Should you take CET again?

At the end of every test season, students either get the institute that they always wanted to get into, or get something that they’re not happy with. The second case leads to a situation where there are two options:

  1. Settle with the institute that you’ve got. You may not be happy with it but you at least don’t have to take the tests again or live with the uncertainty associated with competitive tests.
  2. Take another attempt and try to get into a better institute.

The second question is what I am going to answer in this post.

Whether to go for another attempt or not primarily depends on three factors: (1) Profile, (2) Score, and (3) Ambition.

Profile

If you have a decent profile (good academic record, some work experience or internships, performance at extra-curricular activities, and certifications/ courses), you may want to try again. Most of the top institutes give importance to profile of the candidate and the only thing that remains then is to get a good written test score to sail through. In case the profile isn’t great, you can always try and improve it by doing additional courses or getting some internships or work experience.

Score

What was your score in CET or in all the tests that you took. Was it really low? Was it just short of your target score? Was it consistent across tests or you did well in some and terribly in others? If you think that you have the potential to achieve a better score, it makes sense to wait for another attempt. I’ve met students in the past who have gone from 70 percentile to 90 percentile in a matter of one year. At the same time, I’ve also seen students who scored a 95 in the first and remained in the same range the second time as well. The improvement in score isn’t guaranteed when you take another attempt and you need to be certain of your efforts and must have confidence that you can get a better score next time. If there is any doubt, it’s better to take admission this time.

Ambition

What kind of a brand you want to have on your CV? The advantage of being a mentor is that I get to meet so many students and understand that ambition differs from person to person and there is nothing right or wrong. I’ve met students who have told me that they’re okay even if they get a lower ranked institute because that’s going to be an achievement for them. They haven’t done anything great in the past in their career and this is going to be a start for them.

I’ve also seen people rejecting really good institutes in their first attempt because they don’t fit their ambition. The other day, I told someone not to join one of the new IIMs because I have faith that the student is meant for bigger things in life. There is no objective assessment of ambition and the answer has to come from within.

To help you decide whether to go for another attempt or not, I’ve created a set of questions.

Do you think you can get a better score next time?

If this was your first attempt or you have just graduated in 2020 and you think you can get a better score next year, I strongly recommend taking the tests again. Primarily because of two reasons: (1) you possibly haven’t tested your max potential and (2) you might be settling a little too early.

Did you enjoy preparing for these tests?

Students underestimate this aspect of the test a lot. You can’t really ace a test if you don’t enjoy preparing for it or if you don’t like its format. If you had fun preparing for these tests and found it challenging and enriching experience, there is a high chance that you will do well the next time.

Can you put in the time and energy required for another attempt?

Some students may have family or other responsibilities and it might not be possible to wait for another year. If there are no such constraints and you can invest the time and energy required, I suggest you take another shot.

Do you think you have done your best?

I took entrance tests twice when I was an aspirant. The first time, I had scored a 99.36 in CET and the second time, a 99.99. After my second attempt, lot of people recommended taking CAT and other tests again to try for IIMs (I had scored a 98.2 in CAT that year). But I personally felt that I had given my best effort. I had taken 35-40 mocks for CET and had converted a premier b-school. Waiting for another year would not have made sense and I decided to take up JBIMS. If you have the fire in your belly that this wasn’t your best performance and there is potential to crack a higher score, you can definitely consider taking these tests again.

Do you have a job/internship or clarity on what to do till the next attempt?

You can’t be preparing only for these tests. There must be something else in your life. Either a full time job or internships must be done to keep yourself occupied. If not that, pursue courses or certifications to improve your profile. Even before you decide for the next attempt, you need to have clarity with respect to what you will do alongside.

That’s it. It is not a difficult decision to take. Whatever you decide, make peace with that decision. If you’re joining an institute which wasn’t your first choice, it’s okay. Try to be the best student there and I’m sure you will do well in life. Institute brands help only for the first few years in your career. Beyond that, it depends on what opportunities you get, what you do with those opportunities, and what’s your work ethic.

If you decide to take another attempt, go all out and prepare. Take multiple tests and don’t just put all your hopes on one test. I’m sure that you will have to convince a lot of people in your life as to why you’re taking another attempt. Even I had to do that for my second attempt. But if you’re convinced, I think it will be easy to convince others. If you have faith in yourself, just do it! 🙂


Keep visiting this space for more updates on CET admission, cutoffs, topper’s interviews, and preparation strategies. Please get in touch if you need any help. If there are any queries, please leave them in the comments below and allow me a few days to get back. Share this with your friends and co-aspirants. Happy prepping! 🙂

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