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How To Increase Vocabulary For CAT In 30 Days

It’s a mistake to think you do need vocabulary for CAT. Why? Read this article to find out the importance of vocabulary in CAT. By IIM Skills – Online CAT coaching



Most aspirants of CAT often ignore vocabulary. This is because the CAT does not ask direct questions on vocabulary. Instead, it incorporates complex words into the questions in the VARC sections in the CAT exam. You cannot attempt the questions unless you understand the meaning of the word, even though you could have solved that question easily if you just knew the meaning of that word.



  • how to increase vocabulary for CAT
  • best mobile apps to increase vocab
  • why vocabulary is important
  • importance of vocabulary in cat and MBA


Although CAT does not ask vocab directly, you still need to study it for other management entrance exams like NMAT, SNAP, and for foreign studies- GRE and GMAT. Therefore vocabulary for the MBA entrance is an important section that must not be ignored.


Vocabulary in English, or any language, is a vast expanse and if you start by learning every word in the dictionary, you will spend an eternity just memorizing the meaning of the words, but all that effort would be a waste because you will not be able to use it any sentence. You will only be able to tell the meaning of a word if someone specifically asks for it.


Bottom line is, if you have a poor vocabulary, you are going to suffer in the CAT exam.


Suffer because you will encounter difficulty in solving the RCs and other questions in the verbal ability section in CAT. VARC section in CAT is all about comprehension and understanding and without vocabulary, your score is affected.


List of CAT Coaching Institutes in India 


Here are a few tips and techniques on how to increase your vocabulary for the CAT exam. Follow these for a few weeks and you will find your CAT vocabulary level perfect before the exam.


  1. Read more: Reading is the best way to improve or increase your vocabulary for CAT. Some examples of material you can read for vocabulary are novels, magazines, newspapers. The more words you come across, the better it is for your vocab. As you read more and find new words, try to first derive the meaning from the context. Then look up in the dictionary and see how close you landed.


  1. Always keep a dictionary with you: You most likely use a smartphone, which makes carrying a dictionary easier than ever. With just a few clicks you can find the meaning of any word. You can also find its pronunciation, its etymology to find when is it used appropriately. You can open the thesaurus and find similar words. It is important not just to learn the meaning of a word to also find its appropriate use. Two words may have the same meaning but different connotations. Learning this connotation is important if you want to use the word in your speech or writing.


  1. Keep a vocab notebook. Keeping a notebook just for vocabulary will help you immensely. You can keep revising when you have free time. The act of writing it down also registers the word in your memory. Keeping a notebook for vocabulary for CAT will also help you track your vocab progress. This progress will hold you accountable, which will motivate you to learn even more vocab. 


  1. Learn 5 new words every day. Every day because learning 5 words is a small target but if you do it every day, you will have 150 new words by the end of the month. By the end of 6 months, you will have 900 words. There are many websites or apps that will help you do that. These apps are listed later in this article. Learning this way keeps you consistent. You will work a little every day. Consistency in the everyday effort is much more efficient than working hard but just for one day or a few days and then forgetting about vocabulary. 


  1. Learning etymology or roots of the word: This is a good way to remember the meaning of words. Most words in English have a Latin or Greek root. Etymology helps us learn about how the word originated and reached its current form. It will tell you about its relations with other words. This helps build a story and a story is always easier to remember than facts. 


  1. Play games for vocabulary. There are many vocabulary games that make increasing your vocabulary more fun and interactive. These games help learn new words as well as keeping you on track in your progress if you are learning vocabulary for CAT, GRE, or GMAT. Some games like these are crossword puzzles, Scrabble, word jumble, Boggle, anagrams. Some games on how to build your vocabulary for CAT can be found later in this article.


  1. Talk to people. This is because unless you use your newly learned words in conversations,  you are not going to remember them for more than a week. Talking will help you recall words from memory and help you learn the connotation of it. If you are weak at vocabulary, take the help of someone better than you. Alternatively, you can also talk to foreigners from English-speaking countries. Many Asians do that in countries like Japan, China, and Korea. There are websites for that but you can just use any online chatting app. When you are talking to them and learn a new word, list it in your vocab notebook. This is also a great way to make new friends.


Here is the list of The Top CAT Coaching Institutes In Mumbai


What are the best apps to build vocabulary for CAT?


In the second section on how to build vocabulary for CAT, you will have help from many different apps and websites. There are various apps, both for android and iOS, for candidates of CAT, GRE, GMAT, and for just general people who want to improve their vocabulary.


