In life, taking risks is, in fact, the best thing; but again, taking unnecessary risks is just plain stupid. It is along these lines that I think one quitting their job to prepare for an entrance exam is an unnecessary risk. But the key word here is a risk, therefore creating the possibility of rewards. It is quite confusing as to how to go about this issue and hence, it is only fair to look on both sides of the spectrum before drawing any conclusion.
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What makes this question even more ambiguous is the unpredictable nature of the CAT exam. The CAT exam is marred by quite a number of flaws ranging from the changing and admission criteria to lack of transparency to excessive weight on past credentials. However, the main issue is the multiple slots and the normalization process; despite there being a normalization process – no one knows how it works- the exam is spread across 40 parts with different difficulty levels. This issue poses the greater question of whether passing the CAT exam is a matter of lack or through prior preparation.
Below, I will mention just a few reasons as to why you should not quit your job to prepare for the exam:
- To begin with, I do not think you need all day to prepare for the exam because it’s usually not how much time you have to prepare but how well you use the limited time that you have. A couple of hours of preparation a day plus classes on weekends are certainly enough preparation for anyone with a good Mathematics and English background to sit the exam.
- As I had mentioned above about CAT exam being a risky venture; the criteria for the exam keeps shifting each year and therefore, this turns out to be a very bad proxy for student worthiness. In other words, just expect bad surprises.
- Owing to the fact that you are not able to handle your preparation and job simultaneously, then it is justification enough that you may not be able to cope with the curriculum at the IIMs (Indian Institute of Management). This is because CAT is just an entrance exam and the difficult part is actually when you get started.
If you quit your job, it would be difficult to convince the interviewing panel at the time of the interview owing to the fact that there are quite a number of people who have managed to pass the CAT exams without quitting their jobs. This will highlight your inability to multitask, hence even swinging the interview against you. Moreover, if you did not quit your job, the work experience would be a plus for you.
- I think the main question should be what if you don’t pass the exam; it is therefore not advisable to quit your job so as to have a backup plan in case things go south. It just ensures that you do not lose it all.
- Looking at it from an economic or rather financial perspective, it would be more cost effective to keep your job. Look at this, applying to different colleges is expensive because very few colleges accept applications after the CAT results; otherwise, you have to apply beforehand. Other costs may include traveling for interviews and finally, the major cost will be paying for your school fees upfront in order to confirm your admission. Now, how do you come up with this money when you have quit your job? This will basically deplete your savings.
On the other hand, quitting your job might just be a brilliant idea that you ace that exam despite the fact that it might not seem to be a rational idea. But it is not rationality alone that gets us to where we intend to be, there is something more. Quitting your job might turn out to be a good decision due to the following reasons:
- Quitting your job will give you the dedication and drive to work harder because you know that you do not have a safety net in case you do not perform well in the CAT.
- You will be able to give undivided attention to your preparation which might, in turn, pay off with good results to enable you to join one of the top colleges available.
In a nutshell, it is rather obvious that you should keep your job despite the fact that you are preparing for an exam as critical as CAT. A wise man once said, “Most men either compromise or drop their greatest talents and start running after, what they perceive to be, a more reasonable success, and somewhere in between they end up with a discontented settlement. Safety is indeed stability, but it is not progression.”
Although it might prove difficult to prepare for the CAT while working, it is important to note that you can juggle between the two and in the end succeeding in the exam. The points below might be of help if you choose to keep your job:
- Start your day with CAT preparation as doing it at any other time of the day might prove difficult due to external factors such as fatigue and distractions at work.
- Invest in made-easy notes; these are mostly short and straightforward notes that are less tiring and take a shorter time to read.
- Be consistent in your weekday preparation with at least 2 to 3 hours set aside for preparation.
- Make maximum use of the weekends; this is the best time to try out mock tests and revisit concepts that you may find difficult
- Finally, I think you should just stay motivated because as you prepare for the CAT there are a lot of external pressures in play
All in all, this is a rather personal decision and it definitely varies among different people. But remember, it is not the load that breaks you down, instead it is the way you carry it. So, no, you should not quit your job.