumed by the numerous WhatsApp prep groups that exist for all such exams. In one of those many groups, perchance I happened to interact with this one aspirant who told me that I must visit the IMS center in Thane, as there I would find faculty and students who could really give me a run for my money. Now I'm not a big fan of being part of multiple groups for prep as in my opinion it does more harm than good,  but I'm glad that, that particular conversation happened. Was a short one really, but a conversation it was. 

Nevertheless, following an arduous hour-long journey from Santacruz (where I was based out of during my internship) to Thane, only to reach 15 mins late for a mock, I was sent away. To add fuel to the fire, I ended up bombing the mock when I took it later from home with a score of 16 in VARC (this mock till date being my worst attempt in both years combined). I was enraged, but I decided to take it in my stride and not only made it to the center on time the next time around, also managed to hit 99.97 in the mock. In the process, I built rapport with the faculty who I found out were as interested in GK and Trivia as I was (Thank God for that). The season went on, and I was okay sacrificing my weekends for that long to and fro journey, not just because of prep, but more so because of the people whom I bonded with really well - after which the hustle and bustle one faces while travelling in local trains, especially on their way to important stations, didn't really matter. At times I couldn't deboard at Kurla due to the rush - ended up going to Dadar and then taking the Western line to Santacruz. All worth it. Absolutely worth it. I was having a ball of a time, even ended up having a chat with them on the day of IMS Pre-CAT, a day where I had left all my belongings at home (including my phone) and only had cash. Everything was going fine, with a lot of expectations pinned on me as well. 

Then came the D-Day. Nov 24, 2019, outskirts of Pune. 

After a flustering VARC (or so I thought), I just wasn't able to get my way in DILR - wasting time and getting bogged down by scary looking data. With only 11 attempts in the bag, that too not sure of all, it was almost certain that I was going to take a second swing. Nevertheless, I was able to salvage some of the damage in QA and ended up with a 99.23 on the day. Turned out VARC was not so bad at all (98.69), but DILR was (86.22). Even so, I knew it was curtains for 2019 - I didn't even prepare for GDPI despite having the sole old IIM call from Indore. 2020 it was to be. Moreover, I didn't talk to anyone from IMS Thane after the D-Day. I did have great food that day (as they say, one should celebrate loss as well), but I never really touched CAT prep following that day which is best forgotten. 

Life went on, and then came another disruption. 

The pandemic. The one event that triggered a crisis. I was told to immediately come back to my hometown from Mumbai - a decision that was taken and executed within the span of 3 hours, as state-wide lockdown was announced that day. By 10pm that night, I was back home and have been working from home ever since. I had immense support from my room-mates and a few well wishers in Mumbai who helped me with transferring my luggage to a safe place once the tenancy period expired. It hasn't been easy, but it was done. Extremely thankful to the people above for the same. 

Back to the main storyline. Thankfully I still had the contacts of folks over at IMS Thane saved, so I felt good to go sometime April 2020 for a second shot. Around this time, and a few other times later, I often dreamt of a 100 because I knew people who scored it, which is when I was introduced to the comic "Zen Pencils", a comic series that illustrates famous poems/stories through caricatures. One of these caricatures was based on CP Cavafy's Ithaka, on reading which I realised that the journey is more important. The wonderfully illustrated comic can be found at -

 I hit in the early 99s in my first mock of 2020 - which showed me my place that I probably still have a long way to go. I put in quite the hours improving my solving ability in April and May. In spite of that, while I did well for myself relatively in mocks in the 2020 season, I never reached the top - there was always someone better than me and that made me lose my sleep at times - which is when I used to nag my mentors over it (in retrospect I realise a lot of it was unwarranted). 

Anyway, by June-July 2020 I got to be part of two really fun groups. One being the PG DT '20, and one being another group of few people from DT and few test takers, which eventually came to be known as "Almost 100 Percentilers". While I got to know of some really intelligent seniors from DT, I also got to experience the fair share of bakchodi in the other group, at the same time getting to know some very smart people from my current batch (and to be batchmates in MBA). We motivated each other and had healthy competition. At times I nagged couple of people from this group post mocks as well, and they were quite supportive. By the time the CAT came this time around I was in a little more chilled state - more than anything else thanks to staying around with the right people at the right time. In the process I also ended up enjoying QA and became much better at answering questions than I was earlier. As a side, I had also helped out students of one particular batch in a coaching institute with their queries pro bono for a month - something I enjoyed doing, adding to my experience in problem solving, improving myself in the process. 

