Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019: Reading Comprehension has always been an important section of CAT Exam. It is one of the key areas of CAT Verbal Ability preparation. Reading Comprehension also called as RCs can be a bit challenging for aspirants in terms of commitments and efforts.

The Reading Comprehension section from Verbal Ability holds around 70% weightage (VARC). Out of the total 100 questions divided in 3 sections in the CAT exam, VARC consists of 34 questions and out of them 24 questions in CAT are RC based questions. This proves that RC is a critical section for CAT which aspirants cannot afford to neglect.

Considering all these factors, we can say that Reading Comprehension is a scoring area in CAT Exam. So it is very important that aspiring candidates master Reading Comprehension. But what should be the right approach to master Reading Comprehension for CAT? Cracking Reading Comprehension depends on the following factors.

  • Accuracy and Analysis of the questions efficiently
  • Comprehension and Retention
  • Speed of Reading

Reading Comprehension can be a tough section for aspirants not only because of the difficulty level of the questions but also because of the length of the paragraph and the time allotted to read and solve it. RC can be tough but it can be improved and mastered by aspirants with some smart work. Here, we are providing some tips on how to master Reading Comprehension for CAT.

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Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019

CAT 2019 VARC Section
Reading Comprehension Composition
Section Name
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Total VARC Questions
Number of Reading Comprehension Passages for CAT
Type of RC Passages for CAT
3 Long RC Passages; 2 Short RC Passage
Total questions Based on Reading Comprehension passages for CAT
Bifurcation of RC Based Questions
6 Questions follow each Long RC passage (Total 18 questions);
3 questions follow each short RC passage (Total 6 questions)
Type of Questions Based on RC Passages in CAT
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Time to attempt the complete section
60 Minutes
Marks for Each Correct Answer
Negative Marks for Each Wrong Answer
Difficulty Level of Verbal Ability Questions
Moderate to High
Number of Reading Comprehension questions with No-Negative Marking

Changes in the CAT 2019 Reading Comprehension section

  • Earlier, there existed around 16 questions out of 50 based on 3-4 Reading comprehension passages for CAT prior to year 2015. However, of lately, the number of RC Passages have gone up to 5 and the RC questions have gone up to 24 questions out of 34 questions.
  • All RC Passages are followed by MCQ type questions with negative marking. This, notably, is one point of difference between Verbal Ability questions and Reading comprehension questions. While almost all the Verbal Ability questions are of no negative marking type, the Reading Comprehension questions in CAT are of MCQs type carrying 1/3 negative marking.
  • The length of the long RC Passages in the CAT has been reduced from 1200 words to 800-900 words, and of the short RC passages to 500 words. However, the number of questions following the long RC Passages have increased.
  • The RC Passages in CAT have difficult vocabulary words, which need consistent preparation. There are 4-5 questions from Vocabulary following the RC Passages, which ask you to identify the meaning of the word used in the RC Passage.
  • A few questions following the RC passages in CAT are of Reasoning type like Assumption, True/False statement, Inference among others. Notably, such questions did not appear in the CAT Exam prior to 2015.

Mission CAT 2019: How to master Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019?

Reading Comprehension for CAT 2019

Make a habit of reading

Reading Comprehension can be very difficult for candidates because of the time it takes to read the full passage. Not only they have to read the whole passage but also remember all the points so that they can answer the questions later. One of the most important and easiest things that aspirants can do to retain what they have read and increase their reading speed is, making a habit of reading a lot. Candidates can read different books, magazines that interest them and should read the newspaper and editorials on a daily basis.

Tip: After reading the passage, make a summary of it, which should ideally be one-third of the passage size. Check that all the key points are covered in the summary of RC passage.

Improve Vocabulary

Vocabulary means knowledge of words. Candidates who do not have a good vocabulary will have to stop at every new word while solving Reading Comprehension. To improve vocabulary aspirants should start reading anything that will keep them immersed in English like newspapers, comics, stories, etc.  They should keep a book to note down the new words that they are learning in the process. This can help aspirants to improve their vocabulary easily.

Time Management

Competitive exams like CAT not only test a candidate’s knowledge but also their skill of time management. Time management is one of the main components for preparing for any exam. Candidates should be totally aware of the CAT 2019 Syllabus and CAT 2019 Exam Pattern before starting preparing for the exam and they should divide their time according to their strength and weakness. Practising many reading comprehension problems with the help of a timer can be a good strategy to improve time management skills.

Candidates preparing for CAT should keep these points in mind while practising the Reading Comprehension exercise. Solving previous year’s CAT 2019 Question Paper can also help candidates to improve their skills to solve Reading Comprehension.

Tip: Monitor your time to attempt the CAT RC passages. One RC passage followed by 5-6 questions should not take more than 15 minutes to answer. 

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