I am a final year Engineering student, graduating in 2014. Luckily, even with a not-so-great GPA, I got placed in a good company in the first or second week of placement.

Placement in a good company had looked a distant dream in the previous summers with my frail GPA. Keeping this in mind, I had decided to start preparing for CAT. Two months of summer vacations, I slogged it out, fighting with Quants and Verbal to some luck.

Back at college and post my placement, these entrances took over my life. Weeks turned into months as I spent my time solving sectional tests, mocks and whatever questions I could lay my hands on. My confidence grew as I saw my mocks consistently churning out a decent score, with 1 or 2 exceptions. Hopes were on for a 99+ percentile.

The exam season commenced. The first exam I decided to give was CMAT, for the 20 odd seats in JBIMS. Treating it as more of a practice test against 700000 applicants, it was supposed to reflect my preparations for CAT. However, I had absolutely no idea about what to expect from the Current Affairs section of the exam. Final Score -99.35 percentile. -Respectable.

CAT. All the preparation and hard work materialized to one single focused effort of the human mind. Quant wasn’t that great but I was pretty sure I would manage a decent score. However a decent score wouldn’t be enough to make the cut and I needed to maximize. Under pressure, I attempted all the questions in Verbal. Now people will tell you about their Verbal being a binary scenario. Either it’s all right or it’s all wrong. I belong to that group. But generally I’d get a good score in my mocks by having a good accuracy so I came out of the exam centre pretty confident.

However, with the months, my confidence ebbed away. And by December, I felt I had no chance whatsoever. As soon as I was done with my college exams and back home, I took the next logical step in such a scenario- Started preparing for XAT. Starting with a decent level in Quant and a good level (at least I thought so) in Verbal, I attacked my weakness in Decision Making. As the exam inched closer, even this looked like it would all fall right into place, what with the mock scores and time management techniques working out.

 XAT. During the exam day, the time management all went horribly wrong. Still I managed to consolidate, hold on and gain some confidence by the end of it. I left feeling that I had a fair chance of making it through, as the paper was reasonably difficult this time.



QA 96.85

VA 95.02

OA 97.81


QA 96.xx

VA 82.xx

DM 78.xx

OA 94.62

And there you have it. One eventful week of January ended all my hopes of a good college. I was inclined to think that Verbal betrayed me but it’s fruitless. As long as you don’t have the results, you can NEVER justify your efforts. No one cares.

Interestingly, this season made me learn a lot of important life lessons. The fruitless results notwithstanding, these lessons will take anyone ahead if they embrace the learning and are at peace with them.

1. India is a land of cut-throat competition. If you are doing something and are working hard for it; good. Just know that there is always someone else who is doing it better. That someone is who you need to compete with. Thus comes the need to constantly strive to improve yourself.

2. Sometimes, consistency gets you nowhere. For all my endeavours and results, I am nowhere close to competing for the top colleges. In contrast, my friend gets 99.xx in XAT and 70.xx in CAT and is the happiest person in the world. One arrow hitting the bulls-eye is all it takes.

3. The most baseless thing people can do in such a scenario is to blame the system. I had someone with a bad CAT percentile blaming the system for his marks. And then XAT came out and he realized he had fared no better. It’s rarely the system that is wrong. It’s just us and our lack of courage to accept the fruit of our work. Discrepancies will always be there to some extent but I prefer to attribute it to luck rather than blaming the entire process.

This was my journey of toil and hard work. If not results, it did give me a lot of learning. No regrets as I gear up for the next season!!

-Anonymous (Guest Article)!!!


2 thoughts on “The tale of an IIM aspirant- Consistency, Giving Up on the System & Other Stories”
  1. This is just the first time you wrote the exam and you’ve come out with gyaan to give. It’s completely possible to be extremely well prepared and then have the result screwed up. If there was nothing wrong in the system then why is the process not transparent? You’ll learn these things as you write it again.

    1. What the writer is saying is that the system is mostly reliable. One exam can go wrong but on a general basis your results seem to be somewhat close. Also there is lack of transparency to avoid predictability in the exam.

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