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How to Prepare for CAT Reading Comprehension [RC] Passages

how to prepare for reading comprehesion for cat exam

Why is reading comprehension important in CAT?

Reading Comprehension is one of the scoring areas in the CAT exam. Since 2015, in the CAT verbal ability section, the no of questions coming from this area has been more than 70%. Thus we see that CAT RCs are one of the most critical areas on which every aspirant has to work. In this article, we will extensively deal with different aspects of CAT reading comprehension. For this reason, we will break down this article into different subsections

In the first sub-section, we will discuss the different kinds of RC passages that come in CAT Exam.

Passages that come in the RC section of CAT Exam

The Common Admission Test expects that the students who write CAT are smart enough to go through a wide range of literature in a short span of time. They should be good at not only absorbing the factual information distributed across the passage but also drawing reliable inferences from the given information.

For this reason, in the CAT exam, the students should expect passages that discuss issues concerning business and finance, science and environment, and social and literary criticisms. We have seen that in the past CAT papers, passages have come primarily from these three areas. The aspirants should prepare for this section keeping these three areas in mind. Your reading, however, should not be limited to these areas only.

We have written an article that elaborately discusses the kind of passages that come in the CAT reading comprehension section. Here is the link to that article:

Types of Reading Comprehension Passages

There is one more article that focuses on the different kinds of questions that come in CAT Reading Comprehension passages:

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions

Important things to do to become good at reading comprehension

Work on grammar

Grammar is the logic of language. I have always emphasized the importance of grammar in all my articles. You should not study grammar to become a grammarian or to score good marks in grammar questions. Rather, you must study grammar so that you can read sentences quickly without missing any critical information. In the initial stages of your preparation for CAT Reading Comprehension, you should keep the basic structural rules in mind. Gradually you will get used to these rules.

You will never understand how important grammar is unless you study it. I have uploaded some videos on our YouTube channel.  The concepts in these videos are more than enough in understanding the basics of structural grammar.

Work on vocabulary

The passages that come in CAT Reading Comprehension are from a wide variety of topics and have a high level of technical and general vocabulary. If you are very poor with vocabulary, then you may have a tough time understanding even a simple and straightforward article. You can overcome this weakness by reading articles from newspapers and magazines. Thus building your vocabulary should be the topmost priority of your preparation plan.

Read Also: CAT Vocabulary

Develop a general reading habit

This will help you work on both grammar and vocabulary. Reading enables you to get attuned to the general contemporary writing style. This will ensure that you have an intuitive grasp of the language, which will help you retain key ideas and arrive at the correct inferences effortlessly.

Recommended: How to Read CAT RC passage

Develop a right approach

Many students start practicing the reading comprehension passages without developing a proper approach. They thus lack in confidence are not sure as to which answer is right and why. It is imperative that you develop the right approach first and then set down to implement that by practicing a variety of passages.

You can learn the right approach by going through this article and the video in which I have solved four passages of relatively high difficulty.

How to Improve accuracy in RC

Practice from the right source

Once the student has learned and has developed the right approach, he must start solving passages from the right material. Many of us don’t know what exactly is the right source. By the right source, I mean that source which has a degree of authenticity.

For instance, passages from past year CAT, GMAT, GRE and LSAT papers are far more reliable than passages from any other source. We have collected a good no of passages, all with proper explanations for CAT aspirants. You can find these passages here. You can solve one or two passages from here.

FREE CAT RC practice passages

If you think you need any specialized preparation for the VARC section of CAT, you can try Bodhee Prep’s Verbal Ability Course here. You can know more about it by clicking on this link:

Online CAT Verbal Course

Carry out an in-depth analysis

Unlike Quantitative Aptitude, which is about practicing as many varieties of questions as possible, Verbal Aptitude is about in-depth analysis. The focus has to be on analyzing why you are going wrong and how you can improve your score. Every passage is different, and hence you have to analyze your errors.

Time limits

I always feel that at the initial stages of your CAT Reading Comprehension preparation, you should not keep any time limit.  At the start of your RC preparation, you should try to learn as much as possible. This is possible only if you devote time.

If you focus on the time limit or speed, you will never develop the patience and the stamina required to stick to a question and carry out the elimination. So at the initial stages, you should not keep any time limit. Once you have developed the confidence and the right accuracy (at least 75 %), you should turn your attention to speed. Still, I would suggest that speed should never come at the cost of accuracy.

Sectional tests

To further improve accuracy and increase confidence while solving CAT reading comprehension questions, you must focus on the sectional tests. The sectional tests will test your ability to read quickly and attempt the right questions.  The right balance between speed and accuracy can be established by taking a good number of sectional tests.

Some final points of caution

Aspirants are always on the lookout for some tips and tricks that could help them with CAT reading comprehension. There are no shortcuts and tricks in CAT reading comprehension. There are only suggestions and recommendations. I would always suggest that you must work on your temperament and your concentration.

You must take reading comprehension as a challenge and ensure that you are reading everything in the passage with a higher degree of curiosity. Finally, there are a few things that you must always avoid. I have discussed some of them in the article given below:

5 mistakes made by students in reading comprehension

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