Here is another article in the series of articles on ensuring that every Mock CAT helps you improve your scores. While the first one Are you choosing the right questions in your Mocks was on classifying the questions in different categories and identifying the right questions to attempt in (Mock) CAT, this one suggests what all you must do after every Mock CAT you take.

The CAT 2016 pattern is akin to taking three one hour sectional tests one after the other and hence 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. 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.

If you are feeling feverish you will use a thermometer to check your temperature and if it shows undesirable result, then after analyzing the situation the doctor will advise corrective action – medicines, diet control, rest etc.  If you do not take the corrective action your condition will deteriorate.

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 analyzing 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:

  1. Solve the question again and compare your solution with the one given in the solution booklet or the video analysis.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Check if the incorrect choices can be eliminated on the basis of logic.
  5. Check if approximation or calculation short cuts get you to the answer faster.
  6. 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 & LR Question sets:

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

RC Passages:

  1. 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.
  2. Find the meaning of the words that you have come across for the first time.
  3. The questions for which you marked incorrect answers, find out the reasons.
  4. Identify the RC questions (e.g. Tone type) that you should revise every week.

Verbal Ability Questions:

  1. In vocabulary & sentence completion question find out the meaning of all the words in the choices and revise the difficult ones every week.
  2. Go through all the grammar questions again and mark for weekly revision the ones you got wrong.
  3. 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 analyzed 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 Mock CAT 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 Mock CATs, 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.

All the Best
GP