Don't Let Your Past Hold You Back In Your CAT Preparation - Rahul Das

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    Rahul Das aced CAT 2015 with a score of 99.94 percentile and scored 99.25 percentile in IIFT. He converted IIM C, L, K, FMS, and IIFT. He is currently pursuing B.E. in Electronics and Telecommunication Engg from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Rahul take interest in sports, theatre and dramatics.

    Our preparation for CAT starts with a lot of enthusiasm, but once we get acquainted with the criteria thrown in by the IIMs for shortlisting, the ones with poor acads feel hard done by. If you are someone with 90+,90+ in X and XII, and 85%+ in grads, this post might not be of immediate concern to you. But all those like me, who embarked on the CAT journey with not so stellar acads to boast of, will surely find some inspiration at the end of this post. Yes, if you haven’t aced your boards exams with flying colours, if you took a lesson or two of History or Geography lightly, those past sins will come to haunt you once you dream of the IIMs. And this is the case with the majority of us, we aren’t perennial achievers, we’re rather the underdogs, and why shouldn’t underdogs get a cool clan name? Let’s call ourselves ‘The Mediocres’, or better still, “La Mediocres”. For us, IIM Bangalore would immediately go out of the picture, but no worries, ,we are still left with with IIMA,C,L,K. Nowadays we see our newsfeed flooded with such hackneyed posts “X%,Y% ,Z% are my Xth Xth and Grad grades, would I make it to IIMs?”.  Well let’s analyze the facts. If you are from the “La Mediocres”, you have already made life harder for you. And if you happen to be a GEM(General, Engineer, Male), and also a fresher, congratulations, you have ensured you have a mountain to climb. But don’t frame your conclusions just yet, it sure is a mountain, but it can be climbed. That’s the point of this entire post. Now, let’s approach one by one:

    IIMA: Since the big daddy of IIMs gives 30% weightage to acads, having good scores gives you a headstart. But not having that doesn’t really throw you out of the race. It just means you have to make it up with a high CAT score. For non-engineers, there are a number of categories, and clearing the cutoff for your respective category will fetch you a PI call.

    IIMC: This is the place which gives you a chance to redeem yourself. It is comparatively more lenient as far as past acads are concerned, but then again, that means your percentile makes a big difference if you want to make it to the Big C. This institute gives the maximum weightage to PI(44%), and the WAT+ PI together make up 54% of the total marks in the final selection. But work-ex people can heave a sigh of relief, the 8 points on work-ex can make a world of difference, and please try to ensure you make full use of that.

    IIM L,K: The good part is that when you sit for the interview of these IIMs , your percentile is written on the form, and the interviewer would have a decent impression if you’ve scored high there. The rest of the job is to ensure that you don’t do anything silly, just put up a good show and snatch a convert.

    FMS,XLRI: These colleges give 0 and 5% weightage to past acads respectively, and a good show in CAT and XAT respectively can seal the deal. So these places are most conducive to “La Mediocres”.

    So, Can I make it?

    This is the answer you’ve been waiting for, and without belaboring the point, I’d set the record straight: Yes, You Definitely Can.

    All you need to do is put up a magnificient show in CAT on D-Day. And to do that, get your Quants, DI LR and English brushed up, it’s not the toughest of exams, it just requires a smart mind. Don’t waste your day pondering over what you should have done 5-6 years ago, live in the present, and try and do what is in your control. And once you secure a good percentile and manage to get a PI call, then the even more arduous task awaits- Converting the Calls! No matter what all the different PDP gurus tell you, ultimately every interviewer is unique and every interview has its own story. So, be geared up to face questions from any field, and learn to deal with the stress. But I’ll discuss that in details in another article.

    So, my message to all those who are half way through their preparations for CAT’16, but are in a tinge of anxiety for their average past academics, is – Just forget it and give your best shot. If I have been able to overcome those obstacles, so can you. Life gives everyone a second chance, and despite being as ruthless as they are, so do the IIMs. It just needs a strong willingness and ability to grab that opportunity. Remember, you might have sinned once, but don’t do it again. So, go ahead with your practice exercises and mocks, a good 5-6 months await you. Dreams do come true , it’s just the self-belief that you need to have. Learn to retain hope in the most inclement of conditions; and keep the “La Mediocres” flag flying high!

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