Yash Mundhada is an Industrial Engineer. His initial schooling was from a vernacular medium however that did not deter him from taking up CAT and was able to score 92.17 percentile in the VA-RC section. CAT-20 was his 3rd attempt at CAT. During the final year of Engineering, he prepared well but ended up scoring around 48 percentile. The next attempts were with a regular 9 to 6 job. Finally, his hard work, perseverance, and dedication paid off and he was able to score a whopping 99.35 percentile. Let’s find out how he was able to score 99+ percentile alongside a full-time job.
1) Hi Yash, please tell us how you prepared for CAT along with your job?
To be honest, I found it more difficult to manage my preparation while working. However, as this was my third attempt for CAT and fortunately I had some concepts already in my head which helped me to save some time in going through all the basics again. There were some days when the preparation didn’t seem conducive. I used to give a VARC sectional test in the morning before showing up for work and the travel time was used for analyzing that test. Before leaving for the office, I used to make a reading target that needed to be completed in the office hours itself. I used to utilize the breaks and the spare time to revise the formulas or going through the newspaper. I even used to give a sectional test if the client failed to show up on time. I was able to manage my preparation time comfortably along with serving my job to the best of my ability.
2) What were the sections, which you had difficulty in, and how did you prepare for those sections?
Aspirants, preparing for CAT, usually find it difficult to build some connection with one of the three sections but my story was different here. Coming from a vernacular medium, I knew VARC was going to give me a tough time but QA was equally in line for giving me nightmares. I was not able to perform in QA even after devoting ample time to its preparation. In order to make the suffering less severe, I decided to give sectional tests for these sections and started closely observing the steps and iterations which go to become part of the solution. After following it for 10 sectional tests, I started to anticipate with steps that were required to solve the problem and thus made myself comfortable here. For VARC, I started to read from various sources of different genres. This helped me to understand and comprehend the article in a better way. After practicing ample sectional tests, I started to observe improvements in the areas which I earlier used to leave. I was comfortable with the verbal logic part and thus attempted this section first to gain momentum at the beginning itself. These were some steps that helped me to prepare these sections effectively.
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3) What According to you did right which helped you to score 99+ percentile from 48 percentile?
According to me, It’s important to be aware of “What to prepare & How to prepare”. In my first CAT attempt, I studied for the same time duration as I did in my last but I never paid attention to what the paper actually demanded. An exam like CAT does not require you to study for seamless hours or cover everything under the sun. It requires you to know yourself better and play the game accordingly. During my first attempt, my target was to cover everything neglecting all the other essential parts of the preparation. By the end, I was able to reach the whole syllabus but unable to master even a single concept properly. Irregular mock attempts made my learnings futile as I was not able to apply even the basics of the concepts I covered. It was very late that I realized my mistakes and as a result, I ended up with a disastrous score. After that, I realized that the people who have excelled in this phase are not the jack of all the concepts but the master to the majority of them. This learning helped me to prepare best with whatever I know. I think this essential realization helped me a lot in my preparation.
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4) What was the number of mock tests that you took and how did you go about its analysis?
In my last attempt, I took 40-45 mock tests but I feel that anywhere above 30 is actually a good number of attempts. In this journey of 3 years, I have learned one thing that anything done in extremity could be harmful. There are people who go on attempting n number of mocks without giving proper attention to the analysis part of the preparation. They fail to notice their shortcomings and thus end up doing injustice to their hard work. The analysis is the most important part of the preparation as it works as a mirror that tells you about your strengths and weaknesses.
I had my own way of analyzing the mock tests. I used to analyze every mock for the same duration that I used to solve my test. For the first initial 5-6 mocks, I noted every question in my diary stating the reason that why I got this question right/wrong. This helped me to identify a pattern in these mock tests and particularly in the VARC section where I was now able to comfortably put my bet on the two remaining options that I used to get stuck with. After analyzing it, I made sure that I re-solved that mock, the next day without fail, to check whether I can apply the lesson which I learned from that mistake. This activity helped me to eliminate the scope of repeating the same kind of mistakes. It also helped me to decide on the areas where I need to work harder as well as the area which needs to be left. I also used to write the marks that I lose because of making silly mistakes so that they don’t come to haunt me on D-day. In the end, don’t get disheartened by a bad score in mock. Keep in mind that this is just a test whose purpose is to make you better than your previous version.
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5) What advice you would like to give the aspirants, who are preparing along with the job?
People just graduating from their college might find it tough to meet the demands of their job and managing time for their preparation. There might be a few, who, by fearing this change would give up on their dream and would think of settling in whatever best they can get. Just remember that it’s okay to get intimidated sometimes. Change can be scary, but you have to do it anyway. All the hard work and sufferings you go through today would be appreciated one day with the glory you can’t imagine. I would also advise to not to go for multiple resources because of the time crunch involved and rather doing multiple revisions of the single standard books can play the big game for you. Best of Luck!