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Updated on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 08:15 PM IST

CAT 2021: How many mock tests are good enough? Here's what experts say

Representative Image
 | Unsplash

Representative Image | Unsplash

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Thanks to the pandemic, mock tests are in high demand for CAT (Common Admission Test) preparations this year. Social media is jammed with free mock test offers not only from coaching classes but from anyone who has access to them. And it is not such a bad thing at all, definitely not for the aspirant.

According to CAT candidates, some of whom are taking the exam for the second or third time, taking 10-15 mock tests was the norm earlier, however today it can even go to 40-45 tests.

“All learning is online and Mocks are more or less a sure way of knowing where one stands,“ said D Agarwal, a candidate who is taking the exam for the second time. “Since I have studied the same before, I only need to revise and that is where the mock tests help,” he added.

Admissions head Prof Bindu Kulkarni at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research says that "practice is required to learn to manage time and gain confidence."

Byju’s faculty Pranav Pant agrees and adds that this year there is more time on hand for CAT candidates and it is only natural that it will be spent on taking more mocks tests. “People are not travelling to work or any other academic pursuit, so that time is spent on studying and when the portion is over then mocks work the best, he said.

Byju’s faculty Pranav Pant says that there is more time on hand for CAT candidates and it is only natural that it will be spent on taking more mocks tests. “People are not travelling to work or any other academic pursuit, so that time is spent on studying and when the portion is over then mocks work the best, he said.

Mr Pant is Faculty of QA and DILR at Byju's Exam Prep and himself a 99.9+ percentiler in CAT on multiple occasions. Mr Pant adds that while taking mocks is not such a bad thing too many mocks is not the best idea because it can lead to anxiety as well as there is too much dependence on judging one’s performance solely on them.

A suggestion often offered to aspirants is to work on sectional Tests. These are a sure-shot way of knowing one’s area of weakness. While a mock test does an overall analysis, a sectional test is able to Pinpoint micro errors.

A Dean of one of the prestigious MBA colleges in the city says that mock tests help in understanding various questions and how to answer them in the limited time available. “If you have done a similar question successfully in mock it helps in selecting which questions you should attempt in CAT. Also if you time your mocks gives you a good understanding of your time management,” he explained.

Sandhya Krishnan ( name changed since her employers are not aware of her MBA dreams and the impending exam) said that one never knows when to stop with mock tests. “I think I should take one every alternate day but as the exam date nears, the mocks tests make me nervous.”

How many mock tests are perfect to take before the exam is a difficult question to answer for faculty as well as past students. FPJ spoke to a cross-section of them and they said it pretty much depends on the prep level of the candidate. Mock tests give you a fair estimate of where you stand and how much you need to revise but it does not 'teach' you the portion.

If not anything else, a mock test makes one ready for the final exam day. A coaching centre faculty who takes the CAT exam often said that CAT can give you jitters, the exam halls tend to make candidates nervous. “But if you take mocks often, at least the initial scare of seeing the questions does not affect you and you feel self-confident to an extent. Whether the exam is easy or not, is a different issue.”

All have a common piece of advice though - treat the CAT exam like a mock and you are more than likely to do well.

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Published on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 07:11 PM IST
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