Hi ! I am Amir Raza from Kota, Rajasthan. I did my B.Tech in Computer Engineering from Aligarh Muslim University. I was one of the many engineers who decided to opt for MBA and hence wrote CAT'16 in my final year. I scored a whopping 99.7 %le in CAT VARC section which escalated my score to 96.15 %le overall, despite scoring just around 80 and 85 percentiles in LRDI and Quant sections respectively. As a GEM Fresher, I was able to get calls from the new IIM's and IIT Roorkee. However, due to the lack of work experience and not so great academics, I could finally convert only IIM Sambalpur and IIT Roorkee then. General English section (27.5/40) once again proved to be my saviour in my first attempt at SNAP when I was able to manage a 98.2134 %le overall with single digits score in LR and GK ( 4 and 7.5 respectively PS- no sectional cutoff in SNAP ) and an average score in Quant.
If someone is looking for a detailed strategy for Verbal, then he/she can refer to this article by Mr. Shashank Prabhu which pretty much sums it all - https://backend.insideiim.com/crack-varc-section-cat-2018/
Now, let's cut to the chase- In this article, I am going to talk about how I was able to transform the Language section into my forte and capitalize on it on the D-Day and also the mistakes that I made which limited my scoring potential to a great extent. I have broken the different aspects of my preparation into the following key points:-
1. GROUP STUDY: I was fortunate enough to find a group of like-minded people aiming for the same goal. So, we made a private online study group and practised extensively on the same clarifying each other's doubts in the process and discussing mocks and strategies. We had our own sources but I referred to the IMS online modules ( Concept and Application Builder which comes with their test series ) for general practice. I didn't need much help with the basics so, due to the lack of any quality offline coaching in my area, that group served as my basic place for all things related to preparation and beyond. No wonder, 7 out of 10 of us went on to score above 95%le in CAT that year. My point here is that group study can be a viable option in case if one is unable to join any quality institute or is prone to procrastination and continuously needs some motivation to study ( assuming all the members are sincere and equally motivated ).
2. Mocks and Psychology: Coming towards mocks, I relied solely on the SIMCATS and gave around 10 full length mocks until CAT with my mock percentiles hovering just around 90. Talking of VARC, my initial mock scores were in the range of 33-37 but with extensive practice, I was able to elevate them to close 60's with my highest sectional score being 68. I am going to shed some more light on it in my next point. Being a lazy engineer, I didn't give too many mocks but analysed them properly. After every mock, I used to find solace in the fact that I had added another 100 quality questions in my bag and mastered them. So, basically, I was content with my preparation even after attempting just 10 mocks as I had practised at least 1000 CAT level questions through mocks only which I felt were pretty sufficient. After all, entering the examination hall with a sense of preparation definitely helps!
3. Obsession with RC's: Now, enough about general preparation. I began writing this article to highlight how I boosted my score in the verbal section in various exams and the mistakes that I made which greatly affected my overall score. This point pretty much sums it both. It all began when I first got my hands on the online sectional tests ( and the Application Builder ). I started giving sectional VARC mocks aggressively and avoided other sections ( Due to the relative ease of attempting VARC on my mobile mostly at night ). I made it a habit of giving at least one sectional mock before sleeping every night and analysed it the next day. With 18 - 20 attempts in the initial mocks, I maximized my attempts gradually in the sectionals focussing more on RC's ( in the order - RC > Summary > Odd one out > PJ's/ last sentence) Soon, I exhausted all my sectionals and turned to the free sources available online ( free live mocks of other institutes, previous mocks and previous years papers ). While this helped me immensely in the VARC section in CAT, but negligence in other sections did cost me greatly as well!
4. Obsession with Vocabulary: Usefulness of a sound Vocabulary in the comprehension heavy pattern of CAT is contentious, but I personally felt that a poor vocabulary can pose a major roadblock in speed reading. Also, a good vocabulary can work wonders in OMETS with SNAP, NMAT and IIFT being vocab heavy. So, I started learning words with various apps available online for free ( Magoosh Vocab Builder, Magoosh Flashcards, VOLT, Barron's ) Due to the strict attendance rules of my college, I had to attend even the most boring lectures of my university. So basically I used to learn 10 new words for every lecture I attended and revise the 10 learnt in the earlier( My professors were indifferent to me using mobile in the class and I pretty much exploited this fact that they were only present there for their attendance themselves ) Regular vocabulary practice not only helped me in OMETS but also led me to achieve a 99.99 %le in English in AMCAT exam,which is a leading job employability test conducted by Aspiring Minds. I went a step further and created different Vocabulary learning WhatsApp groups for regular practice and word-games with fellow aspirants to maintain my momentum. I am attaching a link to one such group with this article so that interested people can add themselves - :
5. Conclusion: I would like to conclude this with a very simple learning that obsession may lead to perfection but it should not be at the cost of other things. While my proclivity for Verbal section definitely helped me in achieving high scores in this single section, there was still a tremendous scope for more. If someone develops such kind of obsession with all the three sections instead, only the sky is the limit! With that said, for all those people who are struggling with mock scores or are weak in one section or the other, there is still hope for a decent percentile if you are able to effectively leverage just one section to your advantage and this article is the proof.