With CAT barely 2 weeks away, some level of stress accumulating is natural, perhaps even healthy. Stress could help you remain focused and avoid distractions. Stress becomes a problem, though, if you let it overwhelm you.
Let us look at these ways in which you can beat stress and not let it overpower you:
- Plan. Plan realistically.
Do not bite more than you can chew!
Of course, even 3 weeks is not a very long time. You still need a plan of action, though. Every day needs to count. Every day should take you closer. At the same time, whenever you are making your study plan, and setting goals you must be realistic. When one is unable to achieve a target the mind automatically gets stressed. Also as the time reserved for that particular unit has passed so the workload in the remaining time increase putting more pressure. Make a list of all topics and distribute your time according to the requirement of each topic. Stick to the schedule and reserve enough time for practice and revision.
- Reward yourself for achieving
After a hard day’s work, travel and 2 hours CAT prep, it is natural to feel exhausted. If you know you have put in genuine efforts and have met your targets, reward yourself. Give in to a little indulgence – perhaps a coffee with friends. Some television. Or whatever your poison may be. Do not let it go overboard, though. A one-hour coffee break should not extend into a half day excursion.
- Know yourself. Set practical expectations.
If you were a novice last night, you will not wake a ninja the next morning.
Put in full efforts. However, if you have been consistently scoring around the 60 percentile mark in your mock tests, expecting you’d score 99 percentile in CAT 3 weeks down the line is not very practical. So, it is important to manage your and family’s expectations.
- Don’t let peers/ family get to you
I have come across many students who are preparing for CAT because their parent wants them to go for an MBA. Even if that isn’t the case, most Indian parents take a keen interest in our education. While doing so, some even go overboard. If you feel your parents are adding to your worries, remind yourself – they mean well. The only reason behind their involvement is they would like to see the best version of you. Always.
Peers: “A friend is scoring 90+ percentile in all mock tests, while I’m getting to low 80s only.”
Well, good for him, right? Maybe ask him what is working for him, or try to emulate the positive qualities you see in his test prep.
With less than 3 weeks left, shed off all frills for the next few days from your routine. If it is not essential, and does not contribute to your CAT prep, lose it. You can come back to it after 3 weeks.
College students: don’t ignore assignments and exams. However, if there are any low priority tasks, it is ok if they take a back seat for the next few days.
Working professionals: Can you talk with your manager regarding your CAT prep? I always found open communication went a long way.
Disclaimer: I’m going to digress a bit in the next paragraph. You may skip over if you wish to.
I was hesitant to discuss my CAT prep with my manager while I was preparing. I had scared thought such as: “What if I do not get selected, and I have to continue here. He’d question my commitment.”, “He will hurt my rating”. Despite these, I summed up some courage and discussed with him. Not only did he understand, but he also told me that he had been in the same shoes a few years back. He wished me the best, and accepted my leaves. As an aside, I took 3 Wednesdays off in all. I found if take longer breaks, I end up wasting more time. So, 1-day leave had a premium attached and I made the most of each of them.
- Take breaks
It is pertinent to break the long stretches of study with short breaks to keep reenergizing yourself. The mind needs to relax and refresh to retain what you have studied and become ready to absorb more.
- Take care of your mental and physical health
You need to be physically fit because that has a connection with your mind too being active and alert. Do keep time in your schedule for some physical activity like brisk walking, stretching or a sport. This will help you reboot yourself for the next round of study session with increased vigor. Also, it will be a good change and help distress both mind and body. Get enough sleep. You should be getting 6-7 hours of sleep every night.
- Accept stress
Fear can also be the biggest motivator!
So, a little stress is good for you as it keeps you on your toes and pushes you to keep working towards your goal.
Don’t get stressed about being stressed.
Of course, you’ll be stressed. CAT is a big deal, it is only a few fingertips away. It is natural. Accept it and move on. Bloody hell. It is only stress 🙂
Also see: 4 ways to be ready for the test day.