What are some tips to stay calm during the entire 3 hours of the final CAT exam, and ensure that my performance isn’t affected?
Try to be ‘स्थितप्रज्ञ’
Bhagavad Gita Verse 54, Chapter 2, Arjuna uvaacha:
sthitaprajnasya kaa bhaashaa samaadhisthasya keshava |
sthitadheeh kim prabhaasheta kimaaseeta vrajeta kim || 54 ||
What is the description of a person of steady wisdom, one who is established in equanimity, O Arjuna? How does that person of steady intellect speak? How does he sit? How does he walk?
Shri Bhagavaan uvaacha:
prajahaati yadaa kaamaansarvaanpaartha manogataan |
aatmanyevaatmanaa tushthah sthitaprajnastadocchyate || 55 ||
When an individual gives up all desires that enter the mind, O Paartha, and is self-satisfied in his own self, that individual is called a person of steady wisdom.
The ability to remain calm and not get affected by your surrounding is the most important thing. You need to tame the ‘Monkey Mind’ and be present in the moment.
Here are some of my tips to be relaxed in the next few days:
1. It may sound too preachy but meditate for a few minutes every day which will help you understand thoughts that are holding you back. This time should be also used to introspect your current state. There are tons of apps out there that can help
2. Write down what will take you to your desired state and use that as a motivation tool. A reminder of your goal should drive you to give your best and push you in the right direction
3. If you’re constantly thinking about CAT, take a break for a few hours to play a sport, participate in fun activities, and take complete break from preparation. Go to a beach, garden, or just take a walk
4. Surround yourself with positive people and people who motivate you. During CAT preparation, the more you think about where others are, the more you damage your self-perception
5. Believe in your preparation. If you think you have studied most of the concepts and can apply them in various situations, you are pretty much sorted. Continue the momentum if you think you can’t increase it
6. Try to take mocks during your time-slot so that your body and mind adapts to sitting at one place. Make it natural
What can you do during the test?
1. Reach the test venue in advance but don’t participate in useless discussions and last minute problem solving
2. Don’t do anything a few hours before the test. People recommend listening to music to relax but personally I don’t like it (you can try baroque/classical music though)
3. Once the test starts, without jumping on a question, breathe, take a brief pause, and then start. Whenever you’re switching RCs, or LRDI sets, 1–2 seconds of pause is extremely crucial
4. Don’t carry the burden of one section to the next section. What’s done is done. Don’t spend a minute thinking about it
5. It is important to review your performance when the section is on for a few seconds. For example, in LRDI, I’ll solve a set and then look at the timer to see if I did fine. I can always increase my speed a little bit for the next set
6. Don’t panic. Don’t give up. Don’t make the test larger than what it is. Believe that you are the smartest person in the room and that will mostly be true. It is just another day in your life. The more you stay present, and not wander in future, the better it is
I hope this helps. If you need any help, do comment or get in touch with us through our FREE CAT preparation Facebook group. This post was written as a response to a question on Quora. You can read more questions and answers on CAT preparation here.