How To Prepare For VARC
CAT is one of the biggest competitive exams in the country. For the students who want to pursue an MBA, it’s an open window for the accomplishment of their dreams.
This exam as we all know includes 3 subjects Verbal Ability Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Aptitude (QA). Students must score well in every subject to reach that 99%ile level.
So the subject we will learn as to how to secure good marks and prepare for is VARC as the title suggests.
VARC takes up about an hour of your time, it’s weightage is about 102/300. The total number of questions is 34 out of which 24 are from RC and 10 are from VA. The RC are multiple-choice questions and the remaining from VA are TITA questions. Since the TITA questions don’t carry any negative markings you can easily score without any sort of pressure.
Students often find this section tough as most students don’t have a habit of reading or being well versed with the grammar rules. Here are the tips to prepare for VARC and ace this section like a pro:-
VARC is divided into 2 sections
- RC (READING COMPREHENSION)VA (VERBAL ABILITY)
Let’s start with the first section
RC (READING COMPREHENSION)
The first thing to start doing is to read every day for at least 15 minutes. Students usually, don’t have the habit and then they end up losing marks in this section. Begin from reading short stories or articles, the genres that you love.
Then gradually go on to skimming through newspaper articles from where you will learn a lot of vocabulary skills. Keep a dictionary or Google open, I am sure most of you would opt for the latter while reading.
Whenever you come across a keyword that’s new to you, search up its meaning and jot it down. Go through those new words every day so that you will build up a habit and even remember the meanings without any burden.
This will make you a master of important vocabulary words in no time.
Coming to the RC passages which are 5 in the paper, they are long and exhaustive. No student has the time to read all of them thoroughly since you just have an hour to solve the entire section.
Be smart in this section and use certain techniques to curb your time. The first 2-3 questions are always a bit easier than the rest. So opt for the passages which are shorter instead of the long ones.
While reading, don’t lose any focus and look for the important keywords to which you know the answer. Glance through the questions. See which ones you know well, you’re confident about the answers.
Attempt those without fear. Leave the rest if needful instead of securing negative marking which could pull down your scoreboard.
Increase the speed of your reading every day by little. Since you have too much to read, and very little time to grasp it all. Gradually your mind will start working with your speed and you will be able to understand the passage quickly.
Read with such concentration and focus that you don’t have to go back to it again. Sometimes while reading a passage, midway you will realize you don’t know it. In that second leave that passage and go ahead with the other one instead of pondering on the difficult one.
Mock tests form a big part of your preparation. They will give you a clear idea as to where you stand. If you score less, don’t lose heart since these tests are made for you to rectify your mistakes. Practice as much as you can, you will achieve your goals.
2. Comprehension Skills
You just don’t have to read but you also have to understand the passage. Blankly reading won’t get you anywhere. Students who don’t have a habit of reading, the moment you start to try to grasp the passage as you go ahead.
Understand what the author of the passage is saying and make a summary out of it if necessary. Inculcate these little things from the start to spare you from the burden later.
Process the text in your mind, get the meaning behind it and then start solving the questions. These skills will not only help you in the exam but also in the outside world. Till the time you finish your preparation, you will also increase a lot of your general knowledge.
- The Tone of the Passage
This will tell you a lot about the author’s perspective towards the passage. The kinds of tones that are seen in passages are as follows:-
The tone here is harsh/ bitter.
The tone is used to force someone or offend someone in a way that provokes them.
It is used to depict emotions of sorrow, regret related to any injuries or regrets a person has faced in his life.
In this tone of the passage is to analyze the facts which include what the author is trying to convey.
Here the passage favors a person or even situation depending on what the story is all about.
The story gets molded due to the protagonist’s feelings towards other characters or situations. It could be love, hate, jealousy, pride, ego.
This is full of jokes, puns, or witty remarks to entertain the readers.
Representing the opposite meaning, rather than the original one in the passage. It is used to show the difference between emotions or situations.
To give the reader a certain sense of encouragement as to do something in their life, which would change it for good.
A simple narration of events without any complex ways of expressing emotions.
The author uses sarcasm, irony, or witty remarks to make fun of a person or situation.
Here it is used to ridicule or make fun of certain situations.
4. How to Identify Keywords
Keywords are those which will be scattered all over the passage. You have to identify which one is which to understand the tone and meaning of the passage.
It will help you determine the sentiments and state of mind. The adjectives in the passage will give you an idea about the base tone.
They are used to persuade the reader’s mind. Certain words like amused, ridiculous, cheerful, mock, bitter, sincere, dejected, critical, sympathetic are some of the similar keywords which are adjectives are the examples you can look out for in the passage.
5. Eliminating the Options
Once you trace the keywords, then figure out the tone of the passage you can start eliminating the options given in the questions accordingly. Guessing the correct state of mind of the author will give you an idea of the correct answer, thus increasing your score.
