Making the most of mock exams
Many candidates spend too much time in one section and too little time in another section. As a result, they might attempt difficult questions in one area while missing out on easy questions in another area. Understand the trends across your mock exams to decide how much time to allot for each section
Every serious aspirant preparing for any competitive exam knows that attempting mock tests is perhaps the most important part of their preparation. Bank exam or a recruitment test or even an entrance exam like IIT-JEE, mock tests help you know where you stand and what you need to do going further. Attempting the test is only the first step. By far, the most important step is to learn from the mistakes. This requires a detailed analysis of the test.
Most of the competitive exams though highly competitive are not high-scoring. Securing 50% of the total score often allows you to cross the cut-offs. In such cases, it becomes absolutely important to understand which 50% of the questions to attempt and is often the difference between success and failure in a competitive exam.
New-age online preparation platforms like Conduira Online give a lot of insights about the test which are otherwise not available in a paper and pencil test. Here are some ways in which you can make use of them.
Time spent per question
Usually, candidates focus their analysis on the questions that they couldn’t get correct. It is much more important to know how much effort did you invest on the questions that you got right. Most of the exams require you to be fast and accurate. For every question, see how much time have you spent and compare it with the average time spent by the toppers. If you have spent a lot of time on a question that others could answer very quickly, you need to be concerned. Is there some misunderstanding? Is that an area of weakness for you? Sometimes, candidates realise that some areas are just not suitable for them. So, the next time they attempt an exam, they leave questions from that area and invest the time on questions where they can score marks quickly.
The next big area to look at is the amount of time invested on questions that you haven’t even answered. Instead of leaving a question after spending 45 seconds, one should try to leave it after just 10 seconds. The extra 35 seconds can be invested on some other question that is worth the effort.
Lastly, look at the time invested on questions that you got wrong. This is time spent to earn negative marks. Pay close attention to the topics where this is happening. Perhaps you need to spend time in revising the basic concepts or you might need to be a little more careful to avoid silly mistakes. One of the goals in any exam is to keep this as low as possible.
Topic wise strengths
Are there areas in the exam that you are consistently getting right? Identify such areas and make sure that you are attempting more questions from those areas. Similarly, identify topics where you were able to get answers very quickly. These are your areas of strengths and you need to make the most of them.
Likewise, there might be areas where your accuracy is particularly low. You need to go down to basics in such areas. If the area doesn’t have much weightage in the exam, it might be wise to avoid it entirely. You could use this time to work on other questions and increase your overall score.
When you see your test report on Conduira Online, we recommend the topics to study based on this analysis. Make sure that you follow the recommendations to maximize the impact of your effort.
Distribution of time across sections
In some tests, you are free to move between various sections. Many candidates spend too much time in one section and too little time in another section. As a result, they might attempt difficult questions in one area while missing out on easy questions in another area. Understand the trends across your mock exams to decide how much time to allot for each section. We generally suggest you spend equal time across sections – that will ensure that you do justice to your areas of weakness without ignoring them all together.
Experiment and fine-tune your strategy
There is a big difference between conceptual knowledge and converting that knowledge into a good score. Before you attempt a mock exam, frame a clear strategy in terms of how you would like to approach the test. Once you are done with the test, first check if you were disciplined enough to stick to your strategy. Next, analyse whether the strategy suited you. Make a few adjustments to the strategy before you attempt the next mock test.
Mock tests are your chance to discover what you are. Don’t look at the overall score alone. It is absolutely okay to get low scores in the mock tests. Be bold enough to try out multiple strategies across mocks to find out what works for your personality. What works for your friend might not work for you at all! Most test providers like Conduira Online give you multiple mocks to help you in this journey. Use them wisely.
This article - authored by Mr Adithya Lanka, was originally published in Telangana Today on 22nd January 2018.