CAT 2019: Here are few strategies to ensure success if you could not crack exam in first attempt
There are lakhs of students who prepare for competitive exams like CAT, SNAP, XAT etc. to secure admission into the best business schools of the country. Here are a few strategies to ensure success in the second attempt.
There are lakhs of students who prepare for competitive exams like CAT, SNAP, XAT etc. to secure admission into the best business schools of the country.
Currently, there are 20 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in this country and Common Aptitude Test (CAT) is the gateway for all of them. Xavier Aptitude Test popularly known as XAT is the national-level management entrance test conducted by XLRI (Xavier School of Management, formerly Xavier Labor Relations Institute, Jamshedpur) for admission to management programs at XLRI. SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test) is the gateway for 15 institutes including SIBM Pune and other institutes of Symbiosis International (Deemed University) offering 23 management programmes.
If you are one of those aspirants have been unable to crack the competitive exams in their first attempt, then you must understand that it’s just an opportunity to learn in order to succeed in the next attempt. The first thing that you should do is to introspect and understand the areas or sections where you lost marks. You must make a note of all the mistakes from these sections and ensure that you never repeat them again.
Here are a few strategies to ensure success in the second attempt:
Prepare to-do list with fortnightly goals
You must have a ‘to-do-list’ for things you want to accomplish every day. Along with a daily task list, you must also keep a fortnightly goal for yourself. The fortnightly goal is a milestone to checking the progress. This will also help in pushing your limit and make improvements wherever necessary. Once the milestone is achieved, you must celebrate it! The celebration can be as small as treating yourself with a pastry! This will keep you motivated. In case you miss the milestone, it is an indication that you need to more efforts.
Keep a positive attitude and motivate yourself
You must have a positive attitude and keep motivating yourself by constantly reiterating ‘I have a dream and I will give my best to achieve it’. In case you get a little low score in a mock exam, it should not be a reason to get depressed. In fact, you must firmly believe in the statement - ‘I can do it and nothing is going to stop me’. This positive attitude, along with hard work, will ensure dreams are achieved. The legendary former professional basketball player Michael Jordan says “Every time I feel tired while I am exercising and training, I close my eyes to see that picture, to see that list with my name. This motivates me to work again.” Remember his words every time you need a push.
Leverage digital learning tools and apps
While you must refrain from using social media because it is a major cause of distraction during studies, there is no harm in spending time learning through websites or mobile apps that offer interactive digital learning options. There are several online tools that can help you give mock tests and learn through visual mediums. You can also join online community groups of like-minded students to share information and resolve your queries.
Take one mock test a week
You must start taking a mock test a week and this must be by default the Sunday afternoon task. This habit should then become two mock tests a week. The mock test should be mimicking the actual test in terms of format, content and time. After the test, you must spend time analyzing, which will give new insights to your strength and weakness. In the last month before the competitive exam, you can plan for one mock test a day. But a word of caution - you must never give more than one mock test in a day or else it will result in fatigue and unnecessary physical and mental burden
Identify your strong and weak areas
As you begin to take mock tests, you will be able to identify your core areas of strengths and weaknesses. Then, you need to focus more on the areas of concern and start practising more. This will help build confidence and experts simultaneously.
Develop a reading habit
Some competitive exams judge your general, vocabulary and grammar knowledge along with comprehension skills. The best way to master these areas is to take out at least one hour daily for reading. It is advisable to read current and general affairs sections from at least two to three newspapers of different genres in the English language every day.
Remember seven days cool-off period
You must complete all preparations seven days before the date of the competitive exam. Starting anything new in the last week could lead to a panic situation in your mind. The last seven days must be used only for mock exams and nothing else. This will reduce performance pressure significantly.
Being unsuccessful in the first attempt doesn’t mean that there is no tomorrow. There is always a second chance to perform better and succeed. All you need to do is to identify the mistakes made in the first attempt, improve your weak areas and work even harder than before.
(Author Dr Ramakrishnan Raman is Director- Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune. Views expressed here are personal.)