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How to Prepare Verbal and Reading Comprehension for CAT 2017?

Last Updated - August 03, 2017

CAT is the only entrance exam for admission in MBA and PGDM programs in IIMs, IITs and IISc Bangalore in India. It is a very competitive exam. By many of the candidates, Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) is considered as the trickiest section. If prepared accordingly for the exam, you can go with 100 percentiles.

Given below are some points to contemplate before moving to “How to Prepare Verbal and Reading Comprehension for CAT 2017?”-

  • CAT question paper will be divided into 3 sections namely, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability and Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation. Check Here CAT Syllabus
  • Candidates must answer 30-34 questions in each section, the total number of questions being 100.
  • VRC was considered the trickiest section for the 2016 exam though the level of difficulty was similar to 2015.
  • Candidates who are able to solve about 15-18 questions with an accuracy of 80% will most likely clear the sectional cut off. Check Here CAT Cut Off

The syllabus for CAT is of higher secondary or 10+2 level. The level of difficulty of CAT is considered the highest amongst all national level management exams. Lakhs of students apply for this exam which increases the level of competition more.

The Verbal and Reading comprehension section will have questions based on these following topics and types of questions. Candidates will be judged on their English speaking and writing abilities in this section-

  • English Usage or Grammar
  • Vocabulary Based (Synonyms/ Antonyms)
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Sentence Correction
  • Close Passage
  • Jumbled Paragraph
  • Meaning-Usage Match
  • Analogies or Reverse Analogies
  • Summary Questions
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Facts-Inferences-Judgments
  • Clocks       
  • Reading Comprehension

Pattern of Questions for CAT Verbal and Reading Comprehension Section

Aspiring candidates can follow the sections below to get a hang of the pattern of questions that they can expect for the Verbal and Reading Comprehension section.

Reading Comprehension: This section is designed specifically to test the ability of the candidate to use and identify important words as an essential skill for all types of verbal questions especially reading comprehension passages.

  • Reading comprehension contains 70% of verbal questions and is the most important and tricky segment.
  • Vocabulary plays a very vital role in this segment.
  • Candidates will have to be well versed with all the important words to effectively solve the RC passages.
  • They can take a smart approach of identifying important parts of the passages and also to identify key words which link two paragraphs. Thus, it is very important for candidates to have a good vocabulary to excel in this segment.

Paragraph Forming (Para Jumbled Questions): Para-jumbled questions have been regularly appearing in the CAT and other MBA exams over the past few years.

  • It is one of the few areas of VA where the scope of ambiguity is less.
  • Candidates will be given random sentences and they will have to arrange these in a logical flow.
  • The most critical part of Para-jumbled questions is for candidates to form a logical paragraph from the sentences given to them.
  • It is very important to identify words which perfectly link two sentences in order to form a coherent paragraph.

Summary, Last-line, Grammar and Odd-one-out: Candidates will have to have the ability in functional usage of words, idioms and phrases to successfully answer these questions.

  • These questions will mainly be objective MCQ questions.
  • Candidates will need to brush up on their grammar skills thoroughly to answer this segment.

Tips and Tricks to Crack Verbal and Reading Comprehension

Aspiring candidates can follow these tips to manage CAT Verbal and Reading Comprehension section of the paper.

To begin with, candidates are advised to brush up on their basic grammar and work on word usage. This will help the candidates in preparing for reading comprehension questions, analogies and more that test will test their verbal ability for CAT.

The VA section can be divided into 5 main modules. The preparation tips for each module is given below:

Module 1: Correction of Different Errors

  1. Out of the 34 questions asked in the VA section, around 20 questions will be based on this type. These will test the grammar skills of the candidate.
  2. Topics like use of Articles, Nouns, Personal & Relative pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, subject verb agreement, active-passive, Reported speech, modifiers, use of conditions, using parts of sentences, tenses and confusing words can be expected and candidates should prepare these well.
  3. Ample practice exercises and solving questions based on these will help the candidate succeed in these types of questions.
  4. Analysing the errors made while practicing will give the candidates an idea of what not to do in this section.

