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One of the key areas for CAT Verbal Ability preparation is Reading Comprehension. Reading Comprehensions, or RCs for short, can be quite a challenging beast and in terms of effort and commitment, this is the most demanding area of the exam.

Key challenges for CAT RCs

What are key challenges that you are going to face while preparing for this section?
Let’s outline these challenges one at a time.

Challenge-1: Boredom
Trust me, boredom is your biggest enemy. Most of the times, we don’t take up reading because the exercise simply bores us. There is a simple solution for this problem: start from the area that you love. In fact, we have put up 10 amazing tips that you can use to build up your reading habit. Read the full article here.

Challenge-2: Complex CAT Passages
CAT is known for featuring challenging passages. On top of that, they are known to feature passages from a wide variety of sources. Considering the breadth and scope of material probed in the exam, it makes absolute sense for you to expand your horizons and make sure you cast your reading net as wide as possible. Make sure you read as diversely as possible and cover as many areas as possible.

But do remember one thing: you need to address challenge-1 before you get to work on challenge-2. It is important that you focus on building reading stamina first and that can only happen if you begin from areas that you love reading about. Even if that area is sports, go ahead with it. Read the best sports biographies and auto-biographies. Challenge yourself to read for as many hours as possible.

How did I go about my RC prep?

One fact for you guys: I prepared for CAT RCs a long time but the methodology adopted back then is as relevant today as it was back then.

I appeared for a lot of Mock CATs and after some time, I just realised one simple fact: there was no consistency in my RC scores. Why was this happening? Verbal Ability was my favourite area and I was still not able to crack it. Trust me, the first thing I did to fix was increase my RC passage practice. But something even more strange happened: my RC scores and accuracy had more or less stagnated. Beyond a point, practising passages had no impact on increasing my efficiency.

After loads of introspection and talking to a couple of mentors, I realised where I was going wrong: I was not reading enough. I had always been a good reader but my reading repertoire lacked the kind of diversity as required by CAT. On top of that, my book selection more or less veered around the same topics. What this meant was that even though I had read a lot, I did not quite have the depth of reading required by RC passages.

Once I realised this, I took out the heavy artillery and went in all guns blazing with respect to reading. What all was I reading back then? Go through this list of concurrent reading for any particular book:
1. 1 Non-fiction book: This included heavy reads on philosophy, sociology, politics and essays.
2. 1 Literature book: I moved away from thrillers and cheesy books.
3. 1 Business magazine: Read the relevant articles in one go.
4. Frontline: Took two weeks to complete one issue
5. Outline: Read it in one go; about 15 articles were relevant in every issue.
6. The Hindu: Every single day

This essentially boiled down to 6 to 8 hours of reading every day. And this essentially amounted to my Verbal Ability preparation. Other than this, I just practised VA questions for about 2 hours a week.

I kept up with this rigorous schedule for six months and by the end of it, my RC accuracy and comprehension ability had increased exponentially. More than that, my worldview changed and all of a sudden, I was exposed to the kind of thought I was previously unaware of. In fact, I am grateful for that period of time in my life. It fundamentally changed the way I looked at things.

The purpose of sharing this was very simple: to motivate you and instigate you. In short, your Verbal Ability preparation is a factor of your reading skill and the sooner the start working on this area of your preparation, the better it is for you.

I will go the extra mile here and offer some additional help. Post your queries related to reading as comments to this post and I will reply to those personally. I

Till then, happy learning and start reading..:)

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