From the experts
CAT 2010: Preparation Strategy for Verbal Ability
The VA section tests your grasp on English language, and your ability to understand written words in the Reading Comprehension section. In this article, we will review how you can prepare yourself for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section.
“Good grammar or contextual usage, good reading and comprehending skills, and good reasoning skills are the key to a good performance in the verbal section of the CAT entrance exam,” says Vinayak Kudva, Product Head of IMS Learning.
CAT 2010: Preparation Strategy for Verbal Ability
Preparation for Verbal Ability
“Good grammar or contextual usage, good reading and comprehending skills, and good reasoning skills are the key to a good performance in the verbal section of the CAT entrance exam,” says Vinayak Kudva, Product Head of IMS Learning, while talking about the preparation strategy for the VA section.
Though it will be a little difficult to start preparing at this stage by adopting this method, but those who have already started on their preparation, but are still weak in this section, should keep the following points in mind for CAT preparation:
Get the right material
As far as the preparation material for CAT is concerned at this stage, Kudva suggests sticking to the basic reference material on VA provided by the MBA coaching institutes. Reading/Comprehension skills can be honed by regular reading of magazines and newspapers. “Purposeful practice, through the tests provided by your MBA coaching institute, will help you to improve your verbal skills,” says Kudva.
Manish Saraf, COO of PT Education suggests buying a vocabulary book, “These usually have exercises in the end that help you reinforce your vocabulary,” says Saraf.
Saraf also suggests reading out loud. “The more you read, more and faster you will learn. Reading materials from different sources is always advisable,” he says. This will lead to the deep-processing of words intuitively. “Deep-processing implies that these words become a part of you, almost as your native language is a part of you,” says Saraf.
Improve your word power
For improving your vocabulary, Gejo Sreenivasan, Principal Consultant, Career Launcher suggests, “To improve vocabulary you should be able to understand the meaning of every new word that comes across to you. When you come across words of which you do not know the meaning, you can figure out the meaning from the context in which it is used. You can then refer the dictionary to find the exact meaning.”
In this regard, Saraf says that you should try to get the meaning of the word by analyzing the context. “Try to make some sense out of them through the context they are used in. Only the words that you come across regularly should be referred to the dictionary. Noting down the words on a paper gives great results as this aids to remember the words for longer period,” says Saraf.
Using flash cards can also help you in learning new words. Saraf explains the process, “Write target words and phrases on the cards (at the back as well as on the front). As you review the list, separate the words in two piles; those you understand and those you do not. Keep going through the yet-unlearned words until you attain a mastery of them. You can do that by learning the root of the words which will help you remember what you have learned. Keep a notebook to help you remember the words that you have learned.”
Strategies for Reading Comprehension
Before we proceed, let us answer the basic question: What is reading comprehension? “Reading comprehension (RC) is the ability to read and understand unfamiliar materials and to answer questions about them. You will be presented with passages drawn from a variety of subject areas, including humanities, the sciences, latest happenings in society etc. The questions will ask you to analyze what is stated in the passage and to identify underlying assumptions and implications,” informs Saraf.
Most of you face the question: How to answer the questions of long RC passages in a short span of time. If it is a long passage, everyone else will take time. What you need to do is to comprehend it fast, rather than reading it fast. “Your focus while reading should be NOT to READ fast but to COMPREHEND fast,” says Sreenivasan.
According to Aziz Manva, Content Head, Testfunda.com, in order to tackle long RC passages, practice is the key. “Try to get more practice in reading, particularly in reading dense materials fast. Learn to look at each question in the exam from first principles,” he says. Saraf suggests timing your reading of the passages. “When you are starting out with your RC preparation, cut out passages, which have a similar style and are more or less of equal length. Determine your reading speed on day one. Let’s say it is 150 words per minute. Read at that speed for sometime, say a week or something and after that, stretch yourself by increasing time constraints, say 150 words per 45 seconds,” explains Saraf.
Dealing with RCs for CAT 2010
Another important concern while dealing with RCs in the computer-based test is that you may find it difficult to read from the computer screen. Moreover, you cannot underline or mark points in this format of online CAT exam.
Experts suggest that if you practice reading more articles and news on your computer and take notes in your rough paper (to be provided in the online CAT exam) while reading it, you will be better equipped.
Says Kudva, “Focus on comprehending the passage and not on speed reading. You may make a note of important points as you read on the rough paper provided. This will help you answer the questions faster and minimize the time required to browse through a passage every time you answer a question.”
Kudva also expects the passages to become less verbose. Adds Kudva, “The positive side of computer-based CAT is that the length of the passages may not exceed 600 to 700 words.”
Choosing the RC passages
Among the various passages, you need to select those passages which will be easier for you to answer. Saraf suggests factors which you should keep in mind while choosing the RC passages. “The topic of the passage, whether it is to your liking or not; question patterns, whether they are direct or twisted are some of the important factors. The ratio of the length of the passages and the number of questions is another important factor. A long passage with few questions will pay little dividend in relation to the time one puts in,” says Saraf.