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Handling CAT Verbal Section and Reading Comprehension

10 July 2008 24 Comments

For a lot of engineers trying to crack CAT, one of the biggest weak link is tackling the verbal section.
Please note the word.. I am using tackling.. And not cracking.. Well, a lot of people struggle to clear cutoff, let alone maximizing the score in verbal.. And I was one such guy.. I struggled in verbal all through the mock cats.. With a record lowest of 34 percentile… But I worked my way out of it.. In the last 4 mock cats, I got > 96 percentile in verbal.. In the main CAT exam, I got 99.64 percentile.

How did I change my verbal scores in just 1 one month before CAT???

Like most of the situations, even this can be handled.. Here is what I did..

* I accepted that my accuracy in english is pathetic 🙂 and I cant do much about it.. My accuracy was in the range of 50-60%.. So, I tried to maximize the number of questions I attempt.

* I used to attempt english last in my mock exams. Any section you attempt last, you might not do upto to your potential.. As such, it is difficult to score in english.. Having it last.. makes it even worse.. So I decided to attempt english first.. I gave 1 hour for english.. I try to attempt all the questions.. But in CAT 2007, I attempted 20 questions (because my 1 hour was up)

* I started focussing more on Reading Comprehension. The best thing about Reading Comprehension is that the answer is already there in the paper.. You should only trust your abilities to read.. I wasnt doing too well in Reading Comprehension before.. This was because, I used to rush through passages.. At the end of the day speed doesnt make sense.. Read the passage as if you are reading some news paper article.. Read it at pace which you can understand.. Dont move to the next paragraph, without understanding a given paragraph fully.. It might sound funny.. But if you profile your time, you will realize that you will spend 2-3 minutes extra.. Thats all.. And this will be made up when you answer questions..

* Read 3 articles a day.. And more than reading, write down 3 sentences summary about the article.. Re-read the article and check out if your summary is good enough.. If not modify your summary.. If you can do this with a companion, it will be very good.. As you will get points, which you would have missed out.. This exercise certainly has rewards.. But it will take time for you to see the impact on your performance.. It is a long term process.

* Also, when you are asked for summary of the passage, please dont mark the answer without reading the starting and the ending lines of each of the paragraph..

* Above all this, handle your verbal section patiently.. Give yourself enough breathing time.. Answer the verbal section, without looking at the watch every 2 minutes..

All the best!! 🙂

ps: CAT strategies are not one size fit all.. So.. Try this, and find out if the method works for you..




  • Sundar Rajan G S said:

    Hey …thanks for the tips…. they will come in handy….guess am ready to take any tip that wud fetch me better marks and get me out of this desperation…

  • Megha said:

    Really Nice tips !! 🙂

  • Ajay said:

    thanks buddy! 🙂

  • Freak said:

    Really good……Thanks PGite….

  • Prashant said:

    Hi Sundar,

    Thanks for gyaan,., I was wondering if you could have mentioned the reading skills which one can inculcate early on. If one can get a linking for books early on, its only a matter of time, before which you find your language improving.

    Anyhow, one more gyaan to go by 😉

    keep posting !!

  • Kavin` said:

    Thanks for the tips dude! 🙂

  • me said:


  • Anonymous said:


  • Manoj said:

    Thanks a lot.

  • pragya said:

    thanx … really gr8 tips. however we know it but tend to forget while reading. Thanks a lot

  • adie said:

    hey, sundar…good article… its just the way i think…very frank and true….wht i feel -it is about understanding the cat . ..one must find his own way and he will find the way…its easy when u do so.

  • dymndapyBoamnalori said:

    eomrvvzghdlteayiwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch 😉

  • Rocky said:


  • Aditya Jandial said:

    Thanks buddy… Like many even I am an engineer and on the same note I am a lagger in Verbal. My score in CAT last year was just 55%ile in verbal…. And thanks to it I lost some very good colleges.
    I hope your talk helps me and moreover I need to know if really 1 month in newspaer help you that much..

  • vikas yadav said:

    thnx for the tips….keep giving such bright insights!!!!…..wud be really helpful

  • jalaj said:

    thnxx dude

  • Kiran said:

    Thanks buddy 🙂

  • Sanket said:

    Good suggestion bosss !!! I wl try this out in the next AIMCATs. 🙂

  • Ruchir Mehta said:

    definitely good suggestion.. the same thing is happening for me.. but it is advisable for me to attempt the verbal in starting.. because if i loose confidence i will loose marks in Quant and DI…. and please suggest something to improve accuracy in sentence rearrangement and to pick the sentence which are not grammatically correct.. and if possible suggest some material from where i can improve all these…

  • kunal raj said:

    thanks a lot for giving such an idea

  • Deepak said:

    very nice tips bro and i would like to ask , that i have descent speed in reading comprehension but the problem is accuracy . My accuracy remains same even if i spend little or more time in a comprehension . The options that are given appear more or less similar to me and many times even if im sure that i have sorted out correct answer , it is actualyy wrong 🙁 . It would be very nice , if i can get solution there , ty 😀

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