My Journey of CAT began as I completed a journey of another exam preparation. Like most engineers, after graduation I started preparing for GATE. I secured a decent rank and a job in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
I realised in the beginning of my preparation that CAT was going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. I started my preparation in the year 2017. The first two attempts did not produce any desirable result as I was able to secure only 90.03%ile and 95.98%ile, respectively. But it was my third attempt and the cumulative efforts that I have put in for the last three years that helped me getting in the college of my dreams, i.e. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).
My CAT Preparation Strategy
My approach towards CAT was simple, build up my basics and keep practicing. Managing the same with a job is quite difficult because of shared obligations but my intent was to always remain consistent with my preparation, no matter the situation. As LRDI was my weakest section, I gave special attention to it by solving as many puzzles and DI sets whenever possible. VARC section comprises a great deal of reading comprehension which can be tough if you do not have the habit of reading regularly. I always used to read newspaper articles on various apps. It not only helped me keep up with the current events but also developed the habit of reading long articles, which indeed came in handy. For the Quant section I practiced every type of question that could be asked, prepared a formula book listing every single formula along with peculiar problems and how to solve them. This helped me in doing a quick revision whenever necessary.
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Why Mocks are so important
While preparing, people generally do not realise the importance of Mock Tests, but they can be the difference between a 95%ile and a 99%ile. I gave about 70 Mock tests building up to CAT. They created an exam environment and made me accustomed to focus for 3 hours. Just giving the mocks is not enough. I devoted an equal amount of time analysing what went wrong, which were questions which I should have attempted and which ones I should not have. There were times when these tests would go horribly bad and I would be disheartened. But I always made sure to pick myself up the next day and do the same thing over again. I believe it is better to make all the possible mistakes in the mocks rather than the actual CAT.
D-Day and the GD PI process
Finally, the D-Day. I was nervous but I had given CAT enough times to know what was coming my way and how I was going to tackle it. The VARC section was a little to the tough side, but I managed it. I knew that the LRDI section was going to be the game changer. I quickly identified the sets I wanted to solve.
"My strategy this year was precision. A definite number of questions with a high level of accuracy that could secure me a high score and that strategy worked. "
But the main battle was still to come. It is often said that CAT is just an elimination step, it does not guarantee your admission to any B-Schools and that is true. The GD PI process is what matters the most. After the exam I knew that I was going to secure a high even percentile to get calls from most of the IIMs, so I started preparing for the GDPI process right away. I began acquainting myself with the Global and Indian events, history and other relevant information appropriate to my profile. Most of my interviews went according to my expectations and I was able to do well in those get into IIMA, a dream of every CAT aspirant.
In my opinion, the key to success in CAT is determination and the will to keep moving forward, despite failures and setbacks. As the adage goes: When there is a Will, there is a Way. I know it sounds cliché, but it is totally appropriate in this situation. It takes people years to crack CAT and get into their dream B-Schools and they are only able to do that because they never gave up. So, stay focused and determined and surely you can crack CAT and achieve success in your lives.