Stress and anxiety are two major deterrents which lead us into making wrong decisions. It is a feeling of anger, irritability or restlessness which may cause restlessness or trouble sleeping. CAT exam preparation is akin to taking a major decision in life, the anticipation of the D-day and preparation for it are two major stressful situations. There can be many situations which may put you under a lot of pressure and cause your stress levels to increase. We often may not have a lot of control over the outcome of a situation, but it is important to manage stress, keep calm and find the best solution to it. If MBA is the professional line you have opted for then there are several hurdles like exam phobia, you have to overcome to reach your desired goal.
Always be prepared with a contingency plan in mind and it is better to not quit your job to for CAT exam preparation especially if it’s the first attempt. Your job keeps you busy when you are preparing for an MBA and prevents any negative or pessimistic thoughts to enter your mind. Try to look at the bigger picture and plan your way in case of any mishaps. Be structured in your approach towards life and be prepared with a timetable, which needs to be followed.
• Prepare a timetable and include a fixed time to cover all topics for CAT exam preparation in which you are weak
• Have a positive attitude and accept events you cannot control
• Learn and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management
• Follow a hobby to distress
• It is very important to exercise well and stay healthy
• Eat a well-balanced diet to stay nourished and it also helps control your mood swings
• Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
• It is important to take a break once in a while
• Read some exam motivational quotes
• Talk about any problems you are facing with your mentor or friends and family
• Sleep well as it helps your body to repair and restore mental well being
Following the ways, to distressing, yourself may seem like a herculean task but it is all about taking control of the situation and finding out the optimum strategy. Take as many mocks as your schedule permits. It is not just important to take mocks but also analyze mocks and understand what mistakes you made and in which sections. Prepare a better plan for your next mock test and try not to repeat the same mistakes in the next exam. Read the newspaper daily to stay updated on news articles and read international news as well. This practice will boost your reading speed as well and will be extremely helpful for your MBA exams. Articles from the New York Times, The Guardian and Aon news have appeared several times in Reading Comprehension passages for CAT exam preparation.
On the day of the exam, there may be many things which may go wrong but stay calm as getting anxious will lead to stress and you will lead to bad decisions. Make a list of things-to-do before the day of the exam and stick to the checklist to avoid mishaps at the last moment. Read all instructions carefully on the official CAT website before the examination day. If any unforeseen situation presents itself, try to take help of the invigilators or authorities at your examination center. Divide time equally for all three sections for CAT exam preparation. Go through each section well and attempt the easy questions first and go for the moderate or difficult questions later. Divide time well and put in use the strategy made while giving your latest mocks.
Following the above points will not only help you in your CAT exam preparation but will also help on the day of the exam. Always try to share your problems with someone who can understand you well and may guide you like a mentor. It will not only help you relieve your stress but will also aid you in making an informed decision. Spend time with those who you enjoy and avoid negative or pessimistic people. Follow someone in life whom you look up to, it can be some celebrity, your teacher, your friend or your parents. See motivational videos of people who succeeded in life.
CAT toppers as you will be more encouraged to come out of tricky situations which may cause stress for you. Believe in the process of learning through making mistakes, so forget your stress, own your decisions and take a different approach in case you fail.
Many celebrities have a success mantra which they follow to avoid stress and take wise decisions as any decision taken under duress will never be a good one. Warren Buffet believes “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” So, stay positive and lead a stress-free life and take each moment as it comes.
Finally, I will leave you with a rumination from India’s favorite fiction writer Chetan Bhagat, who did his mechanical engineering at IIT Delhi and completed an MBA at IIM Ahmedabad. “Don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to have a balanced, successful life. I used the word balanced before successful. Balanced means your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order. Life is not meant to be taken seriously as we all are temporary here. We are like a prepaid card with a limited warranty. Don’t be serious, be sincere”.
On this note leave your stress behind and work doubly hard to “bell the CAT”.