cat 2015

CAT – Mind Over Matter – An Aspirant’s View

Written By: Arpita Sachdeva

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.“ NELSON MANDELA

Common Admission Test, or CAT as it is commonly known, is pegged as the third toughest test in the entire Asia.  An estimated 2.5 lakhs students are expected to take the ultimate test of aptitude, practice and logical thinking in 2015. And only about 1.18% of them would have their dream realized.

What makes this exam such a taboo? What it is about the D-day that makes one’s limbs shiver, palms sweat and voice quiver? What is the reason behind kicking in of sleepless nights and the constant feeling of falling into a bottomless pit a fortnight before CAT? Why it is that many a times we have seen overachievers in the mocks come out average in the finals?

Nobody is alien to the anxiety pangs kicking in before the exams. Candidates work, plan, procrastinate, fret, they skip but in the end they pull themselves together to face the exam, to lodge themselves in front of a screen for those 170 precious minutes. Those minutes of all the formulae, vocabulary lists, shortcuts, concepts and luck, those minutes to determine a hefty paycheck, a dream job, a ticket out of a small town or a way out of a crappy job. Candidates have their own reasons. But the more these reasons flash by their eyes the more panic rises, shoulders stoop with the unseemingly heavy weight expectations and they make mistakes. Silly mistakes, forgotten formulae, muddled concepts, mistakes that they cannot afford to make, all because of their nerves.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own mind”. What we think triumphs what we are. Believing in oneself is the first step to success. When we have confidence, the doubt scatters, and along with it scatters the fear and the inhibition. Without a calm mind, all the hard work is futile.

The high odds against success make the examinees obsess about the minutiae of the exam and give birth to an assortment of philosophies and formulae. Some advice you to take it easy, others recommend you to sweat it out as much as you can. Some counsel you to go by instincts, while others commend you on playing safe. It all depends on your comfort and time in hand. No single formula fits for everybody all the time. Except one: “PERSPECTIVE”.

It wasn’t my day, I messed up, I never have luck, I just gave it a casual shot I wasn’t serious, or the worst of all: I am not cut out for this. Candidates take their failure to different levels, from luck, destiny, dissatisfaction, blaming everything around to finally giving up. He loses the battle he could have easily won!  Whatever the reason is, pitying ourselves doesn’t solve it. Once you give up on yourself, there is nothing you can count to go right.

There is NO best way to set up one’s mind. Some meditate party, pray or preach. For some music is their ultimate asylum, others cradle their insecurities in friends and family. Some paint their emotions all over the facebook walls, while others mull and fret in private. But all the roads must lead to Rome! Whatever it takes to get you into the zone. There is no shame in trying out a way to make you feel confident. Sharing emotions is good, so is a little superstition. Because nobody deserves to be miserable enough to put to question and comparison their capabilities with even a flicker of self doubt. Without our own confidence no win matters and no loss teaches.  Life throws a challenge at you wanting you to be ready, if not capable. There lay a spectrum of approaches to calm the waves of anxiety that rock the cradle of your mind. Take a pick! But never ever give up on yourself, because miracles happen every day…

Go bell the CAT!

Written By: Arpita Sachdeva

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