Verbal Ability for CAT Exam
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension are the two areas of CAT Verbal Aptitude. While reading this article, the readers must understand that reading comprehension and verbal ability are two different and distinct areas.
But aspirants often use these terms interchangeably. So before we go ahead, we must understand the different constituents of CAT Verbal Ability.
While CAT reading comprehension is all about reading comprehension alone, CAT Verbal Ability is about many things. We shall see them in the next paragraph.
The critical thing to note is that CAT has been very inconsistent with its Verbal Ability Syllabus.
CAT Verbal Ability Question Types
One of the recent changes that we have seen in this section is that there are questions in which we have to enter the answer, instead of picking the responses from a given set of choices.
These option-less questions are called TITA type questions, by TITA we mean questions in which we have to type in the answer. This new type of problem is there in all the three sections.
Analysis of past year CAT Verbal Ability questions
Here are the numbers and types of questions from verbal ability section which appeared in CAT 2017
No. of Questions
Type of Questions
Some very significant changes have been brought in this section. Here are two important changes:
- Decrease in the no of questions: there was a time when 50% of the questions in the verbal section came from verbal ability, the rest 50% was from reading comprehension. However, over the years the number of questions coming from verbal ability has decreased. In recent years, almost 75% of the questions have come from reading comprehension, while the rest 25% have come from the verbal ability
- Increase in the difficulty level: Once upon a time, aspirants found the verbal ability to be a scoring area and relied much on that section to score well. However, in recent years not only has the no of questions from this area decreased but also the overall difficulty has gone up. This increase in difficulty level has compelled the students to take the reading comprehension section more seriously.
CAT Verbal Ability Syllabus
After going through the past year papers of CAT, I have seen that the CAT Verbal Ability Questions come primarily from the following areas.
List of Verbal Ability Topics:
- Odd one out Sentence
- Para Summary
- Paragraph Completion
- Fill in the blanks
- CAT Grammar
- Fact Inference and Judgement
- Word Usage
- Critical Reasoning
- Direct Vocabulary
This is the order of importance as well; the top four question types have been a regular feature of the CAT Verbal Ability for the past five years. The bottom five have not been seen in CAT for the past five years.
But, as I have already said since CAT does not define the Verbal Ability Syllabus, it would be wise for us to be well prepared in each and every area.
Preparation for CAT Verbal Ability Section
Here, instead of focusing specifically on each and every question variety, I would like to give a few pointers on what should the overall strategy of an aspirant be. To do well in this section, the student must work on three areas:
- Basic grammar (by basic grammar I mean structural grammar, not academic grammar)
- General Reading
If he works on the third point, the first two points will automatically fall in place.
On our YouTube channel, we have uploaded a no of videos that deal with CAT Grammar. Here are the links of those videos. These are more than enough for anyone to do well in this area.
As far as general reading is concerned, aspirants must focus on standard newspapers and magazines. We have observed the CAT RC passages and the other verbal ability contents are designed from articles that feature in standard newspapers and magazines.
As a result, if the aspirant is in touch with the language used in these kinds of writings, he is more likely to comprehend such passages and answer questions based on these passages.
What I have written here is a general approach to CAT Verbal Ability. In addition to this, each topic that falls in this category has a different approach. You can find these articles here
- Tricks to solve CAT Parajumbles
- How to approach CAT Odd Sentence
- Approach to CAT Vocabulary
- How to approach CAT Paragraph Completion
- 10 Steps to master CAT Grammar
- How to prepare for CAT Reading Comprehension
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 Ability Questions for Practice
Here I will focus only on online CAT Verbal Ability Questions. Printed material, as the one that you get from coaching institutes or from standard publishers, have a certain degree of authenticity.
As far as online material is concerned, students must be very cautious about what kind of material they study from.
Much of the online content does not have a verified source. Sometimes the questions don’t have proper answers, and in most cases, there is no proper explanation.
However, you can rely on the content on Bodhee Prep’s website. It has either been designed by us or has been collected from sources that are reliable.