We as CA students always want to prepare our best to crack the CA exams (CPT/IPCC/FINALS). Yet only few of us make it. Every student you are competing against has already done the same basic homework; Joined the best available classes, referred the best study material, followed the same strategies which most others follow. As a student who wants to crack the exam in your next attempt, what is it that will give you a ‘unique’ edge over the competition? An edge which only you can have.
Your mental steadiness and resilience is that edge. There are so many of us who prepare day and night but are just not able to deliver our best on the exam day. Others among us are not able to prepare to the best of our abilities as personal, social, family distractions, thoughts of failure and its consequences haunt our mind frequently and stop us from becoming 100% focussed on studies. How you prepare and cutivate your mental habits during preparation and the time of examination can make a tremendously powerful difference to the way you write your exams and your chances of cracking them. However it is not something that you can cultivate in a day. It take time patience & the right techniques to achieve this.
As a guide who has helped numerous students achieve this powerful state of mind, let me share 5 powerful tips that can help you cultivate this “unique edge”.
Since matters of the mind sometimes sound complicated. Let me draw a simple parallel between your mind and your body to help you understand better.
In simple words, a healthy and fit body is an equivalent of a steady mind.
What would you do if you had 3 months to make your body healthier?
1. Regular Exercise
2. Intake adequate nutrients
3. Maintain a healthy diet
4. Develop immunity towards external infections
5. Take adequate rest
When it comes to the matters of the mind, the solution is not very different. Here is what you need to do over next 3 months to develop a steadier mind.
1. Exercise Your Willpower:
As a student preparing for CA exams, you are already exercising one major aspect of your mind; your intellect. However that is not enough. To really increase the strength of your mind, it’s very important to exercise your willpower frequently. Willpower is like a mental muscle that grows weak if you do not exercise it daily. One simple way to do it is to fight your impulses. Be it an impulse to watch something on youtube, check your smartphone, log into social media or could be just binge watching. Try to keep a track of how many impulses you fought off using your willpower. Frequently exercising our willpower over a considerable time will help you gain a certain amount of control over your thought process and will help you stay focussed during preparation.
2. Intake Adequate Nutrients:
The two most powerful nutrients for your mind as a CA aspirant are:
1: Having a very specific goal in mind (yes, more specific than just clearing the exam)
2: Having a very strong reason to achieve the goal
These two help organize your mind bottom up. These nutrients will help you ward of distractions of any kind. They will also enable you to put in that little extra bit of effort. Once you have these two in place, your drive to work hard will be strong enough to not let any temporary setbacks demotivate you.
3. Maintain a healthy mental diet:
When you are maintaining a healthy food diet, you cut down on junk food isn't it? Junk food means food that highly tasty but has no nutritional value. Most instant gratifications be it WhatsApp, social media, youtube act as serve this junk food for your mind. Most of the audiovisual and video content on these platforms acts like junk food. While you may not realize it on the surface, your mind keeps processing all this unnecessary information throughout the day which wastes its bandwidth. Do not believe me? try cutting down on all types of video content for a week and see the difference in how well you study yourself. Instead spend some time doing a creative activity. Dance, sing, draw paint, write; do any creative activity that makes you feel joyful.
4. Develop immunity towards external infections:
A body remains healthy when it has developed immunity towards external infections such as cold, flu etc. Similarly there also are a lot of external factors that cause unsteadiness in our mind. Most common among these external factors is what the world thinks and say about you (friends, family, colleagues, strangers). Other external factors include future uncertainty, unpredictable situations or unwanted events that happen around you. These external factors increase your fear and the resultant stress. In such situations, your ability to focus naturally goes down. To stay focussed it is very important to have daily routines and practices in place that help you stay immune to external distractions. Practicing simple forms of meditative exercises (mindfulness, Yoga) for 10-20 mins daily can help you develop this immunity. But you need to do this consistently.
5. Take adequate rest:
Just like our body, our mind also needs rest. When we sleep our body rests but our mind doesn't. In fact it is even more active. It works on all the impressions it has accumulated during the day sorting processing the important and relevant information and discarding the irrelevant information. It is common sense that if any machine is used nonstop without regular rest, it is bound to perform suboptimally and inefficiently. That’s what is happening with most students who just focus on studying all day and not providing adequate rest to the mind. A well rested mind can do way much more than a tired one. So how do you your rest your mind. The answer again lies in meditative practice. Meditative practices such as mindfulness or any breath based techniques help you rest your mind. But just doing it once in a while is of no use. It must be done daily to see and experience any boost in your performance.
Hope you found the above five points useful and you would be able to apply some of these while preparing for your exams. All the best for your examinations.
The author of this article is CA Supriya Samant, co-founder of Antarlakshya which conducts focus enhancement programs for students.
Please visit https://www.antarlakshya.com/focus-enhancement-for-ca-exams for more details.