Why mock tests are important to crack CAT
Updated on Feb 23, 2015 - 10:41 a.m. IST by Sreetama Datta
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Sohini Deb, a first year IIM Kozhikode student who cracked CAT 2013 gives credit of her success to taking mock tests and regular practice. “I used to give Mock exam on every weekend as Practice is the key to crack this exam.” Before the final show, a mock drill or rehearsal is an important part of preparation. Same goes with CAT or any MBA entrance exam preparation. If you are a serious CAT aspirant, you must have started taking mock tests towards shaping your D-day performance. If not, this is high time you start.

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Change your Mock strategy:

With a changed pattern of CAT this year, students will also need to change their exam taking strategy. Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education feels that the new pattern is much better and more candidate friendly. “The new pattern is fantastic, only because it allows the freedom to move between sections, as per will. This can prove strategic: you do what you can do, first. Then you do what you are relatively not excellent at. The standard technique of scan - search - select - solve works wonderfully well in this new system.”


Not only has the test duration increased by 30 minutes, from 140 minutes to 170 minutes, you will also get opportunity to move to and fro between sections. Earlier, the sections were time bound for 70 minutes each.


The following table shares with you the new pattern of CAT.


CAT 2014 pattern



No of Questions

Time allotted

Section I

Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation



Section II

Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning






170 minutes

The change in CAT pattern should also guide you your Mock test strategies. You can now spend less time on the section you are comfortable with and go for extra minutes on the questions which you find time-consuming. While taking the mock test, you should also keep tab on making the recent changes to work in your favour.

Now that there is approximately a month left for CAT 2014, mock tests should form an integral part of your preparation. This article of Careers360 will guide you on why mock tests are important and how to best utilize them.

Why mock tests?

Mock test is the most effective method of evaluating your current preparation level and re- strategies your future preparation plans. It also makes you familiar to the question types. As experts suggest, if you solve the past 10 years questions of CAT, you have high chances to crack CAT.

Also, if you are taking mock test in a proctored environment, which is most likely, you will get used to the exam taking strategy and the time management for the exam day.


Therefore, you must start taking full length mock tests in proctored situation. Kumar PratikIIM Calcutta student who obtained 99.7 percentile in CAT 2013 says, “Give lots and lots of Mock Tests for CAT. Identify and rectify on your weak areas, and once you’ve prepared entirely just relax and have confidence.”


When to start taking Mock Tests

Ideally you should start taking the mock tests around 7 to 5 weeks before the test. By then, you would have completed your basic preparation as well. Make sure that you take mock tests from a noted institute which will not only provide you questions on relevant topics and difficulty level but also a proctored environment and the navigation would be in accordance to the latest changes introduced in CAT. “You should now use mock tests to look at getting advanced level practice on the concepts, along with polishing the strategy,” says Manek Daruvala, Director, T.I.M.E.


How to best utilize mock tests

According to experts and toppers, your method of taking mock test will determine your performance on the final day. Following points share the test taking methods to apply during your mock tests.


Take 3 to 4 mocks in a week – Take at least 3 to 4 mock tests in a week and analyze them in between. Make sure you have at least 1 day gap in between 2 mocks so that you can analyze and prepare for the next test. “I strategized in such a manner that I solved 3 mock papers on Saturday and Sunday, each followed by 2 more during the weekdays. Pre-planning and effective execution of this schedule allowed me to crack the examination,” shares Ajinkya Jain, a first year student of JBIMS Mumbai.


Keep 30 minutes buffer time – Try to complete the test within 140 to 150 minutes. Keep at least 20 to 30 minutes buffer time in hand where you can attempt other questions which might fetch more marks. “Since you know that you need to reach the end of the paper by the end of 150 min, you tend to keep the pace high.  Do this by attempting only the easy and do-able questions. Therefore, solve the easiest questions first, make sure that do not get stuck on any question for long and skip the difficult questions,” advises Daruvala. After completion, you can revise the questions to check for silly mistakes. Don’t compromise on accuracy for speed.


Attempt the easier section first – By now, you must have recognized your strengths and weaknesses. It is suggested that you start the test with easy and do-able questions so that you can gain confidence to attempt the tougher and not so comfortable questions. Sandeep Manudhane states, “The best strategy is to take first what you are best at. Do as much of that as possible, mark all answers accordingly, take a stock of the situation, and having thus completed that preferred section (test area) of yours, move on to the test area you are 'second-best' at.” 


Allot duration for sections and topics – Since CAT 2014 would not have sectional demarcation, you are the sole decider of how much time to allot for each section and topic. With regular mock tests, you would have a clear idea on how much time you require for solving section wise questions. “Use the mocks to identify the time that will be required for each section at various difficulty levels. You need to understand that the time allocated needs to be increased or decreased based on the difficulty level of the paper,” says Daruvala. Suggesting the strategy, Manudhane shares, “You can break up the entire test into test-areas, and within each test-area, you can have 'rounds of attempts' viz, first, second, and may be third.”


