Table of Content for CAT Mock Tests
Writing CAT Mock tests is a very important part of your CAT preparation. A greater part of your preparation should be dedicated to this particular area. Toppers spend 60% of their preparation time in writing mock tests, sectional tests and topic tests, and in analyzing those tests. It would be very difficult for us to accommodate everything about CAT mocks in just one article. We have tried to break the article into a series of questions and have tried to answer each question as succinctly as possible.
What is the ideal number of CAT mock test series one should buy?
One should buy at least 3 different test series. You might wonder why we should buy three different test series when one will more than do the job. The reason for this is that each test series has its strengths and weaknesses.
For example, the quality of VARC questions of one test series is not as good as that of another. Similarly, the quality of LRDI sets in one is better than that of the other. Bodhee Prep’s mocks have excellent VARC questions and explanations, which are way better than all others. It is not that one test series is completely good and the other test series is completely bad. They all have a mixed bunch of strengths and weaknesses, and by buying all you are getting the best of both worlds. In addition to this, each test series gives you a certain type of questions. If you combine two or more test series, the variety of questions that you will end up solving would be far greater in number.
One more reason for buying three test series is that you need not take all the mocks in them as full length tests. Some of the mocks you can take as sectional tests, while others you can strictly take as full length tests. Also, the questions of the mocks are unique, offering better quality questions for general practice as well.
As far as the pricing part is concerned, you should not buy premium package of all the test series; they all have basic package as well. You should buy the basic package of some test series and for some you should go for premium package.
How many mocks should one write to score 99 percentile in CAT?
You should write at least 40 mocks to get 99 percentile in CAT, though writing 40 mocks may, in itself, not guarantee 99 percentile. Writing a good number of mocks, however, does increase your probability of scoring 99 percentile on the condition that you have not only written mocks but also have analyzed those mocks, and have subsequently worked on your weak areas.
The reason you should write 40 mocks is that in the initial few mocks you will not even know what’s going wrong with you and why things are not falling in place. After writing 5 mocks you will get to know how well prepared you are.
As you write a few more, you will realize your strengths and weaknesses. For instance, some of you will realize that you are good in geometry but not in Algebra; some will feel that they are good in science RCs but not in abstract RCs.
This realization will come only after you have discovered a pattern in your performance. After writing 10 mocks you will get to know the areas where you need to work. Now from the 11th mock onwards you will focus on improving accuracy.
This is the general rule. By focusing on your strong areas, you will try to increase your accuracy. Once you have gained confidence, you will start focusing on speed from your 17th or 18th mock. By the time you write your 18th mock you will be in the final one month of your cat prep.
In the last one month you will be writing a mock almost every alternate day to fine tune your strategy. Thus you will need at least 35-40 mocks in order to do well in the actual paper.
The timeline of these mocks should be like this:
- August month: one mock every week
- September: two mocks every week
- October: three mocks every week
- November: one mock every alternate day
There are many students who start writing mock from the month of June. If you think that you are ready to take mocks there is no harm in writing mocks from the month of May or June, but the frequency has to be low. In the month of May, June and July you should write a mock every ten days, and spend most of your time in analysing the mocks and working on the weak areas.
What is the right time to start writing mocks?
There are two aspects to this question. The first is the right time with respect to preparation levels, and the second is the right time with respect to the number of days before the exam.
Both are equally important and there must be a balance such that you are not too late to start writing your mocks and that from syllabus completion point of view you are ready to to write your mocks.
We suggest that you should go into mock writing mode at least three months before the exam date. So, if your exam is on 30th November, you should take your first mock no later than 30th August, though a lot depends on how ready you are to write the mocks. We believe that you should start writing mocks only if you have covered 70 percent of the syllabus of each section.
Here the quant section becomes important because it is in this section that completion of syllabus becomes a priority. In the other two sections the syllabus is quite small and it would not take much time for you to finish the syllabus.
Completing 70 percent of the syllabus of each section puts you in a situation where you will be able to attempt or take a look at most of the questions. If you are not ready with 70 percent of the syllabus you might miss on too many easy questions, something that might be demotivating for most aspirants.
How to analyse mocks?
This question needs a very descriptive and elaborate answer. One of our past students has written a very good answer on his Quora space. Here is the link of that article:
How many mocks should I write in a week?
The answers to questions pertaining to mocks are quite subjective, but the number of mocks you write depends on how well prepared you are and how far the exam is.
If you are not well prepared, writing too many mocks could be frustrating because you won’t see much improvement.
Also, writing too many mocks long before the exam might result in burnout, as a result of which you might lose interest or develop fatigue exactly at the time when you need to accelerate.
To begin with, you should write one mock every 10 days. In those 10 days you should work on improving your weak areas. For instance, if you feel that you are not good with parajumbles, you should work on parajumbles.
