Updated: Jul 10
This post is relevant for all the CAT takers who must be religiously preparing for the exam and taking mocks right now. In this post, I shall share what a CAT mock result tells you about your performance and how can you use the scorecard to analyse your current standing. Let me begin by revealing the intention behind sharing this post in the first place.
Rationale Behind the Post
Till June end, I was receiving a lot of messages from the CAT 2020 takers who were sharing their mock results with me so that I could analyse and suggest them a further strategy.
When the number increased significantly and it became a little difficult to reply to them individually, I thought it'd be better if I try disclosing the logic that I use to analyse their mock results and create a post on it.
So, here we are. This post is that strategy put together for you to use after each and every mock to evaluate your performance and understand how far you are from your overall target for CAT.
Your CAT Mock Result
After any mock, no matter which test series you are using, you will get a mock result scorecard that should look something like this:
Whenever someone sends me their mock scores (absolute marks), I always ask them to send me their section-wise attempts, number of correct responses and percentile.
In order to analyse your performance in any CAT mock result, these are the three main parameters you need for each section individually.
Step 1 - Check Attempt Rate
Personally, I always begin with the attempt rate. Now, this may be different from the norm of beginning with the sectional percentile but let me explain why I check the attempt rate first.
In one of the previous posts, I had explained how you can never score great in CAT if your sole focus is on the accuracy rate. If you have an amazing accuracy rate but you're unable to attempt a lot of questions, the accuracy will not pay off.
Moreover, accuracy is a little difficult to build as compared to increasing your attempt rate. Hence, your first objective should be to analyse your attempt rate and see if it is good enough.
What is good enough depends on the difficulty level of the section/mock. But, having an average target before taking a mock will always help you push yourself further.
My average attempt target was:
VARC: 28 Questions
DILR: 20 Questions
QA: 25 Questions
In fact, my final attempt in the CAT was also on the similar lines. Now, if you calculate the average marks one can score with an accuracy rate of around 80% and this set of attempt rate, assuming all non-TITA questions, it'd come out to be 160, which would easily translate to over 99 percentile in the CAT exam.
Hence, the first thing you need to do after a mock is to check your attempt in each section. If you have a low attempt rate, then the following posts will help you pick it up for each section:
Once you feel that your average attempts have stabilized to your desired numbers, then you can work upon your accuracy rate.
Step 2 - Check Accuracy Rate
There is no shortcut here. When you realize that your accuracy rate is lower, the only way for you to increase it is by practicing more questions from the weaker topics.
After every mock, I used to pick up one section which was the weakest of the three (basis the accuracy rate) and analysed what kind of mistakes I was making in that section.
If the mistakes happened to be conceptual, then the only way for me to strengthen the concepts was to practice questions. I used the extra resources like Arun Sharma's Book or Sectional and Topic Tests to do so.
The entire week before the next mock was spent on practicing that particular section (majorly) with little emphasis on the other two sections. This helped me evaluate my progress better.
Step 3 - Check Percentile
Please don't forget this step. This will make sure that you're not being unreasonable to yourself. In some mocks, it might so happen that you're unable to attempt as per your set target. You must check your percentile in that section to be sure that your attempt was up to the mark or not.
For example, in CAT 2017, solving 3-4 sets correctly in the DILR section would have translated to a 99 percentile in the section. Now, this is lower than the set target I had in my mind, yet the percentile is high. This implies the section was tougher than usual.
So, during your mock analysis, if you encounter a situation where your attempt was low, yet your percentile was high, you must understand that the section was tough and you performed well.
The attempt check should be a default and you should always aim to attempt more but make sure to be flexible as per the difficulty level of the mock.
After any mock test, check your attempt first, followed by accuracy and finally your sectional percentile to evaluate how you performed. That should tell you how to plan for the week before the next mock :)
So, this was the technique or strategy to analyse a CAT mock result which I wanted to share with you. Hope this helps you plan your preparation going forward. I'm linking a couple of useful posts which are relevant to this topic. You may also scroll through section-wise posts (links added below):
Must-Read: 15 Free CAT Mocks