- Examples of different tones of writing
- I asked Johnny to this for me. He’s not up to the job. (Aggressive)
- After he was blamed for cheating, he begged on his knees for mercy. (Apologetic)
- This is the place where we dump all the waste. (Analytical, just facts)
- “I think we should listen to Jared has to say.” The minister spoke. “He’s already guilty, just because he’s your relative we can’t give him any leverage.” The head of the ministers replied. (Biased)
- The kind words of her mother comforted her in times of pain. (Emotional)
- The moment I try to sleep my brain suddenly brings back my worst memories of 10 years ago. (Humorous)
- “Oh just great! Now you have broken my new phone!” (Irony)
- Obstacles are a part of life, they will lead you to success. (Motivation)
- Every love story is the same, a boy and a girl meet go through struggles and then you get a happy ending. (Narrative)
- Voltaire once said, “It’s forbidden to kill therefore all murders are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
“May the Lord be with you.” Maya held her hand up while Ronnie looked at her confused.
- “She has prepared research analysis, charts, and screenshots to destroy you.” Maya laughed as Ronnie looked at her in horror. (Sarcasm)
7. Picking out the passages.
RC questions usually contain around 5 passages. Out of them the first 3 of them are long and the rest are short. Opt for the ones you know are read and you are confident about their answers.
Skim through the passages quickly to understand which ones you want to attempt. For every right answer, you give you earn 3 marks but for every wrong one, you lose 1 mark.
You need to be careful in picking up the passage due to the negative marking. Practice as many passages you can to give an edge about which ones to chose.
According to the pattern you will know from which topics the RC passages are asked the most. Prepare those you will crack the section without any difficulty.
- Important Topics asked in RC
- Business and Economics
- Literary criticism
- Science and environment
- Current affairs
- Abstract topics or fiction
Pick the topic you are most familiar with in the exams. The style of writing will tell you whether the passage is simple or complex. Since, they are selected from various platforms, like newspapers, stories, websites, magazines, and many more. Hence, the style of writing differs from passage to passage.
Certain passages with complex passages contain troublesome vocabulary which could shake your confidence. Ignore such passages that are too time-consuming instead focus on the short ones and score your marks.
VA (Verbal Ability)
Verbal ability is the part where the students have to be well versed with the rules of grammar. This section is all about applying the right logic, figuring out the topic, and marking the answer.
The key areas in this section are adjectives, pronouns, synonyms, antonyms, idioms, phrases, prepositions, verbs, and so on. The topics it contains are as follows:-
· Jumbled paragraphs
· Jumbled Sentence
· Sentence Correction
· Complete the Sentence (Fill in the Blanks)
· Critical Reasoning
· Deductive Logic
· Paragraph Completion
· Paragraph Summary
· Facts Inference Judgement
· Summary Questions
· Arguments and Irrelevant Statements
b. Jumbled paragraphs, sentences, corrections and complete the sentence
These kinds of questions are quite common and you can also easily solve them. The jumbled paragraphs, sentences are scoring in nature. All you have to do is read the passage thoroughly and not lose focus. See which sentence connects with the RC passage, accordingly select an option.
For jumbled paragraphs, try to decide the theme of the passage, then see whether you know the passage and in the end, look out for the options. Sentence corrections usually include grammatical errors, spelling corrections, and so on.
Complete the sentence means to fill in the blanks. In these kinds of questions, the options will help you to pick the correct answer. Read the question, apply the options, eliminate the wrong ones, secure your marks.
An analogy is a relationship between two words as it connects them both with a single link. These analogies have these usual relations like purpose or usage, cause, and its effects, part-part relations, part-whole relations, action and objects, synonyms, antonyms, characteristics, manner, their types, symbol relations, degrees, and much more. Once you get the hang of these questions, solve them with logic and you will earn your marks.
d. Critical Reasoning
Critical reasoning means thinking analytically of various possibilities, evaluating them to draw out the best solutions. These types of questions are important for the exams as they test a student’s logical, analytical ability to solve them.
You need to develop skills like observation, evaluation, logic, analytical skills to crack the questions. By regularly solving CR questions will get a clear idea about what kind of ones will be asked in the exam. As these questions are tricky and a little tough in the exams it’s better to get well versed with them instead of fumbling over them.
Identify the context of the passage, the arguments, and the theme will help you to understand the point the author wants to make. Check for any reasoning that has been given, interpret the idea behind it. In the end, think of a simple conclusion out it.
See whether you can identify the assumption that has been scattered throughout. After finding out the right assumption according to you see if it leads you to a conclusion.
Once you conclude, look for any evidence in the passage that could lead to an answer in the options below. In the first go if you fail, don’t fret much over it.
Try to find the missing link among all if you are all confused about the right one. Ask questions to the assumption, if you find the answer among the options below you have got it.
e. Facts Inference Judgement
Firstly you need to understand the basic difference between Inference and Judgement. Inference means concluding on the basis of evidence and logical reasoning.
Judgment means to state facts, make decisions and come to sensible conclusions upon it. This section is all based on society’s opinions, the author’s point of view, the basic truths, known statements. You are needed to figure out the answer by using your logical reasoning.
f. Arguments and Irrelevant Statements
Arguments are based on facts, evidence, assumptions, and the conclusions we draw from them. Arguments are of two types
- Deductive Argument
- Inductive Argument
Deductive Arguments that are invalid are termed as weak arguments as they don’t have enough evidence to prove they are right. When these arguments are valid, you will need strong support to prove the conclusion. When the statements guarantee in giving you the right conclusion then you have the right answer at your hands.
