It is June and the time when aspirants generally start taking mocks and sometimes, struggle with CAT mock analysis. Very recently, IMS started its mock test series. And after two mocks, many aspirants are dumbstruck by their performance in mocks. Many felt they were all prepared. They thought of going for mocks with all guns blazing. But then, mocks deceived them profoundly. Of late, many aspirants have connected with me lamenting their dismal performance in mocks despite their preparedness.
Now, you might be able to feel why everyone says that CAT is very uncertain. It is because of its ability to surprise you at any point in time. That’s why we say consistency is of utmost importance in the CAT preparation.
It is very important to get exposure to as many surprises as you can so that you don’t feel surprised in the real CAT exam.
Having said this, I want to tell you that you need not worry if you couldn’t fare well in the mock tests so far. The mock scores are inconsequential. What matters is what you learn from them. And this learning happens through the proper analysis of the mock tests.
It is okay if you miss taking any mock. But it is a crime if you miss analysing any mock that you have taken.
Trust me, analyzing the mock is even more important than taking mock because that is how you learn what mistakes you made and can work upon them. That’s why I believe that if you are spending 3 hours taking a mock test, spend 5-6 hours analyzing it.
How does mock analysis help?
- It helps you know your mistakes and correct them.
- It helps you to develop different approaches/shortcuts for a particular question.
- The mock analysis helps you to understand which topics/concepts are important and which are not.
- It helps you to improvise your overall strategy of taking the CAT exam.
- It helps you know your strengths and weaknesses.
Ideally, how much time one should spend in CAT mock analysis?
Generally, analysis of the VA section is the least time consuming (around 1 hour), QA takes around 2 hours, while LRDI may take up to 3 hours (for an average candidate). However, this time range may vary from person to person based on his/her comfort level with a particular section.
One important point: Do not delay analyzing the mock beyond 2-3 days of getting a detailed explanation from the coaching institute. It is because when you analyze the mock without delay, all the questions remain fresh in your mind. You remember how you approached a particular section. This helps you in understanding the mistakes you committed. I remember I used to analyze the mock after the percentile was released by the institute, and I used to analyze it in the morning. It is because, in the morning, I would be very fresh and energetic, which helped me understand things better.
Read: Which Is The Best Mock Test Series For CAT? Can I Predict My CAT Percentile From Mock Test Results?
Section-wise mock analysis:
As I always say, VARC is all about comprehension. So, while analyzing the VARC section, go through every question and its solution. First, try to reach the answer on your own. This will help you know your thought process. And yes, always try to follow the elimination method. It is very effective in all the sections. Once you get your answer, read the solution. Understand their thought process, and see if both of you are on the same page. If not, see how they have done it differently. Check how they arrived at a particular option and where you went wrong. See what logic they have followed. Understand it and move on. This practice will help you develop a sound intuitive power in VARC, which is very important to ace this section.
The analysis of VARC can be done in one sitting, so try to do it in a go. It would take around an hour. I used to analyze VARC first in around an hour. After that, I would take a break of around 15 minutes and then start with Quant analysis. I would analyze LRDI at last.
“It makes us feel comfortable when we see ourselves progressing fast.”
- Check all the questions that you answered correctly. See the solution and check if their approach is different from that of yours. If yes, understand that approach and note it down in your learning diary if it is short and effective. If the approach is the same, move on to the next question.
- Now, check the questions which you answered incorrectly or didn’t attempt at all. Solve them again without looking at the solution. If you are getting it correct now, try to understand why you did it wrong in the mock. If you are still getting it wrong or you are completely blank about some question, check the solution and see how they have done it. Learn it and move on.
For all the sections, make sure you note down new concepts, new learnings, and shortcuts, which you feel are useful, in your learning diary. This will help you revise these concepts quickly at some later point in time.
If any question seems tricky to you or if you feel that you will forget the approach to a particular section later, take the screenshot of that question and its solution, and paste it in a word document and revise it now and then. This will help you reinforce that concept.
LRDI is all about practice. I don’t know anything else about it. This was my weakest section, and all I did was practice as many sets as possible from as many sources as I could. This gave me a fair idea of kind of questions that can be asked in the CAT exam.
During the LRDI mock analysis, solve all the sets again. Just like Quant analysis, see where you are getting wrong. I feel one major problem is LRDI is that we fail to understand the question completely. So, It is important to keep practising LRDI as much as you can so that you get exposure to myriad possible varieties. If you find a particular set tough, take a screenshot of it, save it, and keep revising it at regular intervals. LRDI mock analysis alone may take 2-3 hours. So, I used to do it at the end, and I would do it in two sittings.
- Pick up one section at a time, because analyzing all the sections together can hamper your productivity.
- Go through each question, and pay more attention to the questions that you answered incorrectly.
- If you feel that a certain question is tricky, take a screenshot of its solution, save it in a word file, and revise it at least once a week. This will help you remember that concept.
- If you come across any different approach/short-trick/formula during analysis, note it down in a learning diary, and keep revising it. Again, it will be helpful.
- Following the above four steps will help you better your score in the subsequent mocks, because concepts always remain the same, only the way of asking changes.
What was the result of CAT mock analysis?
I went on scoring from as less as 40 marks in a mock test to 160 marks in the CAT exam, and to a great extent, it was due to the analysis of mocks and learning from them. If I had to summarize how the mock analysis helps you improve your performance, I would explain it through two points.
- Diagnose the problem: Analyze your mocks and understand where you are lacking.
- Are you not clear with your basics?
- Is it that you making silly mistakes?
- Are you not choosing the questions correctly?
- Is there any topic in particular which you are blank at?
- Based on your diagnosis, take the next step to rectify the problem:
- If you are not able to attempt even ten questions in a section, it means that your basics are not clear. So, stop taking mocks for a while, and go back to cover your basics first.
- If you are making silly calculation mistakes, try to slow down your speed and focus more on your accuracy. Practice more.
- If you are attempting the tough questions and leaving the easy ones, learn the art of choosing questions wisely. I have shared how to choose questions effectively here.
- If there is one particular topic that you are finding it a hard nut to crack, learn it from the basics from multiple sources so that you gain confidence in it.
The CAT mock analysis is sacrosanct. It is the most effective way to improve the score substantially. So, do that without failing.
PS: This is the strategy that I followed. There is nothing good or bad about it. It is just something that worked for me. It might or might not work for you. But you can give it a shot.
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