Analyzing Mock CATs- What NOT to do
Aug 14, 2018
July and August are cruel months.
These are the months when most students start taking mocks and (mostly) end up getting
demoralized. Champions are separated from the chaff, and the “long distance
runners” from those without stamina. You will find plenty of advice on what to
do in a mock CAT on online fora. Hence I shall not focus on what SHOULD be
done. What this blogpost aims to do is answer two questions. Firstly, what NOT
to do? And secondly, what makes a champion? Here are 9 mistakes student make
while analyzing mocks
1) NOT analyzing the mock within
two days: There is an informational decay which happens exponentially with each
day that passes. Ensure you analyse the mock within a day of writing the test.
2) NOT attempting the paper once
again before checking solutions: This is truer for QA and LR than for VA/RC.
Ensure you spend about 2 hours attempting the questions you skipped once again.
3) NOT maintaining a record of
your “area/topic wise” success rate: Every good test series offers decent
analytics on the same. You should be crystal clear if you are doing well on which topics
and poorly on which topics. For E.g if you are doing poorly on RC’s on ecology
you could spend some time ( not more than a couple of hours) reading the relevant Wikipedia
page to familiarize yourself with the jargon of the same. Similarly if you are
repeatedly getting questions on Algebra wrong then you should go back to your
class notes and revise the same.
4) NOT writing sectional tests on
weak areas: Once you identify weak areas you need to write sectional tests on
the same. In my opinion this is essentially what sectional tests are for
5) NOT maintaining a balanced
prep: Many students skew their time allocation once they identify a weak area;
spending excessive time on the same. Usually they end up with an above average score in that area and
surprisingly low scores on their strong areas. Granted one should spend more
time on a weak area but even if a section be very weak it doesn’t make sense to
give more than 50% time to one section.
( The rare exception would be when you have two 99+ percentile sections
and the third is very weak. )
6) NOT revising the mock once
again after a month or two: Mocks are
not a “fill it, shut it , forget it” phenomenon. You need to ensure you revise
it once again at the very least. Ideally twice.
7) Writing 50-60 mocks and NOT
analyzing them: Often students end up treating mocks as a sort of medicine. “One
in the morning, one at night” as the wisecrack goes. While opinion on the ideal
number of mocks may be divided I would reckon it is better to write 25 Mocks
and analyse them thoroughly rather than writing 50 mocks haphazardly and
forgetting about them. Of course if you have the stamina to write 50 mocks without suffering a burnout more power to you!
8) NOT getting all doubts
cleared: Each question that remains as a backlog is a mental block and a
burden. Clear your doubts with your teachers/ mentors as soon as possible
9) NOT writing more mocks: The weak
willed are prone to quit preparation once a couple of bad results emerge. Such
persons can usually be identified by statements such as “ Life has better things in store for me than
CAT”. “I will prepare for the GMAT” “I am prepared for a new adventure." Such
Rhonda Byrne inspired claptrap helps no one.
Which brings me to my original question
10) What makes a champion?
Usually there is a fall in test takers with each mock. Some quit after the
first, some quit after the second and so on. This continues till the 5th mock after which the
numbers stabilize. What I observe year on year as a mentor is that those who
cross the 5th mock hurdle usually go on to write a good 20 mocks.
Further, while there is no surety all these students would crack a top 5 B
school , oftener than not most of these students end up getting an admit from a
decent Top 15 B School. It is all about perseverance.
Not luck or talent. Good luck! Comment any queries which you may have below!