Should I Have Another Crack At CAT?

This is the question that plagues thousands of MBA aspirants every year as they are unable to secure admission into the IIMs or the top 25 b-schools in general.

What is the criteria? How should one go about deciding this?

This post attempts to answer these questions and if you are familiar with my previous story or my writing style in general, it attempts to motivate you to kick the feline back into its teeth.

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilised by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.

A little background:

I am a very average student who gave three attempts at CAT scoring 95, 96 percentile in the first two and a 99.50 percentile in the third one and afterwards secured admission into an IIM.

So, I was faced with this very question on more than one occasion and I chose to solder on, what led me to take those decisions I will discuss with you.

First let’s talk about how it must have felt to have not scored well in CAT, to have missed that elusive dream of securing an admission into an IIM. I am sure it must have been heartbreaking but the thing is that a setback is a platform for your comeback.

But the problem is that most people stop at failure. We have all failed at things, it’s the most powerful tool that you can use but it all depends at how you use it. It’s that drive inside of you, every person has a warrior inside him/her and also a dark side and that dark side is filled with failures but the dark side has a potential fuel that resides inside you.

I remember that after my second failed attempt at CAT I felt that the fuel burned inside me and it drove me like nothing had ever driven me ever before.

Sometimes, we have to have something bad happen to us to make us realise just how strong we are, and who we ultimately want to be.

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. – Walt Disney.

You should ask yourself the following questions when you want to decide about another CAT attempt.

1. Do you think you have it in you to prepare for another year? (I have seen people who completely broke down because of the mental and physical toll and various others who prospered in subsequent attempts since they had more experience).

2. Do you think you could have done better? (I personally felt I screwed up the first 2 times hence went for the third).

3. Are you of the view that 2-3 years hardly matter in the larger scheme of life as the IIM tag with stay will u for a lifetime.

4. Did you ever score around 80-99 percentile in a CAT mock? (given that you attempted a mock).

5. You understand that you would be taking a huge risk as CAT is very unpredictable.

If the answer to these questions is yes, then I think you should go for another attempt and if the answer is no then it is perfectly okay to join a good b-school or do something else with your life.

A trivial exam like CAT does not define your capability or your future.

How to go about preparing for CAT when you have already given it might require another post altogether.


Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.



About the Author:

Karan Kakkar

IIM Kozhikode

PGP Batch of 2016-2018

Karan Kakkar

A die-hard Roger Federer fan, Karan is a singer and a musician who plays three percussion instruments. After spending the first 24 years of his life in Delhi, he finally found solace in the beautiful campus of IIM Kozhikode. Known simply as Kakkar among his friends, he prides myself on having watched all the IMDB top 250 movies in a single summer long movie marathon. He served as one of the student team members/writers of, representing IIM Kozhikode.



Vaibhav Gangwar

While you prepared for your 3rd attempt, how did you go about your professional life? Did you take up some job related to Business Administration or what? Its kind of a really important question for me at this point of time. Would love it if you could spare a moment and give your take on how important your work experience is as you plan on to join a b-school.

karan kakkar

Well your workex is indeed extremely important if you want to clear Bschool interviews hence one must never take a drop in order to prepare for CAT, The interview panel will skin you alive if they see that you left your job in order to prepare for CAT. If you can get a job related to business administration, analytics, marketing etc it would be great otherwise a simple software engineer job can also do the trick if you know your stuff, I was working as a module lead in an IT firm and it worked well for me.

Ravjot Sachdeva

What about my case?
I have given CAT three time: 85, 90 and now 96. I was working but I left my job 2 months before CAT as I was part of a project which required extensive working hours. Can I not mention that in my interview?

karan kakkar

There is no need to explicitly mention that, but if they ask you why you left your job? Just answer that i am confident of converting my calls and I want to dedicate my time gearing up for Bschool Life or something along similar lines.

Shubham Dwivedi

Hi, I work in mining industry,six days a week, far away from the city. I took CAT 16 got 96.1%ile. Is it advisable to quit job after 20 months to prepare for CAT?

karan kakkar

It is never advisable to quit your job in order to prepare for CAT, If you cannot manage you job alongside CAT preps you wont be able to survive the rigorous curriculum at IIMs. A percentile of 96.1 means you are clear with your basics now just focus more on application and bell the CAT. All the best!!


bro,please reply..My profile Btech PETROLEUM ENGINEERING Btech 68%, 10th and Inter:85% 1 yr Gap,2yrs IT experience ..Tell me with this type of profile will i get top any top 25 B schools speciallyIIMS (IIMK,L,S,R) even after getting 97 percentile?