RC Preparation for CAT 2019: With a growing emphasis on communication, soft skills, language skills and the importance of Verbal Ability in today’s world has increased all the more. It forms a significant part of entrance examinations across disciplines and professions. It might appear that sailing through the Verbal Ability section would be easy since it comprises of questions which we encounter in some form or the other from our school days. While this may hold true for the exceptional cases, a majority of us need to continuously work on our language skills and when it’s for an exam, the stakes are raised.
The verbal section in CAT not only tests the grammar and language skills of the candidate but also the critical thinking skills. 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 section is a critical area that you cannot afford to neglect. Here are some tips on RC Preparation for CAT 2019 to score better.
RC Preparation for CAT 2019: Tips for solving RC questions
For vocab questions, think like a thesaurus: One of the basic requirements to ace the CAT Verbal Ability Section is to build your vocabulary. Approximately 15% of the RC questions will ask you about a specific word from a paragraph. Keep in mind that you are not expected to know the definition of this word, and most of the time the standard dictionary definition will be listed among the answer choices and will be incorrect. Look back to the passage and ask yourself, how is this word being used in context? Try to come up with your own word that is similar in meaning and could replace the word in the sentence. Use this prediction to eliminate answer choices.
Focus on the first and final paragraphs to find the main idea: The author usually uses the first paragraph to introduce his topic and start a discussion of the main idea. The final paragraph wraps up the discussion of the body paragraphs and reinforces the main idea. If you are having trouble finding what the overall purpose or point is for the passage, go back to these two bookending paragraphs. Look for thesis statements or concluding summations. The majority of the passages you will encounter on the reading comprehension questions will be shorter, but one or two will be longer. If you are running out of time, read the opening and closing paragraphs and skim the middle. You can go back and read body paragraphs more carefully as questions call for it.
Use context to help you: If a question asks about a particular line, don’t go back into the passage and read just that line. A good rule of thumb is to read at least 2 sentences before and after the line in question. This will give you an idea of where the point started and where the author is going with it.
Save unfamiliar passages for last: The passages will cover a variety of subjects, from history to science to literature. Do the questions that are easier first and save the harder ones for last. Each question is worth the same amount, so you don’t want to waste a big chunk of time on a passage with a few questions when you could answer twice as many questions on easier passages. If science passages are confusing to you, come back to that one after you’ve completed the rest.
For “Select one or more answer choices” questions, consider each choice separately: For some of the reading comprehension questions, you will have to choose one, two, or three of the answers. This format can lead you to second-guess yourself more than with a typical multiple-choice question where you can eliminate choices decisively. To avoid these issues, consider each choice separately and only select it if you feel that it could be the only correct answer to the question.
Underline and take notes as you read: Read the passage actively. Underline key words or sentences that contain the main idea. Jot down any notes, probably just a word or two, that you think might help you. If the author is taking a side on a certain issue, write a positive or negative sign next to the passage to remind yourself later what his or her position is.
Avoid extreme answers: Generally, if an answer choice sounds very extreme in tone, it’s not the best choice. Be wary of answers that use words like never, always, completely, etc. There’s usually an exception to the rule.
Don’t make assumptions: Inferring and assuming are not the same things. When you infer, you make an inference based on the information in the passage. When you assume, you make an assumption that brings in outside information or biases and is not based solely on the given passage. An assumption may seem valid, but if you can’t back it up with statements from the passage, it’s probably best to stay away from it.
Keep it simple and stay calm. Follow the thumb rule and formulate your D-day strategy. The key to scoring more is owning your mistakes and improving. You cannot expect to score more if you do not rectify your mistakes. I hope these tips will help you in your RC preparation for CAT 2019. All the best!