Careers

Make the most of your mock tests

A good self-analysis that lets you know how well you have mastered the concept is the way forward. Photo: K. Murali Kumar   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

The exam season has begun. The next 100 days will see students going in for various scholastic and competitive exams. This is also that part of the year when all serious aspirants get into revision mode and simultaneously attempt mock tests to optimise their performance. Amidst all this, “Self Analysis” is largely ignored by students. You are beset by the questions: “What is self analysis?” or “How to do it?” or “Is it really that important?” We will address all that here.

Writing a mock test is perceived as a mechanism by which one can ascertain the level of preparedness; force yourself to revise well in time; remember important points/formulae etc. Though this may be true to some extent, the reality is different. The true essence of taking a mock test is to “analyse” one’s own performance and figure out the loopholes, get acclimatised (for example if you are intending to write an online test like JEE (Main) then you should take a sufficient number of online tests, develop an exam strategy and temperament and body clock adjustment. That sounds a bit tricky, doesn’t it? You read that right.

Many times when taking a test or an exam, we commit mistakes which go unnoticed, or it happens so fast and at random that we fail to recognise the mistake later. And since it has not got registered in our minds we run the risk of repeating it in the future. This proves detrimental to our career objectives.

A good “Self Analysis” is rather the way forward. It must enable you to discover the following areas:

Conceptwise tracking (enables you to understand how well have you mastered a concept)

Topicwise tracking (Percentage of completion without any loose ends)

Subjectwise competence (areas within a subject in which your performance has been consistent over a period of time)

Marks earned (areas within a subject where you have earned marks)

Marks lost (areas within a subject where you have lost marks)

Reasons for marks lost: One must get to the real root cause. Be practical and realistic during this exercise. Seek experts’ help at this juncture, if required. The most probable reasons are:

(a) calculation mistake; (b) not applying the right concept/formula; (c)rushing through while reading the question and missing an important keyword/point hence applying the wrong concept/formula.; (d) being confused between two closely linked/overlapping concepts; (e) not scanning the question paper completely (miss attempting a few easy questions); (f) not knowing how to go about a question and making a vague attempt thinking that it would probably work out right at the end. In the process time, effort and marks being lost.

Average time taken to solve a question (speed and accuracy have to be in sync). High speed with low accuracy is pointless. Low speed with high accuracy will impact total marks. One has to find a middle path to be able to do well and optimise one’s performance.

Performance rating: Rate your overall performance in a mock test on a scale of 10 based on your level of satisfaction achieved after the test. By systematically following the above-mentioned points you will start approaching mock tests with a whole new perspective. Your focus will gradually shift to a “learning approach,” addressing mostly the key learning from “mistakes committed,” and the same will get automatically factored within your revision plan thus firming up your performance meter in the next mock test.

Action Plan

Once you have tracked your conceptwise/topicwise status and have identified the loose ends, it’s time to revisit those portions (if possible seek experts’ help). By doing this you will be improving your chances of getting answers to those types of question correct. On a broader scale you will remember the kind of mistakes committed and be cautious.

Just as a batsman’s performance on a given day is analysed by the runs scored and the respective direction (on-side, off-side, long-on, etc), by analysing the topics from which you have earned marks allows you to discover the marks distribution factor across topics within a subject. If you find that you have scored more from a specific segment/topic or you have scored more on specific types of question, then you have to be cautious and devise a plan to distribute your dependency (attempt-based risk) across topics.

This will clearly tell you the topics/type of questions that you need to focus on. Analyse the reason for marks lost and practise accordingly to prevent future mark-leakage.

Attempt as many mock tests as possible and synchronise your mock paper attempts so that your penultimate mock paper attempt is at its peak (in terms of performance, exam temperament, body clock adjustment, etc) and the actual exam should appear to you as just another mock drill, insulating you from exam-related stress and helping you to maintain your peak performance level.

Verify whether your latest attempt has improved compared with your last mock test. An upward swing will give you the much-needed confidence for optimised performances in future attempts (mock test or, for that matter, the actual exam). Always strive for a 10-on-10 rating.

The key imperatives are to eradicate weaknesses (if not completely, at least to a very large extent). Every weakness addressed will translate into a positive outcome, leading to better performance and better marks, thus improving the chances of moving ahead of competition.

The author is Head of FIITJEE Punjabi Bagh Centre and a senior faculty of chemistry.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 11:23:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/careers/make-the-most-of-your-mock-tests/article8317871.ece

Next Story