Motivation is the key thing to achieve goals in our life. When we talk about clearing exams, pursuing a degree, getting a job in the good company, achieving a key position in the company, motivation always plays the game. I am not here to give a lecture on motivation or other philosophical aspects because everything you can find with the help of our good friend “Google” and “Quora”. I came here to address you people, who are hungry for success, who want to excel in every aspect of exams but aren’t able to stay motivated. What do you guys think about exams? Is it easy? If it was easy then there are good chances that you might not be working hard to clear it. We work hard for rare things, things which are worthy to have it. Why are we not working to get admission in local colleges, because we all know there is nothing new in getting admission in such colleges as they are already crowded and less valued like most of the engineering college. To secure such admission are not that tough and anyone can get in such colleges with minor efforts. We work hard to achieve something worthy, which is hard to achieve. That’s the reason why people keep working hard to clear CAT, IAS and other such exams, which will lay the path for their glorious and recognizable future.
Let’s talk about CAT, exams patterns has been changed many times in last few years but it doesn’t mean it’s getting tougher. If rules are changing the game then you shouldn’t be complaining anyone about the change. We should be changing the strategy of playing because change is for everyone. For some people, changes aren’t manageable and may not be favorable but it’s all about motivation which helps us to manage such things. You have to find the source of motivation which can keep you focused. Let’s talk about my experience and strategy. Don’t think I am a scholar who is writing this article because I want to share the glory of my achievements. I want you to focus on my strategy and ways of doing work. I don’t strictly recommend my tactics because everyone has their own way. I can share the ways by which things can be done in a proper way. Just remember one thing in your life “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me”. Strategy for preparation can be prepared by any of your mentors but to follow such things is not always easy, some people are good enough to follow things but some are not and after some time they lose motivations. If your motivation is going down, it’s probably because you don’t think your efforts will affect your CAT percentile. This phase does come while you are preparing for such entrances but it all depends on you, how you manage the stress developing inside your mind because of the desired success. I will address the issue at the end of this article.
Strategy to crack CAT
I will recommend you guys to take help from the people who have good experience in exams and are mentoring students for many years. You should be careful while preparing for exams, you should prefer studying in a good group. Studying with good students gives you motivation for good marks and scope for learning from your peers. Always take help from your mentors, CAT is new for us but for them, its child plays now, so they can easily guide kids like us in preparation. Competitive Exam Guide helps students to get expert advice and helps them to get entrance exams paper at one place on a single click. I won’t say you to setup timetable on daily basis, I will ask you to prepare in a group and make timetable on a weekly basis to finish tasks.
Weekly follow-up is easy and easily manageable. Now talking about the strategy, we should be having a different strategy to crack different sections, you can’t kill the CAT with one blade. CAT is for those who can manage every section simultaneously. So you should be equipped with all skills. Let’s talk about Verbal Section first, as for most of the people this section is a nightmare. To crack this section, follow my strategy. You should write two editorial from editorial part of the newspaper daily. Write editorials on a daily basis and submit to the group if you guys are meeting daily or send a pic of it in the WhatsApp group or whatever is convenient for you. Why are editorials so important? Well, the answer is quite easy, it helps us to track daily news and helps in writing good English. You just have to go through the newspaper in the morning, read editorials only as most of the newspaper is filled with nuisance which will distract you, so please just focus on the editorial part of the newspaper, read 2 good editorials and write them in your words from whatever you have understood from it. During initial stages, it won’t affect much but in a long-term trick is very effective. After 3 or 4 months you will see the effect in the RC part of Mock exams. It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Let’s talk about such people who are not so efficient while speaking in English, public speaking is a fear for most of us. I already recommended you to write editorial in your words, now add one more step in writing. After writing, you should keep aside the write-up and try to speak the facts from the article in your words. It will be horrible when you will start this habit, you will realize that it’s really tough to say such things. Some people feel that they are not bad in speaking and try to speak in mind. Oh Yes, it is easy while you speak in your mind because when you talk to yourself in your mind then your mind knows what will be your next word and so you can talk to yourself in English very fluently. But when you utter such words from your mouth, the reality is bit different. So follow this habit of speaking, It will help you to achieve good status in English speaking which is must for everyone who is preparing for the exam. Regular Editorial work will make u excel in Verbal Part of Exam, obviously, there are many other things which should be taken care while you are following CAT material.
Now while focusing on the calculative part of paper, you should be having proper command on quick calculations. Daily use 10 mins and work on calculations like heavy digits multiplications and divisions. Editorial and Calculative work on the daily basis will take 45 mins of your day. For those who aren’t having any other work else preparations, should extend the time limit to 1.5 hours daily for this work. In 3 months your skills will evolve to newer heights. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Design your weekly timetable on Sunday and form a group of 3 to 4 people. A higher number of people in a group will take away the focus and will lead you to nowhere. We all have good friends who aren’t working hard for entrances, start giving them less time and focus on regular study. Enjoyment and fun is also a part of the preparation, schedule everything in a limited amount and follow things regularly. While you are following things in a group, it helps you to keep focused. Help your peers, one always need help and so to get good response while you will be in some depression, always help each other. United we stand, divided we fall.
There are some people who can’t study in groups due to many reasons, such people should follow time table and materials online religiously. Take regular help of experts and try to stay
motivated. I missed studying in a good group. I studied with a guy and for our motivation and focus we used to watch one YouTube video which wasn’t just the video for us, but our emotions, strengths were attached to it. We used to study till late night and whenever we felt like it’s not our cup of tea, we helped each other to feel motivated with such videos. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power. Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. Always find reasons to stay focused.
