I think many will relate with me if I say, “there is nothing as unpredictable as life and all of us spend our entire lives trying to make the most of the uncertainty before us.” Such is my adventure with CAT. Let me start with my story of the “Three CATs”
The First CAT
I am Mayank and my CAT journey started on a whim in the 3rd year of my degree when a friend and I went to give a scholarship test for a CAT preparation institute. Why? Reason: “just because”. Anyways, we got a good discount, and not knowing of any better plans, we went with the flow and joined coaching. In the midst of hazy ambitions and vague career plans, I took the best of the opportunity in front of me and dedicated a year to preparing for CAT. I gave my first attempt at CAT in the ultimate year of my degree and scored 97.03%ile, if I remember correctly.
The Second CAT
Well so, even though I had scored decently well in my first attempt, my desired B-schools weren’t open for me. So I went with the next best thing in front of me- a job I was placed in college! But I didn’t give up on CAT and an MBA dream. Another year of slogging with the job. I gave my second attempt while working and scored 98.68%ile. I went in to give a couple of interviews, but since I had forgotten to fill the forms of some major B-schools and had failed the two interviews, I was left with some unfulfilled endeavours.
The Third CAT
I forced myself to prepare for another time. I was also hoping that my third time would be the charm and an Arithmetic Progression will form (97.03, 98.68, 99…….). Hence I prepared for another year, and this time I scored 98.55%ile – still somehow missing the 99 mark.
Anyhow, this time two things were different:
First, I had not forgotten to fill any form that I had desired; and
Second, I had achieved an answer to “Why MBA?” as opposed to when I had initially started my journey.
In this journey of mine though, one thing remained constant - DISCIPLINE "
Mock-Tests are Important !
Even though I was not able to study much along with my job, the thing that helped me the most was the Mock Test series. I had taken only a single series – from the institute that I prepared from each year and gave almost all the mock tests there were in that package – around 20. I had started in the month of August by giving a test every alternate Saturday or Sunday. Then in September, I would give a test every week. By September end the office holidays would start coming, so I made a point to give a test on those days also. If there were multiple holidays – e.g. Diwali weekend, then I would give a test on every alternate day. All in all, I was dead set on giving all the mock tests and sitting for 3 hours straight to tune in my biological clock. Even then if all the tests weren’t finished, I remember I would give 3 tests in one single day by taking a leave before the test day just to complete the series.
Of course, taking the mock tests alone wasn’t the point. The point was to analyse them. Most of my learning and revision came from just analysing the mock tests. I made sure to understand each and every explanation for the quant and DI sections and then apply it in the next mock test. By this way, I was able to maintain a steady growth of my marks and was able to maintain it till the last mock test. I can still remember that time when I would take a mock test that I would have to make myself mentally ready to sit for 3 hours continuously, would have to take care of the surroundings, etc and just get over with it.
This is what I was talking about. I wasn’t able to put much effort into learning from many sources, but I was able to do one thing dedicatedly every week and that is what is discipline."
This time, I have given six interviews, and am waiting for the results. A huge help came from the Bullseye’s PI workshop conducted just before my interviews were about to start. I was a bit reluctant to attend it at first, but it turned out to be a wise decision as it changed the interview experience for me and for many others.