Updated: Jul 8
Everyone had advised against taking a mock in the last couple of days. I still did and fared badly in QA (I feared the QA section already). I remember talking to my father about the fear of not being able to perform. He asked me if I had been managing to score better consistently, to which I replied in affirmative. So then, he asked, “Why don’t you take another one and see for yourself?”
Another mock? But, everyone says you shouldn’t take last-minute mocks. Should I? I decided to follow my father’s advice and took another mock just to see how I perform in QA. It was important for me to go fearless in the exam, so I gave my level best. And thankfully, I did well in QA. I talked to my father again and asked, “What would have happened had I scored less in today’s mock?” He said, “You’d still have gotten another chance in tomorrow’s exam.”
To anyone who is appearing for CAT, you should know that it’s just one of the many chances you’ll get in life to do better than before. It’s just another chance! We’ve all been there and we know the feeling of the last couple of days. There’s an anxiety of the paper and then, there’s the pressure to perform. But, at the end of the day, it’s just another chance to give your level best.
You must've worked really hard to reach here. All that toil is going to become a reality soon. Just remember one simple tip that goes without saying, “Keep your calm and give your best shot.”
A couple of things for the nth day besides the general eat well, sleep well regimen:
From the moment you enter the test centre to when your exam starts, there’ll be a lot of formalities (document verification, seating plan release, signatures and photo, etc.). This will consume almost an hour or so. Try to talk less during this time with other candidates if that makes you nervous.
It is recommended to go to the washroom before the exam. It’s a three-hour paper. The hallways of the test centre are huge (1000s of candidates take the exam together). It will take you at least 5–10 minutes to settle back to your seat if you leave in between. So, plan accordingly.
Don’t worry about the chances of cheating by the candidates around. You’ll be seated in individual cubicles and there’ll be blinkers on the edges of the cubicle to restrict access of sight to anyone. So, no need to worry.
You should start the exam sharp at the time when it is asked to. Generally, there’s a three-hour window which gets clocked out at the scheduled time (e.g. 12 or 5:30). So, even if no one else is starting, you should.
You will not know who is going to sit next to you and the person may have a habit of reading out the passages loudly (happened in my case). Feel free to politely ask them to read silently. They will oblige most certainly.
Take note of the attendant who is managing your row. Each attendant is responsible for 2–3 rows. If you face any technical glitches during the exam, just stand up, raise your hand and find the attendant. In a low voice, without disturbing those around you, explain your concern to the attendant and they will get it resolved immediately. It takes a minute at the most. Nothing to be concerned about, it doesn’t reduce your chances in any way.
On completion of your exam, remain seated. There’ll be some more formalities. You will only be allowed to bring home the rough calculation sheets (that too depends on the centre). So, if you have some time, maybe note down the kinds of questions that came. They’ll come handy later.
On your way back, it is suggested to avoid crowds - people say all sorts of things. During my time, LRDI was tougher but people said QA was tricky. I wondered if I made mistakes thinking it was not. Just move out of the test centre and talk to your parents, who would be eagerly waiting. And, when you do, stay optimistic. They must be waiting for long.
After coming back, take a deep breath! A crucial step of your journey would finally be over. This is it, let’s keep what follows for some other day!
For those who have been performing well in the mocks but fear the final attempt:
“Hard work puts you where good luck can find you!”
On being asked, if it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses someone, a saint once said, “It depends on whether you’re a man or a mouse!”
So, it really depends on what you make of the circumstances you’re put in. Be the captain of your ship and the master of your fate.
All the best to you! :)
Here's a short story to inspire you - The Elephant Rope Story