Are you struggling to find motivation for the CAT exam?

Read this post along. It might help you. But this is one of my long posts. However, I felt it was important to set the backdrop so that readers clearly understand the message and its significance. This message has helped me. I hope it will help you as well. Please read it only if when you are free and have time for reading.


It was in March 2010 when Dhairya was discussing with his friends about their future. They were all telling what would they do after their exams of term-4 of the engineering get over. Some were about to join TIME to prepare for the CAT exam, while others were planning to join Made Easy or Engineering Circle to prepare for the GATE exam.

Listening to their plans, Dhairya got worried as he still didn’t know what he wanted to do in his life. For days, he kept thinking about his future but couldn’t reach any conclusion. A few months passed by. His friends had started their preparation. Most of his classmates would study for the competitive exams during class time. They would also bunk classes every now and then to take out time to study.

This made Dhairya feel jealous of others. He also felt a waft of an inferiority complex when he saw others working hard and himself doing no preparation at all. He felt restless and started thinking about his future all the time. Finally, he concluded that:

  • Those who aspire to do business take the CAT exam, but I am not at all a business person. So, the MBA is not for me.
  • I have been studying engineering, and I think I can prepare for GATE because the subjects of GATE and engineering are similar.

The GATE Journey:

This way, he decided to go for GATE coaching. Exactly after one year from the time when this discussion of the future began, in March 2011, he joined Made Easy coaching in Bhopal. In those days, Made Easy was the best coaching for GATE and IES. It was also the most expensive coaching.

He also requested his father to buy him a bike as coaching was at a distance of 10 km from his place and bike would save a lot of time, to which his father agreed, though unwillingly.

In the first few months, he was very enthusiastic about his preparation. He would attend a 3-hour class daily, and after that, he would do self-study for 4-6 hours besides attending his college. On weekends, he used to attend classes from morning to evening. He had been toiling very hard.

After a few months, in July 2011, placement season began. He could not clear the written test of Infosys because he was busy in his GATE preparation. But that failure hit him hard. His friends cleared the written test and moved to the interview round while he failed to clear the aptitude test. His family also got angry with him because he was not taking the placement seriously.

He eventually caved- in to this jolt and family pressure and started preparing for the campus placement. Eventually, he cleared the interviews of four MNCs. He succeeded in the placement but failed in the GATE preparation.

After he got placed, he felt nonchalant and couldn’t focus on the GATE preparation. He lacked in his studies, the GATE subjects didn’t fascinate him anymore, he didn’t have any strong reason to continue the painstaking preparation – attending classes for 8 hours in a go and doing self-study after the class.

He fared poorly in a few mock tests and got disappointed, and so, he finally gave up after August. Yes, he simply quit. In GATE 2012, he failed miserably.

Can you guess why?

  • Dhairya failed because he did not have a strong reason to prepare for the GATE exam. He had no idea about his “WHY.”
  • He suffered because he just followed the crowd.

Read: Learn To Fight Alone!

We often decide to pursue a competitive exam or any course just because others are doing it. I feel this herd mentality is the biggest reason behind the failure of many of us. In India, most of us do engineering not because we want to do it, but because everyone else is doing it.

The MNC Sojourn:

After he failed in the GATE exam, he felt a little sad, but the exuberance of farewell party and the signature day subdued that sadness. His completed his Engineering, and in a month, in May 2012, he had to join an MNC.

When he received his first salary, he felt ecstatic. He was on cloud nine. He had to be. After all, he had started earning a handsome salary of INR X per month. That salary was handsome because it was more than enough for a single man with no responsibilities as such. He cherished his initial few months of training at MNC.

But soon, he started feeling miserable there. He got a technology that was completely different from what he got trained in. Dhairya knew nothing about it. And in the project also, he did not receive any support. His manager would give him strict deadlines to solve the issues.

The project he was a part of required a thorough understanding of the business process to deal with the issues, but no one in the project had clear knowledge about the business process of the client. He talked about this issue with his manager but the manager asked him to manage it anyhow because that’s how the IT works.

