My dear juniors who are appearing for the upcoming CAT examinations and who are aspiring for MBA in future, here is something I want to share as a person who had been through all these processes of Exams, Interviews, GDs, Mock GDs, Mock tests and lots and lots of reading material.
I am a Chemical Engineer, from Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Dhanbad, though it is Indian School of Mines when I joined. I have decided in my third year that chemical is not my cup of tea anymore, but not decided on what to do next, so I still prepared for GATE, simply out of guilt that I am not doing anything and feeling I can manage an objective exam the same way I have given my IIT-JEE and AIEEE.
But, trust me friends GATE is a highly subject based test, which I realised after getting my GATE rank. Then I decided I will do MBA, simply because everyone is doing it and there is nothing else for me to do. But here is where the actual twist came, my college placements, being a chemical engineer cum IITian I got placed in Infosys, which made me do coding for 2 years. Later I understood that my learning curve is not at all going to be steep if I continue working with Infosys, a late realization I know, so I decided to take my chances with ZS Associates. I have been selected as a senior associate and my life is filled with a lot of excel sheets, reporting deliverables, client calls and what not, my learning curve is very steep. In midst of all these totally work filled weekdays and joyful weekends I discovered I still have that passion in me to do my post-graduation, my dream to pursue MBA from a good college, preferably IIM. (Everyone aims for IIM A, please don’t judge me)
By the time I realised my passion, it is already October. So, I decided I need to really make myself believe that starting that late I can crack the exams. I started with the basic materials which I got from TIME. I took the test series of Career Launcher, which helped me with my mock test. My test results are very bad that I used get demotivated, but they helped me realise my weak spots. My Quant concepts are crystal clear, but my quant scores are all clear. I don’t want to even talk about my VARC & LRDI as they are worst in their own way due to my lack of concept and lack of the ability to choose questions. But I kept on giving the tests so that I don't repeat the same mistake again and learn something from the new mistakes. So, my dear juniors learn basics clearly, give many mock tests, but don’t consider the scores you get in the mock tests, just prepare yourself to sit for 3 hours and give the test, that is the only thing you learn positively from mock tests (My experience).
The catch is you need to build the strategy to give the exam from your mock tests. I followed the strategy of leaving out the question which I can’t understand in the first 10 seconds for VARC & LRDI. For Quant, I have followed the strategy of leaving out the questions which take more than 70 seconds, even though I am very close to the answer as that more time you spend on a tough question is making you lose marks in two other easy questions. Don’t waste your time rechecking the answers, as there is very less chance for you to find and correct the mistake in such a stressed environment. Most important thing don’t spend too much time on any question in quant and VARC. Spend as much time as you can on each question for questions in LRDI as, solving just 10+ questions accurately will give you 95%+.
Now when you are done with your exams, please start preparing for the GDs and mock interviews. Just start reading newspapers as current topics are very favourable for the interviewers. Trust me never had I read a newspaper prior to my CAT preparation. But start with a small article per day and increase the number of articles every three days. It is never too late, just start reading and I promise you will enjoy it. Don’t stress yourself much on preparing for the abstract topics for GD’s as the topic is tough for everyone in the GD group. There you need to keep your calm and confidence and try putting in different perspectives for the topic.
So, guys this is it from me, just remember it is never too late to start your preparation just believe in yourself and practice, everything will fall in its place. All the best.
Kavya Sree – NITIE Mumbai signing off.