How to analyse your mock test

The main objective of analyzing a mock test is to identify your strong and weak areas. Mock tests are designed to acquaint you with online interface as well as the pattern of actual CAT exam. Many students keep postponing, thinking- "I am not prepared yet" or "I still don't know enough to attempt a mock test". Procrastinating can result in you losing valuable time left for the exam, which will adversely affect your CAT score. So, go for it now because 'there is no tomorrow'.

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If the idea of full-length mock tests scares you too much, attempt the sectional tests first. This will build up your confidence to take full length tests too. Once you attempt the mock tests, the next important step is to analyze your performance. Mock tests let you gauge the level of your preparation for the CAT exam. Many aspirants put equal amount of hard work, but what differentiates their score in actual exam is their strategy for the exam. this strategy along with optimum level of hard work is what constitutes 'SMART WORK'. Only an efficient analysis can lead to an effective strategy.

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What exactly is this analysis? Let's understand this step by step.

Analysing does not only mean 'aiming for a specific score', but a lot of other things 'Where you went wrong?', ‘Where did you spend more time than required?', 'On which questions you should have invested more time?', 'With which questions you should have started?' etc.

  • Let's take an example of WIN CAT Test Analysis. After you submit your test, you are presented with figures like percentile, score, accuracy etc. Apart from these figures, mock analysis also lists down your areas of strengths & weaknesses as shown.

This gives you a broad idea of the areas on which you need to work more.

  • Before going into detailed analysis, let’s see why do we need to analyse a mock test?
    • To assess your current level of preparation
    • To maximize your strengths & minimize your weaknesses
    • To design an appropriate strategy
    • To avoid repeating the same mistakes

Remember that this strategy differs from person to person. The strategy that works best for you, may not work for the other person. You have to keep modifying your strategy while attempting mock tests, until you find that ‘appropriate strategy’ which suits you the best.

Giving mock tests without strategizing or reworking your strategy, is like trying to cut the same tree without sharpening the axe. This results in repetition of the same mistakes and negligible improvement in the score, thus defeating the very purpose of mock tests.

  • Now, the most important part: Go through the solutions/explanations

While going through the solutions, check for the following parameters:

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Section-wise Analysis:

When you attempt a mock test, always start with the section you are most comfortable with. Your attitude has a great impact on your performance in the test. A negative attitude can hamper your performance while a positive attitude will boost your score. Therefore, starting with an easy section will build up your confidence and fetch you a good score in the exam.

  • After scanning your section-wise scores & accuracy, decide the time you should invest in every section in your next mock test.
  • Remember, you need to maintain a good balance in all sections for clearing the sectional cut offs.
  • Sectional time limit may or may not be there. So, you should prepare an effective strategy for both the scenarios.

Question-wise Analysis:

After sectional analysis, check your question-wise analysis and strategize within sections.

  • Decide the sequence in which you should attempt the questions:- your strong areas/easy questions/less time-consuming to weak areas/difficult questions/more time-consuming.
  • Decide the time you need to allot to each question type. If you make a time-efficient plan, you can invest the saved time to solve the more complicated questions later. On the whole, this strategy results in a really good score.
  • Questions answered correctly: Most students tend to ignore their strong areas. But, there can be a better way to utilize your strengths. Check if the solution technique adopted for the question was same as yours? Or is it more time-saving than yours? Did you spend more time on these questions than required?
  • Questions answered incorrectly: Compare your solution with the one given. Check what went wrong in your solution? If the solution technique is same, it indicates lack of accuracy. This means you need to work more on your calculation techniques. If the solution is different, learn & practice it on regular intervals.
  • Questions left unattempted: First, try to solve these questions yourself. Check if your answer is correct or not. Then, check the given solution & design your strategy accordingly.

This kind of analysis lets you identify- which questions aren’t worth spending time, which questions should be done first, which questions should be tried later and how much time should be allotted to various question types.

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  • Apart from the sectional and question-wise analysis, you can also look through your area-wise analysis as well as comparison of mock tests. This lets you monitor your performance with respect to the previous test you had attempted.
  • Do not feel disheartened if you are not able to score well in the initial mocks. ‘Rome was not built in a day’. That’s why the motive behind taking mock tests is to assist you in designing the most appropriate strategy before your exam date.
  • Most important of all, keep revising and practicing the previous mocks on regular intervals. Some students forget to do this, thus ending up making the same mistakes over and over again.

Finally, planning is as much important as hard work. Keeping the above things in mind, do an effective analysis & develop a strategy that works best for you.

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