CAT 2022 Percentiles:

Verbal 98.05, DILR 89.56, QA 96.25, OA 98.02

Q1: Tell us about your background – education (engg/non-engg, academic record), any work-ex?

I’m a General Male with a Commerce background (BMS in Finance). I have 22 months of work-ex of which 11 are at EY Business Consulting and rest are in the Jewellery Sector.

Q2: When did you start preparing for CAT?

My coaching classes had started in late May but I started studying in Mid-June.

Q3: Did you take any coaching/tuition for CAT? How was your experience?

I opted for offline coaching at the IMS Churchgate (Mumbai) centre, and my experience was phenomenal. Very supportive faculty.

Q4: What other self-study resources did you find useful for your preparation?

Except for past-year actual CAT papers, not much. IMS itself provides enough study prep.

Q5: How did you pace your CAT preparation, i.e. how did the daily time spent on preparation change over the course of your journey?

My work hours were lax so I started at about 1-2 hours per day from June - July after which i ramped it up to 3 hours for the next 3 months. All this is excluding 8 hours of lectures every weekend. I quit my job a month before CAT during which I must have averaged about 5-6 hours per day.

Q6: What were your strong areas/subjects, and how did you prepare for those (time devoted, specific resources used etc.)?

I found a natural strength in VARC which became the pillar I leaned against for the rest of my journey. This was because I was already a regular reader since a few years. I did prep for VARC but most of it involved reading Aeon essays & timing myself to increase my reading speed and reading a novel for 15-20 minutes before I sleep. The ‘question solving’ part came easy to me after all this.

Q7: What topics/subjects were challenging for you, and how did you prepare for those (time devoted, specific resources used etc.)?

DILR was a nightmare (still is). I worked on giving as much sectionals and solving all PYQs of the last 10/12years but I was still weak at it. IIM-B made DILR even more difficult this year which didn’t help. My sectional in DILR was my lowest but I managed to clear the cut-off (89.56).

Q8: How easy/difficult was it to keep yourself focused and avoid distractions through your journey?

I suffered through serious health issues which troubled me recurrently. Luckily the episodes became less frequent as we crept closer to the D-Day. I’m already addicted to my phone (as is our generation) so getting into a disciplined routine was difficult when it was being disturbed repeatedly because of my health.

Q9: Were there occasions (during preparation or the exam) when you felt stressed or dejected, and how did you manage it?

It’s a part of the journey. Most people don’t do well in mocks in the initial days. Coaching mocks being tough and the benchmarking getting higher with time doesn’t help. You have to get used to ‘not knowing’ and use that ego hit productively. I’ve cried a few times after a poor mock (includes getting a 65 percentile a week before CAT). What matters is you pull yourself up and have the self-belief despite all odds. For motivation, music always helps.

Q10: Are there any good habits/lifestyle choices that helped you succeed and you’d recommend others to follow?

Definitely, the most important one in my opinion is to have some form of physical activity. My health issues limit my scope of activity but even a 20-minute walk in the morning sunlight can make my day 10x productive. Another one is more of a mindset - to be ambitious. Unreasonably ambitious. I was aiming for IIM-A when I wasn’t even done with the portion and knew my profile won’t allow that to happen. Was it scary? Of course! But that’s the point - this way, you normalise getting a top percentile in your head and your mind automatically pushes your body to make the effort.