Anxiety, Stress & Procrastination – Solutions For Effective CAT Prep

Are you preparing for CAT?

Are you preparing along with your job?

Are you one of those dejected GEMs?

Are you losing your confidence as the months are getting reduced? Are you anxious about what will happen in CAT 2018?

If all or even few of the answers to the aforementioned questions are YES, don’t worry.  So am I. So are we. So are the IITians, NITians, non-engineers, females, people having reservations, people having prolific extracurricular activities. In short, everyone. And it is bound to happen. We are meant to be anxious. It’s a competitive exam after all, where the stakes are high but that shouldn’t have a deterring effect on our performance.

Causes of feeling apprehensive might be due to many reasons. People who have left their jobs might feel insecure about “What if I can’t crack it?”  Working professionals tend to feel that If only I had more time!!” Aspirants in their final year of college come up with excuses such as “If only I didn’t have exams, project and placements”.  In short, everyone is playing a different game, so you cannot generalise the amount of effort, time, and no. of questions to be practised. You cannot place yourself in someone else’s shoe. You need to find your own shoe.

So I have classified the reasons of feeling the pressure and suggest some ideas which can be adopted to battle it out. All you need to do is check whether you can relate to the problems and try out the suggestions. I cannot guarantee it will eradicate the detrimental habits but you would know that you are not alone.

    This is probably the worst amongst the lot who have made MBA their one and only hope in life. MBA is not going to change your life drastically. Don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket. You should diversify your investments. People who have left their jobs with the insecurity of “what will happen if I don’t manage it” breakdown for sure at some point and repent later. People restricting themselves from any social activities also meet the same result eventually. One should realise MBA is not the destination, it is only a journey.

Solution: Firstly, stop giving so much importance to an exam. Don’t hate your job so much that you have to force yourself to work every time you are in office. Understand that your job is not only the plus point in your CV but also your breadwinner. Also be efficient in your job as much as possible such that even if you cannot crack CAT you have the option of switching jobs to have an effective career growth. For very few people are actually inclined to know the intricacies of the business world rather than seeing it as a tool to propagate in one’s career.

Secondly for all those poor souls who have locked themselves up in their attic. Do go out on weekends, have a drink, have a chat with your friends. You are neither joining the military nor are you aspiring to be a monk. So stop acting like one. And people who have left their jobs should not waste any more of their “crucial time” to ponder what if they hadn’t. It’s final. Relax even if you don’t crack CAT. You will survive. You are educated. You might have made a wrong decision. That’s all.

    I know it’s tough. I am in the same boat. So are millions. We are those petrified souls who are always envious of the fresher, people who had the guts to leave their jobs, people whose dads are rich enough to say “Ja jee lee apni zindagi”. It is even more difficult for people who are staying away from their home like me. Sometimes everything seems overwhelming. You have to manage your job, preparation, household chores, going on a date with your estranged girlfriend/boyfriend, catching up with that friend after 5 years and what not.

Solution: Don’t quit. Stay there, hold on. In reality, the pressure surmounts only at certain points and it is advisable not to take such a bold decision hastily. If you are confident enough, have displayed skills of risk-taking earlier, don’t procrastinate very often then only quit. Else I would advise not to. I will tell you a secret. If you take any random college from the top 30’s, you would find the number of working professionals are much more than to people who had quit. And there is a reason for that.

Life after MBA would be same as a juggler juggling more no. of bottles with two hands. And in the interviews, the panel would search for qualities which suggest that you are good at multitasking, prioritising. Hence leaving your job will always be detrimental. In fact, you should start prioritising your actions and also burn your midnight oil. I often feel sometimes that I study more on weekdays rather than weekends because I am bounded by a specific routine. 3 hours on weekdays along with proper utilisation of the weekends would ensure a pretty decent result to my belief. Managing an hour or two from office would work wonders. One can practice the Verbal section easily in office. In fact, I would read the newspaper daily in office to save time and also go through online forums and solve quants to be in practice. Do it your own way. There is no hard and fast rule.

