CAT 2017 - Why, When and How to take mock test: For the things we have to learn, we do by practising them. As it is said, ‘Practice makes a man perfect’, and to learn for securing high percentiles top management entrance exam, aspirants must practice from Mock Tests. The same applies for CAT where Mock test plays a vital role to determine the level of preparation for the actual test. This feature by Careers360 will guide you on when and how to take mock tests and prepare for CAT 2017.
CAT 2017 will be conducted on November 26, 2017, by IIM Lucknow. This year the exam has been kept on similar lines in terms of pattern, as that of last year. Mock tests form an integral part of your preparation right from the initial stage to the last few days. Let us start with what is a mock test.
A mock test is a practice exam or a revision test to make a student prepare for an upcoming examination. After taking a mock test, a candidate can evaluate his performance and check in which areas he requires hard work.
Why Mock Test
A Mock test is the most effective method of evaluating your current preparation level and re-strategize your future preparation plans. It also makes you familiar with the type of questions which might appear in CAT. If you solve past 5 years’ questions of CAT, you have high chances to crack the exam with a good percentile.
Sharing the significance of mock tests in his success, CAT 2016 100 percentiler Avidipto Chakraborty says, “I used to take a lot of mock tests and used to pick them up randomly. Some of them were very difficult, while others were quite easy. I used to take two to three mocks every week and used to analyse the scores over the weekend. I had taken the mock test series of most of the top coaching institutes. It is very important that you thoroughly analyse the score of the mock CATs. Find out which are your weak areas and what are your strengths and accordingly develop a strategy. Low scores in the mock tests should not depress you.”
Therefore, not only should you take full-length mock tests in proctored situation, but also analyse the test. Yash Choudhari, IIM Calcutta student who obtained 100 percentile in CAT 2016 says, “It is not just about taking mock tests but analysing your performance. The more mock tests I took, the better I understood my strengths and weaknesses.”
Adding to the importance of Mock Test, Mukesh Goyal, a 100 percentiler in CAT 2016 says, “Mock test is a very important tool in CAT preparation. Analysing concepts in mocks is very important as it helps you identify your weak areas and build upon your strong ones. They also help you manage your time by solving the question paper in time. With practice, I could judge which questions to attempt and those which I could leave”. It is important for a candidate to put all his focus in his weak areas and take mock test classes to crack CAT. Whether, you take coaching or not, practising from Test series and Mocks will support in securing a high percentile.
When to take CAT Mock Test
Mock tests must be an integral part of your preparation strategy. You must start taking them at least two months from the test. Below is the week-by-week guide for CAT 2017 Mock tests:
10-8 Week to CAT 2017 - When you still have about 10 weeks to go, you have quite some time in hand to start the preparation if you haven’t yet done so. If you have already started preparing, then you must have covered the basics and now you should now invest time on the topics which you are not so comfortable yet. Manek Daruvala, T.I.M.E. Director suggests, "For those who start their preparation one year or more before the CAT, mock tests should be taken from around eight to 10 months from the CAT. This would give them enough time to be aware of their weaknesses and iron them out."
According to Akshay Mehndiratta, who secured 100 percentile in CAT 2016, shares, "Once you start taking the mock exams and test series, then there should be improvement. Take as many mock tests as possible as it will help in maintaining consistency, devising correct strategy and improving accuracy. I started taking mock tests from June onwards with one test per week and increased the number gradually."
7-5 Week to CAT 2017 - At this point of time, Practice is the key. Mock tests should be an intensive part of your preparation now. When you have just more than a month to go, it is time to evaluate your learning. The best way to do so is through practice and mock test. “ Whenever you give a mock test, assess not only the wrong questions but also the right ones. Sometimes you may score very high, while on other occasions you might get a low score. Do not get demotivated with low score and don’t become overly confident when you score high,” says Shiv Raj, 99.94 percentiler in CAT 2016.
4-2 weeks to CAT 2017 - As hardly one month is left, revision should be the prime focus. Do not start any new topic now. Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher says, “One should write one mock in every 10 days and increase the frequency of mocks in the last month before.”
Last week to CAT 2016 - You must now be fully prepared to appear in the test. The preparation should be complete and ample mock tests should have been taken by now. Most importantly, you should be comfortable and confident about your preparation. In the last few days, your mantra should be to revise and relax. Arks Srinivas, VistaMind CEO says, "One mock per week is more than sufficient provided one spends time in analysing the mock thoroughly and correcting the weaknesses before writing the next one!”
How to take CAT Mock test
Mock tests tell candidates which topics they have already mastered. They can then direct their learning to other areas and spend minimal further time on the topics they already know. But importantly, you must also know how to take mock tests.
Sectional mock tests - Since CAT 2016 will have three sections with a sectional time limit of 60 minutes, it is important to strategise Mock tests in such a way that you complete one section before time. Mock tests will let you check your sectional preparation, and will let you get familiar with the changes.
“Spend minimum possible time in preparing on concepts and start taking mock tests on a very regular basis. The pattern of the exam is similar to that of last years, so get familiarized with the format in best possible manner”, says CAT 2014 Topper and IIM Rohtak student, Balkesh Narang.
Analyse your strong and weak sections - Mock test will make you analyse which is your strong and weaker section. By knowing this you will be able to focus more on your weak section. You will also be able to know which section you must attempt first in the actual test, so as to save time and energy for the difficult section. "When you start with the analysis, do not view the answer of the incorrect answers first but try to solve the question again. Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the paper, this should reveal, to you, the questions that you must attempt and the questions that are best left alone," mentions Gautam Puri.
Keep buffer time - When you start preparing for an exam through a mock test, it is important that you keep a minimum of 20 minutes buffer time to finish the test. Keeping buffer time in the mock test will let you know your time management strategy. Also, practising the test with a buffer time will give you ample of time to complete the exam on the actual test day.
Fast Facts on CAT 2017 and its Exam Pattern:
Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national level entrance exam for admission to management programmes at 20 IIMs and more than 100 B-schools, this year it is scheduled to be conducted on November 26, 2017. The exam is divided into three sections namely, Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC). The total duration of the exam is 180 minutes with exact 60 minutes to answer each section Candidates will not be allowed to switch from one section to another while answering questions in a section. Although the IIMs introduce changes in CAT exam pattern every year, this year the exam pattern has remained unchanged. However, the only difference is that this year the number of sectional questions are not pre-determined, but it is also likely to follow last year’s pattern.