Don’t Give up
There will be many times when you will feel like giving up, but don’t cry to give up, cry to keep going, you are already in pain, you are already hurt just go and get a reward from it. As per old spiritual books, the world is formed with so many greedy stuffs all around us which distract us from our motivation and deflects us from our path. Because of this reason only, a person can’t stay motivated for so long as his mind gets distracted by so many other things. You should focus on your goals, use 5 minutes every day in bed while getting up in morning and getting in bed at night. Use this time to think what are your goals, what you should plan for the day and how much you completed at the end of the day. Don’t give excuses to yourself. You decided to finish it, then focus to make it happen as your priority.
Crack the Exam
Let me share my experiences for cracking exam now, do focus. During my preparation, I was doing well in unit tests but when it becomes the collective effort to manage mock exams, I was failing all the time. I learned few things slowly and eventually, it helped me to grow effectively. First thing first, while giving mock exam you should realize the importance of mocks. You aren’t giving mock to attain good percentile, you give them to find your mistakes, mocks are for the nourishment of your strengths and so you should focus on different aspects of the exam. In the starting, mocks were easy and I was able to crack them because there is no need for any strategy when things are easy. Slowly the level of mocks got tougher and I started making blunders in them, sometimes I was not able to read the whole section in the given time. Later I used to realize that some questions which were easy among sections but are in the last and I kept my head stuck in challenging questions. I realized later we aren’t giving mocks to prove that you are a badass Quant expert because you are there to clear it, so here is the lesson for you guys that never focus on tough questions first in the exam. Go through the whole section and keep writing question numbers for those questions which are easy and can be done with fewer efforts. Finish such questions ASAP and go through the section again in a minute and find moderate questions and then focus on it. Later in the last, if time permits you can focus on tough questions. On an average 10 questions are tough in each section and rest of them are manageable, just focus on this strategy and see the results. This was the most effective strategy during my preparations.
There is one other way of getting demotivated during preparation when you don’t think a good CAT percentile will get you an MBA admission. This is a problem for such people who aren’t having good academic records. Academic records are important, but they aren’t the only factor to get the admission in B-Schools. There is n number of examples to deny the myth that only good academics are important. So those guys who aren’t having good records, don’t fear anything and
just leave everything behind, focus only on the exam. Value your admission in good B-school, studying in such schools is a very prestigious thing. B-schools in India are having more value than IITs. Studying in such colleges will give you heights and wide network of friends among good schools. You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
Let’s talk about the problems you can face while preparing for such big entrances. There can always be a motivation problem. You can’t stay focused in preparation and sometimes you feel like giving up, which is normal in every case but you should have something to keep you focused and motivated. I already talked about motivation, ways of sustaining motivations. I have good collections of videos for motivation, which helped me for one whole year. I will be glad to share such things with you guys. There can be many problems while handling exam papers. There are always some topics which are very tough for you to crack like probability was a headache to me. I will suggest you to focus more on tough questions in the initial stage. In the final stages of your preparations, never ever pick up something difficult. I stopped preparing new topics or some new tricks 15 days prior to my exam. Focus on tough questions when you have time in initial stages. And later proceed with tough questions only when you are not making mistakes in easy topics. You should follow the stepwise path in preparations. Pick easy topics, make it error free then only proceed to prepare tough or moderate questions. Never ever jump for things, always follow the steps.
I followed materials given to me. I followed them religiously, gave unit tests. I used to note down every tough question in the paper, also used to note some questions which can be solved with a different strategy in a unique way. Starting from day 1, you should properly manage file for your unit test and mock exam papers. What is the best thing you can do with the mock exams? Finish your doubts from the paper until the end of that day only. Start fresh daily, don’t take doubts of one paper to another day. For external usage, I followed R.S Aggarwal for decision making. For proper quant solving practice you can follow Arun Sharma for aptitude, which is a nice book to follow for stepwise learning in any topic. I read daily HINDU newspaper for my better understanding of passages. You can start with the TOI but eventually when you are good at reading you should shift towards HINDU newspaper. There are many random books on the market for CAT, never get trapped by such things. Always follow the material provided by experts and other aspirants. Always stay in contact with your mentor, give regular feedbacks to them. Keep them asking for improvement, never fear failures. You should finish your preparations from the materials, one month prior to D-Day. After completion of preparation, you should be focusing more on exam giving strategy. You should be including past year exam papers in mock exams and should be giving one mock paper daily until last week (don’t give any mocks in last 2 days before CAT). Give exams on the portal so that you can get the idea about your efficiency, speed and accuracy. Analyze the paper daily, where you should have focused more and what are the loopholes in your strategy.
Last But not the Least
You guys are the aspirant minds, who are seeking ways of improving your performance. Just follow whatever I recommended, if you don’t have any other strategy to crack exam then follow mine. We always fear failures, be confident and seek help from the people. Don’t waste time, you aren’t having value if you aren’t working hard. Just focus and bring out the best in you. Don’t get carried away with your bad performances in mocks. Always think about learning something special every day, it can be any trick of solving the question, it can be any type of learning. Learn daily, prepare well. It’s just a few months to go for this year CAT exam. Better late than never, give your best and work on your strategy. Nourish your strengths. In the end, I would like to end with the famous quote from Rocky Movie “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!” Never lose hope in your life, keep on trying. Competition exam guide is always there to help you, contact us. Let me end with one more famous quote by Michael Jordan “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
All the Best!
IIM – Lucknow