If you are wondering whether you should take a drop for IPMAT, start by analysing what went wrong in your first attempt.
Your analysis might lead you to one or more of the following factors:
Inconsistency: You might find that you were inconsistent during your IPMAT preparation, maybe because of being preoccupied with board examinations or taking the competition lightly.
Lack of Awareness: You may have found out about the IPMAT examination pretty late, which left you with less time to prepare. Or you didn’t have the appropriate study material or clarity about the exam pattern.
Lack of Guidance: Maybe you were preparing on your own, and now feel that enrolling in a coaching could have helped you prepare in a more structured manner.
Other Examinations: Maybe you were preparing for other competitive exams (JEE, boards, any other) at the same time and hence could not give undivided attention to your IPMAT preparation.
Distractions: You might feel that you wasted your time on unproductive activities like social media, streaming platforms, friends, relationships etc. and now feel that you could have performed better without these distractions.
Family and Health Concerns: Another aspect could be family issues or health problems (especially in the midst of a global pandemic).
If, after listing your factors, you believe you can and are willing to rectify these issues in your next attempt, you can consider taking a drop.
Partial Drop and Full Drop
Partial Drop: A partial drop is when one takes admission in an institute after their first attempt. They keep preparing the drop for IPMAT alongside for their second attempt in the hope of leaving the said institute if they get into their desired institute. But if they don’t make it into their desired institute, they can progress into the second year of the programme they are already enrolled in.
Full Drop: A full drop is when one does not take admission in any institute and takes an entire year off to prepare for their second attempt.
Partial Drop vs Full Drop – What is better for IPMAT?
Among the two, a partial drop is advised. The reasons for the same are:
With limited number of seats in institutes offering IPM and number of applicants increasing exponentially each year, the exam becomes very tough to crack. Taking a partial drop provides security. Unfortunately, if one does not make it into an IIM even in their second attempt, they can continue with the institute they are already enrolled in.
After giving the IPMAT exam, if one continues with the institute they had already enrolled in, it saves them a year. Whereas, a full-time dropper will be a year behind compared to students they graduated 12th with.
Spares the Mental Anguish
Taking a full drop can be overwhelming and stressful. If one doesn’t get their desired result after taking a drop, a partial drop can save them from the “What now?” anguish. In this situation, a partial dropper won’t be directionless and would know what is to be done next.
If you find that you are not certain about IPM programme or wish to explore/keep your options open, you should go for a partial drop.
One important factor while selecting the institute in the case of a partial drop should be the affordability of the programme. So that, if one does not get into an IIM and wishes to continue with their institute for the next two years, they can afford to do so. And if they make it into an IIM, then not a heavy amount is wasted in the first year of the enrolled programme.
If your circumstances don’t allow for a partial drop, taking a full drop is fine too. It all depends on your calibre and risk appetite.
How common is it to drop for IPMAT?
A good proportion of the batch of the IPM programme constitutes of droppers, both partial and full. They may not be in the majority but definitely in significant proportions. One thing to remember is that one can’t drop multiple times as the IIMs have a certain age criterion that has to be met in order to be eligible to apply. The respective criteria can be accessed at the individual websites.
Are droppers at a disadvantage?
The simple answer is no. As long as you can justify taking a drop, you have nothing to worry about. Considering that the other applicants prepared for IPMAT along with their boards, and you did not have that commitment, what you do in your drop year really matters. If you build a promising portfolio during this period and are able to effectively communicate what you learnt during your interview, you are at no disadvantage.
If you have decided to drop, the following section will help you make the most of it.
How to make the most of your drop year?
You can get certifications online which can help build your knowledge base and skill set. Please ensure that the certification is from a credible source so that it is recognised. Get certifications in your field of interest, so that you are actually open to learning and not doing it merely for your portfolio.
You can look into internships with respect to your existing skill set and also skills you wish to acquire. Many internships can be found online, especially work from home. Avoid Campus Ambassador internships as they barely add any value.
You can volunteer at a registered NGO if social work is something you like to engage in. You can volunteer to be a teacher, help with covid aid, or can work on other aspects like marketing or content writing.
You can look for competitions on the website D2C (Dare 2 Compete) and participate. One thing to keep in mind is that participation certificates don’t count for much, and hence one should aim for a certificate of merit. Ensure that you participate in only those competitions that you are interested in and for which you have the adequate skill set. This will help save time and maximise your scope of enhancing your profile.
Make sure that you analyse the opportunity cost before getting into any of the above. Analyse whether the output/value provided by the above is worth the time commitment or you are better off using that time for your IPMAT preparation.
Things to keep in mind as a dropper
Handling criticism: After your first failed attempt, you might have to face criticism from people around you. To deal with this, you have to be self-assured and ensure that their negativity doesn’t get to you.
Pressure: The pressure is comparatively more in the drop year as the stakes are higher. The pressure to crack the exam is high as one has completely dedicated a year to IPMAT preparation. Ensure that you are not being too harsh on yourself.
Time Management: As you will have more time compared to other applicants, make sure you are using it in the best possible manner. Avoid distractions that do not add value to your preparation.
Taking a drop is a personal decision. It won’t put you at a disadvantage, but ensure that you are confident about your decision. It’s all about what you make of your time as this decision has the potential to change your entire life trajectory.