CAT (Common Admission Test) is considered to be one of the toughest entrance exams and thus the aspirants are required to work really hard in order to crack the examination and get admitted in the top management institutes for their MBA or PGDM course.
But just giving in the hard work without any proper planning or strategy will not be of much help to you either. Hard work gives its fruits only when it is done with planning and precision.
For such examinations, candidates have to study for a long time period with full concentration which may become tiring and depressing after some time.
Also hearing about people who did poorly after putting in years of practice really doesn’t help you keep a positive outlook.
However, it is believed that by adopting a systematic and scientific approach that includes a few simple, basic and adoptable steps, you can ward off these negative feelings easily.
So your main priority should be ensuring that all your needs are met and you are studying as efficiently as possible. Take away all your excuses and reasons to pity you.
We are going to discuss some tips and pieces of advice which will help you achieve the studying time duration of a productive 10 hours, without so much as a glitch, that seemed impossible once upon a time.
This is probably the most cliché tip of all times, but since it is cliché and used over so often for a reason: it works! If you are planning on dedicating more than ten hours for serious studying daily then you will often find that eating will slip off your radar.
But you need to keep up the energy flow in your brain and this is pretty hard to do on a standard diet as you need to constantly eat carbs, sugar etc. to keep it up. Your brain is a massive consumer of energy.
Studying for such long hours requires mental stamina and for this, getting the right amount of nutrition at the right intervals is essential and so is staying hydrated and thus you need to drink water at regular intervals.
Take the right amount of breaks
Normally one may not want to break the flow of their studies at times but it is essential to take breaks in between.
Everybody studies in very different ways and even have different preferences. There can be two approaches to taking breaks while studying.
The first approach may be:
You may decide and customize the breaks that you take depending on how you study.
You can divide your time into blocks of say, an hour or 45 minutes and study in that time period. And after each of these blocks, you can take a break.
The second approach can be:
At first set goals for yourself in terms of chapters, or topics, or a number of questions to be answered.
And after reaching that goal, you can take a rest.
Take these few minutes of the break to stretch your feet and to refresh yourself.
These just as a few minutes of break can actually do wonders by allowing you to physically move around and rejuvenate yourself while studying for long hours.
It will help you in avoiding all the tiredness to pile up at the end of the 10 hours.
Use the rest of the time wisely
Studying for more than ten hours a day should not mean that you can’t have fun and do things you enjoy! Never overshadow your hobbies and extracurricular activities because of your studies.
Enjoying your normal lifestyle is also important while studying as it will help you to focus more on the studies.
Since your study time is yours and you can personalize it, you can break the time in 2 – 5-hour slots and go for running in the evening or play your favorite sport, play an instrument, watch your favorite TV series, movies, anything that you want to do.
If you do these other activities, you won’t go to sleep feeling that you didn’t do anything you enjoyed. Moreover, it will let you be able to break the monotonous routine you are likely to get into if you study such long hours.
Use different ways of studying
Everyone has a different way of studying and if you know how you study and what works for you well, you can do wonders with this knowledge.
Depending on whether you are more of a visual/ auditory learner or more of a linguistic one, you can use different languages of learning.
Instead of only reading out from textbooks and answering the questions behind, you can also watch video lectures that may make learning easier for you as not everyone can read and understand everything at once.
This is where online education really comes in handy as there are reading materials available for once you are able to grasp the concepts taught in the online videos.
After going through the reading material, there are various online tests and quizzes to check your understanding.
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Change your study area
There is quite a possibility that you stay holed up in your room for days at a stretch and get out only to eat or for a few minutes to chat with your parents when you plan to study for such long hours.
If the quality of your study time is independent of where you study, you should always try to change the surroundings you study in. Sometimes you may not just want a change, but you may even need the change.
It is important for you to break anything that may seed continuous boredom as that is the one thing that may lead to depression.
Sitting in the same room for 10 hours every day can do this. So instead go sit in the living room, your parents’ room, or the library at times.
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Spend time with family and friends
Always spend at least an hour or two with your family and friends. You will be much less inclined to study if you feel like you’re missing out on something.
And this will definitely affect your performance. You could double up your energy by eating, working out, playing video games, watching TV with them and thus making even better use of your time.
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Get enough sleep
Sleeping as much as you need and when you need it is very important for a good health. Because there is literally no point in studying for 10 hours a day if you don’t remember half of what you learned the next day.
And this is what will happen without enough sleep. Your brain is a part of the nervous system, you stress it out when you study and thus you need to give it rest to recuperate.
You can simply have a 30 min nap sometime in the middle of the day when you get naturally tired. Naps increase vigor, decrease fatigue, decrease confusion, decrease reaction time, and increased the number of correct additions.
This is also a great way to calm your mind down when you have a million things on it. Sleep is the best form of meditation to calm you down when you are stressed.
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Take hazard into consideration when making the plan
If you imagine that you will study every day for 10 hours, you are wrong. This is an ideal condition. In the real world, there are always some unexpected events that stop you from following the ideal plan.
This means you will have plenty of days when you will need to study for more than 12 hours a day in order to recuperate the lost hours or to bank the hours you will surely lose at a certain point.
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Be it CAT exam preparation or any competitive exam preparation, it is a long race that you got to run without limping if you want to get a top rank.
There may be times when you might end up with less enthusiasm for studying and feel like giving up on the examination. But this is the point when you need to keep yourself motivated.
This can be done in two ways, i.e.
Speaking to a mentor- it could be your parents, brother or sister, friends, teachers anyone you feel like you can talk to when you feel low.
Read motivational quotes- Motivational quotes simply work when you are running low on your motivation levels. You can read some quotes and motivate yourself from them or you can even watch some motivational videos.
Always remember that if you want to shine like a sun, you must first burn like a sun.
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Don’t live in a world of possibilities
It is natural for candidates to think about the future while appearing for a competitive examination like CAT. Many candidates worry too much and get stuck in the realm of ‘what ifs’ like-
What if I study so much and fail the examination?
What if I fall sick on the very day of the main examination?
It is honestly a useless state of mind which leads to unnecessary stress and this is a slippery slope to not cracking the CAT.
Instead of thinking about these things, focus and work hard now and let your hard work speak in the future.
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At last, in order to achieve the productive 10 hours of studies without feeling drained out of energy, the key is to keep it all simple.
And finally with the studies, as long as you follow a few basic rules you would be able to develop quite a decent study plan which is most of the most important things to follow while preparing for the examination.
Plan what all the topics you need to study in the coming months. Make a plan on how you want to distribute them in the time available to you.
Challenge yourself to finish at least all the topics you have planned. Try and stick to your plan.
You should know what’s in it for you if you are sitting and completing a particular chapter. Without a goal, it’s an uphill battle which is difficult to win as you won’t have the high ground.
Take control and you should always know how something, in which you are investing hours of your day, will benefit you.
Never give up and work hard, because it always works.