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Last Minute Strategy for CAT Verbal

Strategy for CAT Going into the last 7 daysWell, you are into the last few days of this season’s CAT-prep, Keeping in mind the nature of the exam, it is important that you fine tune our strategies in the last few days.

The CAT exam can be divided into two parts and these two parts almost seem like two opposite poles when we talk of consistency of scores in them. On the one hand, we have Quantitative Ability, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation sections where the percentiles achieved in mocks are very similar to what you will achieve in the exam and the variation would be little. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Verbal Ability, where the divergence of scores and percentiles is extremely hard to predict. On one day, you can top the exam and on another day, you might not clear the cut-off. Along with that, there is the perennial issue of Reading Comprehensions, and how to go about them.

The Section Strategy:

The most common refrain of students in these last few days is: what can be done about Verbal Ability now?  Well, for starters, let’s get one thing clear: even though Verbal Ability scores are hard to predict and on most occasions, accuracy is a challenge in the section, if you keep your wits about in the section, there is a way to navigate through the section. Your mantra for the section should be to maximize the attempt in terms of logical responses and keeping you ‘gut feeling’ in check.

Guru Mantra: Even though you can never eliminate your ‘gut feeling’ completely in the Verbal Ability section, try to keep it to a minimum.

How to answer CAT Verbal Ability Questions?

How do most of us answer questions in Verbal Ability? This is an extremely pertinent point. Most of us read answer options, one appeals to us (in the language of some, we get a ‘feel’ for the option), and we select the answer choice. Remember, this is one of the biggest reasons for the lack of consistency in Verbal Ability. ‘The feeling-based approach to Verbal Ability’ is something most of us follow and if asked about specific questions, most of us are at a loss to explain the logic. Can something be done about this at this late stage? Well, we cannot tinker a lot with your VA question-solving approach but there is one element we can introduce at this stage: try to rationalize your answers and make sure that the answer choices do not contain the following traps:

1. Scope Trap: There is a subtle scope difference introduced in terms of talking points in the passage and in the answer choices. For example, the passage might be about democracy in India and the answer choice might be about democracy in general. You need to make sure that scope remains the same. Scope trap is used frequently in the following question types: main idea, primary purpose, title, etc.
2. Subtle mismatches: There might be one element that might be changed in answer options and this might render the answer option as incorrect.
3. Extreme Answer choices: Words such as always, all, never, most, etc. convert answer choices into extreme ones and you should always be careful about these choices.
4. Correct information but irrelevant: There are answer choices which feature information from the passage but do not answer the given question. Make sure you check whether an answer choice is relevant and to the point.

Just keep the above points in mind while solving questions and work on your accuracy in the exam and improving how you perform in tests. At this stage, it is all about maximizing your scores. 

What to study in the last few days?

Let’s be brutally honest here: you are not going to move mountains over the next 3 days. So you might as well take it easy and adopt a relaxed mental approach.

The time for heavy lifting is gone and it is just time to solve a few questions and be clear with your exam strategy. Let’s have a topic-wise list of things to do:

a. Reading Comprehension: Simply solve 5 to 10 passages and make sure you read a few articles today and tomorrow. This is just to maintain your reading flow and make sure you are mentally ready to do some heavy reading in the exam. Do not stress yourself too much. Another thing you can do is read up about different RC question types and be clear with the strategies and tricks for all question types .
b. Vocabulary, Grammar and Usage questions: Relax and let them be. They have not been a part of CAT over the last couple of years and the expected trend is the same. Nothing to do here.
c. Verbal Reasoning Questions (para-jumbles, summary and misfit sentence): If you are a busybody and cannot remain calm without doing something,then solve a few problem sets from these areas.

Final Words:

  • Be in touch with reading
  • Time to mentally relax
  • Try to be as analytical as possible for Verbal Ability and do not be swayed by your emotions
  • It is easy to attempt all questions in Verbal Ability and get sucked by the notion that you have solved all questions but have you really ‘SOLVED’ them?
  • Make sure you are mentally relaxed and in the right frame of mind for the exam.
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