How important is vocabulary for CAT?
Aspirants often wonder as to how essential is the vocabulary for CAT. They must remember that while vocabulary may not directly play a role in fetching your marks, it does help you a great deal in improving your comprehension. The greater your understanding of words the better is your comprehension. In other words, CAT vocabulary and CAT reading comprehension go hand in hand. This is true not just for the CAT but any reading.
How is vocabulary tested in CAT?
Vocabulary questions that come in MBA entrance exams are direct and indirect. By direct questions, I mean the kind of problems in which you must know the meaning of the word to get the vocabulary question correct. By indirect questions, I mean questions in which, it is the usage, not the meaning that decides the right answer choice.
Direct vocabulary questions are seldom seen in CAT, but indirect vocabulary questions are often seen in different forms. Some of these forms are
- Word Usage
- Confusing Words
- Fill in the blanks
- Word Application
Vocabulary for CAT and Vocabulary for other MBA Entrance Exams
While CAT tests your vocabulary indirectly, some exams test your vocabulary by asking direct questions in the form of antonyms, synonyms, odd one out, and match the pair.
In both the cases, you must have a good understanding of the word to get the questions correct. We have seen in MBA entrance exams such as IIFT, SNAP, NMAT, TISS, and MH-CET, there are direct vocabulary questions. If your vocabulary is good, then in the verbal ability section of these exams you are likely to have a definite edge over others.
Last year I took a session for my enrolled students on fill in the blanks. here the recorded video on the session:
How many words should I learn for CAT?
To many, this question might sound silly, but it does merit some attention; after all, it is numbers that decide the magnitude of a particular issue. When it comes to word power for CAT, it is not easy to arrive at the numbers. But studies show that students writing GRE and SAT are expected to know around 5000 unique words.
This figure does not include words that are used in general speaking and writing. These 5000 words are lesser known words and are therefore used less frequently in everyday speech and general writing.
How to work on CAT Vocabulary?
1 Become a voracious reader
You must develop a reading habit. This is very important. Most CAT aspirants haven’t read anything in their life except academic books. Thus their vocabulary range is limited. As an aspirant, to begin with, you must read standard newspapers and magazines.
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 Quizzes:
This can be the most rewarding way of improving CAT vocabulary. Ideally, you should try not only to learn new words but also understand their application.
The best way to learn their application is to solve questions on vocabulary based fill in the blanks, word usage etc. We have collected over 400 questions that will test your vocabulary. You can practice these questions from here:
3 Focus on word roots:
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.
In fact, word roots can be of great help in breaking down the word into pieces and arriving at their meanings. I would suggest that aspirants download Norman Lewis PDF and go through the book to work on their vocabulary.
What if I keep on forgetting words?
Many students think that what’s the point in putting in efforts if they are not able to remember the words. Please understand that vocabulary for CAT cannot be developed overnight.
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.
Final tips and suggestions
Vocabulary improvement takes time; this is true not just for CAT vocabulary but vocabulary for any other purpose. Aspirants must ensure that they are consistent and patient. If they give one hour daily and record 20 new words regularly, after two months, they will see definite improvements in their vocabulary.