When it comes to CAT, the preparation is not standard. Someone who has taken CAT before will prepare quite differently for his/her next attempt than someone who is taking it for the first time. Someone who is strong in quant will focus more on VA or someone might think of maximizing his/her score only in the strong section by putting more efforts in that section alone. With different objectives in mind and different natural inclinations and strengths, people prepare in different ways for the same exam.
A lot of students prepare for CAT full time. They leave their jobs either six months or a year before the exam and study as much as they can. From here, there are two possibilities. One, they get the B-school that they desire. Two, they don’t get where they want to land up. The first case is the ideal scenario. But if that doesn’t happen, you don’t know what you are going to do. Let’s take a case of a candidate who has decided to leave his job to prepare for CAT.
January/March 2016: Starts preparing for CAT, joins a coaching institute, attends regular sessions.
May 2016: Still not serious about CAT, doesn’t get time to study because of work.
September 2016: CAT pressure has finally hit the high point, wants to give 100% but not getting enough time due to work. Decides to leave his job.
October 2016: Has quit his job and is now studying full time. How many hours per day? Starts with 10 hours. In a week’s time, it falls to 9 hours, after two weeks, just studying 7 hours a day.
November 2016: Has prepared enough now. Doesn’t know what to do.
December 2016: Mostly, will not take up a job. Will start working after SNAP, NMAT
January 2017: Oh wait! Still wants to take XAT. Will look for jobs after XAT.
February 2017: Might as well take CET and CMAT.
March 2017: GD PI WAT. Definitely can’t work now.
So all of us have this tendency of waiting for the best case scenario to happen and we probably wait hoping that the things will turn in our favor, we need to understand that we all submit ourselves to errors unknowingly. After March, if this person gets into a good business school, he will be rejoiced and will tell everyone that it was the best decision that he ever took in his life, completely ignoring the fact that it could have been random and he could have got the same result even while working the whole time.
The Yerkes–Dodson law is an empirical relationship between arousal and performance, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908. The law dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases.
By leaving one’s job, one actually increases one’s stress (arousal), because there is a constant thought of ‘what if this doesn’t work out’ and that may hamper the performance. Also, there is a high chance that your preparation will follow Parkinson’s law even if you leave your job (Work expands to fill the time available for its completion) and the ‘incremental’ effort or preparation will not be ‘significantly different’ from the current effort or preparation.
On the other hand, there are aspirants who ‘definitely’ know that by putting in x hours over the next three months, they ‘for sure’ will get a good score. This is completely different from someone who leaves his/her job for the sake of it, just because someone in a similar situation did it, or because they ‘think’ that it will solve all their problems.
Over the years, I have seen aspirants leaving their jobs and getting their dream institutes. It requires a strong faith in one’s ability and one must do everything right to make it work. I have seen aspirants leaving their jobs and not knowing what to do after March of the next year or ‘settling’ on something. You have to decide for yourself what is right and what is not. In your case, things might be completely different. Whatever I have written may be completely irrelevant in your case. And it’s okay. I just want you to make a choice after considering all the factors.
1. What is my current preparation level?
2. To increase my score, what ‘exactly’ is required?
3. In the current set of factors, can I squeeze in 2-3 hours on weekdays, 6 hours on weekends, and 2-3 mocks in a week with analysis?
4. How confident do I feel about my preparation?
5. Is leaving my job the only alternative?
6. How ‘differently’ will I use my time if I quit?
7. Am I doing this because X person in my office did that and was successful?
8. What will I do if this fails?
In any case, work hard and make sure you achieve the goal that you have in your mind. For any feedback and queries, feel free to get in touch!
The idea behind this post came from a Quora question