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The 5 most common mistakes students make in CAT reading comprehension


CAT Reading Comprehension presents a challenge even to those students who often think that they are quite good with RCs. In this article, I have summed up some of my observations concerning the approach and attitude of students towards this elusive section. The points are about the common and frequently –made mistakes in VARC, including some of the myths and the delusions that students have about this section.

Disliking Reading Comprehensions

Students, particularly the ones who are good with quant and LRDI, have a dislike for RC. When you dislike a particular thing, you unconsciously start avoiding it, and, as a result, it takes a back seat. If that thing is a weakness, then it remains unaddressed, and finally, you reach a point where your weakness becomes your Achilles heel.

If you a dislike for a particular topic, then even the best of the teachers and mentors will not be able to help you out.

Not paying attention to grammar

Here you must thank your teachers who keep on telling you that because CAT does not test grammar, there is no need for you to study grammar. In fact, this is one of the biggest blunders made by students preparing for this exam.

By grammar, I mean structural grammar, not academic grammar. We all agree that without having a good understanding of grammar, we cannot become a good writer or a speaker; similarly, how can we become a good reader without having a proper understanding of grammar?

To understand structural grammar, there are only three topics that you must study: Subject Verb Agreement, Modifiers and Parallel Construction.  These three topics are enough to give you a fair understanding of all the building blocks of a sentence. Here are the recorded versions of the live sessions that I had taken in the month April 2017:

These six hours of grammar input will give you everything that you need to become a quicker and better reader.

Looking for tricks:

Tricks don’t work in RCs; they might work in Quant, where you have a shortcut or a formula for almost everything.  There are many students who are always on the lookout for some secret code that they think might help them unlock the mysteries of RCs. There is no such trick or code.

You have to find a good source, a good mentor, and learn from that source until you have exhausted everything from that source.  The online space is full of questions that have neither the right answer nor proper explanations. 90% students just waste their time by studying from material that adds little value to their RC prep.

I had taken an RC session that I have uploaded on YouTube:

This is my only free resource. To get similar questions and explanation, you can visit my RC course here:

Aspirants are not patient:

Much of the weakness in RC can be attributed to the student’s temperament, not skill.

In quant, you only have to look at a question that has a few given things; you fit the given things in the right formula, and the answer is ready.

Unfortunately, that is not the case with RCs, here you have to first read a passage that has 600 words; then read the question that has four options, and each option is somewhat similar to the other option.  This is just the first step, once you have gone through the passage, the question and the options, you might have to go through the passage again; search for the right area where you might have some reference/evidence/discussion on the subject matter asked in the question. Again, finding the right area in the passage is not enough! You have to do all the reasoning and comparison to arrive at the right answer. To make matters worse, in spite of doing all this, the chances of getting the right answer are just 75%.

How can all this be possible if you don’t have the patience, or are not willing to devote time to reading the passage, digging deep into it, and then finding the right answer?

Thinking that they can study on their own:

I have observed that many students’ approach to RCs is fundamentally flawed; it is not that they are not sincere or that they are not putting in the efforts, rather the effort that is being put by them is not in the right direction. They are referring to material that is not helping them in any way. The mocks that they are writing have such poor explanations that after writing those mocks they look out for a person who could help them analyze those mocks!

Furthermore, the psychological fact that they are losing their confidence at the end of every mock is further exacerbating their weaknesses.

If you think that your VARC prep is not in shape, then feel free to chat with me here:

You can try my verbal course here:

Remember, that you still have almost four months with you, time enough to mend your old ways.

List of Articles on CAT Verbal Ability

Previous Years CAT RC Passages PDF

CAT Verbal Ability (topic wise) Questions with Solutions

Reading CompehensionParajumbles
Odd One Out (Odd Sentence)Paragraph Summary
Critical ReasoningGrammar
Daily articles to improve Reading Comprehension

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