The last few days have been a bit disturbing. I have been witnessing many promising CAT 2020 aspirants whose dreams have apparently been shattered after this horrendous exam. Some of them even left their job to prepare for this exam, and now, they are left with utter disappointment. For a few, the stakes were so high that the emotions got the better of them during the exam, and upon seeing the dreadful VARC and LRDI, they fainted in the exam hall itself. It really feels bad. I feel all my words would sound hollow to them at this point. They are down in the dumps, and I don’t know if any motivation would make them feel less miserable, at least for the next few days.
For the last couple of days, I have been thinking as to why things would have gone this way for all these folks. And I could think of the following reason.
Many aspirants prepare with too much expectation. They forget that the success rate is around 2% only. Still, we put everything at stake for this one exam. I feel it is not a great idea, given the uncertainty involved in this exam. No matter if you are repetitively hitting the 98–99%ile bar in the mocks, this exam can still surprise you a great deal. So this mindset that cat is the ultimate aim, or it is the end of life, is not a great idea. It only makes you more nervous on D-day, and that keeps you from unleashing your full potential in those 2/3 hours.
The other thing is that many aspirants want to crack this exam in their first attempt, no matter what. It only burdens them with more pressure. Whether we like it or not, but the fact is that this exam gives you no guarantee. There is no guarantee at all. So, be mentally prepared for a setback. You might need multiple attempts to get through this exam. So, don’t fear failure or a setback. It should make you feel temporarily bad at best. You should move on after a few bad days. The result of this one exam should not leave you depressed for months and years with loads of guilt.
So, a better mindset would be to focus on the process than the result. My experience says that preparing for CAT can help you in many ways. It is one of the toughest non-technical exams in India. If you prepare for it seriously, you can easily crack one or the other non-technical exams. This preparation can really open many doors for you. Besides, this preparation makes you mentally stronger and teaches you the importance of patience, persistence, and perseverance, which is very important to become successful in all walks of life. Lastly, it makes you a more compassionate and better human being. Maybe, for this reason, they say that the journey looks more beautiful than the destination. And I can tell you that one honest preparation for this exam will elevate you in your life in some way or the other.
All that being said, prepare for this exam with more focus on the process – that juggling of work and study, that following a schedule, managing ebbs and flows in the journey, and inspiring yourself to keep going when you feel like giving up. This will surely inspire you and make you feel good about yourself.
My final words:
Please, dear aspirants, do not put all your eggs in one basket, and especially the working professionals, please do not quit your job for this exam. If you are feeling miserable at your job, change it, but do not quit and prepare for CAT alone. Always have a plan-b because an exam like CAT seriously needs that. Take risks but the calculated ones.
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