VARC is a major section for candidates aspiring to get into a B-School. It isn’t very tough as is perceived by many of the aspirants and is based majorly on soft skills. In CAT 2019, the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section consisted of 5 passages of 400-500 words each which constituted almost 70% of the CAT’s verbal section. This makes it imperative for us to realise that RC is a supercritical area that just cannot be neglected.
Please note that people perceive RC to be about a passage and the questions which follow it. Well, the other question types of VA i.e., Para-Jumbles, Para-Summary, etc. are also almost completely based on the ingredients which are required in doing RC passages.
In recent years, RC passages have been centred around current affairs, philosophy, history, politics and scientific case-studies. It is noteworthy that the locus of many of these topics is not India -centric. Thus, in this backdrop, it becomes all the more important that what we read must help us to ace and tackle even the most difficult RC passages.
Things that you must read to prepare for the RC section:
- The Guardian will help you develop vocabulary and general awareness.
- The Hindu has highly informative editorials and can serve as a good source for RC practice
- Nat Geo articles will help you grasp the conceptual base of an article, e.g., ‘The impact of plastic in our waterways’ can be expected in the exam as a passage
- The World Economic Forum’s compilation and reports have a lot of information coupled with credibility. They will help you not only in training your mind to increase your reading speed and eye span but also educate you on a myriad of topics
- Brain Picking is a good source for enhancing your speed and knowledge with respect to the philosophical and motivational article. Besides, try to acquaint yourself with the prominent philosophers and writers
- As mentioned above, since the passages are often taken from international sources, one must develop a habit of reading newspapers like The New York times, Huffing Post, etc.
- The Wire can be another very healthy source for reading material.
How to go about RC? Things to keep in mind:
- Scan all the questions at one go. Analyse if the RC contains knowledge-based questions based on the tone of the passage or the writing style of the author If an RC contains more of such questions and you are not sure of the options, do NOT attempt it.
- Never skip any factual question. They are direct and easily doable.
- Once you have scanned a question well and understood it, go to the options. Compare the options and follow the elimination method. Please note, the wrong answer will have a distorted fact which may or may not be present in the passage and the right answer will be in sync with the overall theme of the RC.
- Don’t go by the logic that a smaller passage will be easier to comprehend. The length of a passage should not be the criterion for selection. Longer passages sometimes are more detailed, less complex and easier to comprehend than their smaller counterparts.
- Develop this habit of being a voracious reader.
- While practising speed reading break the habit of sub-vocalisation if you have any. This takes away a lot of your time and is unnecessary.
- You don’t develop reading skills overnight. It is one of the most difficult skills to come by. Sustained reading practice is a mandatory exercise for it.
- Get into a habit of reading even those topics which you are less inclined toward or are uncomfortable with.
- Though CAT is very unpredictable & full of surprise in terms of difficulty level at the end of the day that is surprising is for every aspirant, therefore, candidates are required to prepare for any such bouncer that comes their way.
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