This reflected in my CAT 2020 attempt as well. It went pretty decently, and even though later I found out I had made some errors, I wasn't all that dissatisfied with my attempt, and ended up with a 99.86, with eventually receiving calls from IIM A and C among the top 3, though I never expected A to give me a call. Today, I converted the institution I least expected to convert, let alone give me a call. You guessed it. I guess jo hota hai acche ke liye hota hai. 

This is a thread on the CAT, so I'll spare the details of GDPI for now. In summation I'd like to thank all the people around me who helped me out, especially when I was at my lowest. The result is often not due to the efforts of one single person, even if he is the one executing it - there are many more things at play. 

Finally, for those venturing into CAT 2021, I only have to say that it may look effortless to you that people are writing their success stories (it would of course be hard for those writing of their missed chances, I totally understand that since I was in your position as well), and you may be seeing people solve stuff in a jiffy, but let me tell you that it takes a lot of effort to make something look effortless. Therefore, strive to be the best you can - It's a Marathon, and hiccups are okay so long as you survive through and complete the same, and, as Ithaka says - focus on the journey, not the destination. :) 

Lucky Kaul 

IIM Ahmedabad, Class of 2023


I have made a half decent effort to pen this down.  

I'll stay active on this platform as much as I can to help the future aspirants.  Don't mind hitting me up with a query no matter how basic you think it is. Cheers!

Long post alert. Do read if you have some free time. During this journey of converting the best B-Schools in the country I have experienced the best and worst moments of my life. 

PS: Apologies in advance for any grammatical or spelling errors :p 

TL;DR : Journey of a GEM from a tier 2/3 college (lol no idea which tier it is) with <12 months workex and nothing on the extracurricular or the POR front who converted IIM ABCLIS, XL, MDI, CAP. I made it to IIM ABC but during the journey I lost my father – my source of inspiration and without whom I could not have reached here.

Attempt 1 ( The “Form bhara hai toh de dete hai” attempt) : 

My CAT journey started in July 2019. I was in the final year of my college and the placement season had just started. I had a very vague idea of what to expect in terms of companies coming on campus and hence like many others around me I ran after the package. I got placed in the second company to come on campus on 23rd July,2019. It was an IT Services company which had recruited for a development role for projects in upcoming tech like Data Science, AI/ML, etc. I was happy that I got placed early on with a decent package without diving deep into what lay ahead. Now I had enough time in my hand as my internship was going to start in January 2020 and hence, I filled the CAT form. I purchased the SIMCATs and started giving them regularly. I enjoyed the test-taking process – the thrill of giving the mocks during the window, estimating the percentiles and checking where I stand among the test takers. I gave a lot of mocks but never analysed them properly. Meanwhile I got introduced to this wonderful platform called PagalGuy and I found out some excellent people on the platform like @Arsene96, @SmileyKRK, Rishi Mittal. I could not match their scores during the mocks but their perspective on each mock helped me immensely.

Then came the D-Day, 24th November,2019. My centre was somewhere on the outskirts of Chennai on a highway some 40-50 odd km away from my college. Somehow, I reached there on time. I entered the exam hall without any pressure. The exam started and BAM my went blank. RCs felt difficult to read and I kept switching between them and VA part felt no easier. I totally bombed the LRDI section and somehow, I scraped through QA.

Result: OA 94.6 (92.78/82.45/96.16)

I though I would not be getting any calls but luckily CAP called me and these were the only calls for that season. I did not take any GDPI prep and skipped the CAP interview as well since it was clashing with my internship.

Fast forward to January 2020. I started interning at the IT company which was around 25 km away from home. I used to travel around 3 hours daily switching buses. I also had my Major Project work in my last semester which I had to focus on. As time started passing by, I realized that coding is not something I was enjoying. Money was good but satisfaction was missing ( kaafi cliché xD). So I decided to give another shot at CAT and this time with a more serious prep.

