How to Improve CAT Mocks Score? Tips by CAT Topper

by Rishabh Sethi Wed 10 Jul 2024 06:20 PM 138

The CAT - Common Admissions Test - is the most popular management entrance exam in India with over 3 lakh students participant every year. Not only is it the most popular entrance exam, it is considered the gold standard of management entrance because of its level of difficulty and the vast number of colleges that accept CAT examination scores.

Mocks are an important tool if you wish to ace the CAT. While there may be individuals who may disagree, many CAT toppers swear by the importance of CAT mock Tests. So much so that people give over 30 CAT mocks during their preparation.

CAT Mocks

Before diving into it, let us understand the CAT first.

The CAT exam comprises three sections:

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
  • Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
  • Quantitative Ability (QA)

Each of the section is for 40 minutes and the entire duration of the exam is 2 hours, there is no rest allowed in between the examination. Each section is meant to test different skills that a manager is supposed to posses.

Mocks are tools which are supposed to guide you on your journey to the 99%ile+ mark. While taking a lot of mocks may sound daunting and time-consuming - combined with the fact that it is also extremely demotivating to see low scores, it is essential. You should trust the process.

While the mock takes 2 hours, analyzing it is another task altogether, completing all the steps involved in a thorough mock analysis might take over 6 hours all-together.

Given below is an estimate where you can test how effectively you have been analyzing mocks.

6 hours + consistent blank spotsjourney to the 99%ile
4-6 hours + consistent blank spotsa very good and efficient effort
6 hours + no blank spotsa wastage of time
less than 4 hoursa half-assed effort towards mock analysis

We have explained what "blank spots" are below.

It is essential to understand that the CAT is not a test of perfect knowledge, it is a test of your test-taking ability. It may sound weird but that is what it is. You can score a 99%ile by answering less than 50% of the questions with 100% accuracy. Thus, the correct test-taking is essential.

Blank Spots are areas where your test-taking skills are lacking. What it means is that while you have the knowledge do to this question, you, for some reason have not attempted it or have done something wrong in the process and therefore done it incorrectly. Essential, for whatever reason except a 'knowledge gap' - you failed to score marks here.

This is critical and elimination of these blank spots are essential to a high score in mocks and also the CAT exam.

Given below is a step-by-step process of mock analysis.

How to Analyze Mock Tests?

  1. Review Correct and Incorrect Answers: Know why your answers were correct or incorrect. This will help you identify patterns in your mistakes. Keep a journal of these correct and incorrect questions, or use your mock analysis software to keep track.
  2. Keeping Track: Figure out which topics are your strength, topics where you need more work, topics where you need to improve and topics you need to ignore.
  3. Make a Notebook: Keep a notebook with yourself while analysing a mock and write down the mistakes that you have made while attempting, regardless of how trivial that mistake was. write it down. Now, before attempting next mock, make sure that you go through that notebook and not make the same mistake.

This is merely a guide, not a exhaustive guide but strong enough to help you decide the topics where you should divert more of your attention.

Your areas of improvement should not be based on accuracy alone but also on the time required by you to solve it while also keeping in mind the importance of the chapter - it might not be the best idea to study heavily for a topic that does not carry much weightage; you'd be better off studying for a chapter with high weightage that you face problem in.

Topics of StrengthHigh Accuracy + Low Time Required
Topics where you need more workHigh Accuracy + High Time Required
Topics where you need to improveHigh Importance + Low Accuracy
Topics you need to ignore.Low Importance + Low Accuracy

4. Weak Areas: Once the segregation is complete, identify sections or question types where you are consistently scoring low. Focus on these areas in your study while brushing up on areas on strength. You should also keep in mind that the bulk of your score will be made up of your area of strength, the areas where you are not comfortable but have a basic knowledge of can help in giving your score a jump incase an easy question pops up.

5. Time Management: Review how you spend time across sections. Are you spending too much time on certain questions or sections? Please ensure that you are not spending more than 4 minutes when you try to solve a question. Constantly try to reduce the average time that you spend per question.

How to Improve Mock Scores?

Build Your Basics

A strong foundation in the basics is key to cracking CAT questions. Here’s how to ensure your basics are strong:

  • Conceptual Clarity: Make sure you understand the basic concepts in each section. Use textbooks and online resources to build your basics.
  • Basic Problems: Before moving to advanced problems, make sure you can solve basic questions accurately and fast.

A fair test of your conceptual clarity would be if you can solve 7 questions from every 10. The questions where - Topics where you need to improve - lie in this area.

Practice More Questions

This is meant for areas where you have high accuracy but are taking a lot of time to solve, therefore- Topics where you need more work - lie in this area. Just do as many questions as you come across.

CAT Practice Tests- Section-wise Strategy

Each section of the CAT exam requires a separate strategy. Here’s a brief overview of strategies for each section:

  • VARC: Focus on improving your reading speed and comprehension. Read diverse articles from website such as Aeon, Smithsonian, The Guardian etc. And solve RC passages regularly, make sure that you are solving atleast 2-3 RCs daily. For verbal ability, practice grammar and vocabulary questions.
  • DILR: Practice different types of graphs, charts and tables to improve your data interpretation skills. For logical reasoning, practice puzzles and logical games to improve your problem solving skills. Make sure you don't skip the important topics in DILR such as Arrangement, Puzzles, Games and Tournaments, Charts etc.
  • QA: Practice various math problems to strengthen your quant skills, practice these questions in a structured manner. After you got to know your strengths and weaknesses from mock analysis,. Time yourself while solving these problems to improve speed and accuracy.

Time Management

Time management is key in the CAT exam. Here’s how:

  • Question Prioritization: Learn to prioritize questions based on difficulty and familiarity. Attempt easy questions first to get marks and build confidence.
  • Don’t Get Stuck: If a question is taking too long, move on and come back to it later if time permits.
  • Remember that every question carries the same amount of marks, doing tough questions are meaningless - all questions carry 3 marks and every incorrect option carried a penalty of -1. It is foolish to attempt tougher and more time taking questions first.

Get Guidance and Feedback

Guidance from mentors or peers can bring new perspective to your preparation. Unfortunately, this is the toughest and most important part. If you can get someone to guide you with your preparation, someone who has done this before, you can speed up your progress by miles.

  • Mentorship: Get help from teachers or mentors who can give you feedback and suggest ways to improve.
  • Peer Learning: Join study groups where you can discuss tough problems and learn different ways to solve them.
  • Online Resources: Use online forums and resources to seek advice and share with fellow aspirants.

Frequently Asked Questions

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