I belled the CAT! Probably, it's been my single biggest achievement so far. More so, as CAT 2008, the one which I cracked was the last 'paper & pencil' exam before it went digital.
How to crack CAT though? How did I do it?
I am not going to pen a Dale Carnegie style 'How to bell the CAT and achieve success' guide. Instead, I will harp on those things which I did to ensure I was in the right frame of mind on the D-Day. That helps as CAT is more of a mental game than an intellectual one. CAT as a competitive examination is tough, not because the questions are puzzling and sometimes 'unfathomable', but because many candidates are busy battling their inner demons (self-doubts) rather than focusing on honing their Verbal and Quantitative skills.
Funda number 1 - The wise 'choose and pick'
'Aakankshi Prabandhak' was my best friend. We never missed attending our CAT coaching classes together. There were times, when he used to call me up, late in the night, discussing a problem that would have him wrack his brains and lead to frustrating outbursts when unsolved.
I would often tell him, 'Leave that behind and move on to other questions. It's not always necessary that you attempt all questions in a given section. Instead, the 'strike rate' and the 'accuracy' is important.' In his typical derisive manner, he would sometimes shoo me away and question,'What if the same type of question appears in the final CAT? What're you gonna do? Leave it unsolved?'
Aakankshi Prabandhak clearly obsessed over difficult questions, thereby wasting precious time that could have been used to 'obtain the low hanging fruits.' Remember, there're always low hanging fruits in a given section. The question to ponder should be, 'Can I identify them and solve them quickly?'
Funda number 2 - The curios case of 'inner demons'
Aah! Percentile. It's a scary word. Ain't it?
Over the course of attempting my mock CATs, I spent a considerable time analysing where I went wrong. I profiled my SWOT, thereby identifying my weak areas and did everything I could to focus on them. The idea was to ignore the result i.e. Percentile and focus on the process, which was to commit less mistakes. That's a habit that needs time to inculcate and you have to be really patient and committed to the process of dissecting each attempted mock CAT.
Whereas, my friend Aakankshi Prabandhak, was obsessed with Percentile. He would be disheartened when his percentile dropped and soon began to question his abilities.
That's DANGEROUS! Parents do have expectations. But you hardly have a control over them. Then why fuss and burden yourself? Manage your own expectations and focus on the process. That should do the trick!
Funda number 3 - Passion & Commitment
Why MBA? If you can't answer that for yourself, then I would suggest that you introspect a bit, before you even think of attempting CAT.
And of course, CAT is not the end of it all. Give time to your health as well. Sleep enough to keep your brain in good humour. If you can't laugh at yourself, then it's time you take a step back. FOLKS! ARE YOU SO SERIOUS THAT YOU CAN'T LAUGH AT YOURSELF? BECAUSE, I HAVE NEVER SEEN SOMEONE SO SERIOUS, CRACK CAT. PERIOD. Live life the easy way. In the process of preparing for CAT, don't become so thick skinned that you forget how to smile at the little nothings.
And yes. If you fail, but still want to be an MBA and are PASSIONATE enough, give CAT a shot again. Why not? I know friends, who have cracked CAT after multiple attempts. Now that's COMMITMENT for me.
I sign off here. Do feel free to revert in case you have queries for me.
Never say never!