Attempt 2 (The “Serious” Attempt) :
I knew I needed coaching this time especially because my basics were weak and with internship, college work, etc coaching would help me maintain consistency and help me plan better. I enrolled for Elitesgrid Online Classes and started attending them regularly. Everyday I used to work for around 9 hrs in the office + 3 hrs of travel and then 2-3 hrs of online class. The schedule was hectic but I was enjoying it and hence never complained about it.

Meanwhile in March/April I came across a mentorship initiative started by some of the folks on PagalGuy which included lords like Sohum Sen, Karthik KR and others. I reached out to them and that is when I got a chance to interact with them. I had Karthik as my mentor and I have never come across a humbler person to say the least. He is an educator at heart and I interacted with him every week to give him an update on where I stand and seek advice on what to do next.

The mocks season started and luckily this time I was scoring 99+ in most of the SIMCATs and AIMCATs. 

But things started changing in July. I decided to leave my coding job and started looking for jobs in management domain. I came across an opening for an Investment Banking Analyst at a very early stage startup started by IIM/IIT/BITS graduates. I went through 3 rounds of interview and was lucky enough to be among the 3 selected ones out of 4000+ applicants. I felt better. The work was exciting and the people around there were awesome and I learnt so much from each one of them. I also got a chance to talk to 80+ founders and work on M&A deals from Unicorn startups. 

I faced some hiccups in VARC in between and hence took up the VARC 1000 course from Gejo sir of CL. It helped me a lot and my scores started improving in VARC as well. 

All in all I took around 50-60 mocks and a lot of sectionals during the entire season and was scoring 99%ile+ in most of them.

D-Day : 29th November,2020. I was in slot 2 and I heard that VARC was difficult in slot 1. Nevertheless, I did not take any pressure. The exam started and I breezed through VARC attempting all 26 questions. Then LRDI hit me. I was clueless and was switching between sets most of the time but finally was able to solve one six question set towards the very end and I could attempt just 11 questions with no idea how many of them were correct. I salvaged QA somehow and was able to answer 19 questions.

Result: OA 99.79 ( 99.42/94.11/99.8)

I was on Cloud 9 and I knew I would be getting some BLACKI calls. I reached out to Karthik for help and he guided me on how to start the GDPI prep and which calls I can expect and as usual his predictions were spot on.

Calls : IIM A,B,C,L,I,S,CAP,MDI,XL,FMS,SPJIMR. Kozhikode was the only call I missed out on.

I enrolled for GDPI prep at Project Bloom, an initiative of Anastasis Shankar sir, another PG legend. I also enrolled at PrepZone. Meanwhile Sohum,Rishi and Karan came forward with an initiative to guide aspirants for GDPI called THEOMI. I was juggling work, GDPI prep and all of that seemed too hectic and to be honest the GDPI prep phase felt difficult than the CAT prep phase. There is so much to cover and so less time. 

Interview Season: The first interview of the season was for SPJIMR Finance. I could not make it past round 1 and the insecurity crept in. I told my father who was in office at that time that I was rejected and his reply was “IIM Ahmedabad is in destiny”. At that time, it still felt like a dream which was too good to come true. I reached out to my mentors and they were kind enough to help me out. I remember Rishi telling us during one of his knowledge sessions that one of his friends at IIMA also could not make it to SPJIMR :p 

My major interviews were scheduled in March starting with XL BM on 7th, Lucknow on 10th, Calcutta on 12th, Bangalore on 15th, Ahmedabad on 16th and Indore on 18th. I gave all of these interviews and had a different experience at each one of them and to be very honest after none of the interviews did I feel that I had nailed it and that I would definitely make it.

Fast forward to April 2021: There was a Covid outbreak in my family. My father tested positive on 13th April. We admitted him to the hospital. Initially everything was fine and he was doing well but suddenly one day he had a high fever and his O2 levels dropped. We arranged every medicine and injection that was needed but his health did not show much improvement. Meanwhile amidst all this, I gave my FMS interview on 23rd. It was very difficult maintaining a calm composure and a smile during those 20 minutes but I tried my best.

May 2021: My father’s health deteriorated. We shifted him to a better hospital and he was put on a ventilator but nothing seemed to work. On 7th May, I received a call from the hospital that he had passed away. I was shattered and had no clue what would happen to me or my family going forward and how would I deal with this. This is where my relatives, friends, mentors pitched in and I would be forever grateful to each one of them.

