How To Start Your CAT Prep – Part 1 – Verbal Ability – Tips By An IIM Student

This article is first in a series of articles to help aspirants start their CAT preparation

If you have just been bitten by the CAT bug and are wondering how to go about preparing for it, worry not. I was in a similar position three years back when I had decided to pursue MBA. Just like you, I could not figure out where to start from. It’s a phase that all aspirants go through. Through a series of articles, I will share a few things that I did in the initial days of my preparation. This one is focused on the verbal ability section. I sincerely hope it helps 😊

1.    Improve your vocabulary: Verbal Ability is one of the sections in all MBA entrance exams. To ace this section, you need to have a decent vocabulary. Now unless you have been a regular reader of novels or newspapers, chances are that your vocabulary may not be up to the desired standard. Pick up a word list and try to memorize their meanings. You can take help of numerous online resources like Barron’s or Kaplan. Although CAT does not ask direct meanings of words, it always helps to have a decent vocabulary.

2.    Develop a habit of reading: Initially, read anything you can get your hands on. A novel, movie review, an article on politics, etc. Gradually increase the diversity of topics. You may want to read newspapers like Business Standard or The Hindu. While reading look for words you do not know the meaning of. Try and understand the context of each line and the article on the whole.

3.    Dealing with RCs: CAT and almost all other exams have a section for reading comprehension. The length of an article maybe 200-500 words. To do well in RCs, you need to be able to absorb a large amount of content in a small amount of time. It may seem daunting to read and understand a high-quality 500-word article in 4-5 minutes, but it becomes easy with practice. Begin with a newspaper article on a topic you are familiar with. Try reading it in 2-3 minutes then summarize it in your mind. Ask yourself whether you understood all major points. Repeat this exercise with articles that are outside of your comfort zone.

4.    Acquaint yourself with the pattern: Go through previous year’s papers. If they are not available just glance through a few mocks. Find out different types of questions that are asked. E.g. In CAT you may find RCs, para-jumbles, sentence completion, etc. Understand your comfort level with these questions and work accordingly.

Usually, aspirants struggle in one of the sections of CAT. If you happen to be the one struggling in the verbal ability section, my only advice would be to read, read and read. That is the only way out. No amount of mugging grammar rules will help. Just read and practice sample questions.

If you have any further questions on the verbal ability section, comment below.

samaksha vaish

Samaksha Vaish is a second year student at IIM Lucknow. He is also a member of the Industry Interaction Cell and Manjunath Shanmugam Trust.