Prachi is an MBA student at Indian Institute of Management- Jammu. She is from a commerce background who will be pursuing her MBA this year. She is a dreamer and currently is passionate about marketing for which she will see what opportunities will come her way in B-school.
A Journey to IIM by Prachi:
How it all started?
When I took commerce in 11th standard I knew since then that I will be pursuing MBA. Since then only I worked towards the dream of getting into an IIM. It was not a simple journey since the day I started my preparation. I started my preparation in the 2nd year of my college. But I will accept it that with one college life already going on I started to take things casually and my CAT preparations too. After getting 45 percentile in my first attempt I was directionless from where to start again and started questioning my capabilities too. After finishing college in 2018, with all the courage that I had, I began my preparation from basic level. In just 5 months of span I prepared well to expect a 95 plus percentile but again I ended up getting only 85 percentile in my second attempt.
Demotivated again I had to choose between settling for some private college and going after my IIM dream. I chose the later with all the courage that I have left because till now my peers have all settled for something. I took a job in a consultancy firm and managed my studies simultaneously.
Approach and strategy
There is no single mantra to crack CAT. One has to try various approaches and strategies to see what really works for them as different approach styles works for different people. Above all, Mock tests are the most important. Before beginning your CAT preparation try out one free mock online to see where you stand. It will help you too see what needs to be changed and what stands as clear weakness. Plan your preparation accordingly. There is no one key to this lock so work on each and every section as you will never know which section will help you score better on D-day.
Prepare for each section by attempting numerous sectional tests which will help you understand better your position with each section. Give mocks once every week in the beginning of your preparation (do not wait for syllabus to finish). In fact there’s nothing like completion of syllabus! Whatever mocks you might take (Time/CL/IMS) analysis is a must. It’s not solving all the questions, but in fact analysis. That means look for silly mistakes, questions left out/ turned out to be wrong and the tough ones.
- Tough one’s – if you’d have spent time on these questions, it’s a mistake. So now your task is to learn to differentiate between easy, tough ones and leave out the tough ones from the next mock.
- Easy one’s – if you have left any of these questions, then it’s a mistake. These are the ones that we must score upon. Hence practice, practice!
- Silly mistakes (if any) – Don’t forget to learn from these. You’re not supposed to make such ones from the next mock.
The only approach and strategy that can make you crack this competitive exam is your strength to sit for 3 hours in front of screen and make the most out of it. Do not focuses on attempting all questions; focus on correcting those you are attempting. Find the approach that works for you as an individual and work towards it. Do not try to copy on other strategies of peers; take note from them and wok your own because for every individual it works differently.
Calls and Interviews:
I got calls from all the private colleges and baby IIM’s like IIM- Jammu and Bodhgaya. The call from IIM Shillong took me by surprise but became one of my greatest pay off to my hard work. In all the interviews they begin with tell me about yourself usually for which I will recommend you all to prepare your own one fixed answer. Whatever you answer them they will pick up from it and drill you.
Students with work experience should prepare a thorough view of what they did and learnt in all those years with that organization. Precise details of your workings leave a good impression on an interviewer.
Go through people previous interview experience and their questions but also be ready to face your own new experience. IIM Shillong surprised me by asking case studies and put me in certain political situations.
For interviews be yourself and don’t put something complicated that will make you unable to go along with interview. I told interview about my love for movies and we talked about it for 5 minutes of my interview. So I advise you to Be Yourself as much as possible.
The reason I chose IIM Jammu over all the other calls I converted was better opportunities, placements and above all IIM tag is worth it.
Few other tips:
For VARC – You should read as much as possible. Let it be novels/ newspapers/ articles. READ!
For DILR – Only concentrate on mocks. Practice the models in the mocks again and again and again. That’s all!!
For QA – Remember few formulae & practice question sets based out on these formulae. Also practice questions from the mocks/sectional tests.
Work on your strengths but work twice on your weakness. Left no stone unturned. But ease up while attempting mocks and preparing.
Last but not least: Make sure you get a strategy that works for you in a mock and be ready for your D-Day.