These apps make increasing your vocabulary fun and interactive. Many of these apps also track your progress for exams like GRE. Some apps even tell you how good you are compared to a native speaker. You can compete with friends who are preparing for the same exam.


Smartphones have made everything easy. It is a really powerful tool for increasing vocabulary for CAT too. Learning CAT vocabulary will also strengthen your grasp of the English language. The following apps make it easy to learn new words and remember them.


  1. Vocabulary.com

This free app helps you learn new words and also remember them later, through interactive games and puzzles. Vocabulary.com uses complex algorithms and programs to formulate questions and puzzles for every user according to their needs and level. This is used by many aspirants who want to increase vocabulary for CAT.


  1. PowerVocab

Powervocab is another popular app that is a meaningful matching game. Users match meaning against their words and vice-versa.  You can compete against other users or play time-bound games to build your vocab. However, this game is available for android phones only.


  1. Magoosh Vocabulary Builder

Magoosh is one of the most popular vocabulary builder apps for both android and iOS. This app specifically helps you prepare your vocabulary for GRE. However, you can also use it for other exams too.


This app is very successful. It contains a quiz that helps you learn over 1200 words that you can use in your essays in exams like TOEFL and IELTS. The words are picked by experts to ensure they are the most used of complex words.


Although this app also has a defining feature and helps you with the pronunciation of words. It has different sections of vocabulary like basic, intermediate, and advanced.


  1. Word of the Day Widget


Powervocab also has a word of the day or a word a day widget for smartphones that helps you learn a new word every day. You may think it’s only one word but learning just one word will motivate you to learn more and meet your daily target of 5 words.


  1. 7 Little Words

“7 little words is a fun game that gives you seven definitions and tiles with combinations of two or three letters on them that you have to arrange into the seven words. With this game, you learn as you narrow down your choices from words you do know to words you don’t.”


  1. Word to Word

Word to word is a word association app or game which gives you a list of challenges and you have to connect the words to them. It could ask in the form of synonyms, antonyms, or similar words and usage in idioms. If you like to play with elements of language, this app might also be a little addictive. 


  1. Words with Friends

This app is developed by the developers of the popular game Farmville. This is a relatively old app but very popular. It may not be specifically designed for an exam like CAT or GRE ut it will definitely help you learn new words. You can play this game with family and friends.


Why is vocabulary important?


If you are learning a new language, vocabulary is essential to understand the language properly. It is not only important for exams but learning a new language opens many opportunities.


You can watch foreign Tv shows and movies, you can talk to native language speakers and listen to new songs. But more importantly, vocabulary helps in the improvement of reading comprehension, listening skills, speaking skills, and writing abilities. 


You will always need to use different words to express yourself. Failing to build a proper vocabulary will limit your abilities to communicate properly and clearly.


There are also chances that you may miscommunicate or mishear something. Miscommunication can lead to errors and blunders if you are at a job or exam.


When asked about the significance of vocabulary, the linguist David Wilkins stated: “without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed.” you need words if you want to convey your thoughts.


If you cannot find the right word to express something, over time, it will discourage you to even talk a lot. This is not good because communication is important for us as human beings.


Learning vocabulary for CAT will help you communicate properly. But there is another advantage of improving your vocab. Learning and memorizing new and novel words exercises and uses your memory.


This has many benefits, one being that this keeps your brain healthy. As you keep learning new words, it becomes easier to remember them.


The teacher has an essential role in helping students to improve their vocabulary. Unfortunately, vocabulary teaching has not been enough responsive to such problems, and teachers have not recognized the tremendous importance of helping their students to develop an extensive vocabulary.


If we look back in the past, we discover that for a long time, English used teaching approaches such as the Direct Method and Audiolingualism which emphasized the primary importance of teaching grammatical structures.


Since the accent was on grammar, few words were introduced in such courses, and most often, they were limited and related to the grammar structures taught.


Why is it difficult to learn new words?


English is a tough language, but it can be understood through tough thorough thought, though!!


When you are learning a new language, you’d come across some words that are easier to remember than others. Words that are closer to your native language are usually the easy ones.


But if you are a native speaker of languages like Hindi or any other Indian language, it may be hard for you because English and Hindi do not share the same roots.


English words are mostly derived from Latin and Greek while Hindi words are derived from Sanskrit. There are a few similar words, but the similarities are very few.


