How to improve accuracy in CAT Verbal Reading Comprehension?

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Hello CAT aspirants!

Accuracy definitely depends on how well you learn the topic. The basic fundamental to gain precision in RCs is to go through RC concepts in a systematic fashion. What I follow in my classes is this:

  1. Contextual word learning
  2. Central Idea identification
  3. Identification of Title
  4. Understanding RC Glossary
  5. Building Style, mood, tone buckets
  6. Understanding question types
  7. Practice in self tutor mode

For practicing this pattern, you can refer to this book as well:

Now, coming to the next part: even after you have learnt, how to improve accuracy if you are making many mistakes. A word of caution: a lot of what I am going to discuss here will appear subjective – mainly because it is about the mind process. I will try to share my mind basically on approaching RCs with accuracy. I will share 3 cases for improvement:

Case 1: The first crush syndrome

Don’t loose sight of other options as soon as one seems good.

So, let’s say there are 4 options to a question.

First option a) You read and eliminate it

Now you come to option b) You feel this might be the right one

You then read c) and d) very fast or may be not at all. Your mind is stuck at b) – your first crush and you fail to check the options below properly. What if c) was a better (more relevant to the question and or more precise as per the passage) answer than b).

So, first point of wisdom to improve RC accuracy: Never lock an option as the right answer unless you evaluate every option.

Case 2: The “Dilemma” dilemma:

When not sure, dissect

Should I mark when not sure among two options? How to get more clear?

Quite often students tell me that they get confused between two options and then cannot understand which one to choose and then mark one out of the two – sometimes this works, sometimes it does not. This “confused between 2 dilemma” can be dealt better by knowing what to think at the time of marking.

  • Learn to dissect the two confusing options into points of similarity and points of difference.
  • Ignore the points of similarity – that is what is confusing you anyways.
  • Focus on the points of difference and this is where you re-read the question and try to identify which one is more relevant to the question being asked – this is what I call the context check.
  • If context does not lead you to the answer. The final check is precision check. Go to the passage where the answer lies and see which option is more precise according to the passage – more specific in tone or content matching I mean.
  • Finally mark or leave if not sure.

This is the kind of mind process that you follow to ensure accuracy.

Case 3: Learn to build mistake patterns

Use mistakes as stepping stones.

When you solve an RC or take a mock, after you go through the solution, write down the reason for mistakes in all questions that you got wrong. If you maintain this, overtime you will be conscious of the type of mistake you make more. Being conscious solves half the problem – accuracy improves.

Mistake pattern generally has 3 categories:

  1. Guess error – not sure among two options and marked
  2. Context error – misunderstood the question
  3. Presence error – could not find in passage

If apart from correct answer, you also focus on the type of mistake and make a note every time you make a mistake, you will improve a lot. It is about training your mind with every RC solved.

So, these were the three main inputs from my side. Hoping all of you benefit from this blog article.

Rahul Anand

Author, Algorithmic Reading Comprehension( )

Trainer, Bfactory

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