For the last three years, Reading Comprehension (RC) questions have had a lion’s share in the Verbal Ability section of CAT. With 24 out of 34 questions devoted to this category, it is not surprising that CAT aspirants have realized that their reading habits will play a huge role in determining how well they perform in this critical section. Which leads to the important question – What should one read in the days leading up to the CAT?
Probably the best way to answer this is to trace the source of RC passages in CAT 2017. CAT papers were released officially by the IIMs for the first time in 2017, since the exam went online in 2009. A quick search on Google reveals that many of the reading comprehension passages have been taken from international publications such as The New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/), The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com), the BBC website (http://www.bbc.com/) and TIME magazine (http://time.com/). And this is not a new trend. RC passages had been taken from The Guardian for CAT exams conducted in 2005 and 2006 as well. The implication is clear. The IIMs expect future managers to be comfortable with the language employed on international forums and not just within India.
It is strongly suggested that the aspirants should make it a habit to scan these publications on a regular basis. Doing this will help them to update their vocabulary level in line with the expectations of the CAT paper setters and expose them to international issues which they may not have come across earlier.
While going through these publications, the aspirants should particularly focus on the articles which express opinions as well as the editorials of these publications. This will provide them with the additional benefit of being updated on important issues affecting the international arena. This should prove invaluable for the next stage in the admission process – group discussions, personal interviews, essays etc.
An effort should be made to read up on the topics away from their comfort zones. CAT 2017 RC passages covered a range of different topics – origins of map-making, influence of the iPhone, role of malls in the society, diversity among species, Olympic games and their effects on the host city, advent of the electric car, history of the Vikings, connection between cities and creativity etc. Exposure to an eclectic range of topics will help the students stabilize their reading speed and improve their level of comprehension, even in topics unfamiliar to them.
Here are some other websites from which text has been used to frame Verbal Ability questions for CAT:
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Tanveer Iqbal Ahmed