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CAT Exam Preparation 2020: How to prepare for your exam while working | My Strategy


Are you a CAT Aspirant? Did you attempt this last year? If you attempted last year, and couldn’t cross the barrier, then this article is for you.

Hi everyone, This is Aslam, an engineer by academics. I passed out of NIT Jamshedpur in 2013. Since then I’ve been working with Samsung. So it has been almost 7 years. I gave CAT, and I got a percentile of 99.02 and in XAT, I got 99.7. This was my fourth attempt at MBA entrance exams. 
 
This year I got a 99 percentile. In my earlier attempts, starting from the first attempt to the third, I got a 96, a 67, and an 84. I got a call from IIM-A, B, L, K, S, SP Jain, MDI, XLRI, and IFT. I converted all my calls except IIM-Ahmedabad, so I’m headed to IIM-Bangalore. 
 
So my CAT preparation strategy was that instead of going in for a classroom program, I decided that let’s just do an online thing. So that it saves a lot of time on transportation. And also since CAT had been changing a lot for the past two or three years, 

I decided that I’ll take 3 or 4 mock series because that’ll help bring variety and as far as materials are concerned, I joined various online forums like PagalGuy But frankly, I did not have enough time to go through all the materials.

So I joined AlphanNumeric’s online class because it helped me save time on commuting and every day I used to come home at around 8:30 and attend the class from 9 PM to 11 PM. So those were the night lectures which really helped. 
 
If let’s say, I have to stay back at work and I’m coming late and I’m missing one day’s class. So I could see that class in the recorded lectures at a time of my ease. Also, they gave us an online app, so in that, you had all the formulas and standard sums. So, whenever you found time while commuting or in office, so you’ll use up that time and it helps you prepare well. 
 
What really worked for me were the boost camps, there were 2 boost camps that were organized, twice in a year. They were really rigorous, in the sense that we had 5-6 sessions on a daily basis and that was the time that I really saw a boost in my mock scores. So it was a capsule program in the sense that along with CAT preparation, we were made to prepare for XAT, IIFT, and MAT. There were various tests for these exams. 
 
And along with that, we also had 2 full-day GK sessions and there were various GK tests that were uploaded on the website so that you could prepare for other things that are not a part of a typical CAT preparation scheme. So you have to find time when you are commuting to work, and whenever you are a little free in the office, so I used the app, the AlphaNumeric app, and the other materials that I had. 
 
So with that, I used to make sure that even if I have a 30-minute break, I use it to the fullest. So my daily routine during my preparation was that I get up at 8 and rush to the office so that I can come back by 7 and then give 2 or 3 hours to my preparation. But at weekends I used to stretch a lot, stay at home and give it some 6-7 hours. So the major challenges that I faced were preparing myself for the verbal section and the fact that CAT changed in form every year, so as soon as you accustom yourself to one form they change the format. So to bring variety in your scheme is a little difficult. 
 
The interview phase, it had 2 rounds. The written ability and personal interview. Written ability, half of the marks were allotted to content, and a half to structure. In the PI round, there were, it was a panel of 3 members. 2 faculty, and one alumnus. 
 
They were basically concerned about how a person is going to react when he is put into different situations. And they were concerned about your ethics factor. 
 
Also, they wanted to see whether you’re going to stick to a particular stand, or whether they can make you change your stand. And one very important point was that they made you prepare a statement of purpose. what are your long-term and short term goals? Its a document of 600 words that every participant was made to prepare. And from that, they asked you a few questions. 
 
For decision making, I believe it has got a lot to do with you and how you behave in certain situations keeping ethics in place. We had a few sessions at the class, wherein, sir told us that ethics is foremost even if you have to choose between a practical and an ethical solution, then you go for an ethical one so that helps you in the long run. 
 
My suggestions for future aspirants is that since its a competitive exam, you may fail, but don’t lose heart and just try and change some tactics, try and see where you’re going wrong, try and correct it, Give more mocks, because the form of the exam changes again and again and put in more effort and you’re likely to succeed the next time. 

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