When a girl steps out from a small, non-recognizable district to shape her future, she doesn't only carry the weight of her career's success and fright of future failure on her shoulders, but a lot more. The tracks she lays down have to be paved such that every girl from that place can refer to it when she pleads her parents for higher studies. Today I am an IIM Calcutta student, but this is not all I have in mind. I cracked it in the first attempt, but trust me, I have made my mistakes, learned from them, and am proud to share my journey, little by little, with all of you, so hop on.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style - Maya Angelou
Hi there, I'm Sweety, a Statistics major, hopping into MBA, unique, right? One thing that all my IIM interviews had in common was a smile on the face of my interviewer when they called my name and a witty conversation following it. Hard to earn that with serious names, don't you think?
Coming to my roots, I hail from a small district Ballia, first to taste independence in 1942, for a short brief, though. Always an ace in my class, I've somehow managed to balance my academics, extra-curricular, co-curricular, and personal life. Without much exposure to the outside world, I lived my life literally by the rulebook. It was only on arrival of the internet that I could explore the world on a computer screen and what it withheld for me.
I still get chills to remember the time I struggled with nerve-wracking back pain due to Sciatica when all other students spent their day and nights studying for board exams. My first choice for bachelors was also engineering, like most of the Science students, but my fate took me on an adventurous journey with Statistics. Stepping into an utterly unplanned career was the most significant turning point of my life since this was the road less taken and I had embarked on it with sheer will power and self-confidence to make it beautiful no matter what.
I graduated in Statistics(Hons.) from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Stats, the path of a blind to the light that holds shadows beneath, was one of its kind. It taught me the abilities to predict the future. Had it not been DU's magnanimous fest experience and the sincere applaud of my teachers and seniors, I would never have realized my real interests and capabilities. It was that time that I realized how much more I could achieve and what I'm capable of. Hence, I embarked on a new milestone- MBA!
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
I had witnessed a lot of biases and adversities existing in our society, especially for the girls in small cities like mine. I wanted to bring a change, desperately, but every option of improvement available to me was an evanescent wave. I had learned that I need to set an example, and the rest would follow. In pursuit of my dream, I joined TIME for my coaching prep. It was a few weeks past that I recognized that CAT demanded a lot more than a few hours of coaching and self-study. It was not an ordinary aptitude test. It tested you as a person as well. A college student with regular attendance at the time, I squeezed every inch of time I could to devote to my CAT prep.
I was lucky to be surrounded by dedicated individuals who were as high in their spirits as in life. Peer learning is an essential part of CAT prep, and I had a good bunch of people, namely Sumit, Sameer, Somya, Utkarsh, Sanjana, who helped me to stay on my feet in times of high and low. Also, MOHIT, the incessant joker, and my human diary was a blessing. My backbone in CAT prep as well as in life has always been my brother, ANUPAM. He always knows when to raise your spirits for bad grades and when to keep a check on overconfidence. He is the fulcrum that keeps my life balanced. Lastly, my parents and brother ALOK made sure that I never felt alone on this path I had chosen for myself.
My CAT Prep And Exam Strategy
For VA & RC:
Read at least 4-5 articles every day and keep a record of words/minute and work on improving it.
For vocabulary, make a personal dictionary writing down every new word you learn and revising it at regular intervals. Solve at least 3 RC's from different genres every alternate day. I referred to sources like Aeon essays, The Hindu, Economic Times, New Yorker, Frontline for reading.
For the exam, I explored different strategies and settled with one. I divided the time into two halves as 45-15 mins or 40-20 mins. Scanning through the RC's first, I selected my best 4. Moving further, I tried to solve the RCs which were left and moved to the VA section.
For LR & DI:
Mostly referred to TIME booklets, previous year DI & LR sets, and kept solving it again and again. For the exam, I scanned hastily through all eight sets, I selected my best five and solved them in descending order of comfortability. Further, I tried to tick the other sets as time permitted.
For Quantitative Aptitude:
I referred to TIME booklets, QA for CAT by Arun Sharma, and previous year question papers. Keep revising the previous chapters as you move ahead, preparing more.
For the exam, I quickly scanned through the whole section in the first 10 minutes, marking my best questions and then solved all of the selected problems in the next 30 mins. Moving further, I tried to solve the next level of difficulty in the left 20 minutes.
The best strategy for CAT is continuous practice and self-belief. So, drive in as many hours as you can in the mocks because what you think is your limit is only set by yourself. These tricks worked for me, but you have to find yourself what works best for you.
From a small-town girl to an IIM Calcutta student-Nothing is impossible if you keep trying. All the best.
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