Comments 69

What do you see yourself doing on CAT Day?

One of the biggest questions that you need to ask yourself is how do you think
of yourself with respect to life?

  • Do you think of yourself as an individual who makes life happen or to whom life happens?
  • Do you see yourself at the doing end of things or at the receiving end of things?
  • Do you believe or do you hope?

The most counter-productive thing of all

The answers to the question above will also reflect what your thoughts are currently as you look forward to taking the CAT this Sunday.

If you fall into the second camp on each question, then chances are that you are worrying about

  • the paper turning out to be tough
  • questions from all the areas that you have not touched turning up on CAT
  • the kind of questions you were not able to answer in SimCATs turning up on CAT
  • what will happen if you do not crack the CAT this year
  • how you will face your parents and dear ones

While all of these fears are legitimate is there anything that worrying can accomplish?

For each of these questions ask yourself two questions

  1. Should I be thinking about it right now or rather if I don’t think about it right now or over the next three days will my life will be ruined?
  2. If the answer to the above question is YES, then can I do anything to address the worry and solve it?

The only worry that you CAN address is the second one — by covering the most important formulas across all the areas/topics you have not touched so far.

All the rest are NOT in your hands and if you can’t do anything about it then no point thinking about it.

Your future hinges on this test but then can you let your test performance hinge on your negative thoughts about the future?

Worrying does not result in anything, it is the most counter-productive activity of all things we can think or do.

The power of visualization

The thing about the mind is that its very nature is to attach itself to something, like a bee that is constantly buzzing about.

You CANNOT control it from buzzing (something possible for only short periods of time through meditation).

You will be better-off DIRECTING it towards a correct, single-point focus.

When faced with big days or occasions it automatically gets directed towards the enormity of the event.

This is not something that is unique to test-takers, this is something that everyone faces in life, especially sportsmen who have to face the pressure of performing at the highest-level.

The most successful sportsmen and sports teams have learned to direct their minds towards a particular goal and channelize the power of visualization. Why just sportsmen don’t we do it as fans as well?

Haven’t we visualized our favourite sportsman leading his/her team to glory in the toughest of times?

Do we visualize him/her doing it in the easiest of situations? We always want him/her to battle and win in the toughest of situations.

This is exactly what the biggest sports stars themselves do — they visualize themselves performing at the highest-level during clutch time.

Michael Jordan was known to rehearse the entire game as it would play out. He would visualize specific players in the opposition trying to tackle him a particular way and he would himself working around it. Guess who read this in a book about Jordan, visualized and executed an innings that is now rated as the second-best test innings of all time by Wisden?.

In early 1999, Brian Lara returned as captain from South Africa, from a 0-5 drubbing. Before the tour was a pay dispute, after it there was just general despondency. Lara was put on probation as captain for the first two Tests against Australia, and Webster worked closely with the team, and Lara in particular.

Webster describes what Lara was going through then as “a process of self-sabotage”. Champions can sometimes go through such phases; every conceivable pressure piles up on them and bottles up the ability. It is medically proven that the stress affects vision and makes the reflexes more sluggish.

West Indies lost the first Test of the series, in Lara’s hometown, Port-of-Spain, by 312 runs, after having been bowled out for a humiliating 51 in the second innings. Basically, West Indies cricket was crumbling around Lara – which means, also, that he was at the centre.

Around then Lara was exposed to a technique called Visualisation. Think of Visualisation as a mental rehearsal; like writing the plot – and the end – to a story that is still unfolding. At about the same time, Lara remembers, an old friend from school, Nicholas Gomez, presented him with a book on Michael Jordan. “He had an entire page on how he went about visualizing what’s going to happen in a game,” Lara recalls. In the series against Australia, an inspired 213 from Lara’s blade had won the second Test at Jamaica to square the series.

In the last innings at Barbados, the venue of the third Test, West Indies were chasing 308 for victory against McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and MacGill. Of course, it was going to be desperately hard. Lara played one of the great Test innings.

