Final leg of preparation before the CAT

As you enter the final leg of preparation before the CAT, what matters most is your ability to overcome last minute anxiety.

Preparing for a crucial exam like the CAT normally entails preparation on two dimensions – improvement of one’s ability followed by performance management. In the final week leading up to the CAT it is almost certain that as far academics is concerned, you are prepared. But the way you spend the last week, will have a huge impact on your results.

The situations a CAT aspirant faces in the week before the exam can be compared to the one a top athlete faces before an important championship. What should be clear to all readers (especially those who are appearing for CAT) is that while al the practice and the hard work that has gone in till date was indeed crucial for you – you are now entering perhaps the most crucial phase of your preparations. Unfortunately most aspirants fail to do any significant performance management exercises during the days leading to the examination and that results in unfortunate consequences.

Here are a few tips on what you could do to ensure peak performance:

Have self belief: While appearing for the exam you are bound to face a couple of setbacks and it is true for even those who sore a 100 percentile. What differentiates the winners form those who fail to make it, is how quick the recovery is from them. Have confidence in our abilities and remind yourself that no matter what has happened to you in the previous question (or even questions) you have attempted you are going to be able to crack the next time.

You cannot answer everything: In the CAT you can afford to leave a few questions and that in turn will not hurt you much. At the very least there will always be a way back from any disaster – as far as the disasters do not compound themselves one after the other. For a well prepared student compounding of disasters would only occur due to complete loss of mental control. Something that can only happen if you let the pressure get to you.

It is not the last resort: The biggest disservice you could do to your chances in the exam is to equate success or failure in the exam to success for failure in your life. This is on thought you simply cannot allow to cross your mind while taking the exam. Hence, before you enter the exam hall you should have a firm idea of how you are going to spend the year, in case you do not perform up to expectations.

Ability is important – but form is crucial: The concept of form is akin to the form of a cricket batsman. So while ability is definitely important form is perhaps more crucial in the last week. Thus, in the days leading to the CAT you should perhaps do some light solving n flowcharting of questions. Flowchart a few DI and quantitative aptitude questions each day solve a couple of reading comprehension passages (ideally all from previous year CAT papers) in order to ensure that your mind is working. This is important also as to reassure yourself of the fact that everything is not gong to fall apart in the exam. Maintaining form is very crucial in the days leading up to the examination especially in the verbal and reading comprehension sections.

Be aggressive: At least for the first 15 – 20 minutes in the exam play on an area where you score marks fastest and solve aggressively meaning go for only questions that are easily in our range The idea is to try to get ahead of time right from the start of the exam. The longer the duration for which you are ahead of time the lower would be the pressure on you.

Do not think of the invisible competitor: Your first task should be to ensure a basic minimum score in the exam. Hence for instance if you are aiming for an IIM seat, your first target in the paper should be to ensure that you reach 30 percent of the overall marks as soon as possible.