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Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Stinger 3:16 - Friday, 14 November 2008, 02:28 AM

Well it’s not really a story with an end yet but I have a thing for cheesy titles it seems :P. I hope if this post can make someone feel more confident and stronger towards CAT exam , I guess the effort would be worth it.

For me Cat has been a very exciting journey so far. I am one of those thousands of passive students who visit websites and forums on a regular basis and are too lazy or too shy to post something here (former in my case :P) but at the same time are feel gratitude towards TG for the excellent website and some of the best lessons in quant/eng I read so far smile

I passed my engg from a reputed Engg college in 07 and somehow never liked the mad rat race that every classmate of mine had fell into i.e. go to an institute and practice ( read: cram ) some tips , tricks of cracking the CAT . Also I was more of a confused person really who didn’t knew if 4 years of engg in software was worth just leaving it like that. I wanted a taste of the real thing , to work in software industry and go to the promised land i.e. USA and decide after an year or two if its my piece of cake or should I start running in the mad race after all. So I never gave cat 06 and got a decent placement in India :P , came to gurgaon for work. Though somewhere deep down inside I always had a thing to see other countries and experience what the fuzz is all about?

Life was going in a good flow , got a nice place here with a great friend. Work seemed like fun , money was good and I felt like "Alice in wonderland" (Not literally ,Its Pun intended smile but I still wanted to work abroad for some time and understand broaden my horizon (whatever that means) . Couple of months passed down and my roomie turned out to be some cat wizard as he was scoring 99 percentiles in every mock types. With any usual discussion with any fresher ending up with CAT (It happens in IT industry esp. in my Company smile my curiosity grew with time. I finally decided to give cat 07 a shot. Filled the form and thought of preparing somewhat , although I was still not sure if I wanted to do an mba but it never hurts to get good marks does it :P. Time kept on passing and everytime I thought of studying I usually ended up reading articles on strategies or success stories or reading debates like " Cat is just an aptitude test ,it needs no preparation" and to be very true it kind of made sense to me.

Personally now I think ,although the previous statement might be true for a selected few but for a major chunk of people the best way to crack cat is to prepare in a planned manner assessing everything with SWOT analysis and then figuring out where you went wrong in your last practice test.

So there it was D-day. With no pressure whatsoever , I went to the exam hall. I have to admit , it was kind of fun to see people running around nervously , trying to cram in last one bit of information that will help them in winning this crazy cat race (I was about to write that I am a sadist since I was having so much fun there but somehow never knew the exact meaning of the term , until I googled it now to find the exact meaning , needless to say , it has saved me a lot of weird queries and maybe a possible ban from this website :P). Then we started the paper , it was fun and I kind of felt I was sailing through with a few exceptions where i knew that i can solve the question and i ended up giving like 8-10 mins to some of those questions.

( Lesson 1 learnt: Ego isn’t really that useful in exam , we all know it but hardly a few understand the real meaning of it .)

I came out and saw everyone discussing the paper , somehow i couldn’t remember exactly what choices or questions i really marked in the paper nor was i that much bothered about it. I was more curious about how my roomie's exam went. Few more months passed and i got to know that the results were out. I quickly texted my details and was somewhat pleased to find i had scored a decent 93 percentile with somewhat 90s in quant and Di and somewhat 80s in English.

Logic has always been somewhat of a problem for me. I always think i am deducing the right logic till the end. Somewhere in the middle i realize it wasn’t that right in the first place but i give myself benefit of the doubt and go on till the end when i realize that i ve screwed up smile When i got my percentile i thought " Aah well that was easy , next time i ll just score some 6-7 percentile more and Voilaa here comes the topper of India :D , i even thought of writing a speech for next year, ( modesty aint really my thing u see smile"

I quickly enquired my roomie's percentile and he had gotten 99.2 with somewhat 92 in english.I was very happy for him and felt all IIM s are within his reach.Then something very unexpected happened , he didn’t got any IIM call.

(Lesson 2 learnt: If you don’t score equally well in all 3 sections , you are still a rat in the race).

Year 2008 started. Although work was going great and i got some of the best reviews in the company, things started sounding somewhat monotonous. Even with all that appreciation i wasn’t getting the 'high' i was suppose to. So i started searching for answers. With more and more information analyzed , marketing and Business development seemed like things i would like to pursue. I had some experience in that with a college stint in managerial stuff , so i grew more interested in that and somewhat detached with software engg life. When i had finished about a year working in my organization , i decided to sit down and decide what i wanted. Even with the best appraisal and reviews (although meager in these days of cost optimization :P) in the whole company within my level , i knew for sure that i didn’t see my self in this trade 10 years down the line.

