Self Belief – The Key Ingredient To Cracking CAT

It was the afternoon slot. I had reached Pune and the city was under the spell of the afternoon siesta. I was just in time to have lunch and go for the test. It was 4th December – my best friend’s birthday. And (unfortunately) I had my CAT Exam. I had not been quite serious about it. I had secured a PPO at Siemens and was giving CAT just as an experience. All peers in my engineering college had joined a class or two or some of the test series. I had done nothing. Just one day before I had solved a mock test paper on the official CAT website and that was it. I took a printout of the hall ticket, booked a bus ticket for Pune, went to watch “El Clasico” at my friend’s house, came home and slept peacefully.

During the process of solving the mock test, I came across Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning as the toughest section. It had 27 questions – 9 passages having 3 questions each. I was unable to solve much of them in the mock test. But I had got a fair idea of what to expect from the following day’s CAT paper. I searched online and found out that solving just 10 questions or 33% of total questions for DILR can project you into 90+ percentiles.

Disclaimer: All 33% questions attempted should be right (as CAT had negative marking and negatives affected your percentiles).

I knew my Maths was strong and I had to go for a maximum in it. I breezed through the quantitative section as it was all 12th basics (having done IIT preparation helps a lot – you remember it even after 4 years of engineering). My weak link was Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. I decided to take risks in that section. Solved as many as I could. Not thought about the negatives here. And the risks paid off. Fortune favours the brave. After the test, I called up mom and told her to expect at least 90%. It was a decent score I thought. Modi’s politics and God’s ways – both are mysterious and powerful. Indeed, for me “achche din ane wale thee… “.

I secured 97.68% and was ecstatic. Only one tune was humming in my head that day – “Dene wala jabhi deta, deta chappar faadke…”!

The extent of such high percentile didn’t hit me till I got a call from IIM Indore for WAT and PI (Written Ability Test and Personal Interview). I was overwhelmed. It was paradoxical. I had not worked that hard for CAT but on the test day, Lady Luck was with me. She was providing me with an opportunity to make it count – and man I did it! Here I am writing now from the classrooms of IIM Indore – Mumbai Campus. But it does not mean that this fairy tale would occur every time. Maybe if I would have studied a bit more, I could have got a higher percentile.

So, it’s always the combination of hard work and sheer luck which brings you success. Both should go hand in hand – only then we can reach pinnacles of the mountains we aim to achieve. Even if one element is not present, our whole exercise becomes futile. The underlying foundation of such exercises in our life is our belief system. Believe in yourself and make it count. It is all yours to grab. Make the most of it!

Cheers and all the best!

Some common suggestions to every CAT/MBA Aspirant:

  • Focus on your strengths. Be excellent in the section of your liking and good in the other two sections.
  • Plan your test. Go out there with a strategy in mind. When plan A doesn’t work, remember the English language has 23 more alphabets. Have more alternate plans out there. This is just you will learn in your MBA course too. Start practising it from now onward.
  • It’s all about handling pressure during those 3 crunch hours. Even if you start slow, you can become an Usain Bolt. Have loads of confidence and you would crack CAT.
  • Be yourself always. Try and Try but don’t ever cry.

Chetan Jogi

Chetan Jogi is a PGP1 student at IIM Indore - Mumbai Campus. He is a disciplined fellow but humorous at the same time. He loves politics and current affairs and wants to frame a public policy for governance. He loves playing tabla and has recently taken to blogging. He is inspired by Steve Jobs and his motto for life is : "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication".