by Sarthak Saneja, IIM Ahmedbad
A rough day at work is always unpleasant, especially if you are stuck in a never ending traffic jam because some idiot couldn’t keep his foot off the gas at a red light. It’s a lot worse when you know you have to return home and study. But if you are serious about your MBA, and you are a working individual, this is one of the most important things to push through.
First of all, you MUST be aware of the fact that
CAT is better done through constant, steady effort rather than spurts of action before the exam.
My Personal Schedule
My personal weekday went something like this: wake up at 6:30, leave for office by 7:20-7:30, spend the entire day in office, return by about 7:30-8 pm, do some chores, have dinner, relax a little, give time to family/loved ones, then start studying at about 10-11, till about 12-1.
Sounds daunting? Not really when you plan and prepare well:
#1 – Make every minute count
Plan out your studies. Even if you’re giving it only 2-3 hours a day, make them count. Zero distractions. Try to finish one topic/sub-topic in that given time.
#2 – Squeeze in a few minutes whenever you can
See if you can fit in some studying at other times of the day. For example, I always kept my mock CAT result analysis open on my desktop when in office. Whenever I had a few mins, I’d sit and revise it, going over my mistakes and the correct solutions.
#3 – Use your commute time wisely
I listened to the news on AIR both in the morning and in the evening when travelling, which greatly helped me stay up to date on current events. I’d also listen to AIR’s Market Mantra program in the evening. It got a bit technical with stocks, but they’d also do a general analysis of important economic events that is highly useful for anyone wanting to give interviews.
#4 – Don’t go soft on yourself
Don’t ditch your study plans, as tempting as it may be. Even if you’re sick or tired, give it at least an hour so that you stay in the rhythm and you’re aware of how much work you have left.
#5 – Pre-plan your breaks and duly make up for them
If you’re going to take a break (and you inevitably will), plan it out. For example, I’d take like 3-5 days off once in a rare while from studying. But before doing so, I’d sit and jot down how I would need to make up for the slack. This is extremely important as it prevents you from going overboard with the rest, and also genuinely lets you relax because you have everything planned out.
#6 – Don’t skip Sleep & Meals
Sleep and eat as well as you can. Never skip meals, take care of your health. While this is general prep advice for all applicants, it is all the more critical for people who are balancing work with prep, because a loss of time when sick is much more damaging to them.
Good luck with your preparation, and never give up!
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute, with sixty seconds of distance run,
Then yours is the Earth and all that’s in it, and what’s more, you’ll be a man my son!”
– If, by Rudyard Kipling
Sarthak Saneja is a student of IIM Ahmedabad.
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