Simply put, 99 percentile means being in the top 1% performers. Being in the top 1% is a tough task as you need to compete with English graduates and with high “English end” university students. So, if you want a 99+ in Verbal, you need to take it as a marathon. Let us call it “The Verbal Prep Marathon”.
First step: Build a reading habit.
Understand, you can never do well in CAT if a 4-500 word article appears to be a lengthy read to you. You need to be very good at eating lines and paras of text. Thus, you must be in a habit of heavy reading! Start with simple books. By simple I mean, you can start with Famous Five books, Agatha or Hardy books. Slowly move to Sidney Sheldon, Sherlock Holmes and the likes. Generally will say, don’t go for Indian authors as the writing style of most Indian fiction writers is very simple and is not the perfect match to get CAT reading started. Try reading at least 50 novels before June ends! 50 easy ones! Just get into a habit of reading a lot. You will be on a right track. From the newspaper, at this level, you should try reading simple articles on philosophy or spiritual readings like the “Speaking Tree” by Times of India. Monitor your progress. By now you should feel more comfortable reading. You should feel the urge to start the next level now, to read more and to read at a tougher level! You should now feel the desire to read more difficult articles and novels.
Now that you have made a habit of reading easy stuff in large volumes, you can now start reading CAT relevant topics like philosophy, psychology, socio-economics, art, culture, science, fiction, literature etc. Read these from Wikipedia, google etc. At my institute, B-Factory, I make my students read such topics (We provide them the links to read and follow) and to write down word meanings. Now, this is to increase "Familiarity" with the kind of articles that come in CAT. CAT English is not difficult, it is often different. Normally, we don’t read these topics on a regular basis. Therefore reading such articles becomes difficult for us. Think about it; if you follow cricket, you can read a 400 word article on cricket in may be 2-4 minutes, with ease. But the same person might find it very difficult to read a 400 word article on “Stem cell technology” in 2-4 minutes. The understanding will also be lower in the second case if the person reading is not used to the topic. Hence, we must attempt to increase our CAT relevant reading ability by reading such topics. One should contextually read at least 40-50 such articles before August and may be another 30-40 in the month of October-November. This last month reading keeps your mind toned for CAT RC final combat. Apart from this, socio-economic-political reading can be done from Newspaper editorials. You can refer to Times of India or Telegraph main editorial from April to July. Switch to the Hindu or Economic Times editorial from August onwards. An editorial a day is pretty good for CAT. After July, you can take up novels on themes across genres. Motivational novels, objectivism classics of Ayn Rand etc. should come into foray from August to November. Read at least 30 higher level novels as well in this period.
2.1: Reading style
Always read keeping in mind the Central idea or the main theme of a paragraph. This helps you map a passage at one go. Good trainers will further teach you ways to speed read after you have done months of good central idea based reading. Remember, para phrasing based reading is not relevant for CAT. Keep noting what you read and keep moving. Do not get slow by getting too much into why and how.
A good CAT Verbal trainer will teach you elimination techniques to algorithmic solve Verbal questions. I train students my frameworks through which one can eliminate 50% options for every question. Learning from a good trainer who aims at removing guess work from Verbal and who trains you to build attempt/accuracy patterns in mind improves your performance. A theoretical and rote based typical trainer might not be the best guide for CAT Verbal. If you do not have a good trainer around, learn from books and try to build elimination patterns for all important topics. Referring to standard GMAT Comprehension and Critical reasoning questions and theory also helps you build mind patterns in Verbal.
Step 4: Focus more on the main topics
Focus mainly on Reading Comprehension, Para Jumbles, Summarization and Odd One out. These topics cover almost all of 34 questions that come in CAT verbal. Practice 1-2 RC every day and attempt the other mentioned topics as well. A total of 6-700 RCs before CAT will be good if you aim at VA 99. Also make sure, you solve 2-300 Para Jumbles and may be 100 questions a piece on CR and PS/PC/Odd one.
Step 5: Work through Verbal sectional and topic tests
Attempt at least 100 tests on Verbal, apart from the full mocks. Remember, clear your doubts and build appropriate mistake patterns in mind before you attempt the next test. Accuracy is the key in verbal as in the last 3 years the level has been easy to moderate. You can build speed at this level; accuracy becomes the main parameter for success then.
All the best aspirants!
If you want to discuss further, mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org