The Process Of Analysing Mock Tests

  • There could be different objectives for students writing mocks. Most students write mock to find where they stand with respect to others. Which they understand with the percentiles that they have scored. After that they don’t bother too much about looking back at the mock. This will not help much apart from familiarizing with the test. Analysing a mock is an important part of improving ones performance in the exam. But for that lets understand what are the important parameters for performing well in the exam.

    1. Correct selection of question

    2. Optimum strategy

    3. Be relaxed during the test

    4. Ability to solve the question in the best possible method

    5. Performing well in all sections of the exam

    The focus of the analysis then should be to look at each of the above parameter and see how you can improve on them so that you can improve your performance in the exam.

    Correct selection of question is of utmost importance and most of your analysis should be focused on this. When you have analysed your mock you would have realised that a easy question can take less than 30 seconds to solve, but a tough one could take around 5 minutes to crack … and you may still not get the answer.

    Strategy forms an important part of analysis. Strategy involves many things right from correct positioning of the questions when you attempt the paper to time management. It is like which are the questions which you will attempt first and which you will attempt later. how much time you will spend on each question before you decide to leave, etc.

    Being relaxed is critical. Most of the times in the actual CAT, the paper may not go as per your plan or you may panic if you did not get a question correct. Example in the last CAT the DILR section was quite tough, due to which a lot of students panicked and ruined even their Maths section which was comparatively easy.

    Mock papers are also important as it will have the best of questions that are available. So it is important to analyse each question thoroughly and check whether you know how to solve it in the first place and then look out for better methods to solve. It is not only important to know the methods but it is important to understand if you are able to apply them in the time pressure situation like a Mock.

    Every section in the exam is important, not only because the top colleges have sectional cutoff, but also because a low score in one of the section could pull your scores down drastically. So it is important for any student to identify their weak areas and prepare accordingly. You come to know your weak areas when you look at the percentile score in the mocks. Lot of times the weak area need not be the area which you feel is weak.

    Considering this, lets look at the process of analysing the mock:

    1. First thing that I look out for when I analyze any of my students mock is to check if he has given time to each and every question in the paper. This you can make out with the time allotted to each question. It is important that a student has atleast allotted around 10 seconds per question before deciding to skip a question. That is the time required to skim through the question and decide whether to attempt or leave it. The reason this is important is that a lot of times students leave a few questions without reading it and realise only after the exam that the question was a sitter and should have been solved. I remember in my college days some of my friends who were good had not seen the last few questions in the exam, which turned out to be sitters. This cost them a call from the IIMs.
    2. Next thing I will check in the paper is have I wasted disproportionate amount of time on any question. If you have then find the reason why have you done so and how could you avoid it the next time. One of the major reason why students are not able to attempt too many questions in a mock is that they get stuck solving a question, and are not able to leave it.
    3. Third step is to go through all the questions that a person has got wrong. Try to solve it without looking at the solution. Once you have tried, look at the solution. Try to find a better solution to the question. Classify the question as to why have you got it wrong. It could be because of not knowing the concepts or silly mistakes like calculation error or reading the question wrong, or it could be any other reason. Try to take corrective action to ensure that you reduce these mistakes.
    4. Next step would be to go through all the questions which you have not attempted. Try to solve the question and then see the solution. Try to figure out if you can get a better method than what is given in the solution.
    5. Next step and an important step is to go through all the questions you have got correct and figure out if there is a better way of solving as compared to the way you have solved. Also look at the solution and see if they are offering a better method to solve.
    6. Once you have gone through all the questions, go back to each question and classify them as easy, medium or tough. Decide which are the questions you should have solved in the test and which are the questions you should have left. Try to figure out how to identify the questions which you need to solve and the once you need to leave. Also figure out whether the questions that you picked to solve in the test were correct or you should have had a different set of questions selected.
    7. From all the questions pick up a few questions where you feel you need to go through it again for later reference. It could be the questions that you got a better method or question type you came across for the first time. You can go through these questions when you are reviewing the paper close to the actual exam.
    8. Now look at the overall strategy that you adopted in the test. Did the test go as per you had planned or not. If it did not, then what was the reason for the same and did you panic because of that. Figure out how you reacted to the new situation an decide if you come across a similar situation next time, how you should react.
    9. Now try to create a strategy for the next mock based on the analysis of the paper. This will involve which type of questions to solve first, how are you going to pace the time in the paper, how are you going to spend on different subsection of the paper, etc. These strategy will be based on two things - one is your learning from the mock and the second is any aspect that you want to experiment. It is always advisable to experiment as much as possible in the early papers so that you know what you are comfortable with.
    10. Make a small write up about your learning from the mock. This you can refer to when you are reviewing the mock close to the exam. During that time it may not be possible to go through the entire mock, but a write up of your correct decisions and mistakes will help you to be aware of it when you are writing the mocks or the actual CAT so that you don’t repeat the mistakes again.
    11. Based on your performance in the mock, plan your studies. This could involve spending more time on your weak areas or only if required going back to the text books to review any topic where you find difficulty in.

    These steps should help you to analyse your mock. Mock analysis takes a lot of time and a lot of introspection. Do spend enough time on analysis so that it helps you to improve your performance in CAT.

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