A look into the mirror
The answer to the re-take conundrum depends on three things
- your evaluation of your ability with respect to the CAT
- your evaluation of your mental state when contemplating another attempt
- your evaluation of your aspirations
Let us try to make this a bit objective by making it a Q & A situation
YOU versus CAT – ABILITY
The first question you need to ask — is this the best shot you could have given? Was this a full-fledged, completely-immersed-into-CAT attempt? Do you believe you have exhausted the limits of your aptitude as far as CAT goes? Answer of all these questions and then answer the question below.
Do you believe that you have maxed out and can go no further in terms of percentile if you give another attempt — YES/NO?
YOU versus CAT – STAMINA
The next question is whether you have enough mental fuel left to go through another year. Do not count the attempts that you made just like that. Is this your first or second or third fully serious attempt?
Have your attempts so far taken so much out of you that you dread the thought of another attempt despite knowing that you can get better — YES/NO?
YOU versus COLLEGE
What do you think of the options in front of you right now? How do you view yourself vis-a-vis the options you have?
Do you believe that all you need is a decent degree and a decent break and will make the most of the opportunities you get irrespective of the brand or do you believe that your aptitude, your profile and your ambition deserve a better college than the options you have in front of you right now — YES/NO?
If your answer to all the above questions is YES, most importantly the third question, then you should NOT RE-TAKE and get into a college this year itself.
If your answer is NO to all three then you should definitely re-take the CAT but also evaluate the GMAT depending on your profile and aspirations, which as mentioned will be taken up in the next post.
These are not easy questions to answer and I am sure there will be other personal considerations and pressures from different quarters that you would need to factor in. But understand that this decision is purely about your career and hence the decision has to be taken keeping only that in mind.
Not everyone might be happy with your decision but satisfying all is satisfying none and as far as your career goes you are the only one who has to be satisfied.
So you really need to answer these questions for yourself and take a decision.
If you decide to re-take
The moment you decide to re-take, other questions start popping up
- should I quit my job to re-take for the CAT, something that I have discussed here
- how do I go about my prep, what should be my mindset, something I have discussed in this post
- do I need to take classroom coaching, what materials should I use, something I have discussed in this post
- how should I go about my prep section-wise, something I have discussed here
So take your time and go through these posts. Feel free to post any queries you have in the comments section.