CAT 2022 Percentiles:
Verbal 94.84, DILR 97.95, QA 99.24, OA 99.29
Q1: Tell us about your background – education (engg/non-engg, academic record), any work-ex?
I have a masters in Photonics. The course I took was Integrated MSc in Photonics. I graduated this year in June. I am a fresher. My academics are as follows: 91.2% in 10th (CBSE), 92.6% in 12th (Kerala board) and 72.5% in my undergraduate.
Q2: When did you start preparing for CAT?
I started preparing for CAT from June. This was not my 1st attempt. This was my 3rd attempt and from my previous experiences, I knew more or less how to approach the preparation, and what my strengths and weaknesses were.
Q3: Did you take any coaching/tuition for CAT? How was your experience?
Yes, I had taken an Unacademy Plus subscription. I liked Ravi Prakash sir's classes on Youtube (Rodha) and decided to take an Unacademy subscription. For me personally, I didn't think I required personal attention, and so Unacademy and Ravi sir's classes were perfect for me (There are so many students who follow Ravi sir that it would be impossible to get personal attention). Another pro of Unacademy would be that there are a lot of educators on the platform, and so, if one feels like a particular educator's class isn't working for them, they can try another educator.
Q4: What other self-study resources did you find useful for your preparation?
I didn't use a lot of other material. Practice was primarily from Unacademy practice qns, mock questions, previous year qns and so on. For mocks, I attempted AIMCATs (TIME) and SIMCATs (IMS).
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?
In the initial stages, a lot of time was devoted to quant and covering the bases of Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry. Along with this, I used to attempt 2,3 LRDI sets per day. LRDI wasn't a strong section for me, so I used to spend a lot of time with sets to get familiar with sets and tried different ways to approach a set. I also used to do on average 1 hour of reading per day (Books, editorials, articles) Towards the later stages, I did 5,6 sets per day. And the rest of the time was split between practicing quant questions and attempting VARC sectionals and analysing them.
Q6: What were your strong areas/subjects, and how did you prepare for those (time devoted, specific resources used etc.)?
I felt like I could score well in quant, so I covered majority of the syllabus as soon as I could and spent the last 2,3 months in revising those and practicing more questions. I also realised from my mocks that I was leaving easy questions in quant, so I worked on my strategy to make sure that didn't happen on the D-day. The resources used were Ravi sir's notes (from his classes), practice questions from Unacademy and questions from mocks.
Q7: What topics/subjects were challenging for you, and how did you prepare for those (time devoted, specific resources used etc.)?
VARC and DILR were challenging for me.
For DILR, I made sure that I really spent time with sets in the initial months, sometimes upto 45,60 mins per set. This really helped me as after I had done around 100,200 sets, I saw that I was able to see how to approach different sets. Later stages of my prep, it was mostly practice and doing as many sets as I could from different topics like arrangements, games and tournaments, matrix-based puzzles and so on.
For VARC, my improvements came when I started analysing each sectional/mock I took with much detail. For every question, I would analyse why I marked the option I marked, by what logic I eliminated the options and see where the logic gap was between what the question-setter thought and what I thought. This helped me a lot.
Q8: How easy/difficult was it to keep yourself focused and avoid distractions through your journey?
Even though I was self-driven, distractions were there in the form of my mobile phone and being a sports enthusiast, I had to really cut down on the time I spent watching sports. But other than that, I was thankfully able to stay focused for the most parts of my preparation. I stayed off all forms of social media and kept my phone in a different room when I studied, and this made a huge difference to my ability to focus.
Q9: Were there occasions (during preparation or the exam) when you felt stressed or dejected, and how did you manage it?
Yes, there were occasions when I felt dejected, when my mock scores sometimes went low and there were times when the whole thing felt tiring. But from my previous CAT preparation experiences and from speaking to others, I knew that this phase was normal and that almost all those preparing might go through this at some point of time.
Q10: Are there any good habits/lifestyle choices that helped you succeed and you’d recommend others to follow?
I don't know about others, but for me, the distractions of social media,
all the clutter from apps like Twitter and so, really did affect my ability to
focus for long periods of time. So when I stayed away from these apps, I felt
like my head was more clear than before, and knowing there's nothing on my
phone waiting for me did really help me focus.