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How to stay motivated for CAT
April 15 2024

Examinations have always been stressful be it at any level; school, graduation, or competition. But when the examination decides your career and its trajectory, it becomes even more stressful. Most of the time stress is a major factor that affects motivation. Preparation for MBA entrance exams is not as exhaustive as for an engineering entrance or CA finals or medical entrances. It requires smart efforts consistently. So let's look into how you can stay motivated for CAT throughout your preparation period and not get overwhelmed by this important exam. 

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What is the hype behind CAT?

CAT is the gateway to the most coveted B-school in India i.e. The IIMs! The craze to get into IIM is real, and that is why every year the competition keeps getting intense. While it is true that the competition is tough and the difficulty level is higher than some other CAT exams, most CAT aspirants come with the preconceived notion that CAT is impossible to crack and that you have to be a genius to do so. One cannot ignore the media and word of mouth that goes around claiming this. However, know that this is absolutely not true! CAT is a strategy based exam that not just tests your aptitude, but your management skills (and you had no ideas about it right!). It actually is a test of your decision-making, critical reasoning, and ability to handle the pressure. Also, CAT can lead you to some very prestigious institutes like FMS, SP Jain, MDI Gurgaon, etc. so not getting into an IIM is not the end of the road. Also read: Top Non-IIM MBA colleges in India

What is the Key to cracking CAT?

Let's first get one thing clear, CAT is no rocket science. It has been clearly established that CAT's syllabus includes elementary level aptitude questions, designed in a complex manner. Cracking CAT only requires a decent language and basic quantitative skills. Rest if you are consistent in your efforts, you have nothing to worry about. But the question is how to consistently put in efforts without swaying away from the major objective that you have set. Let's look at a few steps you can follow easily to ensure you keep working on your prep dedicatedly.

How to stay motivated for CAT?

Firstly, be conscious of where you stand currently:

where do you stand with respect to the target

This self-awareness is a very important step, You must always keep questioning your preparation to identify where you lack efforts or need more focus. This also helps you to analyze the time you have utilized and you can understand your pace and productivity. When you are conscious of where you stand at the present, you will know how to focus on your weaker areas, along with practicing your strengths. Otherwise, you will keep enhancing your strengths while ignoring the areas that need attention.  A good practice would be to keep a tiny diary where at the end of the day you can record the activities of the day and every week in the end you can calculate how much you have progressed. This acts as a good kickstart to every new week, and your goals are defined and tracked at a constant pace. For example, if you are currently at 87 percentile in your mocks, the next week you should target to get at least 2 or 3 percentile higher, after duly analyzing your mocks and practicing on the sections that need improvement. If you keep doing this, you will see progress every week, and hence stay motivated throughout this time. 

Secondly, set daily targets:

daily tasks

In continuation to the first point, daily targets or goals can also help relieve the pressure and focus better. These daily targets can be in the form of topics to be covered, questions to be solves, or mocks to be attempted. The purpose to do this is to not keep things at the last moment and then find yourself in an impossible situation. Start working slowly and steadily on every aspect of the exam. This will not just make you less stressful, but also ensure that you improve every day. And not to mention, your motivation will also stay put. I would also like to add here to solve as many mocks as possible since the start. These can be topic wise mocks, sectional mocks or full-lengths mocks; but attempting these will ensure that you put efforts in the right areas and you will be able to see yourself progressing gradually. This is a great motivation booster and you will enjoy the process of studying for CAT. 

Also read: How to crack CAT 2020

Thirdly, form study group:

Peer motivation has been recorded as the most effective form of motivation according to researches. In a healthy study group, peers motivate each other to catch up and keep preparing for the exam. When you tend to study alone, you are not aware of the competition and tend to keep preparing at your own pace. However, once you have other studying along, the spirit of performing better than others actually helps you improve. Of course, this competition and thrill have to be healthy, i.e. not hampering anyone else.  You also tend to learn a lot of new tricks and methods for solving questions and are a great easy source for doubt solving (especially if its a silly doubt and you can easily approach your peers!). You will also not miss out on deadlines for exams and registrations if you stick to a study group. Another thing to remember is that you don't always have to have a physical study group, there are a lot of forums available on the internet with mutual aspirants who come together for preparing and solving doubts. CATKing also has such groups on Facebook and Telegram, so do give it a try if you are looking out for virtual study groups. 

Also read: Things to do for 100 percentile in CAT

Fourth, consult your mentor:


Mentors can be a great help for clarifying your doubts and apprehensions for competitive exams. They are experts in this field and know inside out about what CAT is all about, so any myths, doubts, worries, concerns can be addressed by them.  If you have enrolled in a coaching center, do approach your teacher if you are stuck in any area. Even if you have given up hope share it with them. They will take responsibility to solve your problem because of their vast exposure and experience. If you are not comfortable with your own faculty you can talk to some students or an alum via LinkedIn and other social media sites. If you want to talk to some experts or someone new, CATKing can also advise you. You can visit our mentorship page and book your slots to talk one-to-one with these mentors.

Fifth, get motivation from role models:

counselling by role model

If you ar e not comfortable talking to a mentor or teacher, you can start watching success stories and interviews of famous personalities. This will inspire you a lot because these are not hyped up statements by media or institution, but real life stories of people who have gone through the process. Especially, try to read the success stories of the alumni of the colleges you have been targeting. This will push you to strive harder for the colleges you desire and stay motivated for CAT throughout the preparation process.  We have plenty of videos from past toppers from IIMs, SP Jain, MICA, IIFT, FMS, etc. on our CATKing Youtube channel, you can definitely learn about their journey and how they took steps to achieve their success. 

Sixth, follow a hobby or pastime:


A lot of times, in the process of preparing for a competitive exam, you get soo involved that you tend to get lost in it and have no time for yourself. Do not let this happen. Make the preparations for the exam a part of your life, not your life! If you try to stuff everything in at one time, you will not even remember what you could have. So make a plan, don't overdo yourself. The best way to maintain this is by following a hobby or passion or any past time that gives you a break. This can be anything, reading a book, playing a sport, watching a series; but do something that will help you relax mentally. Motivation isn't just about running constantly in a race, but also to stay mentally active and at peace. So, instead of working the whole day, work every day for a few hours while also taking out for yourself, and believe me, you will see some great results. 

Also read: 10 mus read books for MBA Aspirants

Lastly don’t be scared of the results.

be conifdent

The anticipation of the future destroys the present. Don’t focus on long-term goals. Make short terms goals and keep implementing them. This will help you reach success more easily. I have seen a lot of students do well in mocks and ruin the final examination. Don’t let the fear of results hamper your efforts. I hope you liked this article on how to stay motivated for CAT. Stay positive, stay dedicated and nothing is impossible. All the best!  

Also read: How to crack an IIM  Prepare for CAT 2020 the right way with our Course curated by IIM and SP Jain alumni

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Rahul Singh

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