In this straight-from-the-heart post, Siddharth Raikar (CAT 2015 99.87 percentile) shares his CAT 2015 experience. Read on to know how he massacred the test, kept his nerves when things turned turbulent, and emerged victorious! 

Siddharth RaikarHad checked out my centre a day before with Siddhesh (my SPIT batchmate). It was about 10 km away from the place where we were staying. The centre was a part of an educational complex. The setting almost reminded me of Bond’s childhood mansion from Skyfall. (Adele’s Skyfall repeatedly played in those rare moments of mental silence during the test.) All of the buildings looked well done. One of them had glass walls. The road that took us to this place however, gave us a completely different picture. Tractors, goats, and half broken huts made us wonder if the centre would have any decent computers to begin with. It did. Fortunately!

So on the 29th, I got up at 6:00 am. Got ready. Had coffee. Put on a brown jacket and a black scarf to battle the cold. Both Siddhesh and I looked like hitmen for hire. To add to that, we were on a white Activa. The perfect stop-shoot-bolt vehicle.

Anyway, we got there at 7:30 am. As soon as we parked the Activa, we were handed small chits to fill. (It’s really evil to gather phone numbers and email IDs from scores of unsuspecting students who think that this has something to do with the exam.)

Both of us had the same lab. We went through the registration process. There was an extremely annoying man in his late 30s who sat a couple of seats away from me. Must have been a professor. Though I’m willing to bet he taught Quant, because he said, and I quote, “kahe ka waiting kara rahe ho humse” to the lab authorities when he didn’t agree with their concept of ‘stand in a line and wait for your turn’.

Just before the test started, I kept repeating my home address to myself. (Oh I should explain, I was watching Jessica Jones a few days before. There the central character recites her home address every time she gets anxious. It’s a neat trick. Everyone’s home is the most secure location one has ever been in and repeating the address, not surprisingly, calms the mind too.)

And then, the test started. Was a bit taken aback with the tabs inside RC & VA. I started off with VA like I have always done in the mocks too. Solved the easy ones first. Left a couple of parajumbles for later. Then I switched to RCs. I kept knocking one passage after the other. Before I knew it, I had 10 minutes to go and about 4 questions left to mark. I did my best to mark them, ending the Verbal section on a much better note than I had anticipated.

Then came DI & LR and here is where I faltered. The tabs made me allocate my time equally. It did not occur to me that I could spend more time in LR than DI and still perform good in the section overall. But, there was something that was going to go wrong. And I’m glad it was this. I think I did just about OK in this section. I remembered Shashank saying, go for accuracy in such cases. There was a Sudoku set which seemed extremely tough. But I used options of two questions to crack this one. Fortunately, only one pair of options was consistent with the info. But I was really glad to have cracked that set.

And I think that helped me put in a bit extra in Quant. My attempts, even when Quant was the first section, had never touched the 30s. And later on, they were never above 25. But I was strangely in control throughout the section. After 30 minutes I had attempted 16 questions and had viewed around 20 of them. Eventually towards the end, with about 4 minutes left, and 6 unanswered questions, I decided I was going to leave the ones I had no clue about. In hindsight, should have left the one on mixtures, but I thought at the time, it was just a matter of equations. Anyway, I was able to solve 3 of them. The last one was a calculation intensive question, for which I had to use the calculator. My hands were shivering and I kept entering incorrect numbers. Finally, I got the answer and marked it with about 10 seconds to go.

88 attempts. (34/23/31 -VA/DILR/QA)

I think I did my best. Irrespective of the result, I just want to thank you guys for being you guys. That might not make a lot of sense, but if I happen to get a good score, it’ll all be because of Learningroots. Thanks for everything! 🙂

Siddharth Raikar scored 212.64/300 with 99.87 percentile. His split was 87.1 in VARC (99.86), 52.24 in LRDI (98.34), and 73.7 in QA (99.53). In his spare time, he likes to read comics and runs a YouTube channel.

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