    We all are, aren’t we? Some are the poster boys of procrastination, while some would tend to do it from time to time. It is one of the deadliest diseases of the human mind, if not the worst because there is so much to lament when we realise it is too late. I have often wondered the reason behind procrastination. After some surfing on the internet, I found very intriguing results. Mostly it is because of the fear of failure!!  We are afraid of failing when we have given our 100%. So we rationalise ourselves with the reason that we have failed because we had not given our 100%. It is a process of preserving one’s confidence against the failure. Also, there are people, very few who have the reverse psychology of fear of success!!! What if I cannot survive the MBA pressure? What if I don’t get a good placement even after passing out from an IIM. What will people think?

Solution: Firstly it is imperative to understand that time has a limit. It would eventually run out. Secondly, you and only you are answerable to your actions. Very few aspirants are forced to do an MBA by their family. Hence for a major chunk of aspirants, they themselves had taken up the challenge and they themselves are answerable to them. It is extremely remorseful to accept that one had procrastinated.

Thirdly, forgive yourselves for the time wasted. You cannot have that back. Fourth, make daily schedules or weekly schedules and make it a point to abide by them no matter what. If something urgent had come up in an unprecedented way make sure you complete that RC which you had planned to finish. Lastly, keep small rewards to boost yourself up once you reach those weekly or daily goals. Maybe a movie after a fortnight or a good meal whatever makes you feel good.

    No matter how perfect one’s academics have been people tend to ask this question so often that not only is it irritating but also a sheer waste of time. Every day you would find at least one past academic related question in the online forums and people fighting over each other to ascertain that they know it better than others. There is no point in asking such trivial questions because no one knows for sure. It is solely at the discretion of the governing bodies and their decision is final.

Solution: Stop researching. Your research wouldn’t change your academics. If you manage a decent cat percentile with decent academics of 80+ overall you would for sure get some calls. But primarily you would need the CAT percentile which is the first hurdle., Moreover it is a known fact that people with low academics can compensate with few years of job experience. Aspirants who are constantly worrying about the lack of extracurricular activities should make it a point to enhance it. Extra-curricular can be anything apart from your normal academics. Explore options for freelance content writing for those who can express their thoughts with word files. People who are good in sports or at least are passionate about sports can take part in corporate sporting events and get hold of certificates.

Those who are confident about a specific section such as DILR/QUANT/VERBAL can start making videos for education portals such as Unacademy, Udemy. You can explore NGO options also by working for them on the weekends. Participate in cultural or technical competitions in college or corporate. There is no dearth of activities if you are motivated enough.

  • EAT, SLEEP, GET DEMOTIVATED, REPEAT: As I had earlier said, everyone feels the heat from time to time. There is not enough time for us to get demotivated now. So what if one mock has been bad, so what if all the mocks till now have been bad. Mocks are mocks. They are the precautionary checks that should enable you to find out your flaws, the wrong strategy that you might have taken. So what if you couldn’t finish the PnC exercise by this weekend? So what if you are not confident about CAT 2018 right now? I bet if anyone is.

Solution: Demotivation is like a demonic activity. It works in the same ways of infestation, oppression and possession. Infestation is when it tries to make you doubt yourself whether you are credible enough? When its starts infiltrating your confidence it will be oppression. You would not feel like studying, you would ignore your inner conscience who keeps on reminding you that time is running out.

And finally, possession takes place where you yourself are convinced that there is no more time left and lose all hope and either stop pursuing or think of next year. This is probably the most harmful habit. You cannot give in. You need to be strong. You need to treat this as your last time. You cannot take the mock scores to your heart. So the best way to stop this demonic activity is whenever you doubt yourself go and give a sectional or topic test you are good in. That would immediately help you. Analyse the mock questions and answers and make a note of the mistakes you had been doing. Commend yourself for your good performance however small it might seem. And forever believe in yourself.

Travel back in time to any good memories you have where you were proud of yourself and re-live it. Works like magic.

Best of luck to all the aspirants including myself, May the force be with us!!!

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies”  – Stephen King

Soura Poddar

Cat and cat!!



Saumya Srivastava

Thank you so much for this much needed piece of motivation. Sucks to be stressed out but at the same time, it helps to know that it happens with everyone. Kind of gives you some hope!


Hey Soura,
Thank you very much.
Well written….It is a post which relieves you of your stress and motivates younat the same time!