So i decided to give CAT a shot somewhat more seriously this time.Around this time i was introduced to the likes of and, being a fan of cheesy names (read the title of this post :P) they caught my attention. I simply stayed on because the material on TG was far better than some of the other things i had seen on the net or had borrowed from my roomie and success stories thread of pg . After so many discussions on how to go about things i saw a free mock cat from TG , Copycat 1.

The test went again with smooth flow.Got to know the marks , they weren’t that much but the percentile showed to be around 96 and again my i thought "Damn i am good, 93-> 96 now -> 99 -> 100 :D , my journey to success :P, now where s that success speech i ll give to the news reporters"

Meanwhile due to reading a lot of articles/posts i saw that most of the people recommended giving a lot of different mock cats and analyzing all of them thoroughly. S o i joined TIME mocks and gave my first time mock with full expectations of ending up in 99, felt it was easy enough came back home and analyzed to see the score. After totaling i compared my scores with others and was somewhat surprised to see that it was something like lesser than 90 percentile and after a couple of days after it was confirmed. I scored somewhat 90. " O well ,it s just a little glitch 93->96->90->99 yay smile", i thought.

Being an engineer Quant was suppose to be naturally easy to me or so i thought.After sometime i realized that i was very much out of touch with it. So i started focusing on my quant. And then something very strange started happening , the more i prepared the worse my scores got.

Second mock , boom :83 percentile.

Third mock , kaboom 78.

Fourth mock , Holy sh*t 70

Fifth mock , oo this must be a bad dream i have hit 65. At that point i thought i had hit the rock bottom.

( Lesson 3 learned :Kill the GODdamn ego and be true to yourself... I do think when you start preparing , its somewhat natural for your scores to dip a little , i think its because you start focusing on one part of one section and in my case the ego was still there for time/speed/distance, i lied to myself a thousand times but it was still there.)

Next mock , phewww ok somewhat sane :92

Next mock , OMG its a conspiracy against me, damn those TIME ppl : 60

Next mock , This is the INDIAN version of the "Truman show" yes its the only possible explanation : 45 percentile , i had truly hit the rock bottom.

I n the meanwhile ,i did a lot of things.I thought of preparing for GMAT but it was kinda late to make sure i get everything like recos etc with right prep in place so dropped the idea . I kept on preparing madly and its not that i was not revising my mocks but still things weren’t going right.I discussed a lot with my roomie who was always consistently cruising at 99s.Discussed same things over and over for weeks with him. You do have a lot of patience bro smile. All this while i changed my strategies , my approach , my time division . I felt I knew it all , i had read enough posts/information/books/lessons/quizzes to do masters in MBA jargon. The more my scores fell the more furiously i searched for the answers.













And then it happened....



















I saw "Kung-fu-panda" .......























...(Read: intentional humor *Nervous confused laughter *, yes i get it, no more southpark or Catch-22 for me from now on ;)

Well , not really , but then i started understanding where i was going wrong. Along with my Ego problems i was getting super nervous and super time conscious too(talk about problems ehh). I would look at the clock every2 mins to see if i have solved the question and if not i would panic which would usually ruin the whole exam.

Lesson 4 learned:I ll club in a few of them here: CAT can be like quicksand , the more you panick the worse it gets.Also , Accuracy and speed and equally important. So just remember "Don’t panic and do what you would do normally".

Some more mocks passed and with this new found answer "Don’t panick" my scores started improving.Scored some 90's , gave some mocks at home and online , scored like 95+ in those.

The confidence was coming back.New strategies were working , my main strategy now was to at least read every question in the exam , pick the sitters.

Lesson 5 learned: PICK the god damn sitters u MORON . (I am sure you all know it , probably the most overused word in CAT jargon , but please understand the meaning of it and implement it in whatever way its possible for you but please kill those sitters or at least kick yourself hard when you analyze your mocks)

Although things were going fine but i was still not in the esteemed 99%ile club . One of my problems is that i do not plan to settle down in anything less than an IIM. My so called logic is simple. The reason i want to do an MBA is along with the change of career I want to be an entrepreneur sometime later in my life and learn things which will help me in that. Somehow i wanna be at the best place which promotes such thinking.With professors like " Sunil Handa " at IIM A (trust me i read a lot of posts things blogs in my search for answers) , those are the only institutes that i think will serve my purpose. I know my logic is again somewhat flawed but still i roll with that...