Another feature of English that makes it difficult to learn new words, is the pronunciation of many words that are spelled similarly but are pronounced differently.


There a few words like ‘health’ or ‘crisps’ that many new speakers find confusing to pronounce. Then some letters are silent. These reasons make a new learner confused with English.


Why students forget new words?


Practicing your newly learned vocabulary is a must if you don’t want to forget the words. Practicing would involve speaking and writing by using new words. 


There are two main reasons students of vocabulary for CAT, forget new words very soon. 


The first reason is when students learn new words, they tend to forget the old ones. If you are learning 5 new words every day as part of your preparation for the CAT exam, you may forget the words you learned on the first day on, say, the 15th day.


The new words that we learn are often similar to the ones we learned earlier and in the quest to remember the new vocabulary, you forget the old ones. The new vocabulary ‘overwrites’ the memory of the old vocabulary.


The second reason for forgetting the vocabulary is the lack of revision. Many students have found that revising the newly learned vocabulary regularly helps them remember the words much longer.


Though, it is not as easy as learning the words and their definitions. When revising vocabulary for CAT, students should try to use the words in sentences, preferably newer sentences. Understand the meaning of the words and their connotation. Try to also read the etymology.


How to remember words you have learned?


To have a rich vocabulary enough for exams like CAT, GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL, you need to learn many words in a short span of time. But in addition to learning, you also need to remember.


Unlike grammar rules that can be memorized and applied universally in the language, vocabulary involves reading and memorizing individual words along with their definition. It is a purely memory-based skill.


There are different types of memory: short-term, working memory, and long-term memory.


As the name suggests, short-term memory is limited and it gives the illusion that you have remembered something when you actually forget it later. Short-term memory is limited and can hold only a few things at one time, usually a few seconds.


Short-term memory does not help a lot in improving vocabulary for CAT. this is because vocabulary is more than just memorizing words.


The next type of memory is working memory. This type of memory helps you store the new words for a time that is enough for you to make sense of it and use it in a sentence. This memory is more logical and rational. 


Lastly, long-term memory is the most reliable memory and our goal of learning vocabulary for CAT is to put words here. Long-term memory is a much larger memory and can hold a lot of information, consciously and subconsciously. But even long-term memory is not eternal memory.


A lack of practice will remove any word from your long-term memory. This is because new memories are constantly being made and the old ones get pushed behind. But if you practice vocabulary for CAT regularly, the long-term memory is where you will have it stored.


There are many techniques for students to increase, improve and remember their collection of words. 


Repetition is one of the tools. To keep the words until the time you need to use them, ie Personal interview, you should keep repeating and revising. This is why it is important and helpful to keep a vocab notebook.


But repetition alone is not enough. You also have to remember to use it in sentences. This helps in a better understanding of words and you can also find other words with similar meanings. 


Another great technique, which should be the essence of practicing vocabulary, is to speak and talk as much as possible. And to use the new words you have learned in the sentences.


There are many other vocabulary-oriented sessions for which you need a group of people. Get together your friends who are also preparing for CAT, and organize speaking sessions where you can use new words and your friends will correct your mistakes.


You should also keep revisiting the vocab notebook preferably every week and relearn all the words you have learned until that day. This will etch the words in your long-term memory.


Learning vocabulary in any new language is highly dependent on applying your learnings in real-life situations. As earlier said, you should try to communicate more with native language speakers.


You can talk to foreigners via online chats. Many Asian students practice their English this way by talking to Americans, and Americans learn about the Asian language this way. This helps both the students learn each other’s language.


Another interesting way to remember words is by associating them with images. Everyone knows that it is much easier to remember an image than to remember a word.


Associating words and meanings with images helps you to remember them longer. You will still need to do some thinking while using it but in time you will get faster with it. It is so important to visualize because it helps in learning, not just new words but anything new, like a skill.


Summarising the article on how to increase your vocabulary for CAT, we will say that you should not ignore vocabulary as a section in CAT. You will always be asked and tested on your vocabulary by CAT through other questions. Besides, CAT is not the only management entrance exam.


There are others like SNAP, IIFT, GMAT, and more that need you to build vocabulary since they ask direct questions. English is a complex language, especially for new learners. But as you read and understand more, you will find it really worthwhile.


As a future manager and a management student, you need to have great language skills. 


We hope you found this article helpful. For more such articles for your CAT preparation, visit our CAT exam blog.


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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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