Verbal Ability for CAT exam

CAT Verbal Ability: Syllabus | Questions | Preparation Tips

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Verbal Ability for CAT

In CAT, Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension is one of the section. Out of 34 questions in this section, 10 questions appear from verbal ability.

The questions in CAT verbal ability consists of: TITA parajumbles, Odd Sentence, Paragraph Summary, Paragraph Completion, Word Usage, Grammar, and vocabulary based fill in the blanks.


Table of content


This pattern is more or less the same for all other MBA entrance exams. But, for the past five years, in CAT Verbal Ability questions have come from three topics only: Parajumbles, Odd Sentences and Paragraph Summary; the table below shows the question-wise overview and weightage of CAT Verbal Ability section.

CAT Verbal Ability : Overview

Total number of VARC Questions
34
Total number of questions form verbal ability
10
Marks for Each Correct Answer
3
Types of VA Questions
MCQ & TITA
Number of MCQ questions in VA
6
Number of TITA questions in VA
4
Difficulty levelmoderate to high

CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus

After going through the previous year papers of CAT, we have seen that the CAT Verbal Ability Questions come primarily from the following areas.

  • Parajumble
  • Odd sentences
  • Paragraph Summary

Parajumble and Odd sentences are TITA type and Summary questions are MCQ type.

Articles on CAT verbal ability section


Important: CAT Syllabus PDF [UPDATED VERSION]


How to prepare for CAT Verbal Ability

The good thing with the recent CAT Verbal section is that 70% of the questions come from reading comprehension. It is a good thing because to excel in reading comprehension you need not be a master of grammar or vocabulary.

Aspirants with poor grammar and vocabulary can master this section in less than a month, provided they follow the right approach and study from the right material.

This, however, does not mean that grammar and vocabulary play no role in the CAT Verbal section. They come in good numbers in the verbal section of other MBA entrance exams.

Moreover, good vocabulary and a better command on grammar can help you comprehend written texts in a better way.

How to improve CAT vocabulary?

  1. Become a voracious reader: Every now and then when you come across a new word, you must take note of it. At the start, it might be very annoying, but gradually you will start remembering the words, and you will see improvements in your overall understanding of articles and passages
  2. Solve vocabulary based puzzles and fill in the blanks questions: This can be the most rewarding way of improving CAT vocabulary. Ideally, you should try not only to learn new words but also to understand their application.The best way to learn their application is to solve questions on vocabulary based fill in the blanks, word usage etc.
  3. Focus on word root: Word roots can be a creative way towards improving vocabulary for CAT. Though there is no specific word list prescribed by CAT, by using word roots aspirants can add more words to their vocabulary effortlessly.
  4. What if I keep on forgetting words: If you come across 20 words today, it is quite possible that after a ten-day period you may not remember a single word from that list. But if you continue with your daily reading exercise, and keep on solving vocab based puzzles without a break, then you will start coming across these words again and again.You will remember a word only if you have come across it at least 5 to 6 times in a month. To let this happened, you must persist. Don’t expect miracles in just a week. Only after two months would you see some noticeable changes.

How to improve CAT grammar?

Only three topics are important in Grammar: Subject Verb Agreement, Modifiers and Parallel Construction. These three topics cover almost every aspect of CAT grammar.

You can watch the playlist videos here to get a good hold on these three topics:

CAT Parajumbles

Parajumbles for CAT have been a part of CAT Verbal Ability for the past twenty years. Though the CAT exam pattern did change in CAT 2015 with the introduction of parajumbles questions without options [TITA type], the approach to solve parajumbles still remains the same.

The minor change that we saw in CAT 2015 was that instead of picking the right option, the candidates were asked to enter the right answer—in this case, the right sequence.

Since 2015, the para jumble questions in CAT have been without options. Notwithstanding this change, parajumbles were and will always be an important part of CAT Verbal section. The parajumbles from previous year CAT papers are the best source for practice.

CAT ODD Sentences

The next important area that you have to work on is Odd Sentence, which is just another form of Parajumbles.

Steps to solve odd one sentences out questions:

  1. Look for the sentence that is most likely to start a paragraph, that sentence which introduces an idea, or a concept, and that which is not abrupt often starts a paragraph.
  2. Your next step should be to establish a connecting link; here the parajumbles come into the picture. The sentence that is taking the idea forward on similar lines will come next in the sequence. See whether the subjects in the sentences are linked or not.
  3. Repeat Step 2 mentioned above; check if there is some coherence to the paragraph that is formed after the logical arrangement of the sentences.
  4. The sentence that you find difficult to fit into the sequence is the odd sentence, and often the right answer.
  5. Don’t go just by appearances. The subject matter of the odd sentence out may be very similar to that of the other sentences, but it is not just about subject matter. We must ask the question: Are they logically related. Even if the sentences are not logically related, they all might be independently grammatically correct, and yet they may not form a coherent paragraph.

CAT Para Summary

The new variety that has of late come in CAT Verbal Ability  is ‘Para Summary’. This is relatively a new question type, and hence little is known about how to approach them.

However, I have designed video solutions of CAT 2017 Paragraph Summary Questions. You can go through these videos, and you will get a fair understanding of CAT para summary questions.

Watch: How to approach CAT Para Summary Questions

  1. Read the paragraph carefully; you must try to understand the paragraph. If you have not understood the paragraph, the chances are that you would not be able to pick the right summary. Please leave the question if you are not at all able to understand the contents of the paragraph.
  2. Once you have understood the passage, you must try to pick the subject matter of the passage. Look for the important nouns in the passage and connect them such that you create the right logical relationship between those nouns.
  3. With this logical link between the nouns, you must start comparing the options. Option comparison is a very important step. The right option must not have anything apart from what is given in the passage; the right option must not distort information, and lastly, the right option must not leave out any critical information. Usually, the options distort information or add something that is not given in the paragraph.
  4. You must look for the differences between the options. The point of difference should be evaluated. You should see if the passage has any hint that helps you understand which option is better and which is not.
  5. Start with the elimination process, checking out those options that you feel have flaws in them.
  6. Finally, choose the right answer.

These are some of the things that you have to work on to ensure that you do well in the in CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section.

Questions on CAT verbal Ability with VIDEO solutions

CAT parajumble practice questions

CAT Odd sentences practice questions

CAT Summary practice questions

CAT Verbal Ability material and books

There are many books available for CAT Verbal Ability. Most of them are decent to start with. But I would suggest that students should focus on basic concepts and should join some offline coaching or some online course. Studying from books just by your effort may not be a wise thing to do.

You must remember that there is no structure, no syllabus, no pattern, no official material. So if you prepare all on your own, you are likely to put more efforts and get fewer returns. It is better to find a mentor who can guide and motivate you at regular intervals.

You also have the choice of enrolling for Bodhee Prep’s VARC course. You can find all the details here:

CAT Verbal Online Course

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