To all those who are thinking whether to go ahead and read this article, I’d say don’t worry, I am not going to talk ill about the most coveted and beloved exams, which you’d be busy studying for. You must have heard the phrase, “It’s not so much the destination as is the journey”. Before you scoff at this analogy with your CAT preparation, everyone being too B – School i.e. destination focussed, I assure you this can’t be truer. So, through this piece of writing, I want to convey one of my take-aways from the B-school entrance exams preparation and from my journey so far in a B-school; what I call the side-effects of my CAT preparation.
There are always 3 aspects of preparing for CAT: The well - known and most talked about are strategy and practice, The third, lesser known part is “habits”; What you do in your free time. When I talk about hobbies, many of you might say that you are an avid reader, have read numerous books from your childhood and what not.
All this is good, but what about those times, when you were dying to watch something, were in the process of opening Netflix and saw an interesting article to read. How many times have reading a random article, even totally unrelated to your preparation or news or politics, enticed you more than watching a TV show? How many times has listening to podcasts enticed you more than listening to music? I was a person who never even paused for a moment to decide. I almost always choose the latter options. But after going considerable amount of preparation for b-school entrance exams, I can say that I now at least have the cognizance of those habits and choices. This is a major side- effect.
Why would you want to use the things you learn in the course of your preparation only in those 3 hours? Mould your hobbies in such a way that it gives you an unparalleled advantage. I am mostly talking about the two sections of verbal and DILR.
Pursue active forms of entertainments; be it watching political humour, reading /following topics which are diverse, solve puzzles (a cliché and hence needless to say). This may seem to be a long-term strategy for people who have relatively less time to prepare, but don’t just think about your CAT preparation. It will greatly help you in interviews, both before and during your b-school tenure. Some of the interviews are just centred around your interests. You would never need to look at that aspect of your preparation even once before entering the interview room, if you cultivate your hobbies in this manner. All the more, a unique personality of yours will be projected on the interviewer.
It may seem a lot to do, to people like me, and you might think when would we get a chance to breathe. I am in no way saying that other good forms of enteratinment are inferior and won't help (although binge watching shows certainly won't). I'm just saying that the knowledege these types of choices will provide you will help you in ways you will not realize now. I’d say by experience that even if you make the right choice 30-40 percent of times, you will get closer to your dream by miles. At least important information won’t pass by you without noticing.
These side-effects are worth having, more so than the actual effect.