He tried learning that technology but he could not cope with the pressure. His handsome salary no longer motivated him. He started feeling miserable there. He started feeling worthless. The callous management and petty office politics frustrated him formidably.

Read: From Corporate To Campus – The CAT Journey Of A Working Professional

And then, he decided to find a better opportunity for himself. After seeing the pathetic management, poor leadership, and petty politics in the office, besides a lack of business understanding, he made his mind to get into the field of business management.

The CAT Journey:

He decided to take the CAT exam and started learning about it in January 2013. This time, he had reasons to pursue CAT. He wanted to pursue CAT for the following reasons.

  1. Move out of that hell of a project and company.
  2. Save himself from petty office politics.
  3. Learn about business management and various business processes.
  4. Become an able manager and a good leader.

He started taking baby steps in January. The exam was scheduled in the last week of November. Just like in his GATE preparation, he experienced hiccups in his CAT preparation, his schedule was hectic and juggling the job and the preparation was getting difficult, but this time, he knew why he wanted to take the CAT exam, he knew the importance of that exam, and he had clear reasons to struggle and prepare.

Read: How Should I Prepare For The CAT Exam?

He found some topics difficult and the preparation tough, he was let down at times, and felt like giving up. But the moment he thought of continuing his job, he gave up the idea of giving up. In his CAT preparation, he persisted and persevered. During this journey, he remained patient in the face of failures (low scores in mocks).

There were times when he felt he was lacking in the competition, but then, he also managed to find ways to motivate himself, through pep-talks, motivational videos, success stories, failure stories, and the struggle stories. He badly wanted to move out of that place, so he managed to find reasons to not give up. And his job helped him. He gained motivation through frustration. His struggle at the workplace fuelled his fire within. And finally, he succeeded.

He cracked CAT 2013, and got admission into an IIM!

So, what is the learning from this whole story?








The learning is – KNOW YOUR WHY!

Realize that the competitive exams are not just about intelligence and talent. They are also about patience, persistence, and perseverance. Many people run fast, but not many do so for a sustained period, and that’s why many people fail to unleash their true potential in competitive exams.

When your dream is big, there will be hurdles and setbacks. As the murphy law says, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Sometimes, when things go wrong, they go wrong all at once. Life is not a cakewalk, and that’s a fait accompli. There will be times when you will be battered bitterly.

In such moments of setbacks, we should have some reason not to give up. We should be so desperate for success that giving up no longer remains a choice. If we want something badly, sooner or later, we will get it. If not successful, we will get some lessons for a lifetime, but your hard work will never be a waste. Just be patient. Perspire and persevere.

And most importantly, believe in the process and live your struggles because you can feel the sheer ecstasy only when you come through umpteen failures, brutal heartaches, and sheer struggles, for what defines us is not where we are but how we have reached there.

When we are let down, we begin to treasure every little thing that makes us happy, which is overarching to live life to the fullest. Sufferings are, in a true sense, blessings in disguise. They make us humble and sensitive from within. It’s imperative to feel blue and still keep the chin up and keep going, looking for ways to be happy. After all, life is not about being haves, it’s about what it makes of you in the pursuit. The more you endure, the stronger a force you become.

But that strength to persevere patiently comes only if we have a clear why. You can persevere only if you desire something badly and have a strong reason not to give up.

So, always start with why. Find your motivation for CAT exam preparation, and be mad after your dreams and desires. 

All the best 🙂

Read: From 2017 To 2019 – The CAT Success Story Of A Tier-3 College Engineering Graduate

Related Articles:

  1. From Completing B.Tech In 6 Years To Making It To An IIM At 27, Rohit’s CAT Journey Of Courage And Intent

  2. I Am Stuck In The CAT Preparation. What Should I Do?
  3. From 2017 To 2019 – The CAT Success Story Of A Tier-3 College Engineering Graduate
  4. From Rejection To Selection – My Campus Placement Journey
  5. Learn To Fight Alone!
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