Lara had seen it all before it happened. “I remember calling Gomez at six o’clock in the morning, the last morning of the Test match, and we went about planning this innings against the best team in the world. It was amazing to see how it just came to fruition. You know, a partnership with someone – it happened to be Jimmy Adams – and the innings ultimately evolving into a match-winning one.”

— excerpted from Rahul Bhattacharya’s article

It is a great video to watch, chasing 308 after being 105/5 with the last runs being scored in the company of arguably the worst #11 in cricket – Courtney Walsh.

What should YOU visualize?

The important thing to note is that in planning the chase with his friend in the morning, Lara kept it realistic. He knew that his team was prone to collapsing and the support of one other guy would be crucial. He did not imagine for himself a path strewn with flowers, instead, he imagined a road full of potholes and hoped for a good set of shock absorbers.

So over the next few days, you should visualize yourself doing the right things and overcoming obstacles instead of hoping and praying for an easy paper that falls to your strengths.

Talk yourself into doing the right things
This is what Martin Crowe, who was highly regarded by his peers both as a player and as a captain had to say about how the power of visualization can be harnessed to maximise performance.

From my own perspective, my mind was often filled with thoughts, coupled with underdeveloped emotions. It wasn’t a great mix in which to take on the art of batting at the top level. My footwork was sure and a priority, yet I quickly realised that footwork and mind-work go hand in glove. I needed some mental crutches and so I sought out the new phenomenon of sports psychology to deal with an overflow of desultory musing.

I learnt techniques of visualisation, of playing the future out in the mind first, using pictures.

Most of all, I learnt to repeat affirmations one after the other (“Head still, head still, watch the ball, watch the ball”), slowly and deliberately, to block out any unforeseen random thought (“What if I get out?”) that might jump into my head and trip me up again.

If you see he did not visualize himself hitting Allan Donald for a six on a fast pitch; he did not set himself visions of grandeur. He focussed on the small things he should do right and the thoughts he should avoid.

Solving questions is very similar since every ball is similar to question and solving it successfully is about doing all the small things correctly.

What should you see yourself executing?

  • Visualise yourself reading the question instead of skimming the question
  • Visualise yourself not jumping to solve the question but taking a call whether to solve it or not.
  • Visualise yourself doing the calculation part with the calmness required to not make silly mistakes.
  • Visualise yourself dealing with the unfavorable turn of events that we listed in the previous post and dealing with them.
  • Visualise yourself solving questions in the way you solve it at home — with relaxed nerves
  • Visualise yourself staying calm in the face of a tough/adverse paper.

In the same article Crowe summarises things really well.

The key, from what I have learnt, from what I now believe, is that no matter your experiences and circumstances, your reality is in the present moment – what you are living in the feeling of your thinking in the present moment. That’s your truest reality.

It is not the memory of what went before, or the concern of what may come in the future, that is real. In batting, it is the clear-minded thinking of watching and moving to the present ball being bowled that is real.

Fear of getting out is really an illusion, a negative thought with feeling added to it, about past failures and / or future ones. It needn’t be there at all. The fact is, you will get out, so there is no need to fear it; simply delay the inevitable for as long as possible.

You can succeed if you clear away everything that’s not to do with the present moment, the next ball, if you remove old baggage or concern about what might happen in time. Just think about watching the ball leave the bowler’s hand. That’s it.


Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi says it best. “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

Forget the pressure to perform, it is an opportunity to perform

The crucial thing that we should never lose track of is this — you have an opportunity to perform.

Most of you have had the privilege of decent food, decent education, decent shelter. Some of you, I know, have had to struggle for these things. So now you have the opportunity to build a better career.

I have spoken before in class about real pressure and real lack of opportunity — migrant laborers waiting at various junctions during morning hours hoping that someone would bundle them into a truck and give them an opportunity to just earn their daily bread, just exist with dignity.

Most of us are lucky to have this opportunity. It is up to us to think the right things and make the right things happen.

This is not something that applies only to CAT-day.

