Bonjour Dreamers!!! The advent of the monsoon rekindles a fresh vigour after the languid and weary summers. Lush greenery, dark cloudy skies, cool breeze and light drizzles in discrete intervals earmark this season. The serene weather urges the romantics for passionate long drives, mouth-watering plates of pakoras & Maggi and bag packing to the hills where beauty is at its best and in perfect harmony with nature. But at the same time, it urges for desperate measures on the part of students aiming to crack CAT this year with a decisive percentile. It is the season where classes are going on in full swing and self-study takes the most disciplined form. But, the most crucial element of this preparation is the mock tests going on. We have said enough about the importance of joining a Mock Cat Test Series in our previous blog and will still insist to join at least one if not done yet. However, tests without due analysis is a waste of resources. Many students appear for mocks at random without a systematic post analysis and this is the underlying reason where they fail to improve and learn from the mistakes. But how to scientifically analyse a mock and what steps to follow so as to extract maximum learning from it? Don’t you freak out! This blog is entirely dedicated to the art of analyzing a mock thereby resulting in better performances in the subsequent mocks and finally on your D-Day.
How many mocks should one appear for before he or she appears for CAT?
Now, the answer to this question is tricky. For, some prodigy, 10-15 mocks will suffice while for some even 60-70 full-length tests will work no wonders. In my opinion, a 50 plus mocks are a minimum if you want to be well versed with the dynamics of the exam and want to implement the perfect strategy that you have devised during your experimentation with the mocks. A single test series will not be able to provide you with more than 50 mocks and that makes it mandatory to join at least two mock CAT Test Series. This also ensures that you get an exposure to a diverse category of good questions likely to be asked in CAT.
Now, point by point we shall talk about the steps one must follow to have a proper analysis of a mock enabling one to come out with better ways to approach the subsequent mocks:
1. Decide whether you lack in content or temperament: When I say content, then it entails your fundamentals and the knowledge while temperament implies the ability to translate your knowledge into an optimum performance without the pressure getting into your nerves. So, once you have appeared for a mock, then the next day start solving the entire test without looking at the timer as if you are solving an assignment and check whether you are able to solve problems which you couldn’t during the mock or the questions that you found difficult and left unanswered during the test. Now, if you are able to solve a majority of the problems, then that implies you are good at content but lack of temperament either due to the clock ticking away causes you to make sloppy mistakes or hampers your decision-making skills or lack of stamina causes you not to put your best of efforts while solving problems. But, if you aren’t able to solve problems even during the analysis, then lack of content is the primary reason for a poor performance. You need to get your basics right and work on improving the fundamentals.
2. Make an excel file of your performance after each mock: Once you have solved the entire paper, make a report of your performance on excel. Make tabs of sections, topics, subtopics, Level of difficulty, correct answers, incorrect answers and unattempted problems. Put each and every question under these tabs to make a detailed record of your performance in a particular mock. During the course of time, if you analyze this excel file against some mocks, you’ll realize which topics have been a pain in the ass and you have been consistently avoiding problems based on those concepts. For example, if you analyze the last 5 mocks and discovered that you have been constantly leaving questions on Mixtures and Allegations, then it implies that you need to work on that topic. Pick up the assignments on that topic and start solving problems until you get the hang of it. Similarly, if you realize that you have been constantly solving a question on logarithms in last few mocks by looking at the excel file, then it means you are good in that topic and definitely you need to pick problems on logarithms in the subsequent mocks and solve them correctly. It will improve your decision making and will allow you to choose problems wisely. Remember you need to dissect the problem on subtopic level. For example- Geometry- Triangles- Similarity. This will allow you to work on the specifics instead of working randomly upon an entire module like Geometry.
3. Save or Bookmark good problems: Once you have solved the entire paper, we must have found some tricky questions that were not lengthy but good enough to be asked in CAT. Also, questions that involved multiple concepts like a geometry problem involving properties of circles and similarity together clubbed into one question are the one that helps you to remember the application of different theorems and are likely to be asked in CAT. Now, either copy paste those questions along with solutions in a Word document under different modules or if your test series allows you to bookmark them topic-wise, do that. The idea is to create a repository of quality questions. Let’s say that on an average you find 15 good quality tricky questions in each mock in the Quant Section and you appear for like 50 mocks before CAT, then that implies that you have saved close to 750 tricky questions along with their solutions and what better resource to revise one week before CAT when one has no clue as to what to study and what not to. Simply revising formulae at the last week is not sufficient. You need to be well versed with their applications as well.
4. Consult your mentor after the analysis: Just keeping a record of your performance is not sufficient. Even every CAT Test Series does that for you. But drawing conclusions and patterns from the data and figuring out solutions to overcome the roadblocks to your optimum performance is what is required. Data itself is dumb. Intelligent information drawn from it speaks great volumes. But it’s not as easy as it is said. You need to consult an expert (your trainer) who understands you well enough and must be a veteran to be able to draw inferences from your past performances and suggest effective ways on your improvement.
5. Solve the sectional tests: The power of sectional tests is unimaginable. If after analyzing last the three to four mocks, you identified that a particular section has been a constant mess, screwing up your entire performance, then, you need to solve sectional tests of that subject. It builds the confidence and helps in improving scores in that particular subject. Moreover, LRDI can best be practised by solving sectional tests of one hour each as it will help you with the better selection of sets and solving them onscreen under the constraints of time. Also, Reading Comprehension involves reading long passages and solving tricky problems involving inferences, the tone of the passage and summary based questions. This requires consistent and disciplined training in a time-based manner. Sectional tests on Verbal Ability will enhance your understanding of passages and complement your learning. Purchase a mock CAT Test Series with a package that includes sectional tests as well other than the full-length tests.
6. Schedule your mocks wisely: Randomly appearing for mocks without a strict schedule and lack of interval between the mocks will result in fluctuations in your performances and the data derived will be devoid of any pattern and will make no sense. There must be some interval between the mocks so as to get ample time for their analysis and do revision in between the mocks. Working on weak areas between the mocks will help in improving upon them and will lead to a healthy growth trajectory.
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently
Doing analysis is basically a postmortem and the results of it will depend on how sound is the skills of the analyser and how keen he or she is on improving. It is no rocket science. Most of us usually feel dejected at our failures and curse ourselves for the lack of skills without introspecting on the root cause of the failures. Scoring low on the mocks must be an eye-opener instead of a reason to give up on our dreams. Think rationally and work towards perfection. After all, mocks are simply the testing grounds to gauge our strategies and the level of our preparedness. Don’t shy away from mocks and don’t be lethargic enough not to analyze them. Follow the steps suggested above and surely you’ll evolve as a perfect candidate for a seat in your dream college.