In this article, I will discuss with you the method I followed when I was preparing for CAT to prepare for the VARC section.
VARC as a section and particularly the Reading Comprehension haunts a lot of candidates during the preparation. The primary reason behind this which came to my attention while I was starting my preparation was the comfort level with the language.
English being the second language of many students creates a pattern of thinking which I depict as follows -
People belonging to vernacular medium usually have the translating phase between and cannot bridge the gap between Reading and Understanding directly. This increases the time taken and affects the accuracy heavily as the translating is based again on the limited knowledge of the Language.
I was facing this issue so I decided to solve this. I searched for a solution but was unable to find one that worked for me so I decided to figure it out on my own. In my research, I found that three things matter when we solve any Reading Comprehension question.
- Reading the given text and keeping it in the memory
- Understanding the text and breaking it down to assumptions, conclusions, facts, and inferences, etc.
- Analyzing the question and answering on the basis of the above.
Reading Speed matters a lot in a competitive landscape and I would recommend at least 300 words per minute. This gives a high tactical advantage in case the person has trouble keeping the points in the memory. Having good reading speed gives the time to go through the passage one more time if needed.
Keeping the points in the memory is important to reduce the time required and keep the accuracy high. Also in the question requiring critical thinking, it is better to keep the given points ready and answer the questions with just intuitive understanding.
Reading while Understanding the text is a must and has to be learned as a skill. To solve this problem I would suggest going all out with novel reading or book reading, starting with the novels that are from your favorite genre and have appeal for you. Gradually changing the subjects and genres and shifting to more out of comfort topics will help in reading passages that are uninteresting and out of your comfort zone.
I will provide a reading list here for a starter,
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The old man and the sea by Ernest Hemmingway
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
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