Ayan is an engineer by qualification and a big-time foodie by disposition. He loves to motivate people for CAT and in Life. He is one such person who will never shy away from helping anyone out and firmly believes in the process of things and not just the end results. In his own words, he's a fauji brat, an amateur chef and a big-time foodie.
Read his story here!
Hi Ayan, please give us a brief about your profile.
I am an ECE engineer by qualification, batch of 2019 SRM IST. In 10th, I had a 10 CGPA, 12th CBSE 92.6%, Graduation 87.84%. I have 21 months of work experience till April 2021. This was my 3rd CAT attempt and 2nd serious attempt. I scored 97.61% in CAT 2020. As fate would have it, my percentile increased by only 0.01 from CAT 2019 to 2020. However, sectionals and perseverance during interviews made all the difference this time. Apart from this, I had 99.61 in SNAP this year and a 251 in NMAT. I had calls from SPJIMR, MDI Gurgaon, NITIE, SIBM P, SCMHRD, NMIMS Mumbai and IIM CAP. I will be joining SPJIMR Mumbai.
How did you prepare – Self-study or Coaching? Which one do you think is better?
I prepared by self-study. Which one is better, in my opinion, is an extremely personal choice. It all depends on how consistent you are with the preparation.
According to you, what is the most important aspect of preparation?
The most important aspect of the preparation is undoubtedly mock tests. Analysing them deeply is even more important. Apart from this, I also feel that the source of preparation material makes a big difference.
Which mock series did you enrol for?
I had enrolled for IMS and TIME mocks.
How many full-length mock tests did you take?
I took around 30 full length mocks this year.
How many sectional mock tests did you take?
I took 45 sectionals (15 in each section).
What was your approach while taking mocks?
My approach for the verbal section would be to tackle all the RCs first and then go for VA. I would sometimes leave VA questions, in the interest of time.
For LRDI, I skimmed through the entire paper first and identified sets in decreasing level of comfort.
For QA, I started solving from Q.1, went till the end and came back to the questions which I had left if time permitted.
In any section, the key is to not get stuck and waste time. Skipping at the right time is an extremely important skill for CAT takers.
How do you think the mock tests helped you in your preparation?
The mock tests helped me fine-tune my strategy for D-Day. Mocks also helped me build stamina to sit for long hours.
Which section were you strong in? Since you were strong in that section, how did you focus on the other sections?
I was strong in QA, however, I would strongly recommend that one should not get overconfident in any section, my sectional in QA dropped a bit due to this mistake. For other sections, a consistent timed practice followed by thorough analysis is what I did.
Which section was your Achilles heel? How did you overcome that?
My Achilles heel was VARC and CAT 2020 VARC was undoubtedly tough. A daily reading habit is what helped me. Reading from good sources is even more important, I would strongly recommend following aeon essays.
How much time did you devote to preparation on a regular basis?
I put in around 2 hours during working days and 7-8 hours on weekends.
Tell us about the lowest point in your preparation journey and how did you overcome that?
My lowest point in the preparation was when I got 0 in one of the TIME mocks in LRDI, and this was in October. What helped me overcome this was self-belief and perseverance.
What resources would you suggest to 2021 aspirants?
I would suggest picking up previous 2 year mocks of IMS and TIME, and practising each section from there as a sectional test, followed by analysis. For QA, LOD 1 & 2 of Arun Sharma. And developing a daily reading habit from aeon essays or aldaily. Apart from this, consistently attempting the current year mocks followed by thorough analysis.
What according to you are the DO's and DON'Ts of CAT preparation?
The DO’s would be self-belief, consistency, perseverance and seeing a few failures (That’s what makes you stronger). The DON’Ts would be procrastination, skipping mocks or mock analysis and overconfidence in any section. It is also very important to keep a track of your energy levels during the preparation. It is a tiring journey and you wouldn’t want to get saturated right before CAT. Also, don’t get demotivated by low mock scores. It is not important to score high in every mock, however, it is important to peak at the right time.
Which mock series would you like to suggest to CAT 2021 aspirants? Is one mock series sufficient or do you suggest a combination of 2 different mock series?
I would suggest taking any 2 mock test series, one of them being IMS. Remember, diversity is important :P
What would be your final advice to CAT 2021 Aspirants?
There is no point in worrying about things that have happened in the past, you can’t change them. It distracts from the now, and regret is a bitter pill to swallow.
Focus on the now and believe in yourself. There have been many people in the past who have made it through with simple and humble profiles, and so can you. Just find your strong points and build on them.
Also, always remember – It’s not over till you say it’s over. :)