That's great! Can you walk us through your preparation strategy?
As a CAT exam aspirant, I was keenly aware of the importance of having a solid preparation strategy to excel in the exam. My key mantras were:
- Being Regular To classes: In January, I decided to enroll in the first batch of the Elites Grid coaching program. From the very beginning, I was fully committed to the program and made sure to attend all the classes regularly.
- Doubt-Solving On Time: The classes were informative and engaging, and the faculty members were experts in their respective fields. I made it a point to clarify any doubts that I had with the faculty. I also diligently completed all the assignments given by the faculty members and made it a point to redo some of the tricky problems to ensure that I had a firm grasp of the concepts.
This phase lasted until mid-August, after which we started taking mock tests.
- Mock Analysis: Mock Analysis is a must. I made it a point to analyze my performance in these tests carefully, identifying my strengths and weaknesses. After each mock test, I revisited the topics that I had found challenging and worked on strengthening my conceptual understanding.
- Consistency in Revision: In addition to revising the topics that I found challenging, I also made it a point to revise the entire syllabus regularly. This helped me reinforce my understanding of the concepts and ensured that I did not miss out on any critical topics.
Overall, I believe that my preparation strategy, which involved consistent effort and diligent revision, helped me achieve success in the CAT exam. The Elites Grid coaching program provided me with the guidance and support that I needed to excel in the exam, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
In my opinion, the most crucial aspect of CAT exam preparation is analyzing the mocks and identifying the areas that require improvement. Mock tests serve as a reflection of your preparation level and provide a glimpse of what to expect in the actual exam.
I realized that just taking mocks was not enough; it was crucial to analyze them thoroughly to understand my weaknesses and strengths. I spent a considerable amount of time revisiting my mocks, identifying the questions that I had answered incorrectly, and figuring out where I went wrong. This helped me identify my conceptual gaps and understand the types of questions that I needed to work on.
Which mock series did you enroll for?
I enrolled in the mock series of Elitesgrid, SimCAT IMS, and Career Launcher to further enhance my preparation.
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How many mock tests did you take, and how did they help you prepare for CAT 2022?
As a CAT exam aspirant, I believe that a proper mock test strategy is essential to achieve a good score and ElitesGrid helped me a lot in that aspect with a strategy that involved taking around 30-40 mock tests in total.
The strategy involved taking 2-3 mock tests per week, which allowed me to maintain a steady pace without overwhelming myself.
After taking each mock, I spent sufficient time analyzing my performance. I went through each section in detail and noted down the areas where I made mistakes. This helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to improve my weak areas.
In addition to analyzing my mistakes, I also revisited the mocks after a gap of 1-2 weeks. This helped me retain the knowledge I gained from the mocks and identify any persistent weaknesses that needed more attention.
I also made it a point to simulate the actual exam conditions while taking the mocks. This helped me get accustomed to the pressure and time constraints of the actual exam and practice time management.
Overall, my mock test strategy involved taking 2-3 mocks per week, analyzing them thoroughly, revisiting them after a gap, and simulating actual exam conditions. This strategy helped me gain confidence, reduce anxiety levels, and improve my performance in the actual exam.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
My Achilles heel was the VARC section. I found it challenging to comprehend complex passages and answer the questions accurately within the given time frame. However, I was determined to overcome this weakness and devised a strategy to address it.
I followed the VARC faculty's advice from the Elitesgrid coaching program, which was to read articles regularly to improve my reading comprehension and vocabulary. I read articles of various genres such as philosophy, art, psychology, science, etc, and followed this practice religiously. I also made it a point to note down my mistakes in an Excel sheet while attempting the assignments and analyzed them to understand my areas of improvement.
This helped a lot as I was able to establish a pattern of my mistakes & work on them consistently.
I also wrote a lot of sectional tests to be proficient in the section. By a lot I mean, anytime I had 40 minutes in hand, I would sit and attempt a mock. Furthermore, I tracked my attempts and accuracy in the mocks for the VARC section. This helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and work on them accordingly & also allowed me to overcome the fear and anxiety of this section. By the time of CAT, I was calm and confident with VARC.
Overall, I adopted a holistic approach to overcome my weakness in the VARC section. I read extensively, practiced regularly, and analyzed my mistakes to improve my skills. As a result, I saw significant progress in my performance in the VARC section.
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What was the lowest point in your preparation journey?
The journey to excel in the CAT exam can be quite demanding, and often it requires a significant amount of effort and dedication. In my own experience, I faced several challenges that made the process even more daunting. However, I learned an invaluable lesson that I believe can help others on the same journey.
As I invested long hours studying for the CAT exam, I realized that I had neglected to prioritize self-care and personal well-being. This resulted in a drop in my productivity levels, making it increasingly difficult for me to focus and retain information. Despite my best efforts, I found myself in a rut, feeling unmotivated and drained.
At that point, I knew I had to make a change. I took a step back and re-evaluated my approach. I made it a priority to take regular breaks and engage in activities that brought me joy, such as playing chess or going for a walk to clear my mind. I also prioritized rest and sleep to recharge my batteries.
The results of these efforts were nothing short of incredible. Not only did my motivation and focus return with renewed vigor, but I also found that I could study more efficiently than ever before. By investing in my personal well-being, I unlocked a new level of productivity that had previously eluded me.
Therefore, to all those preparing for the CAT exam, I encourage you to prioritize your personal well-being alongside your academic goals. Take regular breaks, engage in activities that bring you joy, and ensure that you get enough rest to recharge your batteries. Remember that your mind and body are interconnected, and caring for both is essential to achieving success.
Coming to the last question in this segment, can you please share some DO's and DON'Ts of CAT preparation?
- DO take regular breaks to avoid burnout. You don't want to end up resembling a zombie on test day!
- DO take mock tests regularly and analyze them thoroughly. The mocks will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on them accordingly.
- DO revise regularly. It's essential to refresh your memory and solidify your understanding of the concepts you've learned.
- DO stay motivated and positive. It's a long and challenging journey, but maintaining a positive attitude will go a long way in keeping you on track.
- DON'T procrastinate. You don't want to end up binge-watching your favorite TV show or playing video games all day and regretting it later.
- DON'T compare yourself to others. Everyone has their pace, and it's essential to focus on your progress rather than comparing yourself to others.
- DON'T forget to carry your admit card and ID proof to the exam hall. You don't want to be stuck outside the exam hall due to a silly oversight!
Kushagra, CAT 2022 went really well for you. We'd like to know the interview calls that you received.
My academic background and professional experience, along with my CAT percentile, have enabled me to receive interview calls from top B-schools in India, including IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Calcutta, IIM Lucknow, and IIM Kozhikode.
Amazing! Please share how you prepared for the interviews.
Preparing for the interview can be a challenging task, but with a well-planned strategy, one can improve his chances of success. Here are some steps I took to prepare for the interview:
Research the Institute: I started by researching the institute and its programs thoroughly. Understood their values, mission, and the academic structure of the course I have applied for. Also, read about the latest developments in my field of interest, so I could discuss them during the interview.
Know Your Resume: I reviewed the application I submitted to the institute. I made sure I was well-versed with all the details mentioned in my application, including my work experience, academic achievements, and extracurricular activities.
Practice Mock Interviews: Practice mock interviews with your peers or mentors. This helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. This approach helped me gain a comprehensive understanding of the interview process and practice with mentors who provided valuable feedback. As a result, I was well-prepared and confident during my actual interview.
Staying aware: I made it a habit to read current affairs on a daily basis and stay aware of any major happening specifically related to my city, state. I knew one cannot know about everything but major economic developments, and news around political spheres were a few areas where I focused primarily. This practice not only made me aware but also boosted my confidence in being able to present my thoughts clearly.
How did your IIM Ahmedabad interview go? What according to you helped you convert the interview?
In my opinion, the interview I went through was very thorough and the interviewers asked a lot of questions that really tested my knowledge. When it comes to how I performed during the interview, I felt neutral back then, and I still feel that way now. However, I believe that my preparation was key to my success. Prior to the interview, I left no stone unturned in my preparation, thoroughly researching and studying everything related to my profile. This helped me build a strong sense of confidence, ensuring that I was well-equipped to present myself effectively.
It's not always easy to stay calm during an interview, but it's important to try your best. Remember that a few difficult questions should not throw you off completely. If you give your best effort and remain composed, you can still make a positive impression on the interviewers.