It will apply even more after you enter a premier b-school — summer placements, final placements and most importantly life.

The biggest battle is always won in the space between the ears and you have to visualize and talk yourself into doing the right things and succeeding.




  1. Mininath Jirage says

    Your blogs were inspiring in true sense, they helped me a lot during my CAT journey.
    Thank you Tony Sir.


  2. I have been reading all your post the whole year sir! Gotta tell you this that each and every word in each and every post of yours either motivates me or gets me out of my self imposed self depriciation cycle. Thanks a lot sir for all these post.
    Hope to talk to you in person someday.


    • Glad you found the posts useful Sarthak. If you get a call we might end up meeting each other at one of the Achievers’ Workshop.

      All the best for Sunday!


  3. shehanaz says

    Nothing can be more motivational than this beautiful blog.Thanks a lot sir for helping us crack VA-RC to succeeding in life.


  4. Kavya says

    Thank you Sir.
    “The biggest battle is always won in the space between the ears”, I’ll always remember this.
    Your posts have been really helpful!


  5. Murtuza Ambawala says

    Your blog is really inspiring and full of positivity.Especially in the journey of CAT.


  6. Aayushi says

    Thank you so much sir!

    You really inspire me with every post 🙂

    Sir I had a small query. Actually, I have been scoring decently well in mocks uptill now. But in today’s mock (which I had planned to be the last mock), I didn’t score according to my expectations. Should I consider taking another mock now or just let it be?


  7. Vijay Reddiar says

    I have been reading your blogs for about 2 months now, and being a huge fan of cricket myself, your references (Ben Stokes’ innings, Brian Lara magic) and use of cricket jargon (sitter) just amazes me every time. Similar to the previous ones, this was a brilliant read as well. Thank you so much.


    • Hi Vijay,

      Glad you found the blog useful. Really happy to read such comments.

      A lot people ask me to get on to YouTube and do videos of the blog but I feel that it will not be the same; writing is freer and gives me and the reader more space and time for things to really sink in, and reading 1000-word posts helps with RC! Sport is a great metaphor, especially cricket, since every problem is like a ball being bowled at you 🙂

      All the best for Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Manash says

        That’s true. A video won’t serve the purpose may be. Reading such inspirational bog is a way more enriching experience than watching it over a video. It helps to visualise the situations throughout the reading and leads to better introspection and self-discipline.

        After reading this article I replaced the I hope with I believe that I can do it.

        Thanks a lot for the efforts that you put in to guide us.


      • That’s why I have refrained from doing any of these as posts in the video format.

        Glad to know that the posts helped you step into the right frame of mind.

        All the very best for Sunday!


  8. Riya Sharma says

    Hello Sir,

    The things you mentioned at the beginning of this post were the things I could relate to the most. And more than anything else, I am worried about facing my parents if I am unable to perform well. Because my mock scores have not been encouraging so far, with ups and downs and since the last few mocks it has become constant, fixed in the same range. At this moment, the most that I can do is revise and revise, but I am afraid about the D-day and panic attacks are often making me cry and lose hope.

    Your post serves as much needed motivation for me, thanks a lot Sir. 🙂


    • Glad the post helped, Riya. To really simplify things, it’s just about the test and you and you executing your plans. Everything else doesn’t really matter. You are competing with 200000 people and you know the effort you have put in your best and that is what matters. Parents with all of their best intentions or may be because of them, usually end up making life tough for kids, but that is just them doing their job 🙂 Lighten up focus on test-taking skills and executing the strategies right and you will be fine.

      All the best for Sunday.


  9. Reaching the end of this blog, I can assure myself one thing. I’ll be confident and will possess a positive mindset throughout the mock season. 🙂


  10. says

    Thanks for your post tony sir. It truly inspires me a lot. You literally changed my life when i attended LMTC Bangalore chapter. I wanted to talk to you in person but could not ! But that’s not the end , i will try to ace the CAT and meet you in workshops. As far as my journey is concerned my mock score has been encouraging but I am concerned about D Day anxiety and fear because that got hold of me on Pre cat day.. I could not perform well according to my expectations. I know its too much to ask for but can you share more insights and motivational posts because that keeps us going!