After 4 months of preparation things changed.I gave a mock at home ,a SIMCAT.Everything went fine , i was acting sanely , killed all my ego

After like 20 mocks , There it was : 99.5%ile , with 96+ in all 3.

It all felt so easy to do and i finally learned one of the most important lessons.

Lesson 6 learned: It's all in your head. If you have prepared somewhat seriously for a couple of months , you probably know it all. It's all there. You know that you can do it , none of your previous\current\next mock scores matter. Mocks scores are meant to be meaningful until you analyze them and then they should be forgotten.

I finally was more comfortable while giving the tests and was getting better scores. I won’t bore you further with more mock info but safe to say i was crusing safely into the elite club now smile

Things were getting awesome , i had even set up an alarm of Nov 15 at 9:30 P.m with a note that says "so jaa Champak , sleep now because tomorrow it’s your day"

With somewhat strange twists of fate , in mid October i was offered a chance to goto USA for 6 months. I had to either choose CAT or goto US on around 30th OCT. Old priority vs. new priority , old dream vs. new dream , the ultimate confusion (I guess you get the point and i should cut the melodrama here smile

After thinking about it a lot , i choose to go ahead with it. I decided to try my luck with the US trip.My reasons or so called logic is again simple (Save some more money to fill in the heavy tuition fees and even prepare for GMAT with CAT and what the hell im only 23 i m not that old that i cant take chances :P I m sure it s gonna be somewhat flawed but still..) Although i have to admit it was very difficult to let go of my comfort zone , a perfect life with the thrill of chasing this daemon known as CAT.

I reached here in US end of this October, hardly 2 weeks before CAT 08.Thinking and reading about CAT still gives me chills. Just read the wonderful post by TG "CAT08 scared, who me?”. Thanks a lot man , this thanks is from thousands of passive lazy bums like me ;)

At least a 100 times i have thought that i made a mistake of not giving CAT this year but i am happy to have made my decision and now am sticking with it smile.

One of the main reasons i wrote this huge (now gigantic :P) post , is i wanted to convey one thing i learned the hard way. It's all in your head.( I know i am repeating stuff but redundancy comes in the nature of my job ) If you have prepared somewhat seriously , you can crack cat this year easily. It's time to go for the kill . Don't think too much just go ahead and claim what is truly yours . Success is so within your reach , GRAB it.

Lesson 7 :I always loved this simple fact. CAT is just about scoring 40 percent of the marks in a multiple choice question paper. Don't tell me you can’t score those passing little marks , I mean seriously do u really think you can't score even 40 percent marks?????

I wrote this post because i know what it feels to get 45%le or even lower (You thought i would write here every sad score of mine :P) and i know how easy it is to rise up and become one of those in the top of the list. If you have every faced such low numbers and then gone back up again , you have already won most of the battle , its just last few punches left in this last round. Repeat what you have already accomplished.

Ohh and when you do , dont forget to ask me for the Success speech i prepared ;)

Rock On..

(I got a little carried away in the last line didnt I :P Jai bollywood smile

Rahul a.k.a Stinger

P.s: i am posting from a new id as i want to keep my profile somewhat secret since i am kinda suspicious even my Team leads and managers surf TG ;)

P.P.s:I coud'nt find a better and easier to read font, do let me know if it’s still difficult to read smile

Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Total Gadha - Friday, 14 November 2008, 02:25 AM
  Hi Stinger,

Read the whole post. smile

You are the first person I saw who dipped so low in terms of percentiles and still raised himself to such heights. It's a loss to IIMs but I hope you know what you are doing.

May you have a great life. smile

Total Gadha
Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Stinger 3:16 - Friday, 14 November 2008, 02:36 AM

Hey man ,

U sure are burning the midnight oil smile

nd the percentiles dropping were majorly my own misdoings , when i reached 45 in that exam i was so irritated and nervous since i had wasted around 30 mins on 5 questions unable to mark single one.I ended up loosing all the focus and will to to even think i can bounce back.

