This article is a combination of preparation advice and motivation in equal parts. As we draw closer to the CAT exam, the kind of questions and queries I get are pretty similar in nature. I thought I might as well distill these and come up with an article that addresses these questions for everyone.
In this article, I mainly talk about the mindset you need to adopt at this stage of your preparation. Mainly, I talk about the following things in this article.
A. What is it that you need to avoid at this stage?
B. What is it that you need to do at this stage?
C. Thoughts and ideas that are actually irrelevant
Let’s pick up these discussion points one at a time and understand what should be your ideal approach at this stage.
A. Following anyone and everyone out there in the market
Be careful with respect to the advice you follow. This includes me. If you don’t think I make sense or I am telling you things you already know, don’t spend your time here. At the end of the day, each of us knows deep down what needs to be done. Do that. Focus on your energy on that. We could do with lesser page-views and time-spent on our pages but you can
B. Trying to cover too much (including working on topics that you are miserable in)
Honestly, a delicate balance needs to be struck at this stage: topics you are miserable in
Remember, RC is excluded from this discussion and you are not allowed to say you are miserable at LR or DI.
C. Don’t over-analyse, over-plan, and over-think
Simple plans and strategies work best. If this means reducing few of the things (material, classes, etc.) you are following, so be it. Simplify your preparation and make sure your mind is clear.
D. Stop hoarding stuff
This is my favourite one. All of us are guilty of this. We just keep collecting more questions, more tests, more material, more PDFs, more books, etc. In short, we become hoarders. This most definitely does not help. Just make a list of things and material to complete. Stick to it. As simple as that. DE-CLUTTER your PREP!
E. Stop thinking about percentiles, what-if scenarios, and the like
Again, this does not help at all. What is it that you need to do in order to do well in the exam? You need to learn, practice, test, and analyse. Right? Thinking about anything else won’t help at this stage. So make sure you get rid of the mental baggage.
F. Things that don’t exist actually: Peaking too early for the exam
This is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. CAT is an aptitude exam; the more you work on something, the better you get at it. So in terms of knowledge and skill building, if you are honest with your preparation, you actually get g
G. Your mock scores are terrible and you feel the walls are closing in.
Let’s assume you are scoring 55 percentile in mocks. Things look bleak. There seems to be very little you can do in this short period of time. In short, the walls are really closing in and you could be crushed, right?
Well, there is another way of looking at things. Honestly speaking, this is just an exam. Whatever happens during those three hours, one thing is for certain: you won’t be shot dead in the exam and you will come out alive. The exam is actually not that big a deal as it is made out to be (our industry is to blame for it as well; MBA exams are hyped up for what they offer). Honestly speaking, there are hundreds of ways to get to the place where you want to be in life. And therefore, don’t let these scores impact you.
Very simply, focus on the process:
A. Establish what you need to learn and what you need to complete
B. Go through the content you have decided to complete
C. Do your best to understand things you can
D. Fight tell you can with things that you find tough
E. Be rational and sensible enough to understand that there will be things you won’t be able to master; don’t worry about the empty part of the glass, try to fill the glass with as much as you.
F. Test and analyse your performance; learn from every test you take
G. Revise what you have learnt so far
This process is the same for everyone. Just commit to it for the next 40 days or so; stick to your plan and make sure that at the end of this time period, you have no regrets. You just need to come out with the feeling you did your best. That is what you should target.
This completes this piece cum motivation rant.
Hopefully, you are pushed to do more and do it better after reading this.
Happy Learning and post your questions as comments.
Prashant Chadha AKA Wordpandit