    • Wonder why we did not meet! There is one last post before the CAT, that will be up day after. I’ll do a small video as well.

      All the best!


  11. Siddhi Gupta says

    Hello Sir,

    I am so glad this blog came just at the right moment. I have VARC as my strong area and I ha always been confident about it. But in a series of 3-4 mocks, I performed way below the expected. I got too demotivated and thought of giving up. It was each of your blogs, masterclasses that have helped me sail through.
    All your tips and lessons are very practical and has helped me to stay calm all throughout the mocks. I had given up on my habit of panicking and trying to stay calm & focussed!
    I have given up on my fears because of you.

    A huge thanks to you Sir!


    • Really happy to hear that the posts helped you make the right changes and more important mentally strong.

      Don’t think about the Sunday as the D-day but as the first in a series of matches that will end with the XAT.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Aayushi says

    Thank you so much Sir. The visualization bit is what I will repeat to myself on Sunday, it was extremely helpful and thought provoking.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hi Tony Sir,

    “your reality is in the present moment – what you are living in the feeling of your thinking in the present moment. That’s your truest reality.”

    I believe this is the central idea about what the author is trying to say….

    Jokes apart, Thank you sir for the efforts made to write this blog to ease us from the last minute anxiety. I truly agree and I think everyone should execute.
    I never got an opportunity to meet you in person, but I think your posts have helped me face the various challenges throughout the prep .

    Thanks a lot Sir !


    • Well, you have cracked the central idea question!

      Glad to know that the posts have been useful at various stages of your prep (I hate the word journey :-), it is so cliched)

      Get a call and we might meet at one of the Achievers’ workshop that we hold in various cities.

      All the very best for Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Kartik says

    Hello sir,
    i wanted to ask you something . till now in my simcats my percentile has been around 93-95%ile ( on an average) , recently i gave the previous year 2017-18 cat papers and scored around 160 in all of them . what should i anticipate about the level of my preparation. i am asking this because i am a realistic kind’a guy and it will help me relax and plan if i know about my current level better.


    • Hi Kartik,

      95 percentile on SimCATs will mean about 97.5 on the actual test.

      A score of 160 roughly translated to a 99 on the actual CAT last year. So yeah, you are technically on course to score above a 98.

      All the best!


  15. Atul Shenoy says

    Tony Sir, I’m Atul from Kochi,
    I have been scoring decently well till now in mocks but every time a common issue I face while giving my exam is that I find myself totally exhausted( My mind to be exact) after VA-RC and DILR sections and it gets rusted when I reach Quants, Is there any tip where in I can keep my mind alert along the Quants section as well?

    I remember you saying that atleast once in our Preparation season we should give 2 Simcats back to back. Will that help?? If yes.. Then when which date from today till the day before D-Day would be advisable??


    • Hi Atul,

      A few things for the stamina bit in the last leg.

      1. Eat a really solid full meal (without meat, eggs are fine) 60-90 minutes before the test, thinking takes as much glucose as physical activity.
      2. Do some really deep breathing, about 30 breaths, before you start the test.
      3. Take two tests back to back tomorrow.
      4. Talk very little, save up every bit of energy you can over the next few days.

      This should suffice.

      All the best!


      • Atul Shenoy says

        Thanks a Lot sir,
        And any Tips for quants other than those mentioned i your blog?? To maximize the scores


  16. Govind Ayisetti says

    Thank u sir.I am also a huge fan of cricket and the way u link the things with the cricket is just awesome.


  17. Hello Sir,
    I have been following all your blogs since April and I must say that each and every blog of yours inspired and motivated me to do better in my next mocks. I have learnt a lot from you. My VARC mock scores shifted from 25-30 to 50-70 range because of your masterclasses and blogs.
    Thanks a ton!


