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Verbal

RC is not a speed reading contest. Do not skim through the passage or skip words. (unless they are examples used to explain a concept).There is enough time during the CAT exam to work through the passage comfortably. In fact, speed reading decreases comprehension and works negatively because you have to read the passage again to understand the bits you didn’t comprehend. Don’t try and memorise each and every part of the passage. Just try and understand the essence of the point being conveyed by the author.

When you want to climb a mountain, you can take multiple paths to the same peak. Some are easy but long, others are steep but short. Sometimes the paths intersect and you can switch from one to the other. CAT preparation is the same. To get into the Everest of IIMs, you can choose multiple strategies, in both quantitative aptitude and verbal ability. As you get stronger, strategies may change, and paths that were too steep earlier would become accessible. In this article, we’ll discuss one path that takes you to the verbal peak.

Let’s first understand what is the subject matter being conveyed. The author talks about the lack of distinction between what can be considered as “western” and “eastern”. Always remember, in such cases, elimination is a far surer test than selection. SO let’s go by options. Option A speaks about “thoughts”, which is totally irrelevant in the context. So, we can easily discard it. Now, option 2 states about a dichotomy, but that is exactly the opposite of what the author has said. Option 3 is somewhat in line with the given passage, but the problem is , it is just a paraphrasing what has already been said. Option 4 is hardly connected to the passage. Option 5 says that purity of thought doesn’t occur easily, i.e. there is always ambiguity between what can be construed as “Eastern” or “Western”. That is exactly the point being conveyed in the passage, and dovetails perfectly as a closing sentence. So, option 5 it is.

One common thing that I had noticed in discussion forums is that the emphasis on the verbal part of the test is very less as compared to the amount of dialogue that takes place regarding quant and DI. People are regularly discussing about how to find the remainder of 123^75^100 when divided by 99 (which btw has less than 10^-9 % probability of coming in CAT, and an even lesser chance of you getting it right during the exam, so you might as well concentrate on boring profit and loss sums), but minimal discussion takes place about gaining an upper hand in the verbal section.

Punctuations are grammatical tools that allow you to keep your intended meaning clear. When used correctly, they will help in preserving the right understanding and aiding easy reading with necessary pauses and separations. The improper usage of punctuations, either overdose or under dose, brings in the risk of confusing and misinforming the reader. When the punctuation is missing, even the most well-intentioned statement can turn into a minefield of unintended meaning.

Now I can COMPREHEND very clearly that I can collect the coupons during office hours tomorrow and all the given options COMMUNICATE the same idea to me. By definition, I can argue that I am good at English but only one option is going to award me marks. I always thought that this is so unfair because what is important is to get the idea and execute it instead of checking the punctuation marks. I was wrong and I had to learn it in the hard way. Once you reach a certain career level, you have to talk in meetings, write 100 emails per day and do Business Presentations to senior management/customers. Silly grammar mistakes are just not acceptable and things can go pretty bad if you have a Grammar Nazi boss!

The trick here is not to look at the paragraph as a whole and trying to identify the actual introductory statement and the conclusion, but to break down the paragraph based on its structure and then selecting the correct order in which the statements fits as a pair, a triplet or more. Glance at the options to determine which statement can be the opening statement so as to limit down my choices of first statement. Then, try to connect the statements with others, eliminate a few options and proceed. Then try to find the mandatory pairs. Sometimes they are easy to spot - the structure, examples etc (more on this in a while) give you a hint. But that's all. Most of the times that is enough to solve the question. But, under any circumstances, do not make the mistake of reading the options first and then trying to arrange the sentences in that order so as to check whether that makes sense or not. This is the biggest mistake you can make with respect to VA.

Managers of big companies read several documents a day and quickly grasp the important parts in each of them while filtering out the noise. This ability is tested in a student in the Reading Comprehension section of CAT. RC is a vital section in CAT and around 40% of the questions in the Verbal + LR section are from this topic. Improving RC is all the more important because a student who is good at RCs typically does well even in other related questions like Para-Completion and Para-Jumbles.

If somebody puts a gun to your head today and asks you to predict what questions will come in CAT 2014 , you would be safe in saying - that come what may - Reading Comprehension (RC) is bound to be part of the line up of questions! This simple fact underlines the importance of Reading Comprehension in CAT preparation. What is even more interesting is that it is the only part of the syllabus which is an open book exam. No need to mug any formula . No need to memorize data . Everything is right in front of you! All you have to do is to extract the answers !

One of the biggest issues which puzzles CAT test-takers is how to derive the maximum benefit out of the RC passages they have attempted in the mock .Too often attempting RC seems to them an exercise in futility. Keeping this in mind I have prepared the following road-map for RC analysis for CAT aspirants. As a sample I have taken the RC passage on civilisation from CAT 2007 (Starting line - "Every civilised society lives and thrives on a silent but profound agreement as to what is to be accepted as the valid mould of experience.")

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