Verbal Abiity tips from Keerti Pendyal, CAT 100 percentiler

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    Keerti Pendyal scored a 100%le score in CAT and did his PGDM from IIM A. He worked with top firms like Ernst & Young and was a consultant at ISB, Hyderabad. He is also engaging his talent as a Co-promoter at Talent Management Solutions and is currently pursuing his FPM from IIM C

    VA prep is largely common-sense driven. In QA and Logic/DI, you have a  certain fixed set of types of questions, you can memorize the  formulae/methods of solving and you are set to attempt those sections of  CAT or any other standardized test. The  problem with VA/RC is that although the types of questions appear to be  fixed, each question in a given type of question is as different from  each other as the question types are different from each other. The painful truth about VA/RC is that there simply are no shortcuts to master these sections like one can find with QA/DI/Logic.

    Now,  what follows might seem very obvious and not require anybody pointing  out what needs to be done. But that is precisely the problem. Everybody  thinks that since it is pretty obvious what needs to be done, they can  postpone the preparation of this section to the end and focus on the  more "difficult" QA/DI/Logic sections.

    I will repeat. VA/RC  sections are difficult because one did not practice enough for these  sections and not because one did not know how to prepare.

    Now, what does one need to do?

    1. From  the day you start your preparation, devote some time to the VA/RC  section. This has to go on till the day you get admission into a school  of your choice (Not just till you give your exam, because nowadays you  have WAT instead of GDs in a lot of top B-schools and you need to be  very good at putting to paper all that you have learnt while studying  VA/RC).
    2. Study  your word lists religiously. Before you start your prep, fix the number  of words you are going to do in a day. STUDY AND COMPLETE THOSE WORDS  EVERYDAY. Never, ever ignore your word lists. Why is it so important  when you no longer have questions on synonyms/antonyms in top B-school  tests? Because the RCs might have words whose meaning completely escapes  you. And unless you have been a regular reader since you were a small  kid, trust me you wouldn't be able to understand a lot of these words  based on the context. And sometimes even if you are an avid reader,  there are chances you have misunderstood (A risk you do not want to take  at this stage).
    3. Read  the newspapers everyday. I would suggest "The Hindu" and "Economic  Times" but in case "The Hindu" is not available, you can go for  "Hindustan Times" or "Times of India" in that order. It would be even  better if you can add some magazines to this. Magazines like "Frontline"  or "Tehelka". When I say read the newspapers, I mean not just the  headlines. The entire news story as well. The most important part of the  newspapers are the editorials and the opinion columns. This will help  you understand how the words you learnt in the previous step can/should  be used and also help you built an instinct when it comes to sentence  correction questions.
    4. I  would also ask you to read books. If you have been an avid reader, I  dont need to ask you to do this. This is aimed more at students who  haven't read a lot before. If you are working, start with smaller books  (in terms of number of pages/word count) like 1984, Animal Farm, One  Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, etc. These books are small in terms of the  word count but they are very weighty books in terms of the ideas. If you  do not have time for books, read articles online and I do not mean  articles on ESPNCricinfo or Yahoo News. Something on the likes of  Economist, Forbes, etc. which cover a wide variety of topics and help  you get out of your comfort zone.
    5. Practice  as much as possible. Do as many RCs, VA based questions as possible.  Sources include the test prep material you purchased, material from  friends, previous years CAT papers, previous years mock CAT papers, etc.
    6. And  finally REVISE. REVISE. REVISE. All of the above is of no good use  unless you revise regularly. I would suggest every weekend (saturday  since sundays go in analysis of the mock CAT you gave that  morning/week). Revise everything you studied that week. And at the end  of the month, revise everything you did that month. Repeat this process  till the day of your examination and ideally till the day of your  interview (actually it should go on even after you get into a B-school)

    To sum it up:

    1. Practice/prep daily
    2. Do your word lists
    3. Read Newspapers
    4. Read books/articles
    5. Practice as many questions as possible
    6. Revise and analyse regularly (this applies to other sections and your mock CATs as well)

    As I said earlier, no big deal about the tips I mentioned. And very tedious as well. Precisely the reason why people dont want to focus on this area or quickly lose interest while preparing for this area.

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