The CAT 2020 answer key and response sheet has now been released! We want to congratulate every single aspirant whose hard work came to fruition. CAT 2020 was particularly difficult, and achieving a potentially IIM-call worthy score is a highly commendable achievement. But at this stage, we also want to reach out to those of you who, despite the tremendous hard work, didn't get a score they wanted.
Need We Remind You That CAT Is Not The Be-All And End-All?
The CAT 2020 exam was one of the toughest exams in the recent past, not simply because of the change in paper pattern but also the sheer difficulty level of the exam across at least two of the three slots. Based on predictions by coaching organizations, some of you may have missed the mark in terms of your CAT performance, for whatever reason. While the sinking feeling of disappointment pay take some time to pass, we want to still remind you that regardless of how you fared, this is not the end.
We must remind you that XAT 2021 is scheduled for just under a month from the date of publishing this article. SNAP 2020 allows you two attempts and an ample chance to make it to top-notch business schools like SIBM Pune. NMAT 2020/2021 allows you three attempts to make it to NMIMS Mumbai. IIFT 2020/2021 is scheduled for the 24th of January, just under 1.5 months from the date of publishing this article. Other regional entrance exams are also lined up in early 2021. The MBA entrance exams season is not over, and all is not lost; far from it. Now is the time to put your head down and give it your all to these other exams that can open the doors to top business schools.
You Cannot Lose Steam - Not When You've Come So Far
A commonly chosen path by those faring not to their expectations in CAT is of dejection, subsequently followed by a complete loss of hope in any other exams and their results. But you're not someone like that. When you started out your preparation, your goal was to make it to a top business school and not settle for anything less. Are you going to give up now, right in the middle of the entrance exams season with so many exams left to go? We don't think you will, which is why it is now more important than ever that you do not lose steam and carry on with this long-drawn battle.
"I F****d Up CAT. How Can I Possibly Do Well In Other Exams?"
The questions is, why can you not do well in other exams? If you've worked hard, there is absolutely no correlation between your performance in two or more exams. There are so many stories of aspirants faring below expectations in CAT but eventually actually making it to b-schools like XLRI, and cracking the IIFT exam. There are a countless number of candidates who, despite faring below expectations in CAT, actually managed to enter the 98th+ percentile of exams like XAT, IIFT, SNAP and NMAT. It is not undoable - not for you.
"What If Nothing Goes Right?"
It is a possibility that none of the exams you attempt will fetch you a desired result. It happens to thousands every single year. But at this point, it's important to think of all eventualities. Based on your profile, work-life-balance, desire and ambition, there are two clear options for you in the case that nothing works out:
Option A: You Continue In Your Job, Gain Work Experience, And Attempt CAT 2021
Cracking CAT in the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th attempt and making it to a top IIM is not unheard of at all. In fact, look at the story of Swayam Tibrewal who made it to IIM Bangalore in his 4th CAT attempt. Or for that matter, do read the story of Vishnu Jonnavaram who made it to FMS Delhi after his 4th CAT attempt. Not motivated still? How about the story of Rishabh Dusad who made it to IIM Lucknow in his 3rd attempt, after scoring 90 percentile in his first attempt. There are countless other such stories on InsideIIM which clearly indicate that if the first, second, or even third time didn't work, the fourth time may be the charm.
Option B: You Continue In Your Job, Gain Work Experience, And Focus Your Attention Elsewhere
Here's a staggering figure - only about 1% of all CAT test takers actually make it to a top IIM. With an acceptance rate of 1%, this makes getting into an IIM tougher than getting into Harvard Business School and other Ivy League universities. A performance below expectations is not a reflection on your own ability, and at some point in time, you must consider the possibility of giving up on CAT and focusing your energies on other alternatives.
While non-CAT exams for admission to Indian institutes is always an option, you could also consider appearing for the GMAT/GRE and applying to the Indian School of Business and other top-tier business schools in the US and Europe. Who knows, an epiphany may even push you to not pursue an MBA at all! The bottom line is that there is no shame in accepting that CAT may not be your cup of tea and also accepting that CAT does not define your intellectual abilities.
To conclude, we want to reiterate that the CAT exam is not the end. It is completely normal to feel absolute dejection, having worked so hard throughout this miserable year, but you've still got a long way to go! At this stage, keep your eye on the ultimate goal - getting into a top business school, even if it's not an IIM. All the very best!