Journey and Strategy Of Krishna in a war called "CAT"!
Story of a bright mind and average everything to a final admit to IIM Calcutta.
6 months into the engineering course which I could manage after 3 years of preparation from coveted centers of Kota and South Delhi, I realized instrumentation engineering wasn't meant for me. Semesters passed, other things in college felt nicer.. fests, club meets, hanging out and everything else. Fell in love, got rejected, yet again, got accepted.
Campus visits to IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, IIM Lucknow felt not so happening, I’d participate and do things, but deep down a feeling of not belonging to that place, caused pain. I knew I deserved better. It all started adding up, adding up to a dedicated effort towards something concrete. It was then, that my reasoning and logical skills brought in the thought to attempt the CAT.
Krishna's Strategy: Now, amidst confusions and deliberations, I started to wonder what a good MBA profile should look like, what all certificates, PORs, training etc. Fortunately, got to be a part of two start-up ventures, both of which taught a lot about art, people and business. And in the 3rd year, joined IMS after attending trial classes almost everywhere in Lucknow and finding their methodology to be the most appropriate. 3-4 classes each week while managing college activities became the new normal. And from that moment on, everything else ceased to matter, relationship, friendships took the backseat and all I could think of was acing the CAT. It was just this one chance, just this attempt to get out of mediocrity and make a difference for myself.
VARC: Started with vocabulary and grammar practice, then onto reading fiction and non-fiction titles and articles on varied topics to increase reading speed, also to get comfortable with different RC topics that may appear in the paper. Later, practiced solving RCs and VA questions from the study material.
DILR: Worked initially on mastering mental calculations, approximations, then solved sets of varied difficulty from all possible sources and past papers.
QA: An engineer’s delight, needed to just brush up the concepts and maintain notes with important tricks and formulae.
Resources: SIMCATs, AIMCATs , IMS material, IMS online portal, Word Power Made Easy, WSJ, , fiction and non-fiction novels. Probably the most important part of CAT Prep journey, rehearsing the test. Started mocks as early as April 2019 with a raw score of 105, tried to do better with every other attempt and was able to reach my maximum raw score of 234 on November 20 2019. Attempted almost 50 mocks and maintained a spreadsheet noting the score, attempts, accuracy and percentile. This may sound not so effective, but believe me, any serious aspirant would tell you it is one of the instrumental steps.
24 November 2019, Slot 1: It was the day I had been rehearsing for almost a month, followed the same routine, reached the center on time, and got to my test screen almost with an hour to spare.. It was time to brace for impact and perform at the top of my abilities for the next 3 hours, but lost a bit of self-control and allowed the anxiety and importance of this day to bother me. Nonetheless, recollected myself and waited for the start. VARC went good and I was feeling confident of reaching my dream score. DILR also seemed fine but I had unknowingly committed a silly mistake in reading one of the sets and got all the 4 associated questions wrong. And after a comfortable QA section at the end and 85 attempts overall, I had mixed feelings and some satisfaction.
Managed to score 99.44 (much lower that my expectation but good enough to fetch most IIM calls.) Attempted 4 other entrances and faired better, owing to no emotional baggage and a free mind. Ended up with NMAT 99, SNAP 99.75, IIFT 99.97, XAT 99.54 and some satisfaction at the end. GWPI preparation was the next big hurdle which calls for extensive knowledge and awareness, alongwith developing a good presence of mind and problem solving skills. Converted IIMC,IIMK,FMS,MDI,IIFT, new and baby IIMs. Joining IIM Calcutta. If a very regular candidate with no stellar achievements like me can make it, anyone can.