Harvard Business School (SPNM), MBA: SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Master of Information Technology, Virginia Tech.
Scared of giving CAT? Avoid this CAT Phobia
" It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." Stress management is life management. If you take control of your stress, your life will thank you for it. Before starting preparation itself, a lot of CAT Aspirants tend to make the assumption that CAT is impossible to crack, or is not their cup of tea. Especially first time CAT takers listen to what others say about CAT (which is usually with a negative way undertone) and tend to get nervous from the start. However, we are here to bust that myth, and help you overcome your phobia of CAT exam! Learn how to strategically prepare for CAT and make your IIM dream come true
What leads to this Phobia amongst aspirants?
While the reality remains that the difficulty level of CAT is high, and more than some of the other MBA exams, it is definitely not impossible to crack. The questions in the exam are set to be moderate-high difficulty level so that only those who have prepared well can crack it. You are not expected to attempt every question in CAT, it is also about strategy and decision making. Which questions you choose to attempt, and which you choose to leave also has a huge weightage on how you score in CAT. Hence, the assumption that only the geniuses can crack CAT is not true. If you feel you are an average student, don't fret! With the right preparation, you can definitely pave your way towards to dream MBA college. But for that, it is important you start your preparations from the start and dedicate your full time and energy to it. All success stories from previous toppers and IIM converts have this in common, they were completely focused on their goal and gave their 100 percent dedication to it. So as long as you do this, believe me, nothing is impossible and definitely not CAT!!
Watch this video on how this CATKing student got an IIM call at 85 percentile!
What are the major tips to avoid CAT exam phobia
1. CAT is no rocket science:
The first and foremost task before studying for the “toughest exam” is to improve your perspective towards it. The syllabus for the exam is not rocket science. It’s something that everyone has already studied in school. You only need training about how to use your thinking, reasoning and analytic skills to crack it. This, along with the right amount of confidence is enough to get an awesome score. You can also speak to past CAT students and experts about their experience of writing CAT. Most of them will tell you this exact same thing. Don't go about reading random blogs and listening to people who haven't even attempted CAT. Try to get motivation in the right direction.
2. Start your preparations early:
To complete the syllabus and have enough revision before the actual exam, one needs to start early. CAT syllabus includes the following:
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
- Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
- Quantitative Aptitude
You should ideally begin CAT preparation when you are 12 months away from the actual exam. Study each and every topic from basics and then go for higher difficulty levels. Work on your vocabulary and reasoning abilities as well. You should complete your syllabus at least 6 months before and spend these months for revision, previous 10 year CAT papers and take mock CAT exams. In case this plan does not work out for you then remember a disciplined routine along with self-study is the key to success.
3. Focus on your strengths and weaknesses both
Know your strengths and weaknesses by taking chapter-wise tests. Pay attention to which section you need to work on. Since sectional cutoffs apply, you need to be equally good in all sections. Let's say you find it difficult to manage Verbal RCs, then try to solve at least two Reading Comprehension daily. Analyze where you went wrong, what sort of questions are you not able to solve. There must be a pattern, identify it, and work on it. However, at the same time, do not lose focus on your strengths. Spend time in revising your strong areas at least twice a week. A lot of students go wrong here, and invest all their time in their weaker sections, completely ignoring the rest. This can cost you in the final exam, soo try to keep an all-round approach from the start. Also read: How to crack Verbal for CAT
4. Make a proper study plan
Very often last-moment study plan makes the aspirants unsure about their preparation and in the end, they have no clue about how to handle the stress of CAT preparation. For this, make a proper study plan for the CAT exam that includes a sufficient amount of practice sessions for various sections of CAT syllabus. But planning alone will not be sufficient. One needs to follow that plan religiously. You should start your preparation in your own time slot and fit your plans into it. You should ideally split up your CAT preparation plan into four goal slots.
- DAILY TARGET: Study 2-3 hours daily. You should try to solve enough questions so that you finish your syllabus on time.
- SHORT TERM GOAL: You can divide the study time such that you give equal attention to each and every section of the CAT syllabus.
- LONG TERM GOAL: Finish CAT Syllabus by end August and then start mock tests.
- ULTIMATE GOAL: To crack CAT with excellent results
5. Talk to Experts
A personal mentor plays an important role in one's CAT preparation so that the aspirant can know how to manage stress or tension regarding their doubts. In your due course of CAT preparation, you will come across some topics or problems that you find difficult to understand or solve. Get your doubts solved by the experts. Holding your doubts will land you up nowhere and in the end, you will find that chapter difficult to master. If you have doubts about how to get s good strategy for CAT 2020, you can get free mentorship with our experts from IIMs, SP Jain, and NMIMS. Book your slot online now to get the Free mentorship online to crack CAT 2020. Moreover, use your gadgets especially mobile phones effectively. A wide variety of applications are available nowadays which help you get used to CAT preparation. But remember these apps just vet your appetite and help you get used to the preparation during spare time. This strategy works wonders with aspirants who travel for work. But no way should these compensate for dedicated preparation time.
6. Solve lots and lots of mocks
Time and again we have emphasized the importance of solving mocks for CAT and even other MBA exams. Mocks are a full proof strategy, they don't just give you a feel of how the real exam is going to be like, but also familiarize with the common questions that you can expect in the exam. This will help reduce your anxiety and stress to a huge level. At the same time, mock solutions give you certain tips and tricks to solve questions that otherwise would take up a lot of time. This way you can optimize your attempts as well. This is why solving mocks routinely is very important. Do not skip on this ever. If you are looking for the right set of mocks to solve for your CAT preparations, you can enroll in our mocks online. Get our mock course online that is curated by IIM alumni and prepare for CAT in the right manner.
Importance of Stree management for CAT:
While preparing for exams like CAT, stress management plays a very important role. The preparation journey can be overwhelming, but don’t let the pressure get to you. Often CAT aspirants tend to lose their interest because they succumb under the stress to score higher. Remember that if you start early, it can be a gradual process and over time you will see a remarkable improvement in your score and performance.
Try to make stress management a part of your preparation plan. Invest a fixed amount of time every day for each topic and mocks. Don’t overdo yourself, and try to fit everything in one day itself. Take time out of the routine for yourself and do something you love, it could be watching a movie, watching a series, or reading a good book. Do whatever you like, but in moderation. Don’t let the leisure activities overpower your preparations either. You can also resort to meditation that can help you calm your mind and increase your concentration. Also, if you are into sports, do that! It’s great for your physical and mental health. If you like playing mobile games, try to include some logical games like Sudoku or 2048 also, soo that you have fun and gain some skills at the same time.
Balance is the key here. In the end, you are a human and there is a limit to how much you can do. All you need is to be consistent in your efforts, and definitely you will not have to worry about the rest. Also, if you can overcome your stress, your CAT (or any other exam) preparation will be smooth enough and then you will not see CAT as “a tough paper”, instead, you will start enjoying it. This way your efficiency and productivity will definitely multiply.
I hope you liked this article on how to avoid CAT exam phobia. Stay calm, stay motivated, and strive on! All the best.