Since the time CAT 2015 results have been announced, many of you have been asking the question that Should one prepare for CAT 2016 if performed badly in CAT 2015? In this article we try to help you with this dilemma and hope that by the time you finish reading this article, you will have your answer. But before we get into it, do remember that cracking CAT and getting into IIMs or a top B School is not the make or break of life, it is just one of the multiple opportunities out there to help you achieve your long term career goal. And if you are determined, you will achieve your end career goal, with or without MBA or say even a degree from an IIM. 

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Should one prepare for CAT 2016 if performed badly in CAT 2015?

Let us all begin by going through this heurestic to help you realise what the most likely reason for your lower score was. We will elaborate on some of the less clear points in this heurestic. It is in your best interest to be honest with yourself. 

Should one prepare for CAT 2016 if performed badly in CAT 2015?

  • Did I work hard?: Be objective on this question. Did you consistently put in time that you required to get going? For example, if you started off really weak and still only put in two months, you haven’t worked hard enough. That is a poor assessment of the time needed.
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses : This is done by a consistent analysis of your performances. If you have not done this, either in your head or on paper, you have not worked smart enough.
If you decide that CAT is not your cup of tea right now, or you’re really not interested, suggestion is to drop the CAT and may be explore a Banking Job, Government Job or a Private sector job available for graduates. It is better to utilize your time doing something meaningful or constructive that excites you, rather than going to B-School.
I have decided I want to give the CAT, what do I do next?
If you decide you want to give the CAT, you have the following options
  • Continue without dropping a year
  • Drop a year
Should I drop a year?
Dropping a year is not a deal breaker, though it will require explanation in case you get to the interview. People who have dropped a year have made it to IIM Ahmedabad.
The upside is that you get all the time in the world to prepare for the CAT, and one year invested now for getting into a BSchool of “your dreams” can really take you a long way in the long run. The downside is that you’ll lose out on earning chances, you might get really frustrated and you will have to explain why you dropped a year. My suggestion, in case you decide to drop a year is that you do something that is less intensive, and gives you flexibility to study. This could be an NGO, startup, freelancing, that you could use to convince an interviewer that it was something you were exploring.
Ok, how do I go ahead now?
It’s going to be hard. But, it’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit. It’s perfectly normal to feel demoralized. Get up, and find your motivation. Once you’re ready to start kicking, start preparing. Work hard and work smart.
Many people fell prey to some misleading people / freelancers / engineers or college students who never cracked any exam themselves, and follow a plan which is not that effective for CAT. Your focus should not only be on practicing blindly on facebook groups but prepare in a focused, refined and an effective manner. And that is where we at Career Anna help you, through our courses as well as Facebook group here. 
If you work hard and you’re honest to yourself, you’ll make it. One of my friends, who didn’t prepare too well in his first attempt, didn’t get a call from any IIMs when he sat with me. He decided that he would get a call, come what may, and got really motivated and started to work hard and smart. He followed a large part of what I did, though he had his way of doing things.
In the next attempt, what did he score?
A 100. As they, after that, all is history.
Believe yourself, if you want to do this. It will win 50% of the game.
Disclaimer: A major part of this article was initially published on Quora by Aviral Bhatnagar, 99.99 percentile | IIM Ahmedabad, Class of 2016