Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Rajan started preparing for CAT right from his second year of B-Tech. By the time he reached his final year, he found that an early start had given him a definite edge over others who had started their preparation in the third year or the final year. He was confident that he would get through.
The D-day came and he attempted very well as he usually did. When the result card declared that he had scored 85 percentile, he found it hard to digest. Where did Rajan go wrong? Why couldn’t he get through to the IIMs even though he was intelligent and had worked hard towards his goal?
Many scholars share Rajan’s problem. They fail to understand that competition is not about ‘how smart you are’ but about ‘how smarter than the others’. What Rajan’s preparation lacked was benchmarking against others, including the best, and continuous, monitored improvement. Rajan knew the areas he was good at, but he didn’t know how much input he needed to put in and where. He thought he was best among his immediate peers, but he failed to reckon with the best across the nation.
You surely don’t want to be another Rajan. Do you? So, read on.
What is Benchmarking?
Benchmarking in test prep refers to monitoring your competitors and understanding your relative position among the test takers. This helps you in understanding your current level of preparation and additional effort required to improve your competitive positioning. Benchmarking should always be followed by remedial action and identification of improvement areas for arriving at action points.
Benchmarking can be broadly classified into three categories
-benchmarking with self
This is particularly helpful in qualifying exams and for improvement in a particular subject area. Here the focus is not on competition but on self-improvement. The aim is to continually identify and remove weak areas to reach the desired level of proficiency. After reviewing every test, you analyze in detail, the sub skills where your score is low. You work on these sub-skills and take subsequent tests to see how your score has improved. You may also take a test specifically of the sub skills where you scored low. Therefore, the improvement happens in progressive iterations until a desired level of scoring is achieved.

-benchmarking in a group
Here a student identifies a small group against which he would like to benchmark himself. Usually this group would be of a similar profile as the candidate himself. The candidate first excels in this group and chooses progressively larger groups subsequently.

-benchmarking nationally
Students who are appearing in National competitive exams like CAT, IIT JEE, PMT, GATE, UPSC etc, adopt national benchmarking. Here a test taker compares himself with his peers throughout the nation and then focuses strategically on maximizing his overall score by working on his weaknesses and reinforcing his strengths.

How is Benchmarking done?
paper pencil based mock test
This can be a very good tool to assess one’s competitive positioning in the nation after completion of one’s preparation. The nature of the assessment being summative, this is kind of a final judgment on one’s preparation rather than a tool of improvement.
However, is the preparation for any competitive exam ever complete?
The reported aggregate score and a percentile rank leave little scope for any analyses of topics for areas of improvement. Also, since the student base is from the test conducting institute only, the data is not true representative and any inference drawn is biased.
online mock test
Online mock tests present a more detailed analysis of test performance. The student can easily see the areas where he needs to improve. However, these tests stop at that, and seldom provide the user with the tools for improvement. Since a user would require tests in many different formats for further improvement, these tests are a one time affair and leave the user high and dry, gasping for improvement.
Besides, the scores and analyses are reliable and statistically valid only if these tests enjoy the patronage of a significant number of students.
analytics way: the right way
There are very few analytic engines worth their salt in the online space. TCYonline.com is the leader. TCY Analytics* gives the user a number of interesting advantages:
- Flexibility to use any type of benchmarking refereed to earlier
- A large student base of approx 1 million (& counting) gives considerable statistical advantage
- 23 million TCY Analytics* (question attempts) & counting
- Automatically suggests improvement areas and action points
- Generates tests to specifically improve identified weak areas
- Picks suggested video tutorials based on your test performance
- Gathers information around each question through student and author discussions
*TCY Analytics: Question attempts where each question has data of each candidate who attempted it, around parameters like time taken on question, gender, age, city, stream ( B.Com, B.Tech, BBA etc)
This data gives students:
A. Comparative benchmarking like:

National benchmarking: National ranking & percentiles for each test
Comparison with top ten : Your performance with national toppers
Comparison with Friends/Groups/Classmates: Your performance with your chosen friends
Customized Comparison: City-wise, state-wise, stream-wise comparison reports
B. Recommendations like:
Your weak areas and recommended tests to overcome these weak areas
C . Self Assessment:
Overall Performance till date: Your performance trends test by test
Topic-wise Analysis till date: A cumulative topic wise analysis of your tests
View Overall Analysis : Which questions you have marked correct/wrong
Question by Question Analysis: The answer to each question and discussion with others
Topic-wise Analysis: Your sub-sub-sub skills to improve faster and your BEST & WEAK topics in the test
Difficulty-wise Analysis: How well you performed on difficult questions
Your Time Management: Know your Time Savers & Time Takers in the test, based on average time per question

What makes TCY-Analytics unique is that hundreds of authors spread all over the world upload thousands of quality tests. It is like a textbook in which each chapter is written by the best expert in that area. Each question is rated and the junk is automatically removed from the site, giving users the best content quality experience.

For our school going K-10 friends, we have a highly effective assessment test called National Benchmarking Test, for students in grades 6 to 10. TCY -NBT is a test of its kind! It is unique as it combines a comprehensive assessment test with a plan of remedial action to overcome the weaknesses it identifies, and further with a career preparedness graph to guide a student on the career options available as per his existing skill levels. What is more, the Analytics of TCY-NBT also provides detailed statistics on his competitiveness at the national, state, regional and school levels.
If you have a testing history on TCYonline, it is mapping your different competencies more and more accurately with every subsequent test. Start early; maintain regularity for us to recommend to you various career options, based on your competencies, throughout your student and working life. Remember, ever increasing portfolio of test categories on TCYonline will give you tests that help you decide career paths. Keep visiting TCYonline more and more often for more and more tests and keep growing intellectually all your life.
Test Preparation without TCY Analytics is incomplete.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome!

Kamal Wadhera along with Viji Raj

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