B.Tech Fresher (IET Lucknow, AKTU)
Six months into the engineering course which I could manage after three years of preparation from coveted centres of Kota and South Delhi, I realised instrumentation engineering wasn't meant for me. Semesters passed, other things in college felt nicer.. fests, the club meets, hanging out and everything else. Campus visits to IITs, IIMs 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. And a constant ache to belong to mediocrity, to just be one among the crowd\and to be able to make no significant difference pushed more. 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.
Now, amidst confusions and deliberations, I started to wonder how to go about it, what should the next step be, what a good MBA profile should look like, what all certificates, PORs, trainings etc. It was this great year of life that I joined two entrepreneurial ventures as a co-founder, got to learn a lot about people, markets and business. And in the next few months, joined IMS after attending trial classes almost everywhere in Lucknow and finding their methodology the most appropriate. 3-4 classes each week while managing college activities became the new normal. 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, practised RCs and VA questions from the study material.
DILR: Worked initially on mastering mental calculations, approximations then solved sets of varying 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, aeon.co, fiction and non-fiction novels.
Probably the most crucial 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.
November 24 2019, CAT, Slot 1:
It was the day I had been rehearsing for almost a month, followed the same routine, reached the centre 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 me and waited for the start.
VARC went right, and I was feeling confident about 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 four 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 than my expectation but good enough to fetch most IIM calls.) Attempted four 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.
If a very regular candidate with no stellar achievements like me can make it, anyone can. Give your dreams your all, and life rewards you with nothing but the best.
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