CAT Verbal Ability: Tips to keep in mind for the next few months

We are left with approximately 4 to 5 months for CAT (assuming the dates remain similar to last year).  The one question I am increasingly being asked is ‘What should be done for CAT English/Verbal Ability’?

A few common concerns that students have:

1. There is not enough time for reading books (which is true, and thus a way needs to be found around this issue).
2. Reading Comprehensions are a pain and where should be practice them from, and more importantly how many of these should be practiced?
3. What should be done about Grammar and Vocabulary?

I will answer each of these questions, and hope it helps you resolve your conundrum.

Answer 1: What to do with your reading?
I agree 100% that the time to read books per say is going to be limited from now on. Those with exceptional ability to concentrate and balance their schedules would figure out how they read books, but for the rest, it is a challenge. My simple advice: start reading blogs topic-wise. By topic-wise I mean read sociology, psychology, art, history, politics, economics, philosophy, anthropology etc. blogs. Target one topic at a time, read a few articles and then move on to the next one.

My personal story: I gave CAT for the first time in 2006, and I started my preparation in June (my exam was on the third Sunday of November). During this these four months, I did one simple thing for my Verbal prep: I covered 3 magazines a week, one book a week, The Hindu daily, and Economic Times on alternate days (editorials only). This placed a huge demand on my time, but I used simple hacks such as reading during my college lectures to find out time. You can do the same if you want to. Trust me, if you read a similar amount, you should do pretty well in the exam.

Answer 2: How many RCs to solve and from where?
Well, short answer: as many as possible, this is 50% of the exam. Do your best. Try for at least 2 to 3 RCs a day.

From where you practice these passages?

First preference should be given to MOCK Reading Comprehensions. Most of the leading Test prep companies have good passages in their Mocks and you should solve these first.
Then you should solve all previous year CAT RCs for sure. You can download these papers or buy the book, any which way suits you.
Thirdly, if you are done with the above two, you can download the file ‘1000RCs’ (a quick Google search should do the job). This file features some great questions and you can search for the solutions online.

Answer 3: What should be done about Grammar and Vocabulary?
In case you only plan to give CAT, then do not place a lot of emphasis on learning lots of words. For those planning to give all the exams (most of which have a lot more vocabulary questions than CAT), you are advised to learn about 15 to 20 words a day. ‘Word Power Made Easy’ and the wordlist featured on this site should be more than enough for your purpose.

As far as Grammar goes, simply cover two books:
1. High School Grammar and Composition (Wren and Martin)
2. Better English by Norman Lewis

Cover these two books and you should have a fairly solid base in Grammar.

Along with these, make sure you are giving section test and Mocks every week (and analyzing them). This is how you analyze one.

This covers a basic road-map for the next four months.

In case of doubts, kindly leave a comment on this page itself. We may not be able to reply to personal e-mails.