Hi guys, this is Sourabh Das. An IIM BLACKIS PGP (2020-2022) aspirant and here is a brief about some CAT Strategies and Learnings. Please do give it a complete read. Hope some are going to relate and the rest may find it quite useful for their preparations in the years to follow.
Do you think you are AVERAGE? Do you feel that you can never make it to an IIM? Then you are completely WRONG.
Let me share with you a story of an average boy, with high hopes and dreams of making it to an IIM someday. He was stuck in the hustles and bustles of corporate life, exhausted and impoverished by the salient pressures prevalent in the lower half of the organizational hierarchy of almost all corporate sectors. Earning sufficiently enough to survive on independent terms meeting the monthly expenses with ease. But, something was missing in his life. Something that he can be proud of and would give a new meaning and dimension to his monotonies. It eventually resulted in an element of dissatisfaction which gave birth to a furious search for a better livelihood, more respect and obviously would land him in a position of command and authority in an organization.
Common Aptitude Test (CAT), the one-stop solution to all his problems. Target seems pretty tough, but his zeal was equally responsive to counter its effects. Almost 2.41 lakhs candidates appeared for CAT in 2018, and the trend depicts an upward trajectory in the candidate's count year on year. CAT 2019 was roaring with predictions to be even more stringent and competitive raising the bars to an entirely different level.
Three 'D's kept him going- Determination, Dedication & Desperation. Going by the trend would have got him enrolled to any of well-advertised CAT preparation institutes over the nation, but he chose to build his inventory of acquired knowledge and skillset to go for the preparations single-handed. Reason being his unpredictable extra working hours on random weekends and stretched working hours during weekdays, thus ruling out his chances to opt for customized and dedicated preparation guidance for CAT. (Employees currently serving long work from home hours might find this reason quite relatable but the point is thus to prove that if amidst all these hurdles and hindrances, if he CAN, then you also CAN make it happen).
- A habit of reading. Whatever, whenever & wherever he found something worthy of a read, he didn't hesitate to spare his minutes for that.
- Dedicated hours of preparation should be followed on a regular basis without any interruptions, irrespective of any lined up priorities.
- Staying focused amidst all alluring disturbances and diversions around.
- Keeping himself motivated through various articles, journals and videos (YouTube proved to be a potential source).
- Ambience and surroundings may heavily oppose the preparations, but he was determined and dedicated enough to find his most suited hours of the day. (He used to stay in shared dormitory rooms of 4 where the room lights would go off at 12 with all the buzz & chaos in the room coming to a standstill and then he would probably use his emergency light source to power up his preparations in a more suitable ambience).
- Online mock examination (preferably paid) proved to be the game-changer as they would help him in identifying his areas of improvement. He used to work upon those and would come back even more robust with more guns blazing in the next mock examination. And this continuous process eventually led to ace various factors like efficiency-boosting, time management, speed, responsiveness, etc.
- Keeping himself updated through e-news portals and other digital platforms on a daily basis.
Key takeaways & Learning:
- It all depends on that One Day Match for 3 hours to determine your fate.
- The final percentile to get calls is an entirely different calculation altogether. Hence, efforts at all levels should be made to attempt ONLY the confident answers without any wild guess.
- Dedicated daily hours of preparation will increase your percentile drastically.
- Equal weightage and importance must be paid to all the three sections as CAT is not only about the overall percentile but also about the sectional cutoff percentiles which many tend to ignore and as a result, candidates are deprived of some top b-school calls even with sufficiently good overall percentile but imbalanced sectional cutoff percentiles.
- Time Management will always be the need of the hour.
- Persistence is the key to success.
- Be confident on your potential but differ from being over-confident in your approach.
- Believe in yourself that 'YOU CAN'.
- Healthy lifestyle and food habits resonate to increase your productivity and thinking prowess.
- As the end product is significantly huge, thus the hard work and sacrifice associated will also be in proportion to that.
- Rejections and criticisms should be treated as key learning parameters.
- People may doubt your ability. Efforts should be made to ignore them and let your percentile speak on your behalf.
And finally, the most awaited day arrived. Percentile achieved was just a reflection of all the hard work and efforts poured in the last few months regardless of any controversy and dissatisfaction. Interview calls started flooding his mailbox, and today he is going to start his MBA journey in an IIM.
Well, by now, some of you must be curious to know his CAT percentile. But . . . who cares? Does it really matter anymore? If an average boy like him can make it an IIM, WHO IS STOPPING YOU THEN?
Before I end, any guesses who the boy is?
YOU GOT IT RIGHT.
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