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How to analyze mock tests

 

Deepak MehtaDeepak Mehta is a man out of time. He wanted to be born a few decades earlier, before the advent of the computer, when times were simpler and people were more content. Unfortunately, he wasn't. So, to compete in today's time, he has equipped himself with 2 degrees - one each from BITS Pilani and IIM Ahmedabad. He cracked CAT with a 100 percentile score. In his spare time, he likes to write on random website on random topics and for random people.

 

 

You can read his Quora blog here

It would be different from person to person. The "best way" for person A would, in all probability, not be the best for person B. But we can always work out a basic analysis format. First, have all your scores in a tabular format and chart their progress over time. Also, compare them against a target that you have set for yourself. In the following example, I have set the desired number of mock tests to 20. After every 5 mock tests, I have set a target that (obviously) increases with time.
 

Congratulations, you have achieved your target 3 out of 4 times. You have also managed to increase your score fro 77.5 to 99.6 percentile.
 

But it is better to supplement the above with extra analysis of your number of attempts and your accuracy. It is like working out at the gym. The best way to get increasingly better result is to keep track of both the weights and the reps for each workout.
 

 

If you look at both the table and the graph you will find:
 

  1. The score remains the almost constant for the 1st 5 mocks. You realize that is because your no. of attempts and accuracy are steady
  2. You increase your number of attempts at the cost of a little accuracy. Your score still remains almost constant.
  3. Now that you are comfortable with attempting higher no. of questions, you focus on getting more and more of them right. Do not try to attempt more. Just focus on getting them right. You see that the scores start increasing (around mock 11-12).
  4. Now you can focus on increasing both in tandem, at a slow and sustainable pace.

But it isn't that simple, is it?

To increase either your attempts or accuracy, you need to know the type of questions you usually get wrong and the type that you are usually unable to answer. In short, you also need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Especially your weaknesses.

Keep a track of the topics that are difficult to you.
 

You can clearly see that:

You get Vocabulary and Probability questions wrong. May be you remember some formula incorrectly. May be a particular concept gets you always. Take out time and work on these sections for a day or two. Will be sufficient to clear things for you. For the next few mock tests, ensure that you are not repeating the same mistakes again.

You are not able to figure out the "Odd Man Out" type questions (4/5 words/sentences out of which (n-1) are related and the nth is not). May be they intimidate you. Practice. Ask someone (a friend or your coach/mentor) to help you out. Again spend a couple of days on it.

This is a very simplistic model. But it was just to give you a feel of how you can approach the situation in a structured manner. Keeping track of your progress, your strengths and your weaknesses will help you get better.

Good luck!