Updated: Jun 28, 2020
The blog is not all about IIMs and a lot of aspirants wanted a take on the management entrance exams other than CAT. So, here is an introductory piece related to MICA, formerly Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad, penned down by Karma Gandhi, who shares how he aced the MICAT 2019 exam by revamping his attempt strategy. The insights shared by him can be applied to any management entrance exam.
In Karma's Words:
Why MBA & MICA
It all started during my second year of engineering when I started working in an e-commerce start-up which sells electronic components and books and was bridging the gap of "accessibility” in a tier-2 city. It completely changed my perspective from strictly technical to a business perspective.
Soon, I thought that I will have to explore the business side of things as well. So, during my second year of engineering, I started pursuing BBA along with B.Tech and have now completed both of them. All these changed my horizons and I knew that an MBA was the perfect course that I was looking for.
I joined a coaching institute for CAT preparation and was doing my research on different colleges and I came to know about MICA. The course, the curriculum along with the whole idea of giving different specializations in marketing in the second year, great academic and gender diversity were some of the many reasons which motivated me to make MICA my dream college.
My MBA Journey
So back in 2018, I was preparing for every major management aptitude tests like CAT, XAT, IIFT, SNAP, MICAT, NMAT, etc. Along with pursuing B.Tech and BBA, I was also involved in a lot of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. Was leading some teams in different NGOs and was taking up different Position of Responsibilities in committees and organizations, I was making sure that my learning curve never takes a back seat.
So, unlike CAT which can be given only once in a year, MICAT (entrance exam for MICA) can be given twice in a year. So, I appeared for MICAT-I on 1st Dec, 2018. I scored a pretty low 29/105 marks in that. All my dreams of joining MICA came to a standstill and I was continuously speculating whether I could crack it or not.
After some days I made up my mind and thought of analyzing what went wrong. So, I found that there was not much problem in the content part of aptitude but I lacked the strategy of attempting the paper. I then started to attempt the whole paper in rounds.
My Attempt Strategy
The first round constituted of attempting those questions which I was sure of getting right, at least maintaining an accuracy rate of 95% and which I could solve in just under a minute, hence maximizing the ROI.
The second round aimed at solving those marked questions which could be done but which would require around 2-2.5 minutes of my time. The third round included all the reading comprehension and data interpretation questions which might be easy but which required a lot of time.
Finally, the fourth round was for the rest of the difficult questions which I may or may not have been able to solve. So, I applied this strategy in my mocks for MICAT and concluded that one might not reach Round 4 in every mock, so one needs to be flexible enough to adjust based on the difficulty of the actual paper.
In a speed-based exam like MICAT, attempting in rounds and never getting stuck on a single question is the key to scoring well.
So, I applied all these in my second attempt of MICAT in January, 2019 and I increased my score from 29 to 62 scaled score which was in the top percentile of the test takers. I was happy seeing my result and was expecting an interview call from MICA. I was finally in the awe of going towards converting my dream B-School. One day after the aptitude test results, the interview shortlist were declared and I was once again shattered of not getting an interview call even after scoring so well in the aptitude test.
So, here’s a catch, MICA is the only management exam in India (after GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL) which also has a descriptive writing section. So, maybe the evaluators didn’t like my descriptive writing section or maybe due to very less time I wasn’t able to articulate it in a better way. So, this was the only reason why I didn’t fetch a call although I had a decent MICAT and XAT score which were the other requirements for interview shortlist.
Fast forward to 2019, so this time I gave only MICAT-II, as I was sure of the clearing the aptitude section and was working on the descriptive section. I scored a decent 57 scaled score this year and finally got an interview call from MICA.
I gave my interview in Mumbai, which was my best interview of all the interviews I gave where the panellist wanted to know me as a person more rather than the traditional why MBA interviews and I finally got a straight convert from MICA. There were a lot of things that happen in between CAT 2018 and CAT 2019 and also in my MICA interview and the day when I got the admission email from MICA, but let’s take this for some other day.
So, this was an introduction to Karma's MBA journey and how he created a strategy to attempt MICAT in a way which pushed his scores up. If you also wish to read his interview experiences or have any specific queries that he can take up in the future articles, feel free to mention them in the comments.
Would like to thank Karma for taking out his valuable time to write this down. I'm sure it'll benefit the MICAT 2020 aspirants. I would also like to let the CAT aspirants know that a similar strategy can be used for the QA section of CAT, which is also referred to as the Rounds Technique. If you want me to elaborate on it in a separate post, do share in the comments :)
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