Sectional Mock Tests - You may take sectional mock tests as well to check your sectional preparation or right after completing a particular section among Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. “At the end of each period, take a simulated test and check your sectional performance. If your attempt and accuracy is greater than or equal to the benchmarked percentile, you are ready to move to the next stage,” suggests Vinayak Kudva, PG Head for Mumbai & India, IMS Learning.


What after taking mocks?

After taking a mock test, take at least 2 to 3 days break before appearing for another one. In the meanwhile, you need to analyze your performance and prepare accordingly. If need be, you may change your preparation strategy as well. Get your mock tests analysed by your mentor or seniors. Some of the pointers to follow after taking the mock tests are given as follows:

  • Analysis – Analysis is the most important task after taking the mock tests. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, time taken to solve each section and area and whether your mistakes are a result of lack of focus and concentration or conceptual ambiguity. “Mock exams provide an insight about your preparations and help you focus on key strategic points like performance, strengths, speed, technique and pattern of questions. A considerable time should be spent in analyzing the performances thereafter. Focus on your strengths and decide on a time management strategy,” says Soumik Biswas who obtained 99.94 percentile in CAT 2013 and pursuing PGP from IIM Indore.
  • Don’t be bogged down by the fluctuation of scores – Your scores in mock tests are not the exact reflection of your performance or preparation. If you take 3 mock tests in a week, you may score 3 absolutely different marks. As Manek Daruvala explains, “This could happen because you have been undertaking unwarranted/not well thought out experiments with your strategy, or have been writing mocks when you are tired or not in a position to concentrate. It is also possible that there were undue disturbances around you while you were giving the mock etc.”
  • Note your error type and change your strategy – If you are observing any particular pattern or mistake in the mock tests, it would be fairly easier for you to rectify it after identifying the cause of the error. Sharing his strategy, Sourabh Sharma, 99.38 percentiler in CAT 2013 and a student of TAPMI Manipal shares his experience, “I analyzed the paper and checked where I was losing my marks. This technique helped me a lot. If you follow this, you get to know the topics and areas which are your weakness. I followed the same strategy for all the sections, revise, mock tests and finally analyze.”

In the last week before CAT, try to take a full length mock test every day. Treat it as your stage rehearsal before the final show. You will not only be well prepared with the sections and topics, but to sit through 170 minutes straight without losing focus from the questions.


Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

Life @ B-School Campus

Changes in CAT 2014

CAT Topper Interviews

MBA Internship Series


Stay tuned on www.bschool.careers360.com  for more news and updates on CAT


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Questions related to CAT

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Im in my 2nd yr of graduation Can i attend CAT test this year.. Ill be in my 3rd year then.. will my cat scores be valid Or should I write cat at my final year end

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 18th Feb, 2020
Harini, Final year students can appear for CAT. But theor admission is provisional subjective to meeting the eligibility criteria of CAT. So if you will be in 3rd this year, you can appear for CAT 2020.

plzzz some tell the nift cat and gat written result date

Charvi Nayyar 18th Feb, 2020

Hello aspirant

The results for NIFT 2020 written test will be declared in the month of March, 2020.

Further, the students will be called for other round like GD or PI accordingly.

The final results for the same will be announced in the month of May 2020.

For further information visit


GITAM GAT 2020 result will be available on April 25.

For further information visit


Hope this helps


IP university will take ipucet kr accept CAT score for mba admission 2020

Sanjay Khandelwal 18th Feb, 2020
IP University will give admission based on the score of Common appetitude test and MBA admissions are done based on that only. But they also give admission to students based on the score of IPUCET. First all admissions are done based on CAT and if seats are left then it's given based on IPUCET.

I got 8.6 cgpa in class 10, 77% in class 12 and 7.8 cgpa in my graduation and I am expecting my percentile around 90 in CAT. so what are chances to get a call from IIMs and other top MBA colleges?

Megha Mehta 18th Feb, 2020

Hey there,

Well with this score it is less probable to get  a call from IITs or IIMs.You may try for another attempt or look for some good tier 1 and tier2 colleges for MBA .I am doing MBA from Lovely Professional University and its going extremely well!...Its is accreditated by ACBSP ,which is a US accreditation body ,curriculum is well advanced ,with day to day involvements in industry corporate relations ,live projects etc...Placements of seniors have also been pretty good .You can try for it.


I am from Andhra pradesh and of obc cat. WhT should be my target to get college in ap and as neet is only entrance for aiims wht must be my target to get seat in aiims ?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 18th Feb, 2020

Admission to AIIMS will be conducted at All India Counselling. So under OBC Category for AIIMS, your score should be nothing less than 625-650. This is because at All India level, the cut offs are usually higher. And coming to AP, it depends on the area you are a locale to i.e AU, OU and SVU. Now in 2018, the cut offs for BC Category under various areas have been as follows:

AU: 484


OU: 458

Now this is 2018 data and cut offs change every year depending on various factors such as no.of Candidates appearing for the exam, no.of Candidates qualified, top NEET score and difficulty of the exam. For 2020, your target should be nothing less than 550 for a seat in a GMC in AP. For guidance in counselling and admission, we have MBBS Companion:


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