How do I prepare so that I can maximize my score in the MAT exam? How should I prepare so that I get more than 99 percentile? What are my strong and weak areas? What is my accuracy rate and what is a good accuracy rate? Where do I stand in terms of my performance as compared to the other candidates appearing for the exam? Can I get some idea, in advance, as to how my performance will be in the MAT exam?

These, and many other questions, must be at the top of your mind while you are preparing for your MAT exam.

A critical component of your preparation is taking a MOCK Test designed on the pattern of the actual exam. Not taking such a test doesn’t necessarily mean poor performance in the exam. However, if you take such a test and subsequently analyse the test with the intention of getting the best out of it, you will be significantly better prepared for the examination.

One such MOCK test is AIMMAT by T.I.M.E which has been designed and developed on the pattern of the actual MAT exam. It is not a mere collection of 200 questions from five different test areas. If you take the test in all seriousness, analyse your mistakes and learn from them, you will develop your own strategy to maximize your score.

There are some questions, as highlighted below, which you need to ask yourself while preparing for the exam. Try to seek solutions for the same while you analyze AIMMATs. This will help you gain the maximum mileage out of AIMMATs and will eventually prepare you for achieving your dream score in the exam.

1. Am I really clear on my “strengths and weaknesses” in the different test areas?

Some of you may have a natural strength in Mathematics, while some others may have an aptitude for English. But are you aware of these? It is important to know the nuances of your strengths and weaknesses. The reason is really simple. To plan and work on a winning strategy, you must know which of your strengths needs to be further honed, which of your weaknesses you can live with, and which of the weaknesses you need to work upon so that they don’t become a handicap.

Identify the questions which you might have skipped during the exam or the questions in which you committed an error for one reason or the other. Those are possibly your weak areas. Try to identify the questions which you could solve easily to get a better clarity on your strengths. The key lies in a thorough analysis of AIMMAT which will help you be more aware of your strong and weak areas.

2. Am I familiar with the test areas, topics being tested in the exam?

Taking the test one after the other without having any clarity of the test pattern or the test areas will serve no purpose. Analyzing a certain number of mock tests will help you gain familiarity with the test pattern and the kind of questions which are being covered in the exam. For example, ask yourself what are the kind of questions being covered in the area “Intelligence and Critical Reasoning” or “Mathematical Skills”. If you answer this question successfully, you have understood the importance of being aware of the topics and subtopics being covered in the exam. If, instead, you don’t come up with any answer, that implies you need to cover a lot of ground.

3. Am I practising the “right” type of questions while preparing for the exam?

MAT consists of a large number of numerical problems. There is a belief that the more number of problems one solves or goes through, the better are the chances of success in the exam. While this might be true to a certain extent, merely solving problems without adequate strengthening of fundamentals is unlikely to help you in reaching your objective. Sometimes there is a tendency to entangle oneself in unnecessarily complex problems that have very little relevance to the MAT examination. It is advisable that you study the kind of questions that have been appearing in the MAT,. Practising an adequate number of Mock Tests will help you gain insight into the level of difficulty of questions actually being asked in the MAT exam. You, then, won’t be taken by surprise during the exam!!!!!!!

4. Am I aware of the “reasons” behind the mistakes which I tend to make?

To score well in the exam, you need to get an awareness of the types of mistakes which you tend to make. Just taking a certain set of Mock tests will not be adequate to gain an understanding of the same. Instead, you need to consciously seek out those reasons. Once you are familiar with your mistakes, you can take adequate steps not to repeat them.

The mistakes can occur because of haste, carelessness, application of wrong formulae, missing out on some critical data, making unwarranted assumptions, misinterpretation of data etc. Leaving out an easier question and opting for a more difficult question is also a mistake. Try to be more aware of these things too.

5. Am I up-to-date with my basics?

Your score in a Mock Test, to some extent, is a reflection of your understanding of the fundamentals. Remember that, over the past few years, MAT has been placing increasingly more emphasis on shortcuts, speed, knowledge of diverse topics and selection of questions. Thus, the sheer ability to tackle a question and solve it might not suffice.

6. Am I clear on what exactly I need to do after having taken the AIMMATs?

There may be a tendency to immediately check the keys and solutions provided (after the AIMMATs are over) and calculate the marks. But is this the right strategy? With this approach, are you missing out on invaluable learning which you might have derived following a different approach?

After each AIMMAT, you need to spend some time analyzing each test area of the paper. Try to first work out each and every question in as many different ways as you can think of and only then look up the solutions for the same. It is in this phase of your preparation that you can expect to significantly improve your understanding of the basics and more importantly, your ability to apply them in an exam scenario.

7. Am I getting my doubts in the AIMMAT paper clarified?

Identifying the doubts in the paper is a reflection of your sincere efforts towards analyzing the paper. But leaving them unattended is fraught with danger. Those doubts can hamper your chances in the subsequent tests if similar questions are to appear in them.

From that perspective, it is important that you approach your respective faculty member to get your doubts clarified and gain useful and important inputs. Also, forming small groups with three to four of your friends to dissect and discuss each AIMMAT, after you have done your share of individual analysis, is another very good approach to maximize your learning.

8. Have I made a plan for improvement?

Not making any plan for improvement may instead, unwittingly reinforce your weaknesses and might even increase your level of errors. Therefore, please make a conscious plan for improvement on an everyday basis.

Before each mock test, make a short plan of improvement – to be implemented over the remaining AIMMATs and also the rest of your preparation and overall approach – on the basis of all the analysis that you would have put in for the previous AIMMAT. This plan should be a dynamic one, subject to modifications and improvements.

9. Am I taking due care that the peer group pressure doesn’t get onto me?

One thing which cannot be denied is the competition. It is universal and present everywhere. It is bound to intimidate you on more than one occasion over the coming few months and you better be prepared for spells of self-doubt, despair and discouragement – they are all a part and parcel of the game – which you will eventually become accustomed to and, hopefully, use them as stepping stones to reach greater heights in your preparation and career in the long run.