My CAT Story - Akash Kumar Sah, IIM Calcutta ( 2016 - 18 )

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    Akash Kumar Sah aced CAT 2015 and has converted IIM B, C and L calls and had a WL from IIM A (attended only four). He will be joining IIM Calcutta 2016-18 batch. Akash did his BTech from NIT Rourkela and worked with TCS as a system engineer.

    The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be”. Whether you have done well in your past or not, don't let it bother you, don't fret upon your past and think that you can't make it to IIMs. You can't change your past but you can definitely nurture your future with sheer hardwork. The only question here is, 'Are you willing to work hard?', and if the answer is 'Yes', then this post is for you. CAT preparation can take 3-4 months or a year, it all depends on you. Judge yourself, gauge your performance, what are your weaknesses, what are your strengths, what is your speed, how much time you need, whether you need coaching or not. I didn't took any coaching, but not because I don't need it, but because I already had some experience from CAT 2014 and materials of TIME from my friend. I started my preparation after graduation, I had 5-6 months, in hand. Since, I was weak in Quantitative Aptitude, for the first month, I only concentrated on that, I started from the basics and covered most of the topics in a month.

    When I start a topic, I used to note down all the tricky and shortcut formulas in a separate notebook and then practice all possible questions of that topic from TIME's material and Arun Sharma. That was my schedule for first month. In the next 4 months, I touched all the sections, but gave more time Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Section. My daily schedule was moreover like this, learn 5 new words and note it down, read newspaper, three hours to DILR, three hours to VARC and two hours to QA. At the end day, I always used to solve one small question paper from each section. I had also taken TIME's AIMCAT Series and used to give Mock Tests time to time. Whatever you practice, whatever you read, but at the end Mock Tests is the best preparation for anything. I have given a lot of Mock Tests, which helped me identify more of my weaknesses and gain more speed as I solved question according to CAT pattern. I have also spent considerable amount of time to learn more and more about CAT because you should know what you are going to do on the D-Day, like how many questions you need to attempt based on your accuracy and all. I also practised previous year papers of CAT, which helped me realise how and which type of questions are going to come, though the pattern of CAT 2015 was completely different. So, this is how I geared up for the CAT.

    It's up to you to decide, how much preparation you need and how you can achieve that. Make your own schedule, a schedule which will help bell the CAT, and stricly adhere to it. After, all the things, you need to realise CAT has always been a unpredictable exam, even after all the preparation, it can take you by surprise. So, mental strength before the exam, be prepared for worst scenarios. This is how you will be successfully belling the CAT.

    Some tips for PI:

    1. The toughest question, "Why MBA", be ready to convince them why you want to do MBA, because the moment they realize you are fooling around, your interview is out of your hand. Also, prepare every general HR questions, like,  "Tell about yourself", "Strength and Weakness" etc.
    2. If you don't have a habit of following news, start reading Newspapers from now on, and try to form opinion about big events like 'Make in India', 'Digital India' etc, you don't need to remember each tiny detail of event but do have some basic knowledge about it.
    3. If you have work experience, prepare everything you can about your work experience. Know about your company (in and out), know about your projects, be comfortable to talk about anything related to your work experience.
    4. If you are fresher, prepare atleast 3 subjects from your graduation thoroughly. But I will suggest to try to cover basics of all subject because you never know what they are going to ask. For example, I am from Electrical Engineering, and they asked me about "Refrigerator" and asked me explain in depth. Ask seniors from your background and studying in IIM to tell the general questions being asked. That will do the job.
    5. Study basic maths. This is basically for IIM Calcutta interview but there is a chance that other IIM can ask math question. Prepare the basics of Differentiation, Integration, Algebra, Portability and Statistics.
    6. Improve your writing skills, write one essay daily with time constraint, it will help alot for WAT (Written Ability Test).

    Why I am heading to IIM C ?

    • Best Finance B-School of India (If you are interested in Finance, you know where to head :P)
    • Triple Crowned (IIM Calcutta has already been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB ) and the Association of MBA’s (AMBA) in 2014. With EQUIS accreditation, IIM Calcutta becomes the first Indian business school to achieve the ‘Triple Crown’ in accreditation, i.e. accredited by all the three major accreditation agencies in the world for management education. Only 5 other business schools in Asia and 73 business schools around the world are currently ‘Triple Accredited’)
    • CEMS MIM Program (The only indian B-School to be a part of it)
    • Crowd (People at C are going to be people with good CAT percentiles, therefore more versatility, which means more development for you)
    • Not a Dry State (Very important for some people :P)
    • Kolkata - City of Joy
    • Swimming Pool (Important during summers :P)
    • Seven Lakes (The campus is one of the most beautiful ones in the country with seven lakes decorating it)

    All the best for D-Day.

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