It's All in the head :p

And for next year perpration i ve already started with my looong list of novels/movies to finish , its because of you i understood the true meaning of enjoying your prepration :D

Again a big thank you for the great material. i know you are busy but still please keep it going for a lot more time to come , i guess you must already know the huge number of students you keep on helping smile


Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Software Engineer - Friday, 14 November 2008, 03:20 AM
  Read your WHOLE post via 1.8 x 1.8 inches screen of my cell phone; because you didn' t bore me somewhere in the middle.

Worth reading!

(mobile se access kar raha hu is liye jyada type nahi kar sakta)

- SE
Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Dagny Taggart - Friday, 14 November 2008, 06:39 AM
  Great Post!  All in all you atleast know what you are doing, a lot of people just live without even knowing what they want to do.

Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by pulkit mittal - Friday, 21 November 2008, 01:33 PM

Really a great effort has been put in collecting and writing the thoughts of a common CAT taker. I am agree with one fact... Scoring around 95 is not a big deal but scoring 99 will definitely sweat your forehead. One more thing i would like to repeat ( I also do the work having redundancy smile) that keeping calm for 2.5 hours really helps giving your best.

Again.. a good post.

Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by vignesh t - Friday, 2 January 2009, 09:48 PM
  Wow man that was pretty cool.Everybody knows CAT is all about playing with mind but nobody do accept the fact that they succumb to their ego(especially engineers ,I`m an engineer too).I think that is the place where one has to work on.Anyways cool post dude.Looking forward for the speech you had prepared.Post it soon.
Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Tuhin Banerjee - Thursday, 8 January 2009, 05:04 PM

It’s a cool post dude. Your post reminds me my CAT mock percentile, never able to cross 80 percentile broader lines in english. Even in real CAT, it screwed me a lot; I secured only 3 marks (Total 85), reason is nervousness.  Hopefully I will clear this time.

 Thanks a lot for such a nice post.

Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by raghav arole - Thursday, 29 October 2009, 01:44 AM
  dont have words man...nice post...
such a humble post rather than a egoistic statment....
my well wishes to u go places....
Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by ronak patel - Saturday, 31 October 2009, 01:52 PM
  hey rahul(stinger)
              great article and very pleased to meet people like you.....
Re: Rock on Story for CAT so far..
by Stinger R - Wednesday, 6 March 2013, 12:42 PM
  It’s been over 4 years since I wrote this but I still remember the passion I felt while writing this post. While searching through a few old things I came across this and remembered posting it on TG. After reading through it again, I felt the post deserved its logical ending. It might even help someone (highly doubt it though) so will keep it short unlike the original monster: The US trip came to a halt with Recession of 08-09. My client was broke and all vendors were going back home. Feb 09 back in India with no CAT and no US trip but a lot had changed during those 3-4 months. The most important thing was that I got time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. In retrospect, I would highly rate this exercise. Take time to think your career through. Think what you like, where the industry is moving, what are your strengths ..(blah blah smile I realized that I dislike IT (read:Hate IT,mainly coding and SDLC part), but enjoy staying in touch with technology. The introspection led to a strong desire to move out of software to analytical/business consulting (Who says introspection has to be Logical?? smile Road ahead -Quick and dirty version Gave Cat in 09 , Bombed it.Stayed irritated for a week. Worked really hard at changing job. Got a great one after 8 months of searching. Gave Cat in '10 , killed it - 98.75 got a few calls but nothing worth killing for (non-ABC). Gave GMAT, Got 700+ , started dreaming Bigger. US-B schools. Worked hard , slogged and got promoted on a fast track. Researched the hell out of global B schools. I remember a time going crazy 24/7 eating breathing sleeping Bschools. Met and spoke with a lot of amazing & brilliant people (Very Very Important). Set a focus and list of which Bschools make sense for my future career. Added my decision criteria (which one would I take based on what scholarships/loans etc). Got rejected from all US Bschools. Stayed irritated for a week again. (Life is like a Sine Curve smile Got my act together again for '11-12 season, worked on at least 10 iterations of each essay and built a strong group of reviewers & recommenders. Got multiple offers and a few with scholarships at a top US B School. Finally my MBA race was over. If there is 1 message i would want everyone to get , its this : "It's going to be all right. Just hang in there and keep fighting, that's what life is all about and honestly, that's what makes life interesting smile" Hope you all take time to realize what you want and get what you are looking for. All the best.