  18. Shubham says

    Good morning sir,
    I have been ardently following and applying your suggestions at every step of my prep and I have progressed all thanks to you. This post was very inspiring and eye opening.
    It reminded me of a quote by Michael Jordan ” I can acccept failure but I can’t accept not trying”
    Keep inspiring and teaching sir,
    Thank you.


    • Hi Shubham,

      Glad to hear the posts helped you get better. I don’t think there is any difference between sports and premier aptitude tests, both pit your skills against the best. So yeah, the Jordan quote is very relevant.

      All the best for Sunday!


  19. Sristi says

    Thank you Sir. Your blog has helped me a lot to cope with all the anxiety and fear. In fact all your blogs have been of great inspiration throughout the process. Every time I have got a low score or have lost the will to try again, your posts have brought me right back on track. Thank you for all the motivation and support.


  20. Sunidhi Raje says

    Tony Sir, I too have been reading your blogs regularly after i started taking classes at IMS. Your blogs have really helped in streamlining the difficulties i have faced throughout my journey. As always, this blog has also helped settle down the last minute jittery thoughts. And while reading this blog, i also realized that each time that i had positive mind and a calm brain, i have scored better in SIMCATs. So, here’s thanking you for each post and specially for this post since CAT is also about mindset as much it is about preparation.
    Thank You Sir.


    • Hi Sunidhi,

      Really glad to hear that you have come to understand the importance of having a calm head through your own experience.

      All the best for Sunday!


  21. Dheeraj Kumar says

    All your blog posts have been really good. I have read all of them. And while I’m normally a self-motivated guy and can handle tough things quite easily compared to others, still motivation helps.
    I read in a book, “motivation is like daily bath.”
    I believe I’ll do well on Sunday.
    Thank You So Much Sir for your guidance through these posts.


    • Hi Dheeraj, Really happy time hear it was useful for aspirants like you who are self-motivated as well. Honestly, when I write I do not write as much to motivate as to change the lens through which people view things, especially the fear around tests.

      All the best for Sunday!


  22. Kumar Shanu says

    Sir, thanks for this motivational post before the CAT. It just inspired me to focus on actions and not on results.
    Sir, I am scoring around 80-85 percentile in simcats. Should I fill MDI and IMT Ghaziabad? My acads are good- 95/93/85. U helped me out while filling SP Jain. I need ur help once again.


    • Hi Kumar,
      Glad the posts were of help. It’s always good to know that what one is doing has some impact.

      You should fill in IMT, MDI will need atleast a 95 percentile, you can apply if your budget allows.

      All the best for Sunday!


  23. Mohit Sorout says

    Hello Sir,
    VARC section was my weakest section and still is but initially I used to score around 30, and I have tried many ways but scores were not improving , then with the help of VA masterclass and your blogs I am now scoring more than 40 marks in every mock.
    I have already made my strategy for CAT but still want to ask how much time should I give to VA(planned -15 min, my comparatively week area ) and in ~40 min I generally able to solve only 4 RCs.

    The quote by Henry Ford made the day.

    Thank you sir.


    • Hi Mohit,

      Happy to hear that your VA-RC scores went up. It’s okay if you solve 4 RCs in 40, there is no conclusion to go for 5 and make mistakes.

      All the best for Sunday!


  24. vs pran says

    sir , i listened to your advice, but i still failed, i will definitely pass next year .


    • I myself cleared the CAT on my second attempt and honestly one needs to be on top of one’s game for atleast 10 tests to perform on test day. Most students in the first attempt get a hang of things quite late.

      Keep at it, focus now on the other tests.


  25. Hi there Tony sir,
    Sir in every simCAT that I taken my score is stagnant around 60-70 and isn’t improving. I’am attending the masterclass sessions, practicing regularly but my overall score remains the same, sometimes I score well in VARC, sometimes I end doing calculation mistakes for DILR sets that I know I could have cracked and sometimes end up picking wrong set of questions in QA and end up with almost the same set of total. How should I go about it?


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