VARC is the most dreaded section for the majority of Aspirants. These include especially engineers and often students from other domains as well. What would make this post different from the rest is the real struggle, an aspirant can associate themselves with my own journey.
First of all, a brief background on my VARC Journey: From ashes to a respectable position. A decent enough score which plunged to “Negative Marks” in mocks during CAT’18 season. Yes, the sectional marks were actually negative (-4 &-5 marks in VARC). I tried to recuperate but achieved 68.93%tile (32.43 marks) in CAT’18. Again, started this year’s journey with 75-80%tile range in mocks and then escalated and finally achieved 96.71%tile (53.60 marks) in CAT’19.
But as dreadful as the section would seem, VARC is a misunderstood character. A character once tamed doesn’t seem so scary. The trick to VARC across all examinations remains more or less the same. Understanding RCs are crucial in securing overall respectable marks. It is a given fact that not everyone can get a 99, and that’s even difficult for people not so familiar with the language on the whole. The Journey and association become even more relevant as I actually started from zero, with Zero comprehension for the above sectionals and achieved comprehension to get those marks. So here are my Two-Cents on how I prepared the sections.
RCs: (Myth: You require good reading speed to Ace the section. Reality: I did it with a below-par speed of 133 WPM)
The difficulty more or less can be segmented into 2 parts. The RC Comprehension part in which the difficulty can only be elevated in terms of Understanding the Passage and its central idea. CAT’19 was one such example of it. One cannot connect the dots to know what actually the passage is trying to convey and hence there is difficulty in managing the Q&As. The other is the Options. In this type, either the question is made in such a way that the reader misses or misreads the obvious factors associated with it Or the options are doctored purposefully to seem similar in everything except the main point.
A Way Out: There is no substitute for reading is a cliched answer with no further depth offered in it. The way out for Comprehension is to read as diversely as possible. Try making a point to touch upon at least one article from an unfamiliar territory. For Eg, Engineers to focus on Non-Tech literature, B.A to touch upon Tech literature. The idea behind this is to get a hang of logical structure and flow a particular type has to offer. For eliminating the options, one can start with a simple trick such as BANE (too Broad, Additional info, too Narrow, too Explicit). This requires practice to get to the level that you can see the purposefully put Errors in the option. Time your RCs while solving, but focus on comprehension rather than regression.
VAs: (Myth: You need to be too good to get all the words. Reality: Normal-versed in language can still do the trick)
While VA varies from exam to exam, we can see maximum weightage of Summaries and Words in most of them. While it still remains a dread for the most, you can have a way around it if you find your spot. Not everyone is good at all the types of VA questions put in different exams.
A Way Out: Find your sweet spot. It can be words, it can be Summary, it can be Odd one out. While one can get good at summary while practicing for RC comprehension as stated above, words require special attention. Pick up one good word list and start practicing, but it does not end there. One should be curious enough to use a dictionary even while reading Newspapers and online articles. That does the trick as well.
VA in CAT would still remain unpredictable and hence should be attended wholeheartedly only after mastering RC which takes in a major chunk. There is no way around RC but the above-mentioned tricks shall work. While for other exams, words become essential and so popular wordlists as well as curiosity while reading Newspaper and Articles is required.
My Verbal section across exams in 2019/20
|CAT: 96.71%tile 53.60 Marks||IIFT: 98.10 %tile 80 Marks|
|SNAP: 44.25 Marks (overall 99.98%tile)||XAT: 98.86%tile|
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