Hola CAT aspirants! So it’s that time of the year again, the count down towards CAT has begun and out of the 2,00,000 lakh people who appear for CAT, only 50000 something aspirants actually, prepare for CAT. Out of these 50,000 aspirants, only around 10,000 serious aspirants would have survived the tolls of the CAT mocks. These students would be serious contenders to fight for the coveted 99 percentile in CAT.

Well, the reason behind this thinning of the herd is that around this time many people realise that cracking CAT is not their cup of tea and sadly many more people give up after they score very low in the first few mocks.

Just Imagine if Dhoni would have given up on cricket after he scored a 0 in his first international match, I for one cannot imagine my life without seeing that sky-shattering helicopter six he hit in the 2011 world cup final.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. – Harriet Beecher Stowe

So the purpose of this post is to help you get the most out of your mock CATs such that you are able to improve your mock CATs score from 70s-80s to 99s.

Here are the 7-steps for effective mock analysis:

Step 1: Attempt the mocks! (The preparations will never end)

Seriously, the first problem majority of students create for themselves is the fact that they do not give these tests. Mocks are the most important part of the preparation for the Common Admission Test (CAT). Yet, students don’t capitalize on them fully. Often, students do not take the CAT mocks because “they have not completed the syllabus yet”.

The syllabus for the CAT is never ending. Right through preparation time, there will always be some areas that will need brushing up. A mock test gives you a reality check on which sections you need to concentrate more on. Hence you should actually use these mocks to pinpoint the areas in which you need to improve.

Step 2: Check your percentile

The starting point for any mock analysis is the percentile that you have scored. So, go ahead, knock yourself out. Check the overall and section-wise percentiles, stare long and hard at the numbers, extrapolate the percentiles from the last 5 mocks and see where they are going.

Step 3: Topic-wise analysis

For doing the topic wise analysis you can use an excel sheet.

1. Major headings can be – Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3.

2. Subheadings under them can be: QA, DI-LR, VA-RC

3. Sub-sub-headings can be – Number System, Arithmetic, Algebra , Geometry, etc (for QA), Para Jumbles, Para Completion, Vocabulary, Grammar, etc (for VA), RC – Direct questions, RC – Inferences, RC- Summary, etc, for LR – DI you can just write the names of different topics.

You can select your own format, you may want more/less detailed ones. This process might take up some of your time but after a while, a clear pattern will emerge. Mostly you would be losing out on the similar topics again and again.

Just mindlessly giving mocks won’t help, you should identify your strengths and weaknesses-> work on them-> improve your mock scores.

Step 4: Timing-wise analysis

Try to figure out your speed in the major areas, and also check which questions took you the longest amount of time or whether there was a particular question in which you got stuck.

Also, try to gauge the amount of time you took to solve different types of RCs and LRs specifically. Understand that difficult questions should take longer to solve than the easy ones.

Step-5: Re-attempt the exam

Do not look at the solutions for now. Solve the exam again, try to solve the questions without any time pressure and see the difference for yourself. Identify the questions you missed out on and the ones you got wrong and try to solve them again.

Step-6: Make a note of important concepts and solutions

As you resolve the paper, you may come across new concepts, shortcuts, better solutions etc. Never forget to make a note of them. By now you would have gone through every question thrice and because of this whole process solutions will get inscribed in your memory. In your consecutive attempts, you will be able to solve similar questions faster.

Step-7: Draft a strategy for the next mock

Now on the basis of your previous attempts and the analysis done by you, draw up a strategy for the next exam. Try to change things up each time before you arrive at a final strategy that will suit you.

Midnight Ruminations

This time in Midnight Ruminations I would like to share a poem written by William Ernest Henley that also featured in the movie Invictus. Mandela explained in the movie that reading this poem often while in prison was one way for him to keep his head high and follow his beliefs.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Karan Kakkar

A die-hard Roger Federer fan, Karan is a singer and a musician who plays three percussion instruments. After spending the first 24 years of his life in Delhi, he finally found solace in the beautiful campus of IIM Kozhikode. Known simply as Kakkar among his friends, he prides myself on having watched all the IMDB top 250 movies in a single summer long movie marathon. He served as one of the student team members/writers of insideIIM.com, representing IIM Kozhikode.