You have done your preparation. You have written and analyzed all your mocks. You have done everything under the sun, but you still feel something is missing. That one question, that one topic you feel is certain to be asked in the test – and you are not fully confident your abilities. Its 2 weeks to CAT and you are freaking out – what if I do not make it? What if I do not get the score that I worked so hard for? If you feel this way, you are not alone, and it is completely normal!
When an important exam is so close, it is pertinent to take a break, catch your breath and get ready for the D-day. At this stage, one must realize that it is more important to make sure you give your best and get the best possible score. For this, you need to focus more on your strengths and not worry about your weaknesses. The only thing that comes out of analyzing your weakness so close to an exam is anxiety, which further demoralizes you and may hamper your performance.
Trust yourself! You have worked hard. You have worked diligently for all your mocks. You have analyzed them properly and most importantly you know where you stand. Mocks are the true picture of your strengths and weaknesses – not your score. Your score is bound to increase if you perform the same way you did in your mocks simply because of the increase in the number of candidates. Know that out of all the aspirants, only a hand-few have prepared diligently from day one. So, stay focused, and know that you can do it. Nervousness will be there, and there is a lot at stake too, but use this pressure to further excel and motivate you to bell the CAT.
Focus on minute and often overlooked things such as maintaining your composure during pressure and efficient time management. Review your mock tests and see which strategy worked the best for you. Finalize it for the eventual examination. Have a look at some questions which you felt opened your mind and exposed you to a new concept/method. Do you feel you get nervous? Focus on your breathing by practising meditation. Mock tests have brought forward your strengths and weaknesses – have a look at them.
For the QA section, go through key concepts and further consolidate your strengths. Solve elementary questions from topics you find hard. This will refresh your basics and will help you score marks if any sitter appears in the exam from the same topic. Note that you should have strong fundamentals – strong enough to solve at least the easy level questions from all topics. There are plenty of resources and compendiums available online for free. Go through the formulas and important shortcuts. Do not try and learn a new method or altogether a new topic right now, it will only confuse and further make you doubt your abilities and preparation.
The best thing about the Verbal ability section is that you do not have a “defined syllabus” for it. Read articles from topics you find interesting. Build stamina so that you are not mentally fatigued by reading, especially on computer screens. Try and build upon your finalized strategy that you feel works best for you. For instance, some attempt the non-RC based questions first, while others do the converse. In nutshell, keep reading quality texts from the newspapers, the internet or even old mocks/CAT question papers. Do not solve more than 3-4 RCs a day, instead focus on quality over quantity. You may sometimes get low accuracy on your practice questions – that is okay. Do not fret over it. Move on to simple reading. A similar approach can be used for critical reasoning and para-jumbles too. Most importantly, make sure you time your practice – work as if you are sitting in the actual examination. This will mentally prepare you for the exam.
Like the Verbal Ability section, the DILR section also does not have a “syllabus” per se. My suggestion here would be to not attempt new questions here, because of the difficulty of the section in recent years. Instead, solve on good questions from the mocks. This will not only help you refresh the approach that you used but also to find any new ways (maybe shorter) possible to solve the questions. As in the above two sections, make sure to keep yourself under time pressure to be as comfortable as possible with the actual examination.
One of the most important things again will be to make sure you analyze all the questions (if at all you do) that you attempt. Do not take more than 3 mocks in a single week. Go through the solution only after you feel that you have no other options left. Most test series from coaching institutes have comparatively easier mocks at this stage to keep the morale of the candidates high. In the same vein, do not attempt any mock in the week leading to the CAT. This is your week to relax, you have earned it. Try to clear your mind and remember that you have prepared hard and know everything out there needed to succeed in the CAT. Try to get proper sleep and have ample energy and mental stamina for the exam. Just like cricket, the most important thing in CAT too is to get off the mark. Find that one question that you solve with 100% confidence. This will calm your nerves. And beyond that, your practice will reap results.