Should You Drop a Year For CAT Exam?

Dropping a year for the CAT exam

Credit – Ahermin

A question that students always find hard to consider is – should you or should you not drop a year for CAT? 

It indeed is a very difficult question for students to answer considering the things which are normally at stake. These are a few points that come to my mind that might help students in making a decision:

For Those Who Are Currently NOT Employed/Final Year Of Graduation 

This is for students not working or in the final year of graduation. Even though our answer is the same for each category of student, the circumstances leading to the situation are quite different.

  • If you are not employed and don’t plan to be after graduation, then don’t drop a year. Start preparing while you are in graduation itself. 
  • If you graduate and cannot clear CAT as per your requirements, then give CAT again, but try to find a job. Don’t waste that year only for sole preparation of CAT.
  • Basically, unlike engineering, dropping a year for CAT is a huge huge mistake i.e. if you just plan to sit at home and do CAT preparation and nothing else, you are wasting a lot of your time and your life. Run hither-tither, go to a metro, find some job, even if a sales job is all that you can get, get it. It will go a long way not only to make your time fruitful, but also help you in grasping the MBA course slightly better.
  • Get this – even if you find a sales job, take it. Find any job where you can network extensively, take it. Keep preparing for CAT simultaneously. CAT is not the kind of exam for which you need to drop a year, so make no mistake, DO NOT drop a year for CAT.

For Those Who Are Currently Employed 

  • If you think you can improve upon your CAT score which will create a substantial difference in your final college, like  moving from Tier 2 to Tier 1, then do consider giving CAT again. If you have a good work experience, then continue with your job along with your CAT preparation. 
  • Now the question is as to how many attempts should you give? Ideally, 36-45 months of work-ex before IIM is preferred. (Source: During shortlisting, most of the IIMs give the maximum points to students within this domain) So estimate the attempts accordingly.
  • Also remember, that with increasing work ex, you are also opening up the avenue of GMAT too, if you are interested.
  • So, essentially you can drop for CAT keeping the above three points in mind.

Making this decision is never easy. The problem is compounded by the variables at play, like age, marriage, money etc. However, we hope that the above points would at least help students to look at these issues in some good perspective.

If you have a specific case wherein you would need some assistance, please feel free to leave a comment and we will get back to you.

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