Before I begin with advice in this piece, I strongly advise you to go through the article that outlines the general approach that needs to be adopted for the Verbal Section:
How to start your preparation for the CAT Verbal Ability section?
This article, as the title suggests, is an in-depth exploration for developing your reading comprehension skills. How do you work on your RC skills? How do you improve them? What exactly needs to be done for Reading Comprehensions?
How important are Reading Comprehensions for CAT?
Well, the first thing that you need to know is the importance of Reading Comprehensions (RCs). RCs constitute almost 50% of the CAT verbal section and in fact, the percentage remains the same for most entrance exams. This only means one thing for us: this is a super-critical area that you simply cannot afford to neglect.
What kinds of passages are featured in CAT Reading Comprehensions?
CAT and most other competitive exams source passages from multiple kinds of sources for the exam. These include areas such as: sociology, philosophy, psychology, history, art, science, technology, economics, business etc. After reading this, you must be thinking whether any topic is left? The gamut of areas that appear in CAT is truly, and it is for this reason that Wordpandit (as one of its core philosophy) and a preparation specialist) promotes reading so strongly.
What should you be reading for CAT Reading Comprehensions?
As far as reading is concerned, the first thing that needs to be done is that you should begin reading. How to start and which are the books you should begin with? I have answered these questions in the first post. Read here.
Now assuming that you have started to read regularly, and developed some kind of habit for the same, what should you be doing next? One simple recommendation: start reading subject-wise.
What is subject-wise reading?
Let me take a simple exam to explain the concept. Our subject under consideration: philosophy. How do you explore philosophy? Three books that teach you all about the subject:
a. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder- Fiction
b. The story of philosophy by Will Durant –Non-fiction
c. The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell–Non-ficition (a CAT passage has been based on the introduction of philosophy given in this book and this one is massive, so even if you read half of this, it would be great)
I recommend you read Sophie’s World and one out of the other two books.
What happens when you explore a subject in-depth? It prepares to any challenging passage from that area (obviously) and more importantly, it gives you working knowledge of the terminology and famous personalities/theories to have dominated the subject. Armed with such working knowledge, it helps you easily navigate through abstract topics in the exam. In fact, being familiar with terms makes it a lot easier to read RCs.
Along with books, explore online articles and sections as well. For example, for philosophy, you can refer to blogs or philosophy articles on New York Times/Guardian.
Four subjects that you should cover for sure are: Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy and Economics.
Should you start practicing RCs?
As far as practice for RCs goes, you should build up your practice slowly and steadily. As of now, you would do well to solve one RC a day. Carry out this exercise for 5 days at least every week, and this way, you should be able to cover 5 passages a week.
As time goes on, you are advised to increase your practice to 10 passages a week, and three months before the exam, you should be practicing at least 3 RCs a day. Remember, you need to build your stamina as far as RCs are concerned.
Any tricks for RC questions?
For now, the advice is simple: Practice RCs and get in the habit of solving them. Tips and tricks to follow in the concept section and other ‘how-to’ blogs.
Also, go through the ‘RC-basics’ section on this website.