Should I Retake the CAT?

should i retake the cat-magoosh

Should I retake the CAT? The answer will depend on your circumstances. Image by geralt.

So you took the Common Admission Test and either aren’t happy with your score or are worried that your score won’t be high enough when it’s released. You may be wondering, “Should I retake the CAT?” Believe us, you’re not alone! Many candidates, particularly immediately after taking a stressful exam, might believe they didn’t perform their best. Others may have hoped for a higher score than they achieved. In either case, test-takers should consider several factors when asking themselves, Should I retake the CAT?

Should I Retake the CAT?: Personal Goals

If you just finished taking the CAT and are worried about your score, don’t be. The human brain has a bias toward negativity, meaning that you’re far more likely to remember the problems you weren’t sure about than the problems that you were! Before you throw out all of your plans for this upcoming year (remember, IIMs only offer the CAT once per year), wait until mid-January to see your scores. Even if your scores aren’t where you hoped they’d be then, don’t let that deter you! Have a back-up plan in place, but go for your dreams all the same. IIMs take a variety of factors into account when selecting their entering classes, and you may have a shot even with a less-than-perfect score.

Should I Retake the CAT?: IIM Admissions

If you want to attend an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and weren’t accepted during a past admissions cycle, retaking the CAT is definitely a good idea. Keep in mind that most IIMs won’t consider candidates scoring below the 70 percentile on the CAT. If this was your situation in the past, having a higher score on the CAT can help (as will the likely additions to your employment history since your last application). If this puts you off, know that just answering a few more questions correctly can vastly improve your percentile—take a look at our CAT marks vs. percentile post for more on this.

Should I Retake the CAT?: Preparedness

Finally, as you consider retaking the CAT, examine your preparedness for the last exam. What did you focus on during your studies? Which areas might you have overlooked? Looking at your study plan or habits in combination with your in-section and composite marks can give you a good sense of where your studies failed you.

It’s a great idea to retake the CAT if attending an IIM is still your goal. But don’t make the same mistakes twice! Work on creating a study plan that addresses your weak areas to boost your future scores. Remember, as Einstein is credited with saying: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Don’t let this be you! Change your game plan if you’re planning to retake the CAT by focusing your preparation and possibly your schedule differently. Re-register for the CAT and know that, with the right preparation, this time, you can master the exam!

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