Inductive Arguments need to be quite strong to state that the assumptions you have made and the statements are true. If you can’t prove this then the statements will turn out to be false.
The only important difference, you need to remember between these two arguments is that Inductive Arguments can be weakened if there is no strong evidence to support the statements. While the Deductive Argument will not affect it. Solve these questions daily to give you a clear idea about the base.
Irrelevant Statements are usually like elaichi in a biryani they are not required yet we have to tolerate them. These statements don’t connect to the passage, have no relevance to them. Once you find the main theme and idea behind the passage you will know which statements are not required.
The moment you find them compare them with the choices given below. You will find the right answer by following the steps that are given above.
Make a systematic timetable for every section. You still have a considerable amount of time to ace every section with concentration. Look out for the topics you are weak in. Devote more time to them, work on those areas. Rectify your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
Divide the sections, make a list of them if required. Then tick off the topics one by one as you finish them, give yourself a reward to boost your morale every time you do. Practice the RC questions at least 2-3 hours a day, read for 30 minutes every day. Revise the grammar rules along with the vocabulary list.
Set a time limit for yourself while solving the mock tests. Make it a point to finish them in that period. Sleep well to avoid any stress and health-related problems.
These tests will give a mirror image as to where you stand in the preparation for your exams. Where you need to work on, increase your scores, do your corrections.
Remember the mistakes you did. Don’t repeat them. Solve past CAT papers to give you an overview of what kinds of questions are asked in the exam. Finish the sections in a certain period to avoid any wastage of time. Don’t get lose heart you score less here, work hard you will achieve your goals in the exams.
There are a lot of study materials available in the market for you to study from. Chose the ones you know are the best and who’s the language you understand better. Take guidance for this as the teachers would know better from which books similar questions are asked in the exam. Don’t forget to buy the past question papers book as they will be the most beneficial for you.
SHOULD I JOIN AN INSTITUTE?
This is the biggest question among students who appear for CAT exams every year. The choice is all upon you. If you think you have the capabilities to do it all on your own then go for it. It consumes a lot of time when you go to class every day. Instead, you could use this strategy of learning through Online CAT Coaching.
Learn when you want to and from the comfort of your home. Having a guide will help you solve the doubts you have also give you a proper session about how to face the paper in the exams.
TIPS FOR RC (Reading Comprehension)
- Read 2-3 passages daily and solve them with focus.
- Make sure you read for at least 30 minutes, make sure it’s quality content.
- Improve your reading speed which could give you an edge during the exams, help you quickly solve them.
- Keep your reading diverse. Make sure to read from all various platforms available to you.
- Make necessary mental notes about the passage while reading it.
- Try to recognize the theme, the author’s point of view, and the message he’s trying to convey during the reading time of the passage.
- Track your time while you’re reading the passage and make sure you don’t go beyond 35 minutes due to the time constraint.
- Don’t lose your focus and make sure you read the passage thoroughly in one go.
- Eliminate the options one by one. Sometimes you figure out the answer just by analyzing the options.
- Trace the idea and the purpose behind the passage. Make mental notes about what the author is trying to convey.
- Building your vocabulary stronger day by day is quite vital. It will help you answer the questions easily.
- Get the right study material to learn and practice from, to increase your knowledge.
- Pick the passages you are most confident about then attempt the questions with ease.
- Understand the questions, don’t panic, and in a haste answer them.
- Solve as many mock tests as you can. You will know which areas you need to improve and work on them accordingly.
- Focus on the keywords that will help you determine the theme of the RC passage.
- Use the strategy that works the best for you or simply create one for yourself.
- Don’t take much stress. With a calm mind solve the questions and will answer them easily.
TIPS FOR VA (VERBAL ABILITY)
- Revise the grammar rules every day.
- Increase your vocabulary to understand the passage in a better manner.
- Develop an interest in the language whether you’re a fan of it or not. It will keep you entertained and won’t make you feel you’re doing a boring section. In one way or the other you can’t get rid of this section, so why not do it will full enthusiasm.
- Sharpen your reasoning skills along with logic as they will develop the right sense of approach for the question.
- In the case of Para Jumbles always use the way of eliminating options to get the right answer. Find lines that could link up the entire passage, it will give you a better understanding of the theme.
- In summary-based questions always look for ways where you can sum up the author’s opinion and his views.
- During critical reasoning make sure you apply your logic, analytic skills well.
- While solving the Facts Inference Judgment questions don’t get confused between the two. Understand the question then solve it.
- The Arguments and Irrelevant Statements are to be solved by applying proper logic to draw valid conclusions. Be sure to differentiate well between the two arguments.
- During the analogies, the section makes sure you are thorough with the basics that were taught in grammar. Find the link between the words and the marks will be yours.
- Make sure you keep a track of the time while solving the questions as in the exams you don’t have more than an hour to solve this section.
- Solve mock tests that will, of course, help you gain better marks and make you realize where your true potential lies.
ALL THE BEST for your exams, sleep well, don’t stress much and give it your best.
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