About Neil:
He is Neil Merchant. His Grand Father named him so as he wanted Neil to be an astronaut! Well, he carved a different journey and has taken a giant leap now – he is pursuing PGP from IIM Calcutta..
He is a life-enthusiast and enjoys the variety it has to offer. Apart from indulging in the Goan susegad life, he gets a kick out of playing tennis, singing, and writing poems. Neil was very active in his undergraduate course, where he headed the sponsorship and placement departments of the campus. He has had diverse interesting experiences through his journey at the Jagriti Yatra, Lowfundwala (an advertising start-up based out of Mumbai) and TRRAIN, an NGO for the empowerment of people in the retail industry.

The only thing he will not divulge is his grades in Engineering 🙂

To know about how he went from 85 percentile to 99.88 percentile in CAT 2014, read on…

Neil’s Journey ussi ki zubaani :

I am Neil Merchant; I’m pursuing PGP at IIM Calcutta. As I had mentioned in a previous post, my scores were not up to the mark till I started following GP Sir’s blog. This was a month and a half to CAT when the exam pressure is at an all time high and one has a tendency to give up. Miraculously, my percentile in mocks improved from an average 85-86 to 99+ and I scored a 99.88 in CAT 2014. I have tried to consolidate my approach in this post; I hope it is helpful for the ones giving b-school entrances this year.
The first thing one must do is to give a mock test, regardless of prior preparation. This helps to get acquainted with the test environment, to assess one’s initial position and most importantly, to get the first-hand experience of what lies ahead for the rest of the season.

After you have set the ball rolling, go through the blog posts given below. These links are comprehensive and give the right direction required for the preparations. Read them patiently and imbibe them into the system, it will go a long way in strategizing and giving the tests. In my case, these helped in optimizing efforts and getting quick results.

In a nutshell it is, the commandments of CAT are:

  • You must not attempt the questions which you are not 100% sure of
  • You must attempt 100% of the questions you are sure of
  • You must give enough mock tests for practice

… But more importantly

  • You must thoroughly analyze each and every mock you give and not repeat the mistakes

It is imperative that you align your approach to these as much as you can. Trust me, nothing is more frustrating than seeing those negative marks on the questions one has spent a lot of time on, and in that process missing out on the easy questions at the end of the paper. In addition to that, giving mock tests without analyzing them is like shooting arrows without bothering whether they are hitting the target or not. It’s futile.

On the basis of the approach, the weekly schedule I prescribe for the test-takers is:

  • Step #1: Give a mock test, I usually gave it on Sundays
  • Step #2: Do all the questions attempted wrong or left unattempted in the paper
  • Step #3: Do a question-wise analysis, putting them into 6 categories (Good Shot, Risky Shot, Unforced Error, Double Negative, Missed Opportunity and Well Left). Refer to the third link shared above for details
  • Step #4: Do a sub-section wise analysis for the paper
  • Step #5: Identify weak areas (Points 2, 3,4 and 5 can be done on Monday )
  • Step #6: Solve questions from the weak areas, 3-4 days of the week dedicated to this
  • Step #7: If available, one must watch the corresponding “How I gave Mock CAT” videos. I can’t stress how helpful these videos were, I could write an entire post on it. Just imitate their techniques and the results would show. Here is the video snippet to one of the videos: http://youtu.be/0CAmIhFjer4
  • Step #8: Give the next mock!

I suggest you to take a mock test every week till one month to the exam, after which the frequency should increase to two mock tests a week. This shall give you sufficient practice required for D-Day. For your convenience, I have attached the analysis sheet I used for mock paper analysis (Click to download). The sheet has the question-wise analysis and the area wise analysis. I would like to re-iterate that analyzing mock tests is equally important, if not more, to giving them.

One thing I learned in the whole process is that it doesn’t matter where you start, you can always make it to where you want to be.

Never give up. Never compare. Keep the optimism. Keep improving.

I wish you all the best and hope that you succeed in obtaining a seat in your dream institute. It is not as far as you think it is.


Warm Regards,
Neil Merchant

For CAT aspirants;

In order to ensure that future CAT Aspirants do not need to go through hassles by visiting different sources to analyse each mock, CL has upgraded their Mock analysis through CAT Score Booster

  • The CAT Score Booster provides you with all the afore-mentioned articles in one place.
  • You get the full attempt videos by Gejo, Neeraj and I, so that you can identify yourself with different ways of strategizing for Mocks.
  • It takes your inputs regarding your areas of strengths and weaknesses (through the Strength finder widget) and divides each question into the 6 categories mentioned in the third link above.

Thus, all you do is feed in the modules you are comfortable/ not comfortable with and the system generates the result that Neil had to create manually for each mock.

To know more and experience the Booster Analysis Click here

This product might be the answer of all your queries wrt Mock Analysis. All the best!