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CAT 2020 - Last Week Tips and Strategies to stay relaxed on the D-day

Gaurav Macwan

With the metaphorical ‘sword of justice’ hanging on your neck in the form of CAT 2020, it is obvious to be nervous and feel the pressure of appearing for the most competitive MBA entrance exam of the year. If you think you are alone with regards to panic attacks, anxiety and nervous breakdown a day before CAT exam, you couldn’t be more wrong. All the CAT aspirants appearing for the CAT exam are feeling the heat and it is natural. Feeling nervous before a competitive exam like CAT exam is a natural thing and no amount of preparation can help you on this front. However, what can really help you out is a sharp and focused approach to things that you need to keep in mind as the last minute preparation.

Below, we have shortlisted a few things that might help you calm your nerves and spend the day before the D-day in a constructive way:

1. Admit Card and ID Proof

Appearing for CAT Exam is nothing less than a battle and in order to win one, you need to be well-prepared for it. However, CAT exam is a battle of wits and you have been preparing your mind for it since a long time. The only thing that must be with you on the exam day is your CAT Admit card and identity proof. Make sure your CAT admit card printout that you are carrying is legible and contains correct information including the right photograph. In addition to the CAT admit card, you will also have to present an identity proof which must corroborate the details provided on the admit card. Many candidates choose to take along a bag with calculator, books, pens and pencils or stationary items; but none of these items are allowed inside the CAT exam centre. Therefore, it’s best not to carry such items.

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2. Follow ‘No Regrets’ Policy

As we discussed before, anxiety and panic are natural for anyone appearing for a competitive exam like CAT 2020. But the majority of such instances arise due to the lack of confidence in CAT exam preparation and the popular twitter hashtag #fomo which translates to ‘fear of missing out’ on key topics. You have devoted a considerable amount of time to prepare for CAT exam. Thus, today is not a day to regret! You must feel confident about the hard work you have put to prepare for the biggest MBA entrance exam in India. And as always, genuine hard work will bear its fruit. So follow a ‘no regrets’ policy. Doing so will ease a lot of pressure and help you concentrate on the things that you need to do, rather than things that you missed out on doing in the past during CAT preparation phase.  

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3. Take up Mock Tests

By now you must have realized that no amount of studying will help you bell the CAT, until and unless you practice. As part of your last minute brushing up and revision, we advise that you treat CAT mock tests as your best friend. The CAT 2020 Mock tests will enable you to revise the CAT exam pattern, remind you of CAT syllabus and key topics, as well as help you to build the right strategy to answer the questions. We also strongly advise CAT aspirants to take up the mock test in the time slot in which they have to appear for the CAT test. For instance, if your CAT exam time slot is from 2 PM to 5PM, it would be wise to take up mock test during this time. This will help your body to build a familiar physiological pattern and tune your body and mind to perform the best during this time.

Another thing to keep in mind with regards to CAT mock tests is that you shouldn’t allow the test results get to your head. Irrespective of how you perform in the CAT Mock Tests, you must remember that the final exam is going to much different compared to this and therefore, good or bad; mock tests don’t really reflect upon your performance in the CAT Exam.

4. Be Positive & Keep up your spirits

CAT MBA entrance exam is the battle of great minds where all aspirants have put in their heart and soul to prepare for the test. However, in this battle, the key differentiator is often not the preparation or strategy but the temperament and positive outlook of the candidates. The old adage ‘Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes’ captures the spirit which will help you stand apart and over other MBA aspirants. This becomes even more important in the days and hours prior to the D-day. With insurmountable pressure and high competition, it is only your positive outlook and spirit that will help you constructively deal with anxiety and nervousness.

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5. Analyze the official CAT sample paper

Another practical step that you can take on the day preceding CAT exam is to go through the official CAT sample papers released by the IIM Lucknow. The general trend suggests that CAT paper will follow the general exam pattern and question format and style of the official CAT sample paper released after CAT Admit Card. The level of difficulty and number of questions in each section might vary, but the overall theme and feel of the exam would follow the same CAT pattern as given in the CAT sample paper. Therefore, it would be wise to re-look and revise the official CAT sample paper again and go through it in detail. In fact, many CAT aspirants who have scored above 99 percentile have followed the same technique and it has benefited them greatly.

6. Meditate – Go back to your mind palace

If you are one of the serious aspirants taking up CAT exam, then you must have started preparing for the mother of all MBA entrance tests well in advance. This means that many of the things that you might have studied during the initial stages may not be as fresh as they should be. Although you might have devoted a considerable amount of time in studying a particular formula for quant or a word for VR section, you might not be able to recall all of them. But, the human mind is an excellent hard drive and it stores everything you study. To recall such difficult information or topics, meditation will help you go back to your mind palace and recover such information that can help you in cracking CAT exam. Apart from helping your recall important details, meditation will also help you ease your nerves and prepare your brain for the tough test that lies ahead.

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7. Relax and enjoy yourself

All though this might sound like ‘very bad advice’ at first; it isn’t irrelevant. You have been busy preparing for the ultimate test of CAT exam since past 1 year. With just a few days or hours to go, there is a tremendous amount of pressure on you and your brain to perform at its best. Your instinct might tell you to study an extra hour or pick up another book or cover another topic to beat the competition. But like every other organ of the body, even brain has a saturation point and needs to relax. And frankly, if you have checked all the right boxes when it comes to CAT exam preparation, there is nothing to worry about. Last minute cramming will only hurt your brain, making it harder for you to perform on the D-day. So, relax and enjoy yourself. Indulge in something completely different, like watching a movie; to take your mind off the competition and the tough CAT test. A relaxed mind will be up to the challenge when you need all of its energy for the ultimate test on the D-day. 

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Before you get back to worrying about CAT exam, I would like to tell you that although CAT exam is one of the biggest milestones of your life. The learning and experience you have gained during your CAT exam preparation and your honest hard work will take you to your rightful place. So stop worrying! You have toiled hard for almost a year and put all the building blocks in the right places. Now, it’s time for final execution.

All the best for CAT Exam!

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