My CAT journey started right after passing out of college in 2018. I did not appear in 2017 though. Soon after college, II was in two minds - whether I should drop for a year to prepare for CAT or should I join Infosys. Finally I decided to join the organization, and eventually I could not devote any time towards my preparation. Nevertheless, I decided to appear for CAT in 2018 itself. I just wanted to gauge my current standing. I ended up with a mere 71 percentile. It was then when I decided to begin my preparation seriously and get into a good B-school by the next year. After quite a bit of research and suggestions from here and there, I ended up at Bull’s Eye, which I believe has been a major stepping stone towards my success.
Managing Job and CAT
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I had been quite apprehensive since I thought it would be a real challenge to prepare for CAT along with juggling a full-time job. And it indeed proved to be one!
I had opted for an offline weekend course, as I believed that an offline course comes nowhere close to an online one, in terms of maintaining a regularity. I think this is one of the most pressing concerns that one faces in the preparatory period. And eventually I realized that I was indeed right in making the decision. Yes, it did take a toll on me while managing office chores on weekdays and going for classes on weekends. I think managing time is one of the key points which can make or break one’s preparation. Yet I never succumbed to the pressure.
I tried my best to keep up with the assignments and would try to fit-in a quick study session, whenever possible, even if it was just 15 minutes. In between office hours, I used to take a quick 15-20 minutes break to just go through some Vocab or few concepts of QA\DILR. This helped me stay in the loop and in the habit of maintaining regularity. And yes, the numerous mocks (sectional and/or full time) proved to be the best evaluator to judge my current standing with respect to others. The detailed analysis of the same was a game changer altogether. As it allowed me to zero in on my weak areas to improve upon and my strong areas as well to leverage upon.
There had been many break-downs in between, self-doubts, anxiety, etc. all along the preparatory phase. But the one thing which kept me going was the goal of making it to a good B-school this year itself.
On the day of the exam, I had mixed feelings. I was confident of my preparedness but at the same time anxious as well. The exam went above average for me. I was not expecting an extraordinary score though. However, I ended up scoring 93.39 percentile.
I would not say that it is an exceptionally good score. But yes, I was content. I definitely felt that I could have done better, but given the effort I had put in, it was proportional to that. And I concluded a very important thing out of it - If you’re good at something, you should always try to leverage on it and increase your chances. Verbal section has been my strength throughout. And I owe a larger part of my percentile to that section alone. I had put in extra efforts in this section and it paid off. I managed to get a balanced score in the other two sections. (QA-83.08, DILR-83.48, VARC-98.16).
After CAT - preparing for GD PI
Well, securing a good CAT score is just half the battle won. A major chunk of making it to a desired B-school is the GD-PI section. And I must say, I am indebted to Bull’s Eye for the exemplary training for this section as well. Specially curated PI, regular GD classes - all was worth it. I say so, because I feel these sessions really prepare you well enough to grab your seat in your desired institution. I can vouch for it, given the fact that I never thought I could convert NMIMS with a borderline cut-off score of 208. But I did! And realized how important these GD-PI preparation sessions are.
Talking about GD-PI experience at the various colleges I had a call from, the first and foremost aspect to put a thought to is the appearance. The second thing would be to articulate well enough so as to put your thoughts across to the interviewer in an effective manner. An interviewee is judged and marked upon from the moment he/she enters the room till he/she leaves the room. And yes, maintaining a calm and composed attitude throughout is really important, irrespective of how stressful the interview is. A pleasing smile reflects one’s amicable personality. For candidates with work experience the questions generally revolve around the work profile. Other fields include background,hobbies,current affairs,random questions and so on, which determine someone’s thought process,beliefs and outlook towards life in general etc. In short, a holistic approach is what interviewers look for.
Enhancing communication and leadership skills through any extracurricular or co-curricular activity would add a cherry on the cake. It definitely makes a difference, according to me. For me, personally being associated with the Toastmasters Club of my organization, both as a member and in various leadership roles, has proved to be a boon.
Also, developing a reading habit proves to be very helpful during the exam. Reading speed increases by manifolds. After all CAT is indeed a game of speed mixed with accuration. I have been an avid reader since childhood. This really helped me in skimming and scanning through questions and caselets really fast.
To sum it up, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire Bull’s Eye team - amazing faculties, ever helpful administrative team; for steering me in the right direction during my entire preparatory phase and beyond. The only message I would like to convey to all aspirants is to never lose self-belief, whatever the circumstance maybe, and strive harder each day. The initial apprehension of balancing my job and studies ended up enabling me to manage time efficiently more than ever.
Pray for it, and it could be.
Believe in it, and it should be.
Work at it, and it would be.