Conundrums faced by CAT aspirants – How to deal with them?
Do you still remember that beautiful Sunday morning? You entered the examination center. You hit the start button and started going through the question paper. And you see a question. The question seems easy to you, you pick up your pen and now you’re trying to solve it. 10 minutes have passed by since then and finally the question throws you off and now you’re lost, asking yourself – what the hell just happened? Welcome to the world of a regular CAT aspirant.
In this article we will look at the Conundrums faced by CAT Aspirants in their daily lives, and we will also try to figure out ways to resolve them.
If you’re faint hearted, please stop reading this now, and get the hell out of this page, because we’re going to have some hard truths as we proceed. So let’s get started!
The epic problem of constantly thinking of being victimized
“My friend X, who has stellar academic records, and has also graduated from IIT. He is naturally good at Maths. I don’t even stand a chance. The entire system is rigged against me.”
Let me be blunt and tell you something, you can stand on the top of the tallest building that you have in your city and scream at the top of your voice for 24 hours, but it will not change a jot to the system. Now that I’ve told you the truth, let me tell you something. In Africa, every morning a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Similarly, every morning in Africa a lion wakes up, it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle. When the Sun comes up, you’d better be running.
Whether you’ve graduated from a tier 1 college or a tier 3 college, it doesn’t matter once you’ve taken the plunge to crack CAT. You have to run and you have to put up a brave fight. Activate your beast mode, buckle up, and blitz ahead. Instead of whining, read 5 wonderfully hand-picked articles from Bharath’s Curated Reading List and take the Reading List Rewind Quiz on our Instagram page. Solve 25 Quant questions from our 2iim question bank and try to solve 2 DILR puzzles from our question bank. “If you do not like how the table is set then turn over the table.”
The rhetoric of “My job is killing me and it’s impossible to prepare for CAT along with my job”
This is the BS rhetoric that you’ve been constantly telling to yourself. If you have a job then consider yourself among the privileged and blessed. Because now there are millions of people who do not have a job, and they are desperately looking for a job. So if you have a job then consider yourself lucky and for the love of God, please DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB.
A job gives you a social identify and most importantly, “it de–emphasises the outcomes of CAT exam” and helps you immensely in your preparation.
Try to have plenty of “Joie de vivre ” bursts during your preparation cycle. While reading an article from Bharath’s Curated Reading List during your lunchtime tell yourself that I’m going to have some fun while reading this article. I am also going to learn something new from this article today. Recently I read an article from The Economist which talks about the importance of solving puzzles.
When we’re trying to solve a high quality DILR puzzle basically we’re learning the art to bring an order to the chaos. If you look around the world now, you’ll be able to notice that there’s a chaos everywhere around the world. So solving a puzzle everyday during your breaks from work can teach you the art to bring an order to the chaos, which is an extremely useful skill to learn in today’s world. If you just do these small mental adjustments, you’ll notice that you’re actually having a lot of fun preparing for CAT, while working full time.
Watch this following video to know in such detail as to why we strongly advocate having a job while CAT Preparation.
The (mis)conception of spending time on the internet as preparation
Another important one amongst the Conundrums faced by CAT Aspirants is some like to live in a wonderland. They like to roam around on these forums, and they are always in search of a tougher problem, that only God can solve and which will never be tested in Cat. People spend lots of time researching about the exam than actually practicing for it. Doing regular things again and again is underrated. Keeping at it is a skill and needs loads of patience and energy to do so, and for most, it pays off handsomely well. Let us look at an ace example from Michael Jordan’s life where he overcame something serious with practice.
In 1997, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls was playing against Utah Jazz. This game is known as the “Flu game”. In this game a physically debilitated Jordan was able to put together a herculean effort to overcome an ailment that had him curled up in a fatal position and vomiting the early hours of the morning. Despite his flu Michael Jordan helped guide the Chicago Bulls to a 90-88 win over Utah Jazz.
Michael did the usual regular practice with such a devotion that despite his fever he performed as usual. The story teaches us to respect the “Do the drill” part. See if you can solve a diabolically difficult question you may be rewarded. But remember that innovation may be rewarded but it’s the execution that is always worshiped.
