If you are a serious CAT taker, then you will be aware of how Mock Tests are the single most important tool towards your CAT exam preparation. With the CAT test pattern changing quite a lot year after year in terms of duration, structure and difficulty of questions, it becomes difficult to create ‘authentic’ mock tests. Regardless of how successful the mock test is in emulating the actual CAT, answering them regularly is important to learn test taking strategies like time management, answering the right questions, etc.
Every mock test is a complete learning experience for someone looking at a serious attempt at the CAT. There are multiple things that one must do every time they take a mock test. For instance, one must try to exercise and experiment all the test taking strategies that they have learnt from various sources during the mock test and not leave it for the day of the CAT. Similarly, jumping from one Mock Test to the other is an incorrect way of approaching this preparation tool. Evaluation of each Mock Test is a must and this is what you will learn from this page.
But first, let’s understand why you must take Mock Tests. Mock Tests are the assessment mechanisms that are vital to your preparation. By merely learning new concepts, solving a lot of questions and revising what you have learnt is not enough to guarantee yourself that you have prepared well enough. The real result of your preparation is in how you will fare in the CAT. And the closest you can come to emulating the same scenario is through a mock test. A mock test will clearly tell you where you stand and how far you have to go to succeed. In fact, with All-India Mock Tests that are quite the rage, you will be able to get a good glimpse of where you are likely to stand in the CAT rankings, even before the actual CAT.
Now the thing that most people miss is the fact that just merely taking mock test after mock test and checking your score doesn’t do you any good. You can consider it as another ineffective use of your precious time during your CAT prep. There are lessons to be learnt from every mock test you give and corrective actions to take based on your analysis of the mock test. Here’s what you need to do after answering every CAT Mock Test:
#1 Try to Solve All the Questions in the Mock Test
Solve all the questions in the mock test that you have just given. There will be questions that you answered correctly where you might find other faster and more effective ways of solving the question. There will be questions that you have answered incorrectly. Here, you would have attempted it because you thought you knew the answer and the process. But then you realise that there was some step you missed or some concept that you misunderstood. This is one of the best learning experiences that you won’t forget for a long time. The third are the questions that you did not answer. In this case, try to solve it using all the time you want without looking at the solution. Once you solve it, check the answer and learn the basics of solving such questions. Mark the question to be revised later, so as to retain it in your long term memory.
#2 Formulate Test Taking Strategies
Watch out for test taking strategies that you could have employed while solving this Mock Test. They are to be used in the next mock test that you write. It could be the fact that you would have got the answer by the process of elimination. It also could be that you could have used some approximation to arrive at the answer faster. Try to formulate shortcuts which are not easy to find. Eventually, you will become adept at finding such loopholes and answering more questions accurately in quick time.
#3 Bookmark Questions that You Found Challenging
Note questions that you think you are not all that comfortable with and are likely to forget the answer to 3 days down the line. These questions have to be part of your set of questions that you decide to revise a few days before the CAT. During that phase, there would be no point in learning new concepts. Revising questions that you answered during Mock Tests is your best bet. Hence, it is important that you record these questions accordingly.