Should You Take a Mock CAT?

should you take a mock cat? -magoosh

Should you take a mock CAT? Yes! Photo by quinntheislander.

Should you take a mock CAT? In a word: absolutely. While test-takers may be hesitant to devote three hours to taking a practice test, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the drawbacks of the time commitment. If you’re several months away from taking the exam, consider taking multiple CATs. On the other hand, even if your test is this week, you can still benefit from taking a practice CAT. Why? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Taking a Mock CAT

There are many benefits to taking a mock CAT. In the first place, the CAT is a computer-based test. You probably won’t have worked with a similar interface before, and it’s important to become familiar with the test procedures. That way, you won’t waste any time on test day trying to get used to entering your answers or performing calculations on the computer.

Secondly, taking a practice CAT sets a baseline for your performance and highlights areas for improvement—and areas of improvement. If you’re several weeks or months away from your exam, taking a diagnostic CAT will help you do just that: diagnose your CAT subject-area knowledge. You’ll be able to pinpoint the areas that you most need to study. Repeatedly taking CATs will then not only show you your progress overall, but it will also highlight the areas where you’ve improved. Preparing for a test can be a sometimes-frustrating process, and seeing your progress can provide a big boost to your confidence.

Where to Find a Mock CAT

You can find mock CATs several places online. Beware, however, of websites that say they offer CAT papers but whose materials differ significantly from what you see on the official IIM 2016 mock exam. (Click “Sign In” and work through the materials without creating an account—you won’t be able to grade your exam, but it will provide you with a great example of the interface.) For good CAT practice tests, we recommend 2iim (Green Level Subscription) resources. If you’re looking for free materials, you can access the CAT Papers 2000-2010. Remember, though, that practicing on the computer will be important before test day.

How to Take a Mock CAT

Taking a mock CAT is as important for the test-day experience that it offers as it is for measuring your practice. During every practice exam you take, then, make sure that you do it under test-like conditions. The official CAT is a three-hour exam, with one hour allotted per section. Don’t skip ahead to the next section if you finish early. Likewise, don’t linger over a section after the hour’s up. There are no breaks, which can take some getting used to—another great reason to practice.

After Taking a Mock CAT

The day after you’ve taken your mock CAT, return to your answers and cross-reference them with the test. Examine not only your incorrect answers, but also your correct answers. Did you answer them correctly by guessing? Elimination? Knowledge? For your incorrect answers, identify why you got them wrong. Did you key in the wrong letter by mistake? Eliminate an answer choice you shouldn’t have? Once you’ve identified your test-taking patterns and tendencies, create a list of subject areas within each section, from your weakest to your strongest. Use this to guide your future CAT studies.

In the end, should you take a mock CAT? There’s no reason not to—and every reason to do so. In fact, doing so is one of the best ways to improve your score and get the results you want on the official exam.

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