Taking a test is pointless if it is not analysed well. Make sure that whenever you take a test, you analyse it thoroughly. If you spend an entire day in taking a test and analysing it well, it is a day well spent! I highly recommend the following process:
1. Take the test just as you would take CAT- no breaks, no mobile phone…make it an absolute dress rehearsal. Better still if you do it in the morning.
2. Take a break for an hour or so and then solve the entire paper again without any time limit i.e. take 5-6 hours and solve each and every question, DI set, RC passage. You may do it in parts with taking breaks in between.
3. Take another break and now begins the real analysis. Look at the solutions of the questions you got wrong or were not sure of. Analyse what you did right and what not. Did you choose the right questions? Did you miss the doable questions? Did you spent too much time on certain area/question? How could you have got more milk out of this paper in the given time?
You will see patterns after 2-3 such analyses. You will be able to recognise your problem areas and your strengths. You will know which areas you must focus on in the next 8-10 days and then when you take the next test, you will be able to benchmark your improvement. Also, you need not take more than 8-12 (maximum) full-length tests in your entire CAT preparation.
Also, there must be a gap of minimum 7 (ideally 10) days between two successive tests. Taking tests does not sharpen your skills, it merely tests them. Remember that battlefield is not where you learn warfare, it is where you display what you learnt during the practice. Taking too many tests will wear you down and kill the enthusiasm and adrenaline rush that one must feel while taking tests. The above-mentioned approach of test analysis is time-proven, but only a few would be wise and patient to practice it. However, those who do, will see the magic of it.
All the best!
PS: The views expressed above wrt test taking are based on the writer’s experience and observations. Some other trainers may have a differing opinion about the efficacy of the modus operandi of the test analysis discussed. I would suggest that you try this for a few tests and see if it works for you 🙂
The author, Lokesh Sharma, is a serial 99%iler in the VARC Section of the CAT and a Mentor at MBAGuru. The Legend of Logic (and the source of many a LoL in his sessions) is a master of CR and one of the most practical English mentors you could ever hope to learn from. Given his ability and experience, being anything under overconfident would infact be being underconfident.