How I Scored 100%ile In Verbal Section In CAT

Aviral Bhatnagar scored a 99.99 percentile in CAT and a whopping 100 percentile in the verbal section, and went to IIM Ahmedabad. Here is a recount of how he prepared himself for the same.

To be honest, I was well-read and very comfortable with English. The really important part that I realised while preparing was that this doesn’t guarantee you success in the exam, at all. You’d be shocked at my initial mock test scores.

At the beginning, with so many similar options in verbal (I hated para jumbles, never got them) you tend to never know what could be the right answer. But, practice makes perfect.
Step 1: Identify your sweet spot.

My strategy for CAT, in general, was to do a run through the entire exam, mark the easy and medium questions and attempt them first. You have to realise that all questions carry equal weight, but some are easier. That was the first step of my strategy: Identifying what you can do best naturally.

Step 2: Identify your weak spot

Over the mocks I gave through the two-three months, I regularly noted down how I did on each test, broken down up to a topic level. I gave an insane number of tests, all I did was to test myself. Once tested, I would note my performance and I gradually saw patterns arising in what I was good, bad and literally sucked at. This was my second step, identifying what I was bad and what I sucked at. Para jumbles were at the end of the spectrum for me.

Step 3: Improve and analyse both strengths and weaknesses.

My third step was to work on improving each of these three buckets and my dynamic excel sheet showed me where I was going. I would devote my practice time in the reverse order of my strength in the topics. My performance improved considerably, and data never lies. Always monitor your performance.

On a granular topic basis, for improving in reading comprehension, the best solution is to read and read as diverse as you can. Reading a lot increases your focus while reading any text and thus pushes up your accuracy. I also used to read the questions and then read the passage. You tend to be alert in the passage around the part of the question automatically.  For vocabulary, learn words, read the dictionary. Word power made easy is a great place to start, and general reading always helps. For para jumbles, I don’t think I am the right person to guide, but they generally tend to have lift offs and ends, that you can pick up. Lists at your own risk.

Step 4: Leave what you will do wrong.

I followed this up to one week before my CAT, after which I implemented the fourth step: Identifying what I will always do wrong. Most people think that you should attempt the entire paper. Don’t, especially in verbal. Negs kill you. In my year, I attempted 28/30. I probably got all of them right. What did I leave? Para jumbles. 🙂

In essence, practice, identify your strengths and weaknesses, monitor your performance and then choose your questions wisely. Remember, a great strategy is not only about opening the right doors, but also closing the wrong ones.

An additional piece of unsolicited advice: sleep well. It improves accuracy much more than any amount of test practice.

This story was first published on Quora. 



About the Author:

aviral bhatnagar

Aviral  Bhatnagar went to IIT Bombay and IIM Ahmedabad. He is a self-proclaimed geek, avid reader and a student for life. He made his first excel sheet when he was 8 years old, and he devoured encyclopaedias and atlas as a kid. He is currently working as an investment professional at Guild Capital.