The life of a working professional has never been easy and I guess, never will be! There is as constant pressure of meeting deadlines, giving in extra hours, filling in for a sick colleague, chasing a promotion, looking for a raise and continuously living up to the expectations of your boss! Managing your CAT preparation through all these swords dangling on your head is a different ballgame altogether. You need a balance wherein you are able to keep up with your professional work and simultaneously do justice to you CAT preparation.
Acing in both these territories many a times comes to haunt students and they believe they cannot make both the things work together. But that’s not true! Exams like CAT can be managed well with your work life (unless it is a totally toxic work environment).
Do NOT leave your job!
CAT Exam is not one of those exams like UPSC that require 10-14 hours of study everyday. A preparation of 3-5 hours per day is enough for your boat to sail through easily. It is always better to have hands on industry experience than giving a whole year to just preparing for the exam. Leaving your job will not only add to your fatigue but will also put a lot of unnecessary pressure on you as you will be putting all your eggs in one basket.
Follow the below tips to ace your CAT preparation while working:
1. Know the answer to “WHY”.
Distance yourself from frivolous reasons and herd mentality. Be clear with why do YOU want to pursue an MBA and anchor your motivation to this reason. This will keep you going and will help you to put in the “hours” even after a tiring and taxing day at work.
2. Juggle Well.
This is where you learn the art of balancing your work and your CAT Preparation. Make a schedule that is flexible. Utilize the time between meetings or the commute time wisely. Make sure that the little time you get does not get wasted in facetious office gossips or tea-coffee chit chats. You can follow either of the two ways to put this idle time to good use:
- Read or solve puzzles.
- Rest and refresh yourself so that you do not need a break after office work.
Do not underestimate the power of solving even 1 or 2 questions during whatever time you get. Try your hand at these questions curated by Team 2IIM.
3. Do not OVERPROMISE yourself!
You yourself know how much you can handle in a day! Do not promise yourself something way out of your reach, like, finishing 3 modules in a day or 10 modules in a week. This does not mean that you can have a laid-back approach and keep postponing your preparation. Stretch yourself but not to an extent that you fall into the loop of constant underachieving and then loose focus in your preparation. Make a schedule for yourself that is challenging yet achievable and follow it religiously. See 2IIM’s customized schedule for your CAT Preparation here.
There will be times when you will have to cover for your sick colleagues or your boss will put you on a project that is urgent or takes more time than usual. In such situations it seems obvious that you will have to put your CAT preparation at the backseat and focus on the tasks at hand. Do not fret! If your weekdays are busy, make time for your preparation during the weekends and vice versa. Do not let yourself behind your schedule for too long. Cover up and get back on track! Manage your time well. Afterall, you are preparing for a management degree!
5. Be Consistent.
Studying for 12 hours straight for a day and then relaxing for the next two days will make you fatigued and lazy. Set achievable goals and work towards them religiously. Be consistent in both your work and your preparation. Remember, it is persistence and perseverance that’ll help you finish/win the race to B-School admissions and further!
Do not get bogged down by a few taxing days! Your CAT preparation has and will have a lot of ups and downs. Pick yourself up and start from where you left. Be consistent and you’ll ace the CAT Exam.
Vibhuti Sharma works with 2IIM as a Product head.
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