Why to take a CAT mock and how to make the most of it?

This piece discusses that why is it even important to take a CAT mock at all and once you start attempting them, how to maximise your score with each passing CAT mock that you take.

Why to take a CAT Mock?
While you were in class 10th and 12th, quite surely you would’ve taken sufficient number of full length tests before your board exams. Similarly, while going for graduation you would’ve given sufficient amount of time in taking practice test that are exactly on the pattern of the entrance exam. Taking CAT mocks for your CAT preparation is just an extrapolation of the same seriousness you had back then. For an exam like CAT, which would define your career, probably in a way like no entrance exam can, taking full length CAT mocks should be done with utmost sincerity, Not only taking a CAT mock is important to develop speed, a CAT mock helps you develop a strategy for the real exam. This should be enough reason for you to begin taking CAT mocks write away!

How to make the most of a CAT Mock?
For an aspirant like you who is toiling hard to better his performance with each passing mock, it is important to ensure that every CAT mock that has been attempted helps you improve your scores. In order to gain the maximum benefit from each mock and for it to become a vital tool in your learning process there are certain practices that you must follow after every CAT mock that you take. It is highly advisable to take the sectional tests regularly along with Mock CATs. Most students take this advice seriously and focus on writing the Mocks & sectional tests regularly. Some students go to the extent of a taking a Mock CAT every day. However, after the paper, many students check their scores and move on to the next paper - this defeats the purpose of taking a test. To understand how the Mock CATs should be handled we need to first understand the purpose of Mock CATs.
A Mock CAT is similar to a thermometer - it tells you your current situation and highlights the areas where you need to take corrective action. Just as checking your temperature every couple of hours without taking corrective action will be of no use, taking a Mock CAT without analysing the paper and identifying the corrective action for the desired output is a waste of time.

After you have taken the paper and checked your score, the real work starts.  Go through all the questions and solve them again.

QA Questions:

  • Solve the question again and compare your solution with the one given in the solution booklet or the video analysis.
  • If you were unable to solve a question, go through the solution and ask yourself if you would like to attempt this type of question in future. If the answer is no, forget this question.
  • Check if there are any other shorter or faster methods to solve the question. With a one hour time restriction coming into picture, using the faster methods would pay rich dividends.
  • Check if the incorrect choices can be eliminated on the basis of logic.
  • Check if approximation or calculation short cuts get you to the answer faster.
  • Any question in which you have been able to identify an alternate method or a calculation short cut or a question has helped you understand a concept is an IMPORTANT question and needs to be REVISED every week.

DI & AR Question sets:

  • Attempt all data sets that you did not or could not attempt in the stipulated time.
  • Identify the questions that could have been solved with the help of choices and revise them every week.
  • Identify the questions in which calculation short cuts can be applied and revise them every week.
  • Identify the type of data sets that you should definitely attempt or not attempt in future.
  • Identify the data sets (or the individual questions) that you should revise every week.

RC Passages:

  • Attempt the RC passages that you did not attempt in the stipulated time and then decide if the decision of not attempting these passages was correct or was it a miss.
  • Find the meaning of the words that you have come across for the first time.
  • The questions for which you marked incorrect answers, find out the reasons.
  • Identify the RC questions (e.g. Tone type) that you should revise every week.

Verbal Ability Questions:

  • In vocabulary & sentence completion question find out the meaning of all the words in the choices and revise the difficult ones every week.
  • Go through all the grammar questions again and mark for weekly revision the ones you got wrong.
  • Go through all the para jumble, para completion and critical reasoning questions to understand why each choice is correct or incorrect. Revise the difficult questions every week.

Now that you have analysed the paper we need to get to the next step:

Revision: This aspect of preparation is ignored by a large number of students.  Most students practice a lot, they take a CAT mock or a section test every day but do not revise the important questions from these papers and hence not only do they commit unforced errors and are unable to work fast in the paper. Revision is the key to higher speed and accuracy and hence should be done at least once a week for all the important MCQs that you have identified in CAT mocks in Fundabooks, in Test Gym, in Sectional Tests and in past CAT papers. It is okay to cut down on Mock CATs but not revising is unacceptable.

Complete adherence to all that has been suggested above is bound to add value to your mock taking exercise and will help you give an extra edge in every subsequent mock that you take.