A few pointers to improve VA/RC


  • Director, Verbal Ability | Elite's Grid


    Start reading. I realize that this is mentioned in almost every such post and yet this point is disregarded by almost everyone. You are not required to become a fiction afficonado or Francis Bacon of literature, the idea is to get acquainted with different genres and various writing styles. Reading frequently will not only help you better prepare for the passages that you are bound to face on the D-Day, but it will also be of tremendous help in learning contextual usage of various words; improving your vocabulary, grammar and general knowledge.

    Sources to read:

    1. Economist
    2. TheGuardian
    3. Aldaily
    4. The Hindu
    5. Project Syndicate

    But at all costs, avoid Times of India and Hindustan Times.

    BUY the hard-copy of Sujit Kumar's books. And no, Arun Sharma is not a decent alternative. Buy this book and solve it religiously. Pick up three or four topics a day and solve 5 to 10 questions from each, nothing more than that. Your focus at this stage should not be maintaining accuracy or speed or both, rather you should try to comprehend the structure of various type of problems. You have plenty of time to worry about speed and accuracy, focus on the structure and try to guess the answers without looking at the options :
    A parajumble? Arrange and re-arrange the sentences till you are satisfied, no matter how much time it takes, and then try to match that with the answer options.
    A Paracompletion? What do you think should be the ending? If you were the author, how you would have framed the last part of the paragraph?
    But, DO NOT solve an entire topic in one go, and do not repeat the same topics in the same week. For RCs, follow the same with various difficulty levels.
    RC99 is a decent alternative of RC book, but I will particularly stress on buying a hard copy of a book since it will better help you to learn skimming in your early preparation days. Graduate to digital versions circa July.

    Practice. Set a target of a number of questions you are comfortable solving on a given day, and solve the same number of questions every day henceforth. I would personally recommend anything between 30 to 50 questions per day, but you are a better judge of your needs. Customize the variety of questions based on your strengths and weaknesses.

    Read the solutions especially if you get the question right. It doesn't matter whether you get an answer right or wrong. ALWAYS read the given explanation. Your reasoning might be different even for opting the right option. Analyse what else you should have noticed and considered for marking the option. This will be probably the single greatest factor to help you narrow down choices and eliminate seemingly close options.

    Lastly, be patient. VA can not be improved in a single day or a single month. Don;t lose your cool if you spend lots of time on problems and still get them wrong. Frustration is bete noir of accuracy, particularly in passages.

    There are some areas in VA that you can improve with practice but there are some areas that require functional knowledge that can only be gained by reading.
    RCs can be of various difficulty levels. You can either be selective about the sort of questions that you answer so as to maximise your accuracy. But that would be time consuming.
    What I would recommend for RCs is to develop a reading habit overtime.
    Pick up a subject that interests you - music, psychology, sports, food, fashion, whatever and start reading on that subject. The idea behind this is to develop stamina, comprehension and speed for reading longer hours and various texts that would be generally out of your comfort zone. Then after a couple of months of such readings, migrate to books or topics that seem unconventional to you. For example, suppose You are really good at Medicine and Science passages, average at psychology and general texts and terrible at sociology.
    After reading about your favourite topic, you can move to Medicine and Science passages and improve your scores in those areas. Then move to psychology and after some time, to sociology. But at the same time, read editorials and at least one good magazine. The choice of magazine depends on the field you want to explore. For finance/economics, read HBR, EPW or economist. For marketing read afaqs, for HR, read STAFF etc
    I don't have a list, but you can start from Grisham, Sheldon etc. EPW is Economics and political weekly, HBR is Harvard Business Review You can try Goodreads for better suited recommendations

    For PCs, PJs, practice as much as you can
    To start with, Set a daily target of at least 30 questions - including at least one RC a day. Even better if you do it in a timed manner.
    And for PVs and Vocab. There is a pdf for PVs, go through it. Learn 5 PVs a day for 6 days, and revise your wordlists every Sunday. Revision is the key here

    Try apps - Anki Droid, read articles whilst travelling.

    Regarding Grammar, Wrenn Martin and SC grail by Aristotle Prep
    Finish these two books, and you win CAT grammar.

    More Tips:

    1. Stop using SMS lingo. Use Complete words. You're not a 15 year old, nor you're constrained by a keyboard where you've to press one key 4 times to get the desired letter. Use SwiftKey or whatever, but absolutely avoid this proclivity of yours.

    2. Read as much as you can. Start with short stories, editorials, novellas and so on.

    3. If you're not from maths background, or consider yourself as weak in mathematics, pick up Rs Agarwal and Rd sharma of 9th, 10th standard and solve the topics falling under Cat's syllabus.

    4. Learn 5 new words, 5 days a week by making 5 sentences of each word. Revise your word lists on the other two days. And use these words in day to day communication.

    5. Start reading a newspaper. English. And it should not be times of India or DNA.

    Few More Tips (by Jyotishman Mudiar: )

    1. Read as much as you can from different fields like economics, politics, science , even fiction. That will help in RC

    2. Practice as much maths as you can. 1st work on the basics, then move on to past year CAT papers or may be past year mock paper as well.

    3. practice as much DI lR as you can. Source-> for basic any standard book will do. THen move to past year CAt papers(00-08 preferably) and also mock

    4. Join 2 mock series at least.

    5. stay involved in group without jeopardizing your normal schedule.

    6. may be join an online coaching for shortcuts and all.

    I hope this helps.


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