3 Months to Go: Should one attempt for CAT’19 or 20?

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

3 Months to Go Should one attempt for CAT 19 or 20

It is now barely three months to go for the CAT exam for 2019. Those who have been preparing for the same for a while now, are looking at acing the mock exams and revising their entire preps again. There are some who started later, but now entering the peak period of their preparations. There are repeaters as well, who may have underperformed last year, but are now looking to improve upon their scores, to land a seat at their dream college. This brings us to the fourth category of CAT aspirants. These are the kinds who are not sure.

This lack of clarity stems from the fact the CAT 2019 isn’t that far off from now. So, some are of the view that instead of attempting this year, why not make a dash for the one next year. This isn’t a wrong view, just that some modifications might help. There are broadly three approaches that these kinds of middle- of- the- road students may take up. One is to simply abandon hopes for this year, not go half-hearted, but plan for 2020. Another is to give it a go this time, but if things don’t work out, nothing to panic, they can always repeat next year. The third option is about people who firmly believe in the future being uncertain, so a full-throttled move for CAT ’19.

Let us take a look at the merits and demerits of all these three approaches.

Only CAT’ 2020

This is a safe choice for many who are not well- prepared for this year’s attempt. Thus, it is time to sit back and think over the reasons why this year’s attempt could not be executed. A few in this category could be working professionals, so naturally may have gotten busy with work. Others may be students, who had high academic pressure in their final year. Whatever be the reasons, they need to be well- chalked out so that the mistakes do not get repeated. The specific errors could be rectified through online classes on those subject areas. If needed, one can always opt for classroom coaching in such situations. But the biggest advantage for this lot of students online is that one can take up sessions specifically for the areas, in which doubts pertain, and one is weak in, instead of having to take up a full course. There may also be some students who started preps late on, so attempting in 2019, may only have ended up in wasting an attempt.

Both 2019 and 2020

This is overall, possibly the best approach. It implies the least risk, except perhaps a loss of face if the percentile goes really low in the first attempt! It is a good idea to give the exam this year, as the candidate will get an idea on how to attempt a paper, the physical settings, and the overall ecosystem. In case one is taking coaching somewhere, it will make sense to take up all the topics this year, and then revise for an entire year after this. One can always seek specific doubt sessions later on. On another positive note, as things are uncertain, one never knows, the result on the first attempt could actually be much better than one assumed. This will give options to enroll at a college this year itself. Even if one goes for another attempt to crack the dream college open, the confidence levels naturally go up.

Mainly 2019

Attempting seriously in 2019 even when one is uncertain of performance, is for those not sure of the future. Those highly ambitious will not want to put off enrolling for an MBA by even a single year. Some might even quit their jobs or take sabbaticals for this brief duration of a single quarter to focus on the CAT this year. Those in the final year could compromise their college academics for this period only to focus on this. Some aspirants may already be good in one area of CAT, so could focus their remaining time on the other parts. Engineers, for instance, have often been seen to be good at quantitative aptitude, so they need to build their expertise now in the remaining months on verbal ability. There are some years where the paper suits a candidate, more than it does another, or the same person in another year. This chance thus has to be grabbed.

These strategies mentioned above are the broad approaches. Individual choices depend on their current status, level of preparation, and confidence. Decisions are also often not made solely by one person, but by a coterie of advisors. So, it is best if the CAT aspirant addresses the individual case, before deciding on. Sometimes, delaying too much might change the course of career direction. This may not always be a bad thing, as one could discover a new option. Quicker decision- making could on the other hand, force one to opt for a conventional course of option, long in the making. Choosing to study abroad or opting for an Executive MBA in India, are two career options, they go with.

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