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Common Mistakes In CAT RC Section To Avoid

Do you want to increase your score in the CAT RC section but keep making mistakes? Find out those common mistakes and avoid them. By IIM Skills- online CAT coaching.


Reading comprehension or RCs as they are popularly known as being one of the most dreaded sections in CAT. RC questions analyze a candidate’s verbal and comprehension skills.


Reading comprehension questions are tricky and time-consuming and there are many common mistakes in the CAT RC section candidates commit that ruin their CAT percentile.


This is why many CAT candidates leave this section altogether. But with just a little practice every day for a few days could avoid common mistakes in the CAT RC section make the RC section in CAT look very easy to you.




  • common mistakes in CAT RC section
  • How to improve RC in CAT
  • Practice questions


There are many reasons candidates avoid attempting the RC section in CAT. Because they think they might do it incorrectly. They do common mistakes in the CAT RC section.


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Mistakes that are avoidable with a little practice and a few tricks and tips on how to avoid common mistakes in the RC section of CAT. Some of these mistakes are listed below:


Trying to memorize


RC questions are intended to test the verbal and comprehending capabilities of the individual. You should not attempt to memorize the lines of the passage.


Rather, you should try to understand and focus on comprehension of the passage. Try to get a grasp of what is happening and point out key details. 


Ignoring Details


Another one of the common mistakes in the CAT RC section is ignoring the details. Although this gets better with practice, you have to notice key details and changes while reading the passage. There is always information that is crucial and could be used directly in a question.


RC Question setters always put a trick in this topic and incorporate questions from some information that seems trivial at first and are often ignored. Then you have to go back to the passage and read it again and waste time. So, read the whole passage properly and notice every detail that it mentions.


Reading The Passage First


In RC section in CAT, it is necessary to check the questions before anything and then scan the passage properly. By knowing the questions first, you can simply examine and pick out the important information in the passage and can have precise recognition of such information.


So, see the questions before and remember the key details in memory while examining the passage. This way you can easily avoid the common mistakes in CAT RC section.


Getting Struck with Vocabulary


One of the most common mistakes that the candidates commit is wasting a lot of time in understanding the exact meaning of all the words.


Though a good vocabulary is desirable, in most of the cases, one can easily comprehend the passages without understanding certain words. It is suggested to avoid getting stressed if the meaning of a certain word is unknown.


Falling into the Traps


There are many traps or tricks set up in the questions in the CAT paper. This is done so that the candidates waste time and their performance decreases.


Some of these tricks include a dreamer trap or scope trap. They are either traps that take the reader out of the context of the passage and you can never know that unless you know the questions. Pay special attention to keywords like “but”, “however”, “nevertheless”. Etc. These keywords hold subtle meaning changes about the passage.


These were a few of the mistakes that are undoubtedly avoidable that CAT candidates regularly commit while trying the RC questions in CAT.


It is recommended to dodge these general mistakes in the CAT exam to be able to perform better in the VARC section. Learn how to develop reading comprehension skills from the tips mentioned below and tackle any VARC question with ease.


It is also recommended to practice as many as possible RC questions before the CAT exam.


Tips and tricks to get better at RC Reading comprehension in CAT


The best strategy to avoid common mistakes in CAT RC section is to follow these steps well in advance of your CAT preparation.


Read, read, read


Your intention for RC must be to read as much as your schedule allows. Aim at least an hour of reading every day. You can read any topic that interests you. For example, Philosophy, history, current affairs, politics, technology, etc.


It is also essential that you examine the lines after reading them. Read them as many times as you require. Go for quality of understanding, not the number of pages. As you read the same passage multiple times, you will find a lot of data that you missed the first time. As you keep practicing this way, you will learn and perceive more information in fewer attempts.


Once you read the passage, rewrite it in your own words. Write what do you make of the writing style, the choice of words and the phrasing. You try to critique the writer’s opinion. Write whatever you like or if don’t prefer the writer’s opinion.


Even if you just reproduce the article in your words, it is sufficient. Just do this every day and be consistent. You will see the improvement yourself and will discover out how much your reading comprehension has improved.


The more you read the more successfully you can avoid common mistakes in CAT RC section.


Improve your vocabulary


As you read, identify and write the words whose definition you do not remember. Write their definition from the dictionary. Make this list in a notebook for vocabulary so you can return to it and read it again regularly. Unless you revise it you won’t get better with vocabulary.


If you read on the computer or phone, it is more accessible to find the definition by just double-tapping on the word. There are many applications and browser extensions for that. Search and install one. You can check the definition of any word you come across by just tapping on it.


In just a few weeks you will learn hundreds of new words and by 4-5 months you will have a huge reservoir of words.




Succeeding in CAT is a big goal. An easier way is to divide and separate your project into many small projects. Smaller targets are easier to overcome and keep you motivated. Divide large topics and take a few days for each whole topic.


