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Is it worth dropping a year for CAT preparation

by Manish Gupta 2021-10-08

Is it worth dropping a year for CAT prep? 

CAT 2021 is fast approaching towards it's D-Day and much of the crowd is already engaged in preparation these days. But there are several aspirants who are not yet clear about their preparation outcome and are in a dilemma whether they should go for CAT next year taking a drop this year. Let's discuss some of the cases of dropping a year for CAT evaluating each side of the decision. 

Case 1- You are in your final year of graduation and don't feel like attempting the CAT this year

If you have not yet prepared for CAT 2021 and are a bit scared about the chance of cracking the exam in 2 months, you should not be like that since there is still some probability of getting good percentiles. Refer to the last months CAT preparation strategy to bell CAT 2021 with good scores. 

Still, if you are pretty sure that you need time to prepare and you can't handle the CAT preparation along with your existing curricular and other activities burden, you can take a drop without any hesitation. Moreover, the drop you would be taking wouldn't not even count as a major drop because till the time you graduate, you will be having 5-6 months which are just perfect to put in study for CAT. 

Case 2- You have done with your graduation and are unemployed

First of all, be aware of the very fact that CAT is not like JEE, NEET, or UPSC exam where your preparation matters a lot in culminating good scores. No! CAT is an aptitude test where more than your knowledge, that you acquire through a lot of study, your competence in logical problem solving, quantitative ability, verbal ability and comprehension abilities are tested. Although you may already have these abilities, polishing them through practice is required. Having said that, the preparation time required is not as much as a full year with only focus on study, study and study. 

The motto of telling all this is to show you that if you are dropping a full year only to devote to CAT preparation, a blundering mistake would be that, as it's not at all required. So, how to fill that year with productive things in a manner that will pave the way for your growth on one side and would render your CV enriched on the other? 

Extracurriculars:- Try enrolling in any of your hobbies be it in dance clubs, theatres, painting workshops, music classes etc. Also, you can contribute to social commitments by joining NGOs for any part time work where you could serve the society. Research plenty of the NGOs in your nearby area and contact them as per your suitability. Working for education, rural employment, health issues, waste problems, women empowerment are some of the factors you can contribute to by working in NGOs. 

Curriculars:- To fulfill your academic interests or to just gain exposure to the fields you want to pursue in the MBA, you can enroll in various short term certifications or diploma courses in various fields of marketing, finance, psychology, logistics, operations, global business and much more. Research on the popular websites like Coursera, Udemy, Saylor etc. or even try to enroll offline, if possible. While this may not fetch you any points in the MBA admission process, they may still be your topic of discussion during a personal interview round where you can mention your learnings and connect it with your eagerness to pursue the same in your MBA. This way you can put forward points while objectifying the need of yours to do an MBA. As a general advice, if you are damn interested in finance, try doing CFA, as it can fetch you resume points in the admission process of IIM kozhikode

Internship: Similar is doing an internship in any field you are getting at that time. Try to beg for the role which is related to your MBA study, or even if you are not getting any such, try putting efforts in anything on the table. This shows that you were consistent and didn't remain idle during the drop year. If nothing then at least you would learn professional ethics and interpersonal skills which is hugely required for a management professional. 

Entrepreneurship:- You can also try your own venture if you have any great idea to serve a targeted segment of people. Even if you haven't, try researching any product or service that you might offer ahead of competitors with a potential scope of innovations that you can introduce. In this way, you will learn many dimensions of business like market research, employee management, consumer behavior, relationship management and a lot more which you can also relate to the need for doing an MBA. 

Case 3- You are employed and in the dilemma of dropping Job or not?

This may seem a bitter suggestion to you that you should continue your job if you are employed and have one full year to prepare for CAT. Leaving a job may seem justified if there are only a few months left in the CAT exam and you have prepared nothing. But since you are taking a drop of one year to attempt the exam, it may not sound like a rational decision to drop a job also. Why so? See, you are not the only drop year person who will be interviewed, there would be a lot many in the list. Why would the panelist prefer you over the candidates who were preparing for CAT as well as carrying out their responsibilities in work? This can lower your chances of selection. Many CAT toppers have successfully managed both the things simultaneously. Get some tips on how to manage full time job with CAT prep? 

Saying in favor of leaving the job, you can actually do so if you have solid reasons to support your decision. It might be an attraction towards a startup, any of your passion, suffering from illness, issues with your current job or anything particularly associated with you. Mind, if you are sticking to your job just because you will gain an edge in work experience points, this is nothing but just an uncleared myth, as work ex of approx 1 year will not even yield 1 mark out of a total 100. Browse all the selection criteria articles of Different B-Schools and clear this myth. To clear more of the myths related to CAT, click here

All in all, dropping a year is a personal choice influenced by the personally specific factors. While you should try to attempt the CAT as early as possible, taking a year break wouldn't be a hurdle in securing admission in good colleges. Just be focused on your goal till you reach it. If you are in need of any sort of preparation material or just want to boost your CAT preparation for 99+ percentiles, Acadergy is here to assist you throughout your journey. With an accumulation of best of the IIM mentors, CAT proctored mocks, carefully designed CAT standard practice papers, we are offering some of the unique features to make you the CAT achiever. We simply simplify your CAT journey.