Whether you have just decided to prepare for the CAT exam or you are already midway your preparation, this article will help you with handling a very common ailment among CAT aspirants.
The CAT exam is an aptitude test and does not have any defined syllabus. The paper is set up by some of the brightest minds in the country from top management colleges. This makes the exam not only one of the toughest exams in the country but also very unpredictable and demanding. Since the CAT exam is designed to gauge a candidate’s mental abilities, the only way to prepare for it is by keeping the mind sharp. Often students get derailed from their track while preparing due to several factors like procrastination, lack of motivation, lack of concentration, time pressure, and so on. This leads to stress and anxiety.
Gearing up for the exam and keeping up the consistency can get difficult and I know this because I have been through the same things for the last two years. So here are some important tips to keep in mind while preparing. These are general tips and will work for almost everyone, whether you are in your final year, in drop year or in a job.
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How to deal with stress/procrastination/lack of concentration?
1. Think and Reflect-
I THINK THEREFORE I AM - Descartes "
What this means is keep some quiet time for yourself (preferably in the morning) and think about your MBA, about your preparation, what you will do today, about your goals/mission, about life, about important things or decisions. Sounds simple and easy but we often don't do it. This will not only reinforce your will to do what you want but will also motivate you internally. External motivation will always fade away because its effect is ephemeral, what will drive you through the months of hard work is your determination, will and strength of mind. Remember it's a marathon and not a sprint and you need to have clarity.
2. Get organized-
Once you start preparing it's difficult to keep up because of lack of concentration and it’s very easy to procrastinate. To tackle this, the key is to get organized and scheduled. The mind needs new things and gets bored easily so give it some variety. What i used to do was inculcate 3 aspects in my schedule: they are WORK, EXERCISE and ENTERTAINMENT. Once you have decided your aspects, schedule it.
This is what worked for me so feel free to make your own schedule but keep it easy and have proper time to rejuvenate, exercise and socialize. This would help you maintain your mental sanity as well.
Once you have your schedule adhere to it for some days and you will get used to it. Following it will become effortless and it will be easy to stay organized, to concentrate and to study. The beauty of this plan is that because there is variety, structure and time for everything you are more likely to follow it.
If you are working from home then try to squeeze out 2-3 hours before work and 2-3 hours after work. Now there is only one thing left to do, use point number 1 to decide what you are going to study/practice today in your work time. Stay tuned for the next article.
3. Form study groups-
If you walk the road alone, it might feel tiresome after a while. So it is advisable to form study groups with people of the same interest. You can find such peer groups at your college, coaching institute or even on social media platforms. There are many preparatory groups on Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram. These groups are very helpful when it comes to finding motivation, clearing doubts, discussing current affairs and other issues, etc. Members can also help you stay updated with new notifications, date deadlines, and exam updates.
4. Test yourself-
While you are preparing, keep testing yourself either through chapter-wise tests, sectional tests, mock tests, or full length tests. These tests give you targets and benchmarks that you need to meet or beat. These keep you motivated to keep working hard and improve your performance. Analysing tests help determine key actionables that need to be concentrated upon and reduce distractions.
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