VARC - This was my weak section. So, I invested most of my time in practicing the sectional tests of VARC. I used to read Aon Articles and articles from the Guardian, Mint, and other diverse channels to get a hold on the diversity of RC topics covered in CAT. The most important thing is consistency. So I used to be very consistent in reading. I gave approx 1 hour daily to reading and then I used to practice the sectional tests. Sectional Tests helped me a lot in improving my score in VARC.
DILR - This can be a tricky section because in case you get stuck at one set, your time is gone and you will end up losing your marks. So, my strategy was to pick the easiest set I could pick by quickly analyzing all the sets given. To get good in selection, one doesn't need to identify their strong area be it DI or LR, rather one just needs to identify which one is easier. In my first attempt, I made the mistake of choosing an LR set because LR was my strength and I used to do better in it than DI. But my strategy was wrong at that point in time. Later, I realized that the DI set was pretty easy and I could have solved it first. So, the selection is the most important thing in the DILR section. Again, I improved it by giving a lot of sectionals and mocks.
QA - QA was my strong area so I didn't focus on it much. However, it was a mistake. One should never neglect practicing their strongest areas. Equal importance should be given to all the sections. I practiced QA from Arun Sharma and I covered my basics by watching the videos on the YouTube channel - Rodha. It is an excellent channel for covering all the basic concepts of QA. After my basics were covered, I practiced questions through sectional tests and mocks.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
The most important aspect of preparation is mocks. You should give as many mocks and sectional tests as possible. One mistake that students make is that they leave mocks for later and focus on covering their syllabus first. However, the right strategy is to start giving mocks very early in your preparation journey while you are covering your basics. Same goes with the sectional tests. I feel sectional tests should become a part of your daily schedule if you are preparing for CAT.
Which mock series did you enroll for?
I enrolled in a mock series of IMS, Times Institute, and Career Launcher to gain hold of a diversity of aspects and difficulty levels and to judge my performance better.
How many mock tests did you take, and how did they help you prepare for the actual test?
I gave around 20-25 mocks, however, I feel that one should give as many mocks as possible. There shouldn't be a definite number as to how many mocks one should give. Mocks helped me identify my core strengths and weak areas. It helped me analyze my performance and improve as many weak areas as possible. It also helped me see my performance graph at a glance and helped me improve my scores as much as I could.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
VARC section was my Achilles heel. Even after practicing a lot, my scores were not improving. But I started overcoming it and making drastic improvements once I started experimenting with a couple of strategies. I started figuring out how could I maximize my accuracy and score - Can I do it by doing 4 RCs and 3-4 VA questions or can I do it by doing 2-3 RCs and all the VA questions? Identifying the right number and type of questions to solve helped me identify what strategy gave me the maximum accuracy and helped me immensely in improving this section.
How did you prepare for the interviews?
I took the help of the Prepare Team to prepare and excel in my interviews. They used to organize mock PI sessions with constructive feedback that helped me improve my communication skills as well as gave me the confidence to tackle the tricky questions asked in the SPJIMR interview.
Which B-School interview calls did you have? How many of them did you convert?
I had calls from all the CAP IIMs, new IIMs, SPJIMR, Mumbai, MDI Gurgaon, and IMT Ghaziabad. I converted all the calls I had.
Can you describe your institute interview experience?
The first round was a technical round. As I applied for marketing specialization, the majority of the questions were based on the integrities of my specialization. The first round also had some questions from the subjects that I studied during my graduation. Apart from this, I got questions regarding my work experience as I worked in a core marketing role. So I was assessed as to whether I am suitable for pursuing the marketing field further or not.
The second round consisted of a WAT and a personality-based interview. This interview was focused on judging my personality as a future leader. It laid emphasis on my capabilities of becoming a good leader as well as gave me some case studies to test if I am able to make a good decision or not, in critical business situations.