FROM BS-MS IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE TO MBA IN GENERAL MANAGEMENT


Imposter syndrome – I think my CAT journey was all about overcoming this.

BS-MS degree from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal (IISER Bhopal) and working as a lecturer for NEET aspirants. Even today my friends looks at me and ask how did you ended up doing MBA?

I knew from day one that I was different from peers when it comes to academics which might be a disadvantage in the preparation time. Not having mathematics as a subject for so long made me treat Quant session as the villain of my life. Being a Biology student, I believed that I won’t be able to crack CAT.

But all that changed when I went through the journey with a clear strategy – how to overcome your weakness and how to strengthen your strengths!

Initial days itself, I understood that it would be slightly difficult for me to excel in Quant sessions but at the same time I knew that verbal can be my savior.

Why CAT?

During my BS-MS times itself I realized my inclination towards management domain. After my graduation I tried to secure a job but my efforts were in vain as I was getting offered R&D roles. That’s when I realized that an MBA from an eminent university will give me the opportunity to start my career in the corporate world. I found a group of friends who aspires the same as me and we immediately formed a group. We constantly helped each other in understanding the entire process of CAT, what are the other exams, how to prepare, etc.

Approach to the exam:

As a science student, I feel it is important to have professional coaching for the exam. This will assure that we are learning the shortcuts and revising the quant syllabus which are in need the most. Also, a professional coaching will ensure a discipline and proper framework for the preparation. What to be covered, when to finish the syllabus, when to focus completely on exams, etc. are perks of having guidance from a coaching firm. I recommend iQuanta CAT courses as it is online and was pretty much suiting with my day to day work schedule and CAT preparation.

Other than enrolling to a program, I have devised some tactics as well which is described below.

VARC:

Hindu editorials became ‘my breakfast’ every day during the CAT prep. This not only helped me make my reading skills better but also paved the way for interview preparation. By the time I faced interviews, I was well averse with all the current affairs. Hence I strongly recommend those who wish to excel in VARC to pick up newspapers like Hindu, Live mint, Economist etc. and make reading it a habit.

I had a pocket diary in which I added at least 10 new words every day. I used to refer to that diary before sleep to make sure that I remember those words. Also, I tried to incorporate some of those words in my day to day conversation with friends. These two approaches helped me to recollect the scary English jargon better.

One of the pocket diary I used to maintain

DILR:

For DILR I have only one advice – practice, practice and practice more!

The only mantra to crack DILR is to practice as much as possible. Again this is my opinion. For me once I practiced many questions I was able to identify similar questions and work it in a faster manner. Also, I had some short cuts which I developed for cracking LR questions. For example round table questions, I had made a diagram which will help to put the data in an ordered fashion. I used those diagrams whenever I encountered round table questions. You can make easy diagrams or tables for better representation of data, I think it will help in saving your precious time.

For DI, it is all about practice. More you practice, the more your speed will improve. Every day I used to solve minimum 4 case lets of DI to improve my speed. I recommend this especially to those students like me who are from non-mathematical backgrounds.

QA:

For the initial 3 months of my preparation, I covered the basic theory of all those chapters. While doing so I understood some of the chapters are easy for me while some are too difficult. This helped to focus my energy to the easy ones. I made up my mind that even if I can’t crack all questions, I should be able to attempt those ones which are easy for me with 100% accuracy. This strategy has helped me the most in dealing with QA sessions. I practiced so many questions from the chapters I was comfortable with. Every day I made sure that I am working on at least 100 questions. Improving speed as well as accuracy was my aim during the last few months of preparation. And clearly this has worked for me and I believe it will be good for you as well. Don’t waste your time on the difficult chapters rather focus on those chapters which you can excel in!

Finally, I think having the right mindset is the most important factor when it comes to the CAT exam. It is a journey where you might feel demotivated at times, but picking yourself up from such situations and having the determination to reach the goal is very important.

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Jyothikamala R has completed BS-MS in Biological Sciences from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal and she is currently pursuing MBA form IIM Trichy. She has worked as a lecturer in Biochemistry domain where she has mentored NEET aspirants. Her interest lies in badminton, dramatics and she is a trained classical dancer.