Five tips to ace Reading Comprehension in CAT

Past trends have revealed that a lot more emphasis is placed on Reading Comprehension while designing the Common Admission Test – an examination taken by roughly two lakh people – to make their IIM dreams come true. Ever since its increased weightage from 45 to 70 percent in 2013, cracking this section has become very essential. Reading and interpreting complex passages have come to be a vital aspect of the CAT examinations.

Here are five tips by following which CAT aspirants can excel in the Reading Comprehension section:

1. Reading: As clichéd as it sounds, this aspect is often ignored by a larger part of students who appear for CAT every year. With college or work, most MBA hopefuls forget to maintain a reading habit, and that shows adversely in their performance in the RC component. According to – a 100 percent free online MBA preparation forum, driven by collaborative learning and content driven discussions offering a holistic learning environment through regular interaction with reputed mentors and B-school students and alumni, Verbal section in general and RC in particular is very intuitive in nature. If you lack a healthy reading habit, there is a high chance for you to face problems like slow reading speed, poor comprehension etc. while dealing with passage questions. There is no silver bullet here and the best we can do is to pick up a book and start reading. Start with what you like and once you gain the momentum, read diversely. Read couple of hours every day from various genres (including boring editorials) and in a month or two you can witness a strong improvement in your reading speed and comprehension Moreover, it is advised that one should keep their reading materials diverse and versatile, irrespective of their personal taste.

2. Writing: A common mistake that most people make while preparing for VA and RC sections is that they only attempt to read while making no efforts to jot down notes. Students, end up slipping into a passive state of mind which decreases concentration and increases the risk of missing an important point made in passage. Hence, experts suggest that one should not let go of the pencil but keep making short notes as you go and you will see yourself being able to keep track of the passage more efficiently than before.

3. Summarising: The passages that come in CAT arent like the ones you’ve dealt with in secondary schools. It is loaded with information, complex, and may be talking about a subject matter you are not familiar with. That is why; it is a good idea to form summaries of what the author is trying to say in each paragraph. This way, it’ll help you beat those tricky, interpretation-based questions with the utmost ease.

4. Build your Vocabulary: Words make sentences. The questions based on those sentences are designed to push your limits. Henceforth, simply relying on your ability to extract the gist of the matter in a passage is not sufficient. If you understand most of the words used in a sentence, the greater is your accuracy of your comprehension. Moreover, in CAT, a lot of questions are asked based on the passages tonality, which is inevitably a tricky question if your knowledge of words, its usages and connotations, isnt strong enough.

5. Practice: Practice makes perfect. In CAT, practice makes you MBA-perfect. RC, like any other section in CAT, appears intimidating because of the time constraints. The more you practice, the faster will be your speed of comprehension. Zabeer Mehta, a well-reputed professional and part of the MBAtious team, suggests, You need to be familiar with the types of questions expected in RC section (Tone of passage, Key ideas) and the best place to start is the previous CAT papers. Diligently solve RC questions from past 20 CAT papers (1990 – 2008). This is also a treasure trove of Vocabulary gems. As you solve, you can see that someones Obviously Correct” can be a Definitely Wrong” for someone else. Every option, correct or incorrect, is a learning opportunity in verbal section. Along with understanding why a particular option is correct, it is important that we have clarity on why other options are incorrect

By following these five vital tips, one is sure to nail this section excellently. However, do not forget to hold on to the most essential tip of all, which helps you sail smoothly when exercising all other tips – patience.

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