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CAT 2009: Tips to beat stress, stay focussed

November 20, 2009 17:15 IST

The CAT is just about a week away and it is to be expected that your tension levels are shooting through the roof. To help you keep your focus and stress levels under control, try these stress-buster tips.

Positive visualisation
Take a moment to sit with your eyes closed and visualise yourself achieving the ideal outcome. You have to convince yourself that your hard work will pay off, and this includes convincing your subconscious. Repeated negative thoughts seep into your subconscious and eat away at your energy and confidence. This is not the time to do a postmortem of what you have studied so far. Rather, tell yourself that whatever you have studied will help you in the test.

You are your best study coach. You know your weaknesses and strengths, and, if you feel the need, this is the best time to use that knowledge to rehash your strategies. Take a few mock tests, applying various strategies, so that each paper enables you to achieve better results. This might not be the best time to start with new topics. Instead, collate your thoughts and organise your approach patterns. Gravitating towards such "can do" possibilities will also generate genuine confidence.

Tune your sleeping pattern
If your sleep pattern is topsy-turvy and you find yourself burning the midnight oil too often, your brain will get accustomed to shifting into alert mode during the night and relax mode during the day. For this year's CAT, you will need to be at your sharpest at the time you have chosen as your test slot. Regulate your sleeping pattern accordingly and remember that your body will take a while to get used to the new pattern. So it's best to start off with adjusting your sleep pattern it at the earliest possible time. Yes, that means tonight!

Believe in yourself
Right before a paper, some people feel convinced that they wouldn't do well, in spite of their hard work. But there are plenty of cases of people who 'logically' thought their efforts wouldn't amount to much, but continued in their endeavour anyway, because they trusted that they did have a chance. Thanks to their faith, many of them are now in the IIMs and other top institutes. Trust your intuition. Allow yourself to imagine what it would feel like if you achieve your goal --cracking the CAT and coming out with flying colours.

Body and mind
This is a crucial time to take care of your health -- physical and mental. No, we aren't going to suggest a gym subscription. It's simple things that count, like drinking enough water in the day to relieve tension or eating light food to keep your mood and energies up. The day before the test, keep your cool by listening to songs, calling up a friend who motivates you or watching a movie. If possible, do some relaxation exercises to keep your mind calm.

Take a break when you find you are losing focus. Forcing yourself to focus for too long can have a detrimental effect on your overall performance if it generated unwanted pressure, boredom or fatigue. When you find your mind wandering, take a short break. Schedule regular intervals, but in these breaks, do activities that keep you relaxed and don't engage your mind too much, since it's important to keep your mind free of distractions when you get back to your studies.

Avoid distractions
It is not the best time for a new video game, TV or redecoration. Anything that will keep your attention distracted, be it a new computer or rock band in your city, try to keep your mind clear of it. It's just a short jog till the end of the race, but it counts a lot. No matter how tempting the distractions, remember, losing your focus at this time could mean ruining the months of hard work you have put in so far!

Last minute to-dos
Avoid last-minute tension by finding out the exact route to your CAT centere. Go through the CAT 2009 FAQs and ensure that you are clear all guidelines and are carrying all the required documents. Be at the centre well in advance and stay clear of negative or tension-generating discussions. If you find yourself feeling anxious, sit in solitude and practise deep breathing. Keep your attention on your test and put up a fight till the very last minute.

Connect with a mentor
When in need of guidance, you could turn to a mentor. A person whose advice you trust, who will listen to your problem and help you work towards a constructive solution. This might be a friend, a parent, relative or even your CL mentor. There are plenty of people who have successfully steered through CAT, and their example may be of help to you. Meet such people around you or online and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, another person's perspective adds to our own.

Career Launcher Research team