Comments 18

What did you learn about yourself during the first week of lockdown?

As soon as the lockdown began, the idea that I should do a piece on how to use the lockdown entered my mind and I began writing it as well but somehow I lost interest mid-way. Something inside me told me that I will be doing a post just for the sake of doing a post, I will not be solving any problem since as far as CAT Prep goes there is no problem.

If anything most CAT aspirants should have it better since you have at the least been saving the time it takes to commute. I can only hope the real problem — the loss of livelihood — which affects unorganized workers (who constitute 80% of our workforce of 470 million) —  is something the readers of this blog and other CAT aspirants have not had to face.

So I thought the best thing to do would be to stay silent and let everyone, including myself, respond to these ten days and in the process learn a bit about themselves.

Some of you might be working in firms or fields where you have been inundated with work since the lockdown (the tech team that worked on the launch of our live portal barely slept for the last ten days and so has my team) so the post does not apply to you.

What does the mirror show you?

The lockdown (for the fortunate few) is no different from being offered a suitcase full of money, how have you spent it the first third of that money?

You have a goal — to get into IIM-A — how did you respond during the lockdown so far towards achieving that goal?

I do not need to list out all the things that you might have done, suffice to say that by now you should know the distance between your stated goals and your actions and more importantly the futility of those actions in the face of your dreams for your life.

There is nothing to be gained from watching more videos of Federer and worshipping him, he has made the most out of his life.

The TV shows make the careers of those who work on them, not yours.

The food shows just keep putting the cart before the horse.

All of us tell ourselves we want to do XYZ but we do not have the time to do it, the problem is with the world not with you. The lockdown really asks you to face up to the truth — is the problem the world or is the problem you?

Deep down inside each of one us knows what we need to do, even how we need to do it, and how much leeway we are allowed to have some fun and relaxation.

If you cannot make a plan for your day and manage the same then you can forget managing firms in the future.

Those who have asked their maids to also stay at home to practice social distancing will by now know that running a house is also a question of non-stop end-to-end optimisation and your mom never needed YouTube videos to figure that out.

You have wasted a third does not mean that the next two weeks need to be wasted.

You have used the first week reasonably well, it does not mean that you have found the optimal solution, see if you want to reverse your schedule and see if that works.

If you have found your best schedule then stick to it, it takes 21 days for a habit to get fully formed and it takes longer for you to see any tangible change.

The first target is simple — be ready to take SimCAT 1 scheduled to be conducted from 24-29 April.

Being ready for SimCAT 1 means knowing all the concepts and approaches to well enough to solve all the easy problems across all areas.

You can do this just by watching all the videos on the LEARN Module of myIMS. Spending just 2 hours every day from today will be more than enough for you to finish being concept-ready.

If you have finished the concept videos, then there enough and more practice problems to get ready for SimCAT 1.

If you have more time on your hands then there is no better time than this to read the books outlined in this post — https://thecatwriter.com/2017/04/22/preparing-for-an-mba-and-not-just-the-cat/

You can either use these upcoming weeks to the fullest or find yourself exactly in the same spot one year from now and with less time on your hands and more guilt on your mind.

Do not forget — practice is theory.


  1. Dear Sir,
    While reading this blog, I felt as if I am listening to you, rather than reading. This post is valuable for everyone who wants to bring a change in his/her lifestyle or learn anything new. Thank you Sir and I always find motivation in your words.
    Anurag Deo


    • Hi Anurag!

      Good to hear from you on this blog, one can infer from this that the lockdown that given you a lot of free time!

      Hope you are doing well.

      All the best!


  2. Utkarsh says

    Thanks you sir. I would like to request you to please take charge of all SimCAts VARC explanation this year. There were only 2-3 last year but were very impactful. Also, I have been waiting for other variants of SimCATs so that I can purchase and start practising the take home mocks.


    • Hi Utkarsh,

      Glad you found the feedback useful, I have too many things on my plate to be able to handle all 16 SimCATs. But I’ll ensure that everyone uses the same format. I’ll take 3-4 like I did last time.

      The rest of the variants will get launched as we get closer to the first SimCAT.

      All the best!


  3. Vedant Gupta says

    Dear Sir,
    Due to COVID-19 colleges will most likely take the remaining interviews through online PI. Could write a post for the aspirants who have their interviews left about how should we go about preparing for it in the next two weeks. Also would there be any changes in the way the interviews would be conducted since the medium has changed?


    • Hi Vedant,

      I do not think there is anything different in terms of preparation that you can do for an online interview. There is nothing that I have not covered in these posts — https://thecatwriter.com/category/wat-gd-pi/.

