Essential CAT Reading Tips that help you improve as a Reader

There are numerous questions related to reading that commonly impact students. In fact, students prepare for CAT want to know the essential CAT Reading Tips that can help refine their reading skills. They keep thinking about these questions and often are not able to find effective solutions to their reading-related problems. Which are these questions that students think about?

  • Can I become a better reader?
  • Can I somehow improve my reading skills in a short period of time?
  • I am not fluent in English. How do I improve my reading skills in time for CAT?
  • Is reading not too boring an activity?

The above questions revolve around one single question: how can one improve as a reader?

CAT Reading Tips: Eight tenets to help improve your reading skills

To achieve this goal, there are a set of universal rules and guidelines that you can follow. In fact, you can treat these as the eight tenets of reading. Let’s get started with these CAT Reading Tips:

Tenet-1: Why do you want to read? Know your reason.

The most important aspect of reading is to discover your reason for reading. You need to have a purpose for reading and once you have this purpose, you will realise that you do not lose the motivation to read.

How do you discover this purpose? The answer is simple: try to see which is the most important thing that you wish to learn. Once you have identified what you wish to learn, you pick up books and reading material that helps you do so. You can pick on things like:

  • Communication skills
  • English grammar or writing skills
  • Motivational texts or self-help
  • Diet or health related

Literally, the reason can be anything under the sun. All you need to do is discover it by probing your desire to learn.

Tenet-2: Does the place of reading matter? It absolutely does.

The key thing with respect to reading is that you should enjoy. And to enjoy reading, you need to make sure you read in an environment that makes you happy. You can pick a coffee house or public library or the safe confines of room to read. But whichever location you select, make sure it makes you happy. I personally love coffee shops as my destination to read; the background noise of cafes has a soothing effect on me.

Tenet-3: How important is the selection of reading material? It is critical you select the best.

Crappy books and reading material can only have a crappy impact on you. You need to make sure you avoid poor reading material and select only the best when it comes to reading. You might be challenged at first when you read challenging/quality material but remember, this challenge you face is only forcing you to improve as a reader.

Tenet-4: Do I need to understand every word I read? No, you do not.

While reading, you should not place yourself under any undue pressure. One of the things we often do to ourselves is that we force ourselves to think that we need to understand everything we read. Well, there is no need to do so. You need to make sure you understand the main ideas and points of the author. Once you grasp those, you have more or less achieved what you wanted to. Remember, it is impossible to understand every line an author writes and you should not assume you are not good at reading simply because you cannot follow everything that has been written.

Tenet-5: Do I need to do some research before I start reading? Yes, you should.

For different types of reading material, you need to do different types of things. Let’s take these up one at a time:

  1. For magazines, go through the index and pick the articles/authors that interest you. It is better to pick the best out of the magazine than just going through everything.
  2. For books, make sure you explore a little about the author and the things he writes about. Try to ask yourself whether the general style and themes of his works interests you or not; if the answer is no, you should not take up the works of such an author.

Tenet-6: Should I read one thing at a time with complete focus or multiple things at the same time? Both approaches work but the second one helps in avoiding boredom.

Generally, having a bouquet of reading material available to oneself helps prevent boredom and makes sure one can jump to another topic at any given time. I personally follow this approach and generally have books from 3 to 4 genres waiting to be read. As another tip for reading, what you can do is have a preference order for this reading material and try to finish these books/magazines/reading materials with this order at the back of your mind. Remember, there is no hard or fast rule; these are just some inputs that you can use to improve your reading skills.

Tenet-7: Can I read without focus or just for the sake of reading on occasions? Absolutely NO.

There are times when we feel lazy and think that we can read just for the sake of reading. We might think we are putting in the hours and covering the pages we want to cover. This approach does not work at all. You should only read when you can read with complete focus. No point in reading with a half-hearted approach; it does not help you in any way whatsoever.

Tenet-8: The final tenet for you: reading more helps you read more!

There is a tiny bit of circular reasoning involved about but the above statement is pretty true: the more you read, the better you become; the better you become, the more you read! This is the simple truth of reading that you need to make a part of your life.

The above form some of the key CAT Reading Tips that you can use to improve as a reading. Remember, these CAT Reading Tips will only benefit you if you apply these with diligence and you make sure you are regular with your reading practice.