Break each topic into different levels and exercises to do every day. For example, Reading Comprehension,  Incomplete sentences, Sentence Correction, and Critical Reasoning.


Fix a schedule or a study plan for CAT. Divide each material into small pieces to be finished in weeks and days. Take out moments for reading every day. Attempt 2-3 RCs every day. Keep examining your mock test results and concentrate on areas that come out weaker. 


Some candidates keep an aim of 20-30 pages of any novel/magazine every day. At this rate, you can complete a book in about 2 weeks. In the entire CAT preparation, this will help you complete about 12-15 books depending reading speed.


The solution here is not to try to read more pages but to try to fully comprehend the limited number of pages you read.




Grammar is as important as elementary maths for language. If you don’t believe you are comfortable with English grammar, like most applicants are, you can read and get a guidebook for grammar like the wren and martin.


Studying practices of grammar will help you recognize how correct or incorrect your communicative English is. You will follow the minor subtleties of the language. 


Find out what are some basic grammatical mistakes many people make. You will immediately become better compared to most people.


Critical reasoning


If you continue following the directions here and continue practicing diligently and consistently, you will become significantly better than most CAT applicants in 3-4 months. The problems in the RC section take less time than the quant and DILR sections.


You can improve your CAT score significantly, in fact, for every unit of time, you can solve more VARC CAT questions than the other two sections. This indicates a better return on the investment of time. 


Just remember, practice is the secret to high CAT score. Don’t get lazy after getting a little better because a lack of practice can also worsen your score. 


Mock tests


If there is another thing than practicing RC problems that should be your mantra to avoid common mistakes in CAT RC section, it is solving mock tests.


In addition to practice, mock tests also help you get adapted to the exam temperament. In the new CAT format, you have just 60 minutes to complete the entire VARC for CAT. 


This is sufficient if you do not waste time and avoid common mistakes in CAT RC section. You should strive for answering 50-60 % of questions accurately. Raise your correct percentage before you decide to attempt extra questions.


In extension to practice, mock tests allow you to develop a great strategy for VARC in CAT. As you must be aware of. Beginning to solve the questions as soon as you get the paper is a poor strategy.


You should spend at least 3-4 minutes scanning through the paper and mark the questions to solve first. Try to mark 50-60% of the problems. Answer them first. Then verify if they are accurate. Only when there is some time left should you attempt the leftover questions.


As you keep training you will get more skilled at picking questions. You will further identify your strengths and weaknesses.


It is recommended to work on your weak regions in the early preparation stages but not if you only have a few days left for the CAT exam. At that point, work extra on your strong areas, because there is no requirement to solve the whole CAT paper.


Don’t invest more than 2.5 minutes on one problem. Every question will get you equal marks. 


Practice questions in Reading Comprehension for CAT


Passage 1:


Many United States organizations have, sadly, made the hunt for legal protection from import competition into a significant line of work. Since 1980s, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has collected about 280 grievances alleging damage from imports that profit from subsidies by international conventions.


Another 340 complaints claim that many foreign companies “dumped” their goods inside the United States at “less than fair value.” Even if no unfair practices are testified, the mere claim that a sector of business has been hurt by imports is adequate grounds to seek relief.


Contrary to the common opinion, this search for import relief has damaged more businesses than it has served. As companies begin to operate globally, they develop an elaborate network of marketing, manufacturing, and R&D alliances.


The complexity of these alliances makes it questionable that a system of import relief laws can satisfy the strategic requirements of all the units functioning in the same parent corporation.


Internationalization raises the danger that foreign businesses will utilize import relief laws facing the very businesses the laws were intended to protect. Suppose a United States company sets an overseas factory to produce a product while its rival manufactures the same product inside the United States.


If the rival can prove harm from the imports—and if the first company obtained a subsidy from the foreign government to establish its plant there, the second company’s goods will be uncompetitive in the United States, because they are subjected to duties.


Possibly the most brazen case happened when the ITC studied charges that Canadian companies were harming the United States salt manufacturers by dumping rock salt, employed to de-ice roads.


The unusual character of the complaint was that a foreign corporation having United States operations was requesting help against a United States corporation with outside manufacturing.


The “United States” corporation alleging injury was a subsidiary of a Dutch conglomerate, while the “Canadian” groups included a subsidiary of a firm based in Illinois, that happened to be the second-largest domestic manufacturer of rock salt.



Based on the Passage above, answer the following questions:


  1. The passage above is mainly concerned with


(A) arguing against the increased globalization of United States companies


(B) warning that the application of laws concerning trade constantly has unintended outcomes


(C) showing that foreign-based companies obtain more subsidies from their governments than United States companies receive from the United States government


(D) supporting the use of trade restrictions for “dumped” goods but not for other imports


(E) supporting a uniform method for managing allegations of unfair trade practices



  1. It can be concluded from the passage above that the minimal grounds for a complaint to the International Trade Commission is


(A) A foreign company has obtained a subsidy from a foreign government.