So dive in, get your hands dirty and solve gazillion (relevant) questions from a fabulous question bank or actual CAT Question papers ,which are most likely to come in the actual CAT. Solving gazillion questions intensely from a topic creates links in your brain that are worth their weight in gold when you’re preparing for an exam like CAT. By doing this you save energy on the routine stuff and this actually blesses you with more bandwidth for the trickier questions. Revision is super important and helps get better results. Watch the following video to understand the importance of Revision, and how to make the most for your CAT Preparation
The dilemma of completing the syllabus first before taking a mock
Let me ask you a question, when was the last time you went for an exam after completing the entire syllabus? Believe me even on the day of writing CAT, you’ll discover that some topics have been left out. No one can finish the entire syllabus of an exam. Everyone leaves out some topics, and that is not end of the world. Even that little boy who studies in class 6 cannot finish his entire syllabus.
” Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the PRESENT “
The only moment you have is NOW. So take your first mock test NOW. Don’t wait to complete the syllabus. So be intense and create a robust mock regime for yourself and take lots of mocks aggressively. This phase is like strengthening muscle by muscle before a tournament. Accept the challenge and dive in.
The acute agony of volatile mock scores
This is one of the key conundrums faced by CAT Aspirants from July. The moment you take mocks, this keeps you postponing your next mock, sometimes indefinitely.
Mocks go bad. Yes they do go bad often. It happens, and it is a part of each and every aspirant’s CAT preparation journey. Remember that you are taking the mocks to measure your progress, not to feel moral comfort over your scores. Whether you’ve scored good or bad, in the recent mock CAT of a particular mock test series, it counts for nothing. So don’t take the percentile scores (too) seriously.
If your last mock went to the south, then do not fret too much about it. It’s alright. It happens. Cry if you must but after that pick yourself up and analyze the mock to death. For the love of God please do not analyze some artificial nonsense, rather focus on something that can be useful.
First of all, take the mock CAT as an opportunity to learn – use it as a tool for learning. Mock CATs have the best questions. Learn how to solve all of these. Make sure you have to go at each and every question individually, without the time constraint. Secondly, right after the mock is over, think over a few things – Did you get tired while taking the exam? Where are you spending lesser time and getting the answers right? Are you performing well at the beginning of every section or only towards the end of a section?
How you bounce back from a setback decides your final CAT score. “How well you could bounce back from a precarious situation differentiates a bad CAT attempt from a good one.” So get up and hit back!
The unquenchable thirst for the next grand plan
Kindly do not sit around waiting for a great preparation plan. There is no such thing as a great preparation plan. So next time before you think about having a grand preparation plan, please consider some actual preparation. Remember, ” An hour of preparation is worth 12 hours of preparation planning. “
So have a simple plan and execute it well. Remember that a plan without execution is just a delusion. So please focus on execution because ” Execution is the game today! “
I will end this blog with an extremely popular verse of the Bhagavad Gita, which says
karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchanaSrimad Bhagavad Gita
It means, do your duty but do not concern yourself with the results. As Rajesh sir always says ” The process is more important than the outcome. ” We have the right to do our duty, but the results are not dependent only upon our efforts. A number of factors come into play in determining the results – our efforts, destiny , the will of God (if you believe in one), the efforts of others, the place and situation (a matter of luck), etc.
If we become anxious for results, we will experience anxiety whenever they are not according to our expectations. So Shree Krishna advises Arjun to give up concern for the results and instead focus solely on doing a good job. When results take a back seat, efforts become our priority and that leads to better results. So focus on this beautiful journey and have a lot of fun preparing for CAT.
With this we have analysed “in-detail” the 6 Conundrums faced by CAT Aspirants and how to find our own ways of coping and getting ahead with your CAT Preparation without being bogged down by any of these. If you are facing any of these, know that most other aspirants are going through these too. What matters is, how you go ahead, inspite of these.
If you are looking for a well made, super detailed plan, kindly head out here: https://online.2iim.com/schedule.
Stay safe, stay positive and best wishes for CAT .Always remember this, you can, you will ,you must. Ciao folks!
Abhishek works for 2IIM, and is a keen writer.