The CAT has evolved a lot over the years. The good news was that the duration of the test was increased to 180 minutes. The not so good news – you can’t switch sections if you finished one before 60 minutes of stipulated time. That meant you still had only an hour for 34 questions in the CAT English section that can become the bane of existence for several test takers. The section contains Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension questions, which can indeed baffle most test takers. But you can also prepare for them smartly and come out on top.
What the CAT verbal section is all about?
Before we offer you smart tips to prepare for the section without wasting your precious time, let’s look at what CAT English section includes. Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension are integral parts of the section. Comprehension can be further divided into statistical, descriptive and analytical types. The section also aims to test your understanding and usage of English grammar. It comprises of questions on vocabulary, arrangement of paragraphs, sentence correction, identification of types of sentences etc.
Once you have figured out what you can expect in this section, you can start preparing for it by following these simple tips:
Improving vocabulary skills
- To begin with, invest in a good dictionary, learn new words and practice synonyms and antonyms.
- There are even super cool apps that can help you to learn a few words daily and enhance your vocabulary skills. They are gamified as well, so you can actually have some fun using these apps.
- Your vocabulary can be bolstered by a lot of reading. More on that in the reading comprehension section.
Become a Grammar Pro
While you definitely don’t need to become a grammar Nazi, the following tips will help you get your grammar up to speed for the CAT vocabulary section:
- The vocabulary section in CAT will require you to understand the meaning of phrasal verbs and difficult words. Make sure you specifically practice them.
- For arrange in order section, you need to understand the meaning of the words first and make the connecting link before rearranging it.
- Use a good book like Wren and Martin and go through the basic concepts. Pay special attention to parts of speech as it will come to good use during the CAT.
Ace Reading Comprehension questions
- If you have to get better at reading comprehension, make sure that do you do the first bit diligently – reading! You can start with reading newspapers and magazines and then progress on to books from different disciplines including arts, history, philosophy and technology. Don’t get bogged down by tedious passages as you can expect them in your test too.
- Start by understanding the construction of the passage and then look for the meaning of words, sentences and context. Don’t try reading too fast to save time. Experts believe a good reading comprehension speed is around 250 words per minute.
- To answer the questions in this section, you need to understand the writer’s main idea and key purpose. You don’t have to choose the answer based only on what is agreeable to the writer’s point of view.
- You are also better off cultivating a habit of taking notes about pertinent points that you come across while reading passages. It will save you time during the test.
- Invest at least 45 minutes everyday towards active reading. Reading comprehension can really make or break your performance in this sections and ensure that you are really taking this section seriously.
In addition to these tips, make sure that you take some sectional verbal mock tests. This will help you understand your weaknesses and can help you align your preparation accordingly. These easy to follow tips can help you master the CAT English section like a pro.