I was a very enthusiastic child from my school days; always ready to jump at the first opportunity to anchor an event or participate in an international debate competition. I was a national level shooter, head boy of my school, and one of the brightest students in Kota, the homeground of many engineers.
I carried this burst of ardour to my college. I joined 6 committees as I wanted to do everything and didn't want to miss-out on anything. I was involved in different start-ups with my college seniors. I headed and initiated several events like the literary fest, a tech fest, and so on. I was the co-editor for PU’s annual magazine; a convener for multiple committees and boards; and a founder of clubs/societies for students’ interests like photography, music and debate.
I was also someone who used to believe that with my expertise,
I would magically secure a 99%ile in CAT.
Turns out, I was “OVERCONFIDENT”.
My First Attempt at CAT
As I was about to enter my fourth year, I decided to give up all my responsibilities and dedicated my time towards CAT preparation. I joined bullseye to begin my coaching. I used to take sectional tests thoroughly but always skipped the full length tests thinking that I couldn't dedicate 3 hours at a stretch. I thought that with enough practice in chapter-wise exercises, I would be able to manage the exam fairly. Having taken just 4-5 mocks, I sat for my first CAT attempt.
And then, as you would have already guessed, -
I ended up scoring very less in my first CAT attempt.
What changed after the first attempt
The poor performance in my very first attempt was an eye opener for me. I had some harsh and some not so harsh lessons I had learnt. Adopting some changes for the second time preparation led to a considerable improvement in my scores. If you learn something from me, you may not make the same mistakes that I made. I realized -
"CAT IS DESIGNED TO CHECK YOUR TEMPERAMENT
AND NOT JUST YOUR KNOWLEDGE.
Here's what I learnt for my 2nd attempt
Accept your score: When I scored a 93 percentile last year I was very disheartened and it took me some time to digest it but I moved on. You have earned it. Plan and move forward accordingly.
No-shortcuts, no tricks: I learned that there are no miracles. You make them happen with your persistence, hard work and those extra efforts you put in.
Work on weak areas: I realised that one of the most problematic areas for me was the DILR section. Perhaps if I took more mock-tests before I would have recognized my weak areas and worked on them more vigorously, which I did in the next year.
Patience is the highest virtue: I also realised that I did not have the stamina to sit at length for three hours straight for the exam. So this time I gave my mock-tests in a more serious manner with proper timers.
Study groups: I also learnt the importance of peer learning. We formed a group of four friends who started studying, and we all ended up securing high scores in some exam or the other.
Discipline matters: During my next attempt, I also gave a lot of importance to giving mocks on time. Starting from 1 mock per week, I moved to a mock every alternate day. I made sure I did not leave any pending tests which could add to stress levels around the exam time.
Last-year papers: I also gave a lot of emphasis on last year papers, understanding the psyche of the examiner, doing mock analysis and developing strategy to attempt various sections. There are 15 easy questions per section, so if you find and attempt keenly, you can easily score a 99 percentile.
Don’t pity yourself: Everytime I sat with other 99 or 100 percentilers, I started feeling sad for myself. Students with calls from top colleges, all confident and smart and intelligent. I used to see them with a deep mystery wondering what is that thing that made them so special. What did they have that I did not? Eventually I realised that it was all in my head.
Believe in yourself and Never Stop: I eventually overcame my insecurities and started setting my focus on preparing for the CAT exam.
Bounce-back and Prepare for GDs
After my 2nd CAT, I started working on my GK and mock-interviews. One thing I learned from Mock Interviews was that there is no right or wrong answer. Your attitude and reaction to a question matters more than whether you know the answer or not. GD-PI Prep sessions were one of the best in-class learning experiences I had in my life. Anop Ohri sir has his unique way of telling things, which sticks in your head!
My overall experience with hitbullseye was very wonderful and I am very thankful to the teachers and mentors and specially the counsellors who would always listen to students with a smile and help and guide students, working as counsellors, psychologists, and friends, all at the same time.