I graduated from NIT Delhi in 2018 and worked in Tata power-DDL for nearly two years in the Operations Department. When I’m not working or studying, I am always chasing an overly-ambitious reading goal that I set for myself every year. In the year 2019, I had pledged to read 51 books, however owing to the shortage of time, I managed to read only 20 books.
My path to CAT wasn’t clear from the start. Unlike most aspirants, I didn’t have an inkling of how my future was going to look like. The gruelling experience of being a Science student was taking its toll on me. At the beginning of my final year of B.Tech, I decided that entering the corporate world rather than pursuing higher education was the right course of action for me. But things didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, my father, who had an illustrious career in a Maharatna PSU, expected me to follow in his footsteps. And why wouldn’t he? So far, I had fulfilled my parents’ expectations, to the extent that I even studied the same branch in Engineering as my father did. And thus, began my tryst with GATE.
From the outset, I was at odds with the very idea. But I did make a half-hearted attempt, I enrolled myself in a coaching and dedicated my final year to it. As you can guess by now that the outcome couldn’t possibly be in my favour. When God closes a door, he opens a window.
Placement season rolled around, and I was fortunate enough to land a job in my field (I was enrolled in a core engineering branch, and it is rare to get placed in a relevant industry). But a desire of achieving something grander was always gnawing on my mind. The idea of that “something” was yet to materialize. It first began to take shape when I attended the induction program for new joiners in the organization. After a few days, I realized that every C-Suite executive in the company had an MBA degree. Armed with a sense of clarity about my goals, I embarked on a journey to ace CAT. However, juggling a full-time job and CAT preparation proved to be tricky. I couldn’t join a coaching institute as I sometimes had to work on weekends. But I didn’t let that deter me. And now I am glad to be in a position to share a few pointers which helped me along my way.
1. Reading regularly is essential for strengthening your VARC section. Not only will it expand your vocabulary, but it will also help cultivate the ability to gain a nuanced understanding of passages in RCs. Reading can be a rewarding and enriching experience if you pick books from genres which appeal to your tastes. An added benefit of reading newspapers and business or technology publications is that it will prepare you for the interviews as well.
2. Start writing now. This is a skill which takes a considerable amount of time to acquire. To stay motivated and engaged, start small with writing prompts from your area of interest and gradually move on to essays based on political, environmental, social and financial issues.
3. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is a valuable exercise. But take caution not to dedicate the majority of your time to your weak areas. And never take your strengths for granted. Sometimes when you think that you can tackle a topic with minimal effort, you will surely encounter a question which will shatter your confidence.
4. Cover each and every topic, even the topics which you find impossible to master. There’s always a possibility that you could successfully attempt a question on it during the exam.
5. While you may have seen this piece of advice everywhere, let me remind you once again that taking Mock Tests and analyzing them is crucial to your preparation. And no matter how you perform in them, it always serves as a great learning exercise.
6. For aspirants who are currently employed in a full-time job, my advice to you is to stay consistent and set milestones for yourself. And most importantly, believe in yourself.
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