      Since the medium has changed it is likely that they might give everyone a topic to speak on extempore along with the regular interview either at the beginning or at the end.

      Just ensure that you find the right spot in your room/house to give the interview from.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


  4. Hi Sir,
    I was thinking of making the most of this lockdown period by doing some courses on coursera. Please suggest me some of the best courses that will help to strengthen my cv. My college is sponsoring most of the courses. I’m interested in marketing. I am in final year of college. I have two job offers in my hand , but I feel taking them would hamper my studies. So, I would like to know if doing courses will help me in getting into the IIMs.


  5. Himakshi says

    Reading your blogs often times are a slap on the face. It puts reality in front of us, just what we really need. Thank you 🙂


  6. Satyam Srivastava says

    A very Informative post Sir.
    I need ur help in this-
    I prepared for CAT 2019 while working in IT(1 year 8 months current work ex) & scored 93.02 percentile (first attempt) . I’ve also converted IMI New Delhi & IMT Ghaziabad (Marketing) (as of now).Now I’m confused whether to go with the current options or prepare for next year.My company has 3 months of notice period which i assume can be reduced to 2 months if i convinced my manager hence I’ve to apply for the resignation as soon as possible if I’m looking to join a B school this year.but still I’m not able to decide whether to go with IMT Ghaziabad or spend 1 more year for the preparation.My poor academics 95/75/74.20 ensures that i won’t be getting most of the BLACKI calls even at a really high percentile.Also i would admit that it’s been 5 months since i’ve last seen the CAT related questions hence i’m not so sure about my current capability(to be honest now i’m thinking that i won’t be able to score even 60 percentile since I haven’t touch the books in a while).
    Please help me out with this quandry as i think a lot of students are able to relate with my story & your Suggestion is going to be really helpful for us.
    Thank you in Advance


  7. Kartik Goyal says

    Hello Sir, I am inspired by your articles. I have sent you a message on Instagram. Can you please check it.
    Thank You.


    • Hi Kartik,

      Glad to hear you find my articles helpful.

      My IG account is a separate project and is not a medium through which I communicate.

      You can put in any query you have here.

      All the best!


  8. Shaunak Gaikwad says

    Hello Sir,
    I’ve been catching up on your articles lately and have been religiously implementing it in my day to day schedule.

    I am a student of IMS VVN and my target is CAT 21’ .

    I have two questions sir :

    1. Since the lockdown, I have started learning the topics given in module one and am solving them at my own pace and enjoying the process.
    I pick the module everyday with zero pressure but only with the urge to finish a small portion of some topic .
    Is my way of approaching the study schedule correct or should I get my head down and start grinding? Cause if I have two years before giving CAT, I want to make sure I get nothing but IIM-A.

    2. This might sound like a menial question but in the article’s final line , the sentence ‘Practice is theory’ has been written.
    I’m not able to make out it’s meaning sir.

    Thank you for your articles , it makes me strive towards my goal each day.


    • Hi Shaunak,

      Glad to know that you find the posts useful and are trying to implement the same.

      1. I think what you are doing now is perfect since the test is a long way out and you need to peak at the right time. Choose the learning chunk that makes you break into a light sweat, so you are not grinding it out but you have had a gentle workout. More importantly, focus on really understanding what you learnt for good, looking at things conceptually and not in terms of formulas.

      2. By practice is theory I mean that there is no use knowing how to go about things, the best methods, the best plans — be it for fitness, yoga, meditation or self-realization – what matters it practice. So I can be reading a book on Indian spirituality and understand all the concepts but if I do not sit in meditation all of the knowledge is useless. Until put into everyday practice, the theory is useless.

      Also, menial is usually used to refer to work that is low-level, degrading, and manual; the word you should have used is trivial.

      But I do not think the question is trivial, I am not sure a lot of people precisely understood what I meant.

      All the best!


  9. R S says

    Hi Sir,
    Thank you for the article!I had asked you for suggestions in one of your previous posts regarding taking GMAT along with CAT .The game plan was to wrap up GMAT by June but amid the crisis would it be advisable to give GMAT either in end July/ early August or post CAT(I am located in Mumbai)?I want to apply for Master in Finance in US/France just in case I don’t crack good Bschools in India.(Acads:10th :92.77,12th:90.15, B.E.: 9.39 CGPI, Work ex: 11 months as Software Developer, 2.5 months as risk analyst in Financial Services Firm, CAT 2019:90.29%).


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