Reminiscing My Final Month To CAT 2015 – Dhruv Bahl, IIM Rohtak
One day while sitting in front of my computer in office, I realized that only 30 days were left for CAT, for which I had been preparing for quite some time. My mock test scores were not something I could boast of. I had been thinking to go for a more serious attempt the next year and was taking CAT 2015 as another mock. With 30 days left, pressure and expectations, both were high, so I was continuously thinking what should I do. I did what any engineer would, I went to a café, had a strong coffee and forgot about it till the evening. Today, as I recall that afternoon at the coffee shop, I list down some important lessons that may come in handy for those who find themselves in a similar situation.
Procrastination won’t help: Evening came, yet I didn’t have a plan to utilize those 30 days optimally. I was in a dilemma on whether I should cover the incomplete syllabus or start appearing in more mock tests. It was then that a quote from Bruce Lee came across my mind. It goes like this, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”.
Focus on your strengths: I got a clearer answer to what I should do. Rather than sailing on uncharted waters, I should focus more on my strengths. I came up with three sets of topics: first were those in which I excelled, then there were those which I could attempt with fair amount of confidence and finally came those topics which I could not attempt even if I wanted to.
Understanding the concepts, rather than learning the shortcuts, will get you there: I devoted a little time to the topics that I was not that good at. Instead I worked on my strengths. Attempting mock tests regularly gave me a good feedback on how well I am getting in the areas which I consider I am good at and could reshape my studies according to that. Though I was a working professional, I never let my work affect my studies and I always found time to study as per my schedule. I never really learned the shortcuts or the tricks they provide us with at the coaching centers, and tried to solve the problems with my understanding of the concepts. I believe that understanding the basic concepts is the key to cracking CAT.
Perseverance is the key: Time flew by, and before I realized it was 15 days to the big day. I started feeling a little nervous and I thought that confidence in my abilities was the key to calmness. To that end, I gave a mock test with full confidence and yet, I scored badly. Confidence comes handy only when backed by substance and knowledge. Though I felt demotivated, I did not quit practicing and appeared in more tests. My parents always say that one performs better when the person is without any mental stress. Persistence is one of the pillars of success and should be present even in times of failure.
Practice, Practice and Practice again: With these lessons in mind I ventured into the final week to CAT. I practiced a lot on my areas of strength. I just did a review of what I had studied in the past few months. Again, I did not pay much attention to the shortcuts and instead revised the basic concepts through which those tricks are derived. It was then that my mock test scores started improving and the fact that the graph was moving upwards in the final phase, gave me the vital confidence and belief to do well.
The D-Day was here and while entering the exam hall the quote of the Indian cricket team in 2003 world cup was ringing in my ears. It said, “Now or Never”. Though I felt I was fully prepared, I took it as just another exam. A month later, in January while working in office I got a text message informing that I had scored 99.45 percentile in CAT 2015 and that was the point in my life when I embarked on a new journey.
About the Author:
Dhruv Bahl is a first year student and a member of Alumni Committee at IIM Rohtak. He is an Electronics and Communications engineer from JAYPEE Institute of Information Technology, Noida. He has worked as project engineer with Wipro for 20 months. His interests include reading novels, movies and playing volleyball.