CAT is one of the toughest examinations of this country that helps candidates get MBA admission to majority of b-schools in India. And while preparing for this exam is not a piece of cake at all, the verbal section unlike quant section in CAT paper appears to be more confusing to students – as in, how does one prepare for something that is a bit vague – something which doesn’t require you to memorize formulae, or something that doesn’t have a rule book that would tell you how to answer various ‘types’ of reading comprehension passages.
There are no hard and fast rules, except for grammar rules that you know are barely the bare minimum required to answer this section.
So, here we have presented a few tips on how to crack this section, and get MBA admission to your dream college:
Read a lot!
One of the things that you’d have to do is, not prepare this section of CAT like you prepare your quantitative analysis section. So, while a lot of practice is needed here as well, the way you practise is more than a tad bit different.
Your reading ability is checked, first and foremost in the CAT verbal section. You have to be able to relate to the ideas that are presented in every paragraph. It is especially the case with the reading comprehension questions. Not that time doesn’t matter, but just trying to finish reading a certain passage as soon as possible, without getting a good idea of what the author wants to say.
And to be able to do that in your exam with considerable ease, you’d have to read.
Not just read from exam point of view; but, read a lot.
Unlike a really difficult mathematics problem, which you would need to probably do 4 or 5 times and you’d finally know how to solve the same and even similar problems, verbal questions can’t be tackled the same way. The reason is simple – no two passages could have enough similarities for you to tackle them both the same way. So, not having had read enough would bear badly on your exam performance.
It’s a skill, and that too an acquired one, to be able to go through a passage really quick while understanding not just the gist of it, but every little thing about it. That’s why, someone who’s not an avid reader finds it almost impossible to get it right in the first reading, and has to re-read the passage several times to choose the correct answer option. The eye for detail that you absolutely need for cracking this section can only be cultivated by an already cultivated reading habit; and not just any speed reading gimmick.
Look at the answer options carefully
The other reason to be an avid reader and be able to understand every little thing about the passage, is the kind of options you’ll be asked to choose from in the exam paper. Usually the four answer options are so close to each other in their content, that it’s fairly common for students to get confused, at least between two of those options.
And so, in order to choose the correct option, you should be sure of the three wrong ones. You must be able to check off three out of four options without a doubt, and then you you’ll be absolutely sure of the right choice.
Don’t fuss too much about grammar
The thing about the exam paper style of CAT is, that you’re not really required to write anything – no subjective questions at all. Every question will be an objective one. And amongst those multiple choice questions too, you won’t be asked questions that check your grammar.
CAT puts more emphasis on the knowledge of vocabulary, though not as much as GRE, but nevertheless a good vocabulary does do good for the applicant.
But, as much as a role grammar or vocabulary might play in getting this section right, in the end it always comes to how acquainted, comfortable, and at ease you are with the language; and that you get by reading – reading a lot!