In some ways I am glad that when I was trying to answer the question “how to prepare for CAT” I never took the normal, typical, assembly line CAT Coaching that were the only ones that existed when I cracked the CAT.
I feel a short snippet of my IIM B interview is relevant to your success at CAT later this year, even though it is not related to Quant, DILR, or VARC. I say this because there is no way you can succeed even with the best CAT exam preparation course, if you are not in a positive frame of mind.
My IIM Bangalore Interview Experience
My IIM Bangalore Interview was aeons ago – so, pardon my memory but a part of it went like something like this.
Interviewer 1: So, which newspaper do you read regularly?
Me: None really, sir
Interviewer 1 (attempting a gentle correction): None in particular, or none regularly, you mean?
Me: No, sir. I almost NEVER read ANY newspaper.
Interviewer 2 (with an incredulous look and tone): And why so?
Me: Ahh sir, because they don’t tell news.
Interviewer 1 (in a tone oozing sarcasm and all set for some entertainment at my cost): Enlighten us …
Let me share the crux of what went on for the rest of my interview – for a good 15 minutes.
I didn’t read newspapers and I don’t read newspapers. I don’t watch news channels. Well, almost never. Unless I have to catch up something specific including a speech or some sport.
Why? Let me give you reasons:
- Because newspapers or news channels don’t tell news. They sell news.
And this small change in the spelling of the crucial verb changes everything.
They don’t inform you of what you need to know.
They print or play (on a loop) what gets them eye-balls. And that means they are never matter-of-fact. They are simply vying for your attention.
And that is done by tugging at some strong emotion – using crisis, doom, sensation, controversy, crime, sex – hysteria of some sort. Something that would cause you to stick more and seek more. You don’t read the news and assimilate information – you consume the news, and the news consumes you. Think about it!
- Because news on these platforms is (almost always) headlined negatively. And that doesn’t help. It is neither factual nor helpful.
So, what do I do instead?
I don’t read newspapers doesn’t mean I don’t read news. But I get news that I seek (and not whatever is served) and I get it from sources that may be boring but are generally more accurate.
So, for the past couple of years, I might have checked the Ministry of Health website https://mohfw.gov.in and https://worldometers.info/coronavirus once daily. I interpreted & extrapolated any data therein as per my understanding and reasoning.
And occasionally I checked for updates on a couple of other health related websites that I was referred and found trustworthy and data/logic oriented. A total of half an hour or so in a day. Just that!
Good news is rarely mainstream
Most news for the past couple of years painted a dark and dreary scenario – of how the COVID crisis will change the world for bad, and for ever. It’s the same with the Ukraine-Russia war. And it maybe the next crisis tomorrow. And that’s surely one way to look at things.
But on my facebook, Telegram and WhatsApp, I had 1oos of connections – friends from school, IIT Delhi, IIM Cal, some NGOs we work with, and a couple of celebrities I know – each of whom was doing phenomenal work. From ensuring oxygen to the needy, working out logistics for hospital beds, finding out the not-so-easily-available medicines at their MRPs, supplying ration, treating patients, feeding strays to anything and everything that humanity needed through this phase.
It painted to me a very different version of the world and the future than the mainstream news may have. It helped and it allowed me to contribute in many ways. That’s where I would rather spend some time and energy.
Relevance to your CAT preparation
So, while every CAT coaching expert, will ask you to start reading newspapers (to stay updated and to improve your RC) from day-1, I respectfully dismiss both suggestions from these CAT Coaching experts.
- Even if you do follow their advice – be aware of what you are getting into and be sure you don’t want to pursue better ways of doing it. Then, you should be ok.
- Always remember that mindset plays a big role in your success at anything, including CAT, even if you have access to the best coaching for CAT!
And oh, l almost forgot adding this – I did make it through IIM Bangalore too. But I preferred IIM Cal. Why? Well, strange reasons again – will share with you someday soon.
About the author: Deekshant has sleep-walked through several 100 and 99.9 %iles in practically every section of the CAT. That he is a cricket fan and he writes okay is evident from most of his posts. 1000s of our students swear that he can motivate almost anyone to double his/her percentile through very simple yet powerful inputs. And that’s why every MBAGuru student has direct access to him via mail and Telegram. Oddly, he somehow also finds the time to write songs professionally. And yes … almost missed this … he is an alumnus of IIT Delhi & IIM Cal