I am Abhinav Kanoria from Gurgaon and I am currently working with Samsung R&D Institute India - Bangalore (SRI-B) as a software engineer in 5G telecommunications domain with about 25 months of work experience. I did my B.Tech in Computer Engineering from Delhi Technological University. This is my story about my CAT journey and finally securing admission into IIM-Bangalore!
CAT-2019 was my third attempt at CAT and, if truth be told, my first serious attempt. My first two attempts were more like 'getting-a-taste-of-the-exam-in-real-environment' because m major focus was on accummulating good amount of experience in the corporate world. But in 2019, I had resolved to do my best. I started my CAT preparation in June 2019. As I had already studied the syllabus in past two years, I did not have to start from ground zero and it was more of practising concepts, revising them systematicaly and giving as many mocks as I could before the final exam. I am not going to tire you with "CAT preparation and study tips" as there is no dearth of advice on the topic on the internet and I am sure you kind of know it already.
I just want to let you know about my specific journey and maybe you can connect with it and get inspired from it. A lot of people who take advice from me tell me that they WANT to study and give CAT (or any other exam for that matter) but they don't get the motivation for it. In this regard - I would like to say that it is okay to follow your heart and do what suits you the best at that point in time and not to force anything on yourself. Because it is not going to help anyway. There might be some hurdles in the way - but if you are determined and resolved, you can find ways to overcome them easily.
Many of us working professionals struggle to find time to study outside of office work. In my case, I made a routine and tried to stick to it. I figured out that I would require 3.5-4 hours of dedicated study on the weekdays and so I tried to make rom for it. I would work in office from 8:30 am till 6:30 pm and then head home, take some rest and lunch and then study from 8 pm till 12 pm. And then sleep a good seven hours from 12 pm till 7 am (sleeping is super important both for your office and studies!). Weekends were all mine to utilise as there was no office. I used to study for 7-8 hours on weekends. The important point to remember here is to be consistent in your study plan and never miss out on a day of studies. This will help you do well in mock tests and your performance curve will only increase.
In mid-October, which was a very very crucial time for revision and giving mocks, I was asked by my manager to visit South Korea again for business work (I had already visited Korea twice before). Normally I would have jumped at the opportunity to visit this beautiful country, but this time I possibly could not because of the upcoming CAT-2019. I tried to persuade my manager not to send me right now but it was to no avail. I had to give in finally and went to Korea for about a month (my manager said three months, but I could not, of course, skip CAT exam). Working in a Korean office is extremely gruelling and you have to put in about 12-13 work hours a day. I used to reach my guesthouse from Samsung Korea office at 9:30 pm, exhausted. Still, I decided not to let my exhaustion get the better of me and continued to study - if not for 4 hours like I did in India but for 3 hours - and if not 3 - then maybe 2-2.5 hours, as long as I studied something and kept in touch. In Korea, I used to study from 10 am till 12:30-1 am. Sundays, again, were all mine to utilise. I used to study in my room or the public library in Yeongtong-gu, Suwon. At night I used to go for a walk around the fortress walls in the city or meet up my Korean friends. Those days were actually quite good! So basically, I want to emphasise that no matter how busy you with work in office, do make time for your studied. Everybody has 24 hours on their platter - it is up to us how me make out time for things that are extremely important to us by trimming down on distractions.
This is not to say that I completely gave up on my interests. I am an avid reader and took time out (mostly on weekends) to read my books. I also love travelling and I also took a solo 12-day trip to Central Europe in end of September 2019 (Yes! In the middle of my CAT prep haha) - I did all the planning and budgeting myself.
When results were declared in early January, I was very very happy to obtain 99.49 percentile (at that time I checked my result I was touring the grounds of Donggung Palace and Wolji pond in Gyeongju, Korea and I squaled so loud that the Koreans around me started looking at me curiously :P). In a few days I got interview calls from IIM-Bangalore and IIM-Lucknow for which I prepared fervently. I converted them both finally - IIM-B in the second list and IIM-L in the ninth list. I finally decided to join IIM-B and here I am - at the place to 'B' :D
Just remember - consider all career paths in front of you and choose one amongst them very carefully and follow that. Daily consistency in studies (even without giving up on interests and hobbies) is the key to success in CAT exam.
Good luck to all the future CAT aspirants!
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