How to crack CAT? An average student's story
I received 100s of mails and scraps from students all around the country last week. Main theme of a majority were “I am a real average student, will I be able to crack CAT?” Here I present the interview of my colleague, whose name I won’t disclose. Because it may hurt his sentiments as many IIMA students also read the blog with interest.
Now he is an average guy from a middle class family in Mumbai. He did his engineering from a state engineering college with average results. Everyone in his college were appearing for CAT, he also took a coaching like them and sat for CAT 2005. He had prepared well, with his own unique methods. Only one student out of 200 appearing from his college cracked CAT – and it was him!
He himself admits he is no genius and so, I asked him definitely there must be some reason for which he got 99.5 percentile.
CAT is not a test of mathematical and verbal aptitudes, he knew from the very beginning. It’s a test of managerial ability. He followed certain distinct plans for each section.
Ø He started reading Reader’s Digest, Business
Ø He read the editorials of TOI and The Hindu. This improved his sense of sentence construction
Ø He did not waste time on vocab building. (Interesting, I wasted a lot of time there!)
Ø The materials provided by his coaching (TIME) was good enough for him. He couldn’t browse through all.
Ø Here he followed the usual approach. He relied on the coaching materials and did not think of consulting anything else. He just brushed up his basics.
Ø He rigorously practiced the materials provided by the coaching. “Who’s got the time to consult other coaching materials? Anyway, it’s not the test of how-much-you-know, it’s a test of how-much-you-apply!”
Everyday he had the regular gossip sessions, regular girl-watching sessions as usual. CAT did not disturb his daily routine. He did not bog himself down ever thinking of how tough and competitive the exam is.
Two days before the exam, he stopped studying. He went for a movie, drank a beer or two, helped dad in his office work, surfed net, etc. that is fultoo enjoy.
On the D-day he woke up early, offered his respect to the family God and went to the exam centre 10 km away.
Now on reaching the centre his main thinking was, “Wow! These guys/gals must have prepared so hard! That’s why they are so serious.” He did not have any pressure on him. It was just an average preparation.
Surprise! It’s a 90 question paper! How many he is going to attempt? 15-15-15 will be enough? He started searching for the easy kills!
Already he decided, he’s never going to try the difficult ones. First half an hour was slow for him. He started with verbals. He couldn’t answer more than 15 in the first half an hour.
Ø Quants was the next section he attempted – he took 35 minutes there to answer 20 questions which he thought were quite easy.
Ø In DI, he had a difficult time, it took 45 minutes to answer him 18 questions. He didn’t wish to spend more time there.
Ø He had only 10 minutes left. Surprisingly, on a second look at verbals he could answer 10 more! All were one mark questions.
So, in total he attempted 25-20-18! Total out of 90 questions. He believed he did everything right. But, will it be enough! “All others must have answered more than me!”
He came out – he saw everyone depressed there. No one expected CAT like this. He saw everyone so depressed – he felt happy! Yeah, sadistic happy. Anyway, he won’t get a call.
He didn’t bother to check his CAT score. His father checked and gave him the good news – 99.5 percentile, call from 4 IIMs. He did not apply for IIMK, I.
How he converted his GD-PI will be a different story. Wait for it.
Do let me know if you found something useful.