13th May, 2021 : Somebody from the Telegram group of IIMA had called up the AO and they had confirmed that results were going to be out today. I was frantically refreshing the page. It was 5:13 PM and the link popped up. With trembling hands, I entered the credentials but could not muster the courage to click on login. I asked my sister to do it. She clicked on it and I saw “Congratulations” on the screen. I could not believe it and my hands were shivering. It was a bittersweet moment for me. The happiness of achieving my father’s dream of making it to IIMA and the pain of not being able to celebrate it with him or seek his blessings.

The results started rolling out thereafter and every B-School convert for me was a bittersweet moment.

Final result:
Converts: IIM A, B, C, L, I, S, CAP, MDI, XL BM (Initially waitlisted at 90)
Waitlists: FMS (261)
Rejects : SPJIMR, XL HR

This journey of 2 years has changed me completely. I met so many amazing people, learnt so much. I enjoyed this journey thoroughly. 

Congratulations to everyone who would be joining a B-School this year and all the best to the CAT’21 aspirants. Feel free to reach out for any prep related queries. I would be more than happy to help :) 

Signing off,
Rutvik Reshamwala


After 3 failed attempts, 

I was at my lowest and for the first time I questioned myself, 

"Should I even be doing this....Give up ho raha ab"

But kya kre.....ziddi hai na hum

I knew I had to give it ONE LAST TIME otherwise I'd always end up with regrets...

It took me 4 attempts, support and blessings of countless people, and a great deal of luck to get here. My story is one of expectations, failures, hope and perseverance.

Result: BLACKI XL FMS converts

It is slightly a longish read considering it is 4 AIWTSAC rolled into one but do give it a read if you resonate with the sentiment above. Thank you for your time 

@rmnsrs, Amit, @moinack , @Arsene96 and the rest of DT20, @rohitcd thank you guys for being a part of my journey!

1 Like


AIWTSAC- Gem fresher with a year drop and half decent acads. Not much to say, I have converted MDI and iitd, will probably convert indore in subsequent lists. Very high waitlist at fms and a straight reject from C. PG will always be an unforgettable part of my life. It was the place to go when crippling anxiety took over and mind sought a place of respite. A very sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all the members for making this platform what it is.

This place unfortunately didn't quite gain the traction I'd hoped it would, so I made my AIWTSAC post on the CAT'20 thread and will link it here:

After procrastinating a lot I finally completed my AIWTSAC20. It is long one so if you can spare a few minutes, please give it a read!

AIWTSAC Never have i ever thought that preparation for an adorably named exam can turn out to be a journey in itself, and mine is not very different from most of the folks out there. "Fir tamasha beech bazaar..." and with this very thought my preparation for second attempt began. Won't write much about first attempt since that phase wasn't well tailored and I just kept randomly doing anything and everything. I was new to the game and any advice from anyone seemed game-changer. At the end i got just enough marks to promote me from a GEM to a GERM (99.43) But thats the beauty about early stage rejections, the remorse and feeling of dejection also get over soon and you start for next phase earlier and better. Thats what i did too and made a 6 months plan for myself and it was pretty simple, get the basics right, practice and then the vicious cycle of mock-analyse-repeat. But while we all were hustling for this exam in a shell, the world outside was changing fast, and things were happening which no one would have thought of. That brought few tweaks in the pattern and mock schedules as well but i was happy with my performance throughout the mock season. D-day came and i knew the battle was between the confidence (of getting 99.9*) I gained from a decent mock season and the nervousness of this being my last CAT attempt. And the rest is too painful to write :P I somehow managed to get a 99.51 and soon after that i made a motto for my life ahead "to make the best out of whatever you have got". With this i prepared for my interviews, but unfortunately couldn't convert my best call-IIMB. This brings us to something which many of you can resonate with, "Best thing about being ordinary is you never stop having extra ordinary dreams". And with few of these extra ordinary dreams, I will be joining IIM-L and will try to make the best out of that. Lastly I would like to thank two sets of people which were initially just two .. groups for CAT preparation but that turned out to be something even better. "Mock tests discussion" - 4 guys waiting for clinking beer mugs 🍻 "Almost 100 %ilers" - Never been too active here, but these guys have always kept me grounded with their performances and I hope this continues. And for all the future aspirants, dream big and keep hustling, some day something will come up which will make you feel it was all worth it. Cheers !!