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CAT 2016: How to Crack Reading Comprehension?

Last Updated - August 16, 2016

With only 6 months in kitty, aspirants for CAT 2016 must now focus on preparing for the exam which is expected to be conducted in November 2016. The CAT 2016 exam pattern will have three sections and each section needs to be practiced and revised to get a good percentile.

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More often than not, students tend to ignore or spend less time in preparing for the Verbal and Reading comprehension paper. However, it is detrimental to CAT score to devote less time on the VRC paper. The fact that in CAT 2015, Verbal and Reading Comprehension was made into an entirely different section, highlights the importance of this section in the CAT exam.

In CAT 2015, there were 10 non-MCQ and 24 MCQ questions. Out of the total 34 questions in this section, there were 24 questions in the Reading Comprehension part. The paper was easy to moderate but some questions were lengthy and gave edge to students who had prepared extensively for this section.


Although CAT conducting authorities never reveal the number of questions which may be asked from a particular topic, it is safe to assume that CAT 2016 will also emphasize on the Reading Comprehension section. The biggest hurdle in preparing for Reading comprehension is that candidates often are not in the habit of reading and hence find this section lengthy and tiresome.

Here we have compiled tips to help you cultivate a reading habit and excel in the Reading Comprehension section for CAT 2016. There are certain things to keep in mind before you begin preparation for Reading Comprehension section:

  1. Reading Comprehension section not just tests a candidate’s ability to understand and decode a paragraph but also their logical ability, and language and vocabulary.
  2. This section generally comprises of paragraphs from a variety of topics like politics, science, society, business etc. So a candidate must be in the habit of reading a variety of topics and derive conclusions.
  3. The questions asked in the Reading Comprehension section is generally inferential in nature. Some questions might be straight forward, and some will be indirect.
  4. There are about 3-4 passages and each passage amounts to 3-4 questions. So a candidate needs to have a good reading and comprehending speed to finish the section in the designated one hour.

By devoting adequate time to prepare for Reading Comprehension, a candidate can ensure high accuracy and will be able to select correct answer for questions asked in less time. Below are some tips to help you ace Reading Comprehension section in CAT 2016.


Read Newspapers, Magazines and Books

If you are not in the habit of reading, begin your tryst with newspapers and magazines. Pick up magazines on the topics of your interest. You can also download news apps and stay updated on the current affairs, while also inculcating a habit of reading. The exercise of reading Newspapers and magazines will eventually help you in Group Discussion/Written Ability Test round during Selection Procedure.

Make a routine and devote at least 20 minutes to reading

Creating a strategy and sticking to your routine is important not just for Reading Comprehension, but for an overall good performance in CAT 2016. You should devote at least 20 minutes every day to reading. Read at your comfort and whenever you have 20 minutes to spare at a stretch. You can read while travelling or during your evening tea. It all depends when you can find time to read.


Improve Vocabulary

While reading, keep tab of difficult words or new words and note them down along with their meanings. These will help you improve your vocabulary and by the end of six months you will have learned a minimum of 1000 new words.

Targeted Study

During your preparation for the Reading Comprehension section, you must prepare a strategy so that by the end of 6 months you must be able to read and answer questions in the RC section in 14 minutes. A passage should not take more than 14-16 minutes to read and answer questions related to it.

Practice Paper and Mock Tests

Practice papers and Mock tests should comprise an important part of your preparation plan. These will help you keep a track of your progress in RC part as well as your overall performance.

Download Practice Papers for CAT 2016

List of Books and Magazines for Reading Comprehension

Below is the list of books and magazines which can help you in your preparation for Reading Comprehension section:

  1. Business Line by The Hindu
  2. Business Today by India Today Group
  3. Business & Management Chronicle by Chronicle Publications
  4. Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen
  5. India Unbound by Gurucharan Das
  6. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor
  7. India after Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha
  8. The Hindu
  9. Economic Times
  10. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  11. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  12. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
  13. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  14. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
  15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  16. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  17. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
  18. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  19. The Road Ahead by Bill Gates
  20. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking



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