Do's and Don'ts for Mock CATs

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Do's and Don'ts for Taking Mock CATs

Do's

The easy ones first 1) Make sure you take plenty of them and 2) Take them as seriously as possible. Mimic exam settings well. Now, on to the others:

1) Focus on building intensity:
Make sure you reduce your concentration lapses as possible. Very often we forget the intensity-building aspect of Mock CATs. It just becomes a routine exercise because you are chalking up the numbers. Most students have 2 spells of 7-9 minutes where nothing gets done. You need to beat this down aggressively.

2) Analyze to death:
Do not analyze percentile trends or some such artificial nonsense. You should be able to answer these questions:
a) How many errors are from guesses, how many from 'silly errors' and how many from being caught out by the question. More importantly, how many errors were due to fatigue?
b) What are my 'strong' topics/question types. How come I am making mistakes in these?
c) Identify 3 questions in each section where you spent too much time on and improve question selection.
d) Am I selecting the right questions (this is a whole new topic, we will have a separate post on this).
e) How many questions that have been 'skipped' were do-able?

3) Try out different strategies:
The mock CAT series is to find a pattern that works for you. With the exam being online, going sequentially is the best strategy to approach. But still one needs to know when to do RC, LR and DI within the two sections. Have a broad outline (like early in the paper or late in the paper), and flirt with 1-2 other patterns. With the latest change to the pattern, CAT allows students to switch between the two sections. This is good and bad. Good because it gives a lot more freedom to students to plan their sequence of attempts, and bad because it can distract students from preparing, and spend more time strategising.

Dont's

1) Dont take the percentile scores seriously:
The percentile you got in the 3rd mock CAT of the Alpha test series counts for pish tosh. So, chuck that. This percentile is one of the most misleading statistic around. Very often students get into a fall comfort zone if the percentiles are going in the right direction. There is no single provider in the country who has managed to mimic CAT well. So, if you are doing better and better at Alpha test series, chances are that you have cracked the "Alpha" series well. So, go and try a few in Beta and Gamma test series. The number of students who consistently score 99th percentile in a test series and find themselves in no man's land when actual CAT scores come along is very high.

2) Do not depend on only one provider for Mock CATs:
Mix it up. Dont fall into a comfort zone with one style of questioning. Make sure you are tested under a different setting. Friends can even pool together, get an id.

3) Do not take 2 mock CATs in a day in order to increase your mock CAT count:
It is meaningless to take mock CATs when you are tired. And you are kidding yourself if you have taken a mock CAT, analyzed it and are not tired at the end of it.

Best wishes for CAT 2015! With the test window historically being sometime in November, it is probably a good time to crank up your preparation.

P.S: The best mock CAT series in the market is provided by 2IIM . This is the team that publishes on this blog and specializes in giving objective inputs.

Jokes apart, 2IIM offers a 12 Test Series that is perhaps the most representative of the real CAT in the market. Tall claims? Here's why we stick by them: All content is prepared by alumni from IIM A, B and C with each test having expert feedback from CAT 2011, 2012 and 2014 100th percentiler. More details can be obtained here.