by Raunak Bhiwal, IIMA
After completing CA, I decided to go for an MBA program. CAT seemed to suit my strengths, as I felt my critical reasoning was good and I was decent at quant. Little did I know I was due for some shockers!
Issue #1: When I started preparing for CAT in August, I was in for a rude shock. Working on calculators for years had crippled my oral calculation skills. After 12th, I had not touched upon Mathematics.
As I gave my tests, I realized that I had to work hard on other aspects also. Meanwhile, I was working in a CA firm which consumed a lot of my time.
Issue #2: The other issue I faced was regarding guidance; there was a dearth of people who could supervise me well. CAT is mainly engineers’ fiefdom, so most of the people who have knowledge provided good advice on how to work on English but not on Quant.
So, I decided to organize myself. I realized that over last few years, IIMs are looking for diversity and hence they have started focusing a lot more on critical reasoning and the section on quant was getting much easier. On those lines, I decided to operate and focus my energy on.
No matter what my schedule was, I planned on giving at least one full-fledged test and one test gauging me on a particular section of CAT. After every test, I would sit and evaluate on where I went wrong and how to improve on it.
Further, one thing which I believe helped me the most was the fact that
I was using whatever I had learned in my work also.
I tried to critically read whatever assignment was given to me, and I stopped using a calculator for calculations. This advice comes with a caveat that one’s work can suffer a bit until the time you develop expertise.
On the D-day, anything can happen, and you have to be ready.
So, there were times when during the night I used to wake up, give a paper and go back to sleep. I tried to make sure that I was test-ready, even if I was not feeling well.
Another advice I would give will be to have good competitive company around. Everyone has a way of attempting questions and working with one another can help evolve your methods, plus it keeps the competitive spirit going. One needs both of these qualities even after getting into IIMs, so it is a good start.
Best of Luck!
Raunak Bhiwal is a student at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
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