Letters from AKS – 1 : Deepen Your Roots

One of my friends on FB shared this story narrated by Rahul Dravid. This is very relevant to our CAT/MBA Entrance Prep.

Let me first share the story

“When I’m requested to speak to youngsters I like talking about this phase of my life and liken it to fascinating plant: The Chinese Bamboo. You can take a Chinese bamboo seed and plant it in the ground, water and nurture the seed for an entire year & not even see a single sprout. Infact, you’ll not see a sprout for 5 years. But suddenly, a tiny shoot will spring from the ground. And over the next 6 weeks, the plant can grow as tall as 90 feet. It can grow as fast as 39 inches every 24 hours. You can literally watch the plant grow.

What was the plant doing during these 5 years, seemingly dormant period, it was growing its roots. For 5 full years it was preparing itself for rapid, full growth. Without this root structure, the plant simply couldn’t support itself for its future growth. Some would say the plant grew 90 feet in 6 weeks, I would say it grew 90 feet in 5 years & 6 weeks.”

Fascinating isn’t it? Many of us believe that CAT Prep is about learning short tricks and with a bit of management we may be able to crack the CAT. For all of us of this story should be an eye opener. Real success has no shortcuts. It will require us to deepen our roots. And each one of us will need different amount of time (and effort) to get them deep enough. By deepening the roots what I mean is to develop strong hold in the subjects and to develop an unmatched understanding and skill at those subjects. Here is a checklist for you to decide whether you are doing enough to deepen your roots (If your answer to all of them is Yes – your direction is well established)

1. Are you adding about 50 new words to your vocabulary every day?
2. Are you reading the editorials/business/national/international pages of an good English Daily & a business daily (Hindu/ HT – ET/BS/BL) daily.
3. Are you writing Central Ideas to at least two articles daily?
4. Do you have a timetable and are you meeting your milestones in the schedule with diligence? (If you are already a CHEM student your schedule/milestones are designed to ensure that you are burning the midnight oil – required to deepen the roots)

The above should require approximately 6 hours of your day – everyday. Depending on when you started preparing (actually) you may have to increase the number of hours devoted to CAT Prep.

By the way, while we are at the topic of deepening our roots – Those preparing for CAT-20 may already be appearing for a test series (iCATs at CHEM). The important question is not what was your score? It is this – what did you do after the test?

Here is concrete action that, if taken, will help deepen your roots.

Solve the entire test again – this time without the time pressure. Solve every question again. This means read every passage again – compare options – consider why the right answer is the right one and why others are not. Take the trouble to look up words in the dictionary if you are not sure of them.

First – try the question yourself. Give it enough time and trials. If you do not make any headway with the question –check the solution. If you are still dissatisfied, write/talk to yoru faculty with your query.

Let me close this letter by answering a lingering doubt that is running in your mind as you read this letter. Is it too late to deepen my roots because I did not do much till now.

To me, this is an irrelevant question. Look we will need to deepen our roots – if we wish to succeed. So it is immaterial when we start. Are we suggesting that because it is late, we shall not start? Is that the logical thing to do. Forget this question – start today, start now. You have to maximize your performance – the stronger the roots – the better your chances.

Time to sign off this time. Will come up with another issue in another letter. Keep in touch

Akash Sethia
Author Akash Sethia is Co-founder of CH EdgeMakers
Akash Sethia