Plateauing of mock scores is synonymous with the CAT mock-taking grind. With more mocks come more confidence and clarity. The flipside of it is that the scores do not rise beyond a point. Going from 40th percentile to 60th or 70th percentile would not have been tougher. But, the same cannot be said about going from the 80th to 90th percentile, and beyond. Which is why it is called ‘plateauing of mock scores’, after all.
The plateauing and the new dimension
Needless to say, the new duration and the lack of clarity about the EXACT number of questions have made the CAT aspirants feel like they are starting their mock regime from scratch.
The following are some versions of the same worry different candidates seem to carry with them.
- “I used to score well in the old pattern. Just when I was getting comfortable with it, the new pattern came in. I have fallen back on my scores and percentiles.”
- “My set selection in DILR used to be on point. With the time constraint, I am not able to get it right now in the new duration.”
- “My scores used to improve steadily in the old pattern. I was sensing a progression. Now, I am clueless on why my scores are stagnant or plummeting.”
There is no denying the fact that there is a change in the pattern. However, that should not be a deterrent in your pursuit of overcoming the plateauing of mock scores.
The strategies that are straightforward and pragmatic
If you are expecting me to wave a magic wand that would help you come out of the plateau in your next mock, the following is not for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for incremental improvements that lead you to a fabulous outcome, buckle up and read on.
1) Analyzing a mock TO DEATH
Oftentimes, many CAT aspirants underestimate the value of mock analysis. Amongst the ones that analyze, the majority is content with just knowing the answers for the questions that they did not attempt, OR attempted and got negatives. That is not analysis, that is READING AN ANSWER KEY.
Reading an answer key is different from analyzing a mock to death. The former helps you understand some questions better, no doubt. But it also makes you think you are well-versed in concepts, imparts a degree of hubris and defeats the purpose.
If you have been doing what I mentioned as ‘answer key reading’ thus far, you are not a bad place. However, you need to go beyond that and do ANALYSIS, in the real sense of it.
How do I analyze a mock? How does it help me overcome plateauing of mock scores?
There are a bunch of articles that talk about mocks, strategies and scoring better. That is not what we are going to talk about, so let me share the list of articles.
- All about handling mocks better
- Mock CAT scores and 3.5 perspectives
- 4 to-dos to take your mock CAT analysis one notch higher
- 7 gospel truths to deal with mock CAT blues
- How to review mock CATs: A 3-step process
Some of the articles talk in the context of the old pattern, but the overarching theme on how you analyze your mock remaing the same.
The two-step process
After you analyze a mock, there are two aspects you need to latch on to, both of which are equally important.
- Fixing the gaps
- Maximizing your accuracy and score
Fixing the gaps
We talk a lot about fixing the gap, right? What exactly is this gap fixing phenomenon?
If you find that out of the n number of questions in Geometry, you were able to attend only one, the inference is obvious. Time to start revision.
Over the last week, you have not read anything at all, because you were focusing on Quant. The VARC score had dropped. You know what to do next.
These are easy bits. You need to drill down further and see where you spent a lot of time and scored less, vis-a-vis the opportunities that could have fetched you more marks. An example of this would be, “I spent way too much time in that Sentence Rearrangement question and still got it wrong. Instead, I could have given a re-read of one of the RCs and attempted at least those two easy questions based on the passage.”
Maximizing your accuracy and score
When you are done analyzing a mock, you should feel, “I have done everything to the best of my abilities. And this mock can fetch me only this score.” If you are not feeling that way, it is time to take the next mock more seriously.
2) Become a teacher
If you have done all the above-mentioned steps and are still not able to break the barrier, the best option is becoming a teacher. Quite often, I see people not wanting to spend time answering questions from their peers, OR be involved in a discussion on a topic or a question.
Why is teaching important? How does that help?
For starters, teaching a topic or question you understand well gives you a better understanding of it. There are other advantages as well. If you are in a position where you have to teach someone, you will start exploring different methods to approach a question. You would be nudged to think of the best possible way of getting to the solution.
With this, the idea becomes ingrained better. It is in your own interest that you start teaching others. Giving answers to others is a really great catalyst for your preparation. It will take you places, and I can vouch for it personally.
Stay safe, and best wishes for CAT 2020!