My mindset through out the journey was motivated by what once MS Dhoni said - "Keep it simple. Focus more on the process and less on the results. If you get the process right you will get the result. And enjoy, don't take too much pressure"
Since I have taken the CAT earlier as well, I was pretty confident of the concepts and focused more on practicing questions from past CAT and past Mock Tests. I was also enrolled with an institute - Elites Grid which helped me brush up on my concepts and their unique approach to providing students with weekly checklists of assignments, mock tests, and classes helped me to prepare everything in a very structured manner and I did not have to worry about my schedules and gave ample time to each sections as it is very important to score decent marks in all three sections to achieve a good score overall. After the month of August, I was only taking mocks, analysing them and revising concepts which I faced troubles with during the mocks. Also, at the elites grid it is ensured that all the concepts are revised at least 5-6 times and it really helped all the students to remember each and every concept. Finally, in the last 2-3 weeks before D-Day, I was more focused on going through each and every mock test I took and analysing every question along with taking mocks. In an aptitude exam like CAT, it is very important to feel mentally positive and fresh so I made sure I spent some time in activities I like doing for example playing Cricket, Chess, or Cooking which helped me vent out the pressure and stay focused throughout. Also, it is very very important to enjoy the process, I loved solving those DILR puzzles and Quant questions so I was always happy to practice more and more questions!
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
According to me the most important aspect of preparation is the mock season (September -November), it is very important to not get disheartened or overjoyed with the mock scores and put all the energy into proper analysis of mocks and brushing up concepts that one might forget. It is during this period, most people lose confidence and give up their preparation. It is very important to stay motivated and focus on the process and not the result during this time.
Which mock series did you enrol for?
I enrolled for IMS, Career Launcher and Elites Grid mock series'
How many mock tests did you take, and how did they help you prepare for the actual test?
I took around 45 mock tests. It really helped me in finding out my weak and strong areas in different sections, keeping a check on my time management, and helping me finalize my strategies for different situations that might come up on D-Day.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
My Achilles heel was Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, even in my past CAT attempt it was this section that troubled me the most. I overcame that firstly by starting fresh and totally removing the thought that I was weak in VARC, I was positive and confident of my approach and completed each and every task assigned by our mentor at Elites Grid who always emphasized the importance of practicing questions and reading articles that are relevant to CAT and made us practice tonnes of past CAT questions.
What according to you are the DO's and DON'Ts of preparation?
1. Always give emphasis on all three sections, and never be dependent on 1/2 sections out of three - you never know which section might be easy or difficult for you in CAT
2. Always prepare in a very structured manner.
3. Always see it as just an aptitude test and nothing more.
4. Stay positive and motivated through the journey and practice your hobbies to vent out the pressure.
5. Try out different strategies and be ready to pivot in case your old strategy does not work on D-Day.
1. Never ever compare your preparation/mock scores with others
2. Never stress too much about your mock scores even if it is very low or very high sometimes, mock scores do fluctuate for everyone!
How did you prepare for the interviews?
I prepared for the interviews by giving around 10-12 mock interviews to people I know from top B-Schools and their experiences helped me to structure my answers, focus on my body language, and prepare different aspects of the interview.
Which B-School interview calls did you have? How many of them did you convert?
I had calls from IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Kozhikode, CAP Calls, FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai
I converted - IIM Lucknow, Kozhikode, CAP, MDI Gurgaon and am waitlisted at FMS Delhi (which I'll clear in the next 2 lists)
Which institute are you joining?
Can you describe your institute interview experience?
IIM Lucknow Interview Experience-
I had two male panelists and both of them were very sweet, there was no grilling at any point. I was asked questions from Accountancy and Economics on the academic front, questions on my work experience, and a healthy discussion on my future goals and some cross questions on it.