Module 2: Jumbled paragraphs

  1. Candidates can expect 2 to 3 questions on random jumbled sentences and another 2 to 3 questions on ‘Out of context’ sentences to be picked out from a paragraph of jumbled sentences. The total weightage can be expected to be around 10 to 15% in Verbal Ability section.
  2. For Para Jumbled sentences, candidates will have to understand the connectors and pronouns used in these sentences to effectively solve these questions. At some places, parts of speech can be mixed up. A noun might be used in place of a pronoun. Candidates will have to find this out, especially if it begins the sentence with. The key here would be to identify that and rearrange the sentences accordingly.

Module 3: Para summary 

  1. Candidates can expect 3 to 4 questions contributing 8 to 10% weightage to Verbal Ability from these type of questions.
  2. Question will be based on a small text. Candidates will have to to go through the text, form the summary of the text and pick out the most appropriate option that best describes the summary of the text from the options given to them.
  3. Candidates will have to develop a good reading habit to crack these questions. They are advised to read the editorials and other literary articles regularly to make answering these questions much easier.

Module 4: RC passages

  1. Questions on Reading Comprehension passages have the maximum weightage - 66% - in the Verbal Ability section. Candidates can find up to 4 Reading Comprehension passages followed by 6 questions on each of those passages in the VA section of the CAT paper.
  2. Candidates can expect to find questions on statements made in the passage, true false, assumptions and other critical reasoning type questions based on the Reading Comprehension passages given in the paper. The passages can be expected to be around 700 to 800 words.
  3. The best way to prepare for these questions is to attempt mock tests and specimen papers on RC.
  4. Speedy and accurate reading exercises will also help the candidates in preparing for this section.
  5. Candidates can read editorials, newspaper and magazine articles on a regular basis to crack these questions more effectively.

Module 5: Critical Reasoning

  1. Candidates can expect around 3 to 4 questions with a total weightage of 10 to 12% based on Critical Reasoning.
  2. Candidates will have to differentiate and select the right answer option based on whether the statement is a fact or an inference or a judgement based on their analytical thinking.
  3. The only way to prepare for this is again to solve lots of sample questions and papers. This will help the candidate to speed up the analytical thinking process to answer the questions.
  4. Candidates can solve an array of different type of critical reasoning questions to succeed.

Important Topics for CAT 2017

CAT Verbal Ability is one area in the paper that has seen the maximum change in topics and structure over the last few years. Going by the previous years’ questions, candidates can stress on the following during their preparation for CAT to successfully crack the Verbal and Reading Comprehension section of the paper.

  • Reading Comprehension: Out of the 34 questions in the Verbal and Reasoning comprehension section, 24 questions were from this area in 2016.
  • Paragraph Summary: This is another area from which a lot of questions have been asked and has gained increasing weightage in the last few years.
  • Para-jumbles & Misfit Sentences: These two topics have become a regular in the exam over the last few of years. Candidates can expect questions from this segment this year as well.

The important topics that have appeared in the last few years are:

  • Critical Reasoning
  • Paragraph Completion
  • Grammar & Usage (including questions based on common Grammar errors, Confusing Words, & Phrasal Verbs)
  • Vocabulary based questions (mainly Fill in the blanks).
  • Vocabulary Topics: Synonym-Antonym based questions, Cloze Passage, Analogies or Reverse Analogies, Meaning-Usage Match, Idioms and Phrases, Secondary Shades of Meaning, Usage, Associated words, Antonyms, etc.
  • Verbal Reasoning: Fact-Inference-Judgement
  • Grammar: Sentence Correction

Grammar-based questions test the candidate's capability to mark and correct grammatical errors. CAT generally tests knowledge of high school level grammar and includes areas like use of articles, prepositions, use of modifiers, subject-verb agreement, parallel construction, phrasal verbs, redundancy etc.


CAT Preparation Books

Candidates can follow the books mentioned below to make their CAT preparation even better. These books are specific to the Verbal and Reading comprehension section and candidates can find questions and preparation tips related to this section in here.

Books for CATAuthor Name/PublisherISBN Number
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CATArun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay/Arihant9352602269
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market PaperbackWilfred Funk & Norman Lewis/ Simon & Schuster067174349X
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CATSharma and Upadhyay9339222695
PSC for VA for CATNishit Sinha9332570027

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