Whether you have just begun preparing for the GMAT or have been preparing for some time now, we are sure you have taken at least one GMAT mock test provided by either your GMAT test prep company or from the plethora of tests available online. Now, you must be wondering how to evaluate or analyze your GMAT mock test performance. To help you with the key points to keep in mind while evaluating a GMAT mock test we have written this article. If you have more questions on your mind such as when to take mock tests, how many to take and at what intervals, dos and don’ts while taking a mock tests read our article on mock test strategy.
Analyzing a GMAT mock test is the most crucial step in your preparation. Taking a mock test will only be effective if you execute this step well. There are 2 steps of analysis that you must do after taking any GMAT mock test:
- Step 1 – High Level (sectional and sub-sectional level, test-taking strategies)
- Step 2 – Deep Dive (topic and question level analysis)
The purpose of doing these analyses is to then come up with an action plan to improve in the next mock test or the actual GMAT, whichever may be the case.
Let’s discuss these in detail the two steps of analyzing a GMAT mock test.
High-Level GMAT mock test analysis
Here you would analyze your GMAT mock scores for the following:
- Sentence Correction
- Critical Reasoning
- Reading Comprehension
- Problem Solving / Data Sufficiency OR
- Algebra/Geometry and Arithmetic
You must compare these scores with your target scores to determine how close or far you are from your target GMAT score and how much effort would be required in each section and sub-section.
Next, you must evaluate your pacing in the test by asking the following questions:
- Were you able to solve all the questions in time or were you rushed in the end?
- How were you paced in each section and sub-section?
- Is your timing strategy helping you maximize your score?
If your answer is no or maybe, then you must devise your personalized timing strategy using the strategies described in this article – Timing Strategies to maximize your score.
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Deep Dive GMAT mock test analysis
In this analysis, you must review the solutions to all the questions that you have solved correctly to see if your reasoning for selecting the correct answer choice was right or if you missed something. You must not only know why the correct answer choice is correct but also why the other answer options are incorrect i.e. the mistake in those options. For the questions that you got wrong, you must solve them again in an untimed manner to check if it was the pressure of having to solve in a timed manner or something else.
If you are not able to solve it correctly in an untimed manner too, then you must note this question down in your error log along with additional information regarding the topic and sub-section to which the question belonged, difficulty level, reason for making the error(concept gap, process gap, calculation error, etc), any new information that you came across in the solution.
After you make notes of your errors in a single place as mentioned above, you must look for trends if any i.e. if there is some pattern that is repeating. Do you see process gaps repeating often or one topic name or a difficulty type? Knowing this will help you prioritize the problem areas on which you should spend time on in case you have limited time. At the end of all this analysis, you should have a minimum of 3 improvement areas which you would work on before taking the next test and a plan to work on them.
Let us see some examples.
This is how your overall score in a GMAT Prep exam looks like. This student scored 610 and his Quant and Verbal scores are Q43 and V31 respectively. He must compare these to his target score to evaluate how much he needs to study in each section.
Let’s now look at the amount of time he spent on each sub-section. In Quant, he has spent more time in PS than DS. In Verbal he has spent well over 2 minutes in CR and less than a minute and a half in RC. He spent more than one and a half minute on SC questions. He must evaluate how he has fared in each of these sections. If his performance in any section is not as desired, then he must look at his takt time (explained here) and compare it with the time he spent on those questions in the GMAT. If he spent less than his takt time in the test and marked an incorrect answer that would indicate that he did not apply the application process diligently. Correcting this could help him improve his score.
Image source – GMATprep mocks
Let’s see how this student can now deep dive and note down information to see if there are trends and how to interpret this information. To show you an example we have taken the following image from a Scholaranium Quiz. In Scholaranium, this data is directly provided to the student when he takes any quiz. Let us now see all that can be interpreted from this data.
From this table, you can see that the mistakes are mainly in SC and RC with an exception of one mistake in CR question. You can also see that in RC he tends to make mistakes in the topic Functions. You can also see that the student was rushed in the last few questions and he could not spend any time in solving the last question. You can also see that while this student’s accuracy in CR is very high, he also takes a lot of time in solving CR questions. If this student has sufficient time before the actual GMAT, he must work towards bringing his takt time for CR down.
This analysis and overall review of the solutions to each of the questions will help you complete the review process and create a plan of action based on the areas of improvement. Improving like this would help you reach your target score in a structured and goal-oriented manner without getting too overwhelmed by GMAT preparation.