(B) A foreign company has considerably increased the volume of products exported to the United States.


(C) A foreign company is selling goods in the United States at a lower price than fair market value.


(D) The corporation requesting import relief has undergone damaged by the dumping of imports in the United States. 


(E) The corporation requesting import relief has been prevented from exporting goods to the country of its foreign competition.



  1. The last paragraph serves which of the following purposes in the passage?


(A) It summarizes the debate thus far and suggests additional fields of research.


(B) It gives a recommendation on the basis of the evidence offered earlier.


(C) It discusses an unusual case in which the results anticipated by the author of the passage were not received.


(D) It presents an additional field of concern not discussed earlier.


(E) It cites a particular case that shows a problem presented more commonly in the previous paragraph.



  1. The passage warns of which of the following dangers?


(A) Businesses in the United States may get no protection from imports unless they actively explore protection from import competition.


(B) Businesses that seek legal shelter from import competition may undergo legal expenses that far surpass any possible gain.


(C) “Businesses that are United States-owned but conduct internationally may not be qualified for protection from import competition under the laws of the countries in which their plants operate.”


(D) “Companies that are not United States-owned may seek legal protection from import competition under the United States import relief laws.”


(E) “Companies in the United States that import raw materials may have to pay duties on those materials.”



  1. Which option does the passage suggest that is most likely to be true of United States trade laws


(A) They will abolish the habit of “dumping” goods in the United States.


(B) They will enable companies in the United States to fight more profitably outside the United States.


(C) They will influence the trade of the United States with Canada more negatively than trade with other countries.


(D) “Those that help one unit within a parent company will not necessarily help other units in the company.”


(E) Those that are related to international companies will achieve their expected result.



 Passage 2:


By the end of the 19th century, a growing interest in Native American traditions and an rising excitement to learn about the Native American culture inspired ethnologists to start recording the life accounts of Native Americans.


Ethnologists had a different reason for desiring to hear the accounts: they were interested in the linguistic or anthropological knowledge that would extend their own field observations, and they thought that the personal accounts, even of a single person, could increase their knowledge of the cultures that they had been examining from outside.


In addition, many ethnologists at the end of the century thought that Native American practices and systems were rapidly disappearing and that it was necessary to preserve for posterity as much knowledge as could be sufficiently recorded before the cultures vanished forever.


There were, however, disputes against this practice as a way of acquiring reliable and complete information. Franz Boas, for example, called autobiographies as being “of limited value, and useful particularly for the study of the perversion of truth by memory,” while Paul Radin contested that investigators seldom spent sufficient time with the tribespeople they were observing, and inevitably determined results too influenced by the investigator’s own emotional nature to be reliable.


Even more importantly, as these life accounts transferred from the popular oral mode to recorded written reports, much was lost. Editors often determined what elements were important to the field research on a given tribe.


Native Americans realized that the essence of their lives could not be delivered in English and that events that they thought meaningful were often considered unnecessary by their interviewers.


Indeed, the very act of telling their accounts could make Native American narrators distort their cultures, as restrictions had to be broken to pronounce the names of dead kin essential to their family stories.


Despite all of this, autobiography prevails a useful means for ethnological research: such personal stories and impressions, inadequate as they may be, likely throw more light on the functioning of the mind and emotions than any number of speculations from an ethnologist or ethnological theorist from a different culture.



Based on the Passage above, answer the following questions:


  1. Which of the following best represents the organization of the passage?


(A) The historical backgrounds of the two currently practiced research techniques are chronicled.


(B) The validity of the information gathered by using two different research techniques is compared.


(C) The value of a research approach is questioned and then a new approach is proposed.


(D) The use of a research technique is explained and the limitations of the outcomes attained are discussed.


(E) A research method is assessed and the changes necessary for its accommodation to other subject fields are discussed.



  1. Which of the options is most related to the actions of nineteenth-century ethnologists in their editing of the life accounts of Native Americans?


(A) “A witness in a jury trial invokes the Fifth Amendment in order to avoid relating personally incriminating evidence.”


(B) A stockbroker declines to reveal the source of her data on the possible future rise in a stock’s value.


(C) A sports announcer reports the performance in a team sport on which he is unfamiliar.


(D) “A chef deliberately excludes the special ingredient from the recipe of his prizewinning dessert.”


(E) “A politician fails to mention in a campaign speech the similarities in the positions held by her opponent for political office and by herself.”



  1. As per the passage, collecting life accounts can be a valuable methodology because


(A)” life accounts provide deeper insights into a culture than the hypothesizing of academics who are not members of that culture”


(B) life accounts can be obtained easily and they are not prone to wrong interpretations


(C) ethnologists possess a limited number of research techniques to pick from


(D) life accounts make it easy to differentiate between the essential and unnecessary features of a culture


(E) the collection of life accounts does not need a culturally informed investigator


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Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

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