CAT is surely the toughest management entrance examination in the country. Many candidates aspire to crack this exam, but unfortunately, not everyone gets the score one desires.
The Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section of CAT is trouble for many. This is because unlike Quantitative Aptitude it does not limit to any formulae or straight forward approach. Also, there is no way to verify your answers like one can do in LRDI.
But despite all such complexities in the VARC section of CAT, Kumar Parijat from Pune scored a perfect 100 percentile in CAT 2016, with a scintillating score of 98 out 102. So, to help you crack the Verbal Section of CAT, we bring you some tips and tricks suggested by Kumar that one can follow to crack this section –
Be a regular reader
Kumar suggests that right from the start of his/her CAT preparation, an aspirant should become a regular reader. Doesn’t matter if you were a reader already or not, but make sure that you daily devote some part of your day to reading.
It is completely your choice inselecting what you want to read- it can be any newspaper, magazine, novel, or whatever you like. Also, he mentions that one should avoid reading anything from social networks or other casual sources, as many times grammar goes for a toss on networking sites.
He himself read ‘The Hindu’ daily along with articles of ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
Read from diverse sources
When you have developed the habit of reading, start reading from diverse sources on a variety of topics. Since CAT can have passages on Economy, Psychology, Philosophy, Art and many other topics, one needs to make sure that he/she has reasonable familiarity with reading all kinds of stuff.
Kumar used ‘aldaily.com’ to read a variety of articles. He says that reading a variety of topics acquaint you with the basic vocabulary and concepts that occur in those topics and help you in your CAT preparation.
Books and Materials that one should use
Kumar says that it is not required to go collecting practice material from a variety of coaching institutes. He says that if one is attending coaching, then the material provided by the institute is sufficient.
However, if you find it important to practice more, you may refer to the books by Arun Sharma and similar writers. He himself used practice material given by IMS, the IMS CAT 500 book and high-level questions from Arun Sharma’s book.
Practice a lot
Kumar says that without an adequate amount of practice you can never crack CAT. He suggests that one should practice RCs and other kinds of questions like Para jumbles, Odd Sentence Out, Paragraph summary and others.
Along with practice, Kumar suggests that one must be consistent. He says that CAT tests your consistency more than your knowledge, so one must practice a lot and that too regularly.
Give proper time to your CAT preparation
Kumar was working while preparing for CAT 2016 and he suggests that despite all the difficulties and hurdles, the candidate must fix a minimum duration that he/she is going to devote to CAT preparation each day.
He suggests that at least 3 hours on weekdays and 6 hours on weekends must be devoted to CAT preparation, with a balanced division among all 3 sections. Non-working candidates do have the advantage of having more time so they should devote their time accordingly.
He also says that one might need more time than suggested according to his/her capability, but the point is to fix a particular amount of time to be devoted.
Take mocks and analyze them well
Kumar emphasizes the importance of practicing with an adequate amount of mocks to ace CAT. Also, one should take more proctored mocks as they stimulate actual CAT conditions better than those taken at home.
Kumar says that analyzing a mock is very important. He quotes,” A mock given and not analyzed is basically three hours wasted.” He said that one should read all the explanations and should try to match with the thinking process of the author. 30 mocks before CAT is a good number, but one can take more according to his/her needs.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Kumar says that with proper analysis of mocks and ample amount of practice, one should be able to identify his/her weaknesses and strengths. Ideally, one should identify his/her highs and lows by July and start working on them.
As the candidate still has a lot of time, weaknesses can be turned into strengths and a stronger grip can be made on strengths.
Develop your strategy
Kumar suggests that having a proper strategy is very important as the candidate cannot just go and attempt questions randomly. You must have your way of tackling the questions and using those 3 hours wisely.
He says one can try and analyze various kinds of strategies while appearing for mocks and when a strategy starts giving good results, stick to it and fine-tune it. A good strategy coupled with a reasonable amount of knowledge can do wonders for you.
Balance speed and accuracy
Attempting a lot of questions, but getting a lot of them incorrect will not serve the purpose. Attempting very few questions and getting them right may also not prove fruitful. To ace in CAT, you need both speed and accuracy.
In initial days, your focus must be on accuracy. But later on, you should also look to increase the number of attempts. Kumar says reading speedily might help you in attempting more questions. However, this speed should not be attained at the cost of accuracy.
Do not overburden yourself
It is true that CAT needs a lot of practice, but Kumar suggests that one should balance study and play time. It is very necessary to get an adequate amount of sleep, probably 7 hours everyday as it is very important to have a relaxed brain and body.
He said that one can also opt for any sport or any other hobby. Activities like going for a stroll, listening to music or watching a TV series can relax your brain and thus increase your productivity. So do make sure that you give proper relaxation to your mind as well.
Do not pre-decide your target score
Kumar says that CAT is a percentile game, which means that your target is not to score a particular raw score; rather the target is to do better than other candidates. He said that he himself did not target a 100percentile in VARC; he just went into the exam and made sure that he performs his best.
He says that putting a prejudiced score in mind adds unnecessary pressure to your mind and can lead to panic. Also, the level of difficulty can vary from year to year in CAT, so targeting a particular score might not be a good idea.
And lastly, one size does not fit all
Kumar says that these tips worked for him, but it is never sure that these will work for everyone. He says that it is you who has to go and attempt the exam and not anybody else, so it is important that one develops his/her own strategy.
Everyone has his/her own strengths and weaknesses, way of solving questions and way of approaching the exam. Therefore, understanding yourself and making a strategy in accordance with your methods is better than anything else.
Verbal Ability is something that cannot be improved in a single day. One needs to be consistent and needs to stick to practice and analysis to crack this exam. If you enjoy your preparation, you will get good scores. Good Luck!