Hello, I am Sagar Vazirani, a management graduate from Symbiosis, Pune. I scored 97+ percentile in CAT 2019 which was my third attempt. I got calls from MDI, XLRI (HRM), IIM Shillong, CAP IIMs, IMT, IMI, IIT Madras, NMIMS and I converted MDI, CAP IIMs, IMT, IMI, IIT and NMIMS and have finally decided to join MDI-Gurgaon. The journey was not easy and had its own ups and downs. From getting a negative score in DI LR & QA in my first few mocks to getting a good percentile on the D-Day, the only thing that kept me going was the dream to get into a top B-school.
How many months did you dedicate for CAT preparation? During these months was CAT your only focus or were you studying/working as well.
I dedicated somewhere around 6 months for CAT Preparation. I left my full-time job at KPMG before starting my CAT Preparation and was working in my family business while preparing for these entrance exams.
If you took coaching, the role it played and how much it helped you?
I took offline coaching from IMS Delhi and it certainly helped me get a good grasp of the basic concepts. For someone like me, who started with a negative score in DI LR & QA in my first few mocks, the concept classes were definitely helpful.
When you began your preparation, what stumbled you the most?
The fact I had already taken CAT twice before my latest attempt, it took a lot of efforts to motivate myself to go through that grind again.
As, I said before, this time I had left my job to give myself a good shot at cracking a top 10 B-School, this also led to an added pressure.
However, as I eased into my preparation schedule, that fear slowly turned into excitement and I started enjoying the whole journey of ups and downs. The process of getting what you want might look impossible but take each day as it comes and doesn’t give up. Irrespective of how things work out, you will be a different person by the end of it. At the end what matters, in the end, is the kind of person you choose to become after this topsy-turvy ride.
How did you tackle the famous balancing your strengths and weaknesses scenario?
Since, I had taken a few entrance tests before starting my preparation for CAT. I had a pretty decent understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I was very clear with my strategy that for me to get even close to my target percentile, I had to get a 98+ in verbal.
As far as my preparation strategy is concerned, I devoted almost equal time to all the three sections. Also, I used to prepare with a strategy which I used to call “90%+ score” even on my worst day scenario. That basically translates into the fact I have to make sure I cross the 90th Percentile barrier even only and only if I focused on my strengths.
What resources did you find were the most helpful to you?
Basic Concepts: For going through the basic concepts I used the BRMs provided by IMS.
Mock Tests: I would highly recommend taking a combination of IMS + TIME Mocks for thorough preparation.
VA-RC Sectional mocks by Cracku (Would highly recommend this to people looking for good quality verbal sectionals)
IMS CAT Maximiser workshops
DI – LR
IMS CAT Maximiser workshops
Elites- Grid DI – LR Playlist (Youtube Playlist)
What is the perfect strategy that worked for you?
VA-RC: I was never really fond of reading fiction books and the fact the only book I have ever read in my life is Chetan Bhagat’s “One Night @ the call centre” would give you a fairly decent idea of that fact :P. However, since I had the habit of reading of a newspaper, that somehow helped me skim-through the long RC Passages. The only preparation I did for VA-RC was to take as many sectional mocks I could and try to analyse each and every mock very thoroughly.
DI -LR: A section that makes everyone break into a sweat. It’s easy to get hold of this section, once you realize that you don’t have to score a lot, just have to score a bit more than a lot of others.
1. Selection is the key: Practising DI LR questions with the primary aim of honing one’s question-selection skills holds paramount importance! Keeping this in mind, I’d sincerely advise everyone to develop a knack of deciding, within 2-3 minutes, whether to even devote time and efforts to a particular case or not.
QA: The only broad areas I had covered in QA were Arithmetic and Modern Maths, so for a person like me, I somehow knew that I would have to maintain very high accuracy to get even close to my target percentile. Again, I will emphasise the fact this is not even close to the ideal strategy for the quantitative section, however since I knew that the range of questions, I could attempt was very limited, all these gave me a chance to devote my time to a specific set of 18-19 questions.
Other Important Pointers
Importance of staying updated with the global events: If there is one last advice that I could give to any MBA aspirant out there: it would be to stay up to date with what is happening around the world. I believe that general knowledge is perhaps the single most necessary thing in life. Following are some of the sources I use
- Mint Newspaper
- The Print -Cut the Clutter Series
- Study IQ Current Affairs (YouTube Playlist)
· Another piece of advice I have for all the future aspirants is to take as many entrance exams as possible before the D-Day (CAT). The fact I had taken around 12-13 entrance exams before appearing for CAT, really helped me get through the test day rituals. Following are some of the entrances I took before appearing for CAT
- RBI GRADE A
- SBI PO
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