Mental Prep For CAT And Strategies For The D-Day By An IIM Student

CAT 2017 is almost here. With almost a week to the fateful date, nervousness runs wild in the veins of many. Yearlong preparations and hard work will bear fruit on 26 November 2017. For your own good, you all are not like I was a year ago and are prepared well for the test. Yet there are a few things that you might want to do in the next few days to come and on the day of the test. They did help me, might help others too.

The first suggestion that I would like to offer the hard-working student community with, is getting their sleep cycles straight. Yes, it’s tough to prepare for CAT. It’s important that one stays awake until the late hours of the night, studying, utilising those extra hours that can be squeezed in the day. It also helps prove that one is working hard for CAT. But it’s all useless if sleepy, groggy, and cranky during the day. The test will take place in broad daylight, during the timeslot fate deemed fit for you. So, it’s natural to assume that your brain should be trained to think and work during that time. If you are generally accustomed to sleeping at 4 in the evening, you will be sleepy during the evening slot.

Make sure to visit the exam centre at least one day before the exam. Last year I was exceptionally lucky in my case. With just one centre needed I found two buildings, some 500 metres apart, having the same name as the centre printed on the admit card. It got even trickier when the guards in front of both the buildings were adamant about the fact that they were standing in front of the right building. Finally, we figured the guard who was telling the truth and who was lying. But, it was not very motivating to find out that centre was a 20-minute walk from the gate.

Needless to say, practice makes perfect. For the remaining time, practice as much as you can. CAT is not an exam of formulas, but of understanding and practice. It will not ask tough questions but tricky ones. The understanding of the basics will help you more than cramming up the integration of different functions.

On the day of the exam, have a different strategy for the different sections. The same approach to all 3 sections will not be a smart thing to do. In the paragraphs of the vocabulary section, your general knowledge is your biggest enemy. Paragraphs are not the place to show it off. It’s not a test of who knows the most about Global Warming or Philosophy, but how much one can understand other points of view. The paragraph provided is written by someone else, it bears their perspective, their line of thinking and their conclusions. So, if the paragraph says that one should be open to lying for the good of others, then that is the answer to be marked when the conclusion of the paragraph is asked.

Some questions in the quantitative section are more of a treasure chest, situated across a river of raging waters. One will eventually cross it, but the time spent in the process is generally fatal. No question is worth 5 minutes in a section.

Most importantly of all, RELAX! During the exam, I took one-minute breaks to calm myself down and focus back. I thought of the food menu for the night. Just a bit too loudly though, people find it strange when you suddenly say Burger!

All the Best!

Gaurang Gupta

Management student in IIM Shillong with a work experience of 11 months in IT Domain

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