If you feel that your accuracy is not good, spend those ten days working on your accuracy. The ten day gap should be maintained until you reach a point where you have finished the entire syllabus and have started getting the accuracy, even though the number of attempts are a little on the lower side.
Once the accuracy is in place (80 percent overall, all sections combined) and the syllabus is complete, you can switch to one mock a week until 50 days before the exam.
During this phase, you should focus on developing speed and striking a balance between speed and accuracy. 45 days before the exam, you should write at least three mocks a week, and this you must continue doing till the day before the exam.
In the mocks that you write during the last 45 days, your focus has to be on question selection and speed optimization. In a tough exam like CAT, question selection decides 90 percent of your success, the rest 10 percent is just execution.
What should I do if my mock scores are not up to the mark?
You should not be surprised at this scenario. Because in 99 out of 100 cases, mock scores, at least in the initial stages, are far from satisfactory. There could be many reasons why your mock scores are not as per your expectations, but most common reasons are these:
- You are not yet ready for the mocks because you are yet to complete the syllabus.
- You are short on practice: you haven’t practiced enough to reach a stage where you can solve a bunch of mixed questions
- You are not good in question selection: you inadvertently pick up the wrong question
- You become too anxious or nervous while writing the mocks.
Most of the aspirants will find one or more than one of the above causes behind their poor performance. Each of the causes has to be addressed separately
Completing the syllabus: taking mocks without completing the syllabus can be a bad decision. You should have completed at least 70 percent of the syllabus before you write your first mock. Completing the syllabus in itself is not enough, you should have practiced a good number of questions of the topics so as to be able to solve all varieties of questions in the mocks.
You should note down important topics of each section, topics from which a good number of questions have come in the past cat papers. For example, in quant every year a good number of questions come from profit and loss, time speed distance, work and time, percentages, mixture and alligation etc.
Before you write your mocks, you should be thoroughly prepared with these topics. The same is true for reading comprehension in varc section, and mathematical puzzles in LRDI section
You are short on practice: because you haven’t practiced enough, you are too slow in solving the questions, and in recalling the concepts. Knowing all the concepts is not enough. You should be good at recalling the right concept from the many that you have memorized.
This will come to you gradually through practice. The more you practice the smarter you will become in relating a particular concept to a particular scenario, thus improving your accuracy rate.
You are not good in question selection: this is another pain area for most aspirants. They just can’t identify questions that are easy and take less time. This is usually because of lack of practice, but sometimes it is also because your study material does not give you a variety of questions of mixed difficulty.
You should take a number of topic tests that have a good variety of questions of mixed difficulty. Taking a good number of topic tests repeatedly will sharpen your skill to spot the easy questions.
In the first few mocks, in spite of enough practice, you may not be able to pick the right questions, but a thorough analysis of the mocks will help you overcome this problem.
Anxiety and nervousness: These are temperamental issues. We have been brought up in conditions in which we are not used to nervous and anxious moments. We usually avoid such scenarios. This is the reason why most of the aspirants, while taking timed tests, find it difficult to control their anxiety.
This is a natural outcome and cannot be overcome in a week or ten days. You have to gradually work towards it. The best way is to start taking short topic tests under strict time constraints. While taking timed tests, your focus has to be on question selection.
It would be difficult to solve tough questions with time limits, but easy and moderate questions can be solved with time limits. You should be on the lookout for easy questions, because while solving them you will feel less stressed out. Again, practice is important here.
By neglecting and avoiding your mocks you are only procrastinating your issues. The more you expose yourself to your weaknesses, the more swiftly you will be able to overcome those weaknesses.
How important are sectional tests and topic tests in CAT?
Students often underestimate the importance of the topic tests and sectional tests. While full length CAT mocks are the exact representation the actual CAT paper it would be practically impossible for someone to write a mock everyday.
But even if you don’t write a mock every day, you have to take timed tests in some format. Here is where the topic tests and the sectional tests become important. They are like rigorous net practice before the actual game.
Topic tests and sectional tests serve two purposes:
- They become a stepping stone to good performance in mocks: after completing the syllabus, it would be unwise to take a mock directly. You need to work on time management and stress management. This you can develop by taking topic tests and sectional tests. Since they are of short duration, you can work on your time management skills and gradually develop the right balance between speed and accuracy. At the start you will be writing at most one mock a week. During the rest of the week, it would be wise for you to take topic tests and sectional tests before the actual mock.
- As the exam date comes nearer, more and more raw practice will be required. You can either practice from paperback books or from online topic tests and sectional tests. The latter is a better choice because firstly you will have time constraints, which is much more desirable, and secondly you will develop the habit of reading questions online and solving them on paper, exactly the way you will be doing in the exam. All kinds of practice work in the last two months of your prep should be done in the form of tests: topic test, sectional tests and mock tests.