It is never too early to start preparing for CAT 2021. The VARC or ‘Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension‘ Section is a vital section within the CAT which tests your command over the language and your communication skills. Both of these are crucial to a successful management career. The other two sections are equally important, but this article will primarily focus on VARC Preparation for CAT 2021. Read on to start your VARC Preparation the right way!
What is the Holy Grail when it comes to VARC Preparation?
For VARC, the mothership, the holy grail and the most important chunk is Reading.
Read for at least 1 hour everyday.
Now, when you’re thinking about reading for 1 hour everyday, do keep in mind that you must have as much style and variety in what you read as you possibly can. Read across a myriad range of sources. Explore different genres. Read novels, novellas; small and giant articles about different topics.
Reading stamina is very crucial. You could be reading for years together, but while taking the CAT, you will be met with barrage of passages from different genres with varying styles of writing. It certainly happened to me when I first took the CAT.
The mind becomes tired when it is met with a series of challenging passages. The only way you can make your mind resilient to this, is to add 500 hours (from now to CAT 2021) of reading on top of it.
Definitely check out this fabulous video which talks about Books to Read for CAT VARC. A bunch on books have been shortlisted with a brief blurb about them, so definitely go through this video!
Keep in mind that this video is but a starting point. Read where your mind takes you. Usually we strike a chord with one author or genre. So for the first phase of your VARC Preparation, go where your mind takes you and read what your mind prefers.
Over the second phase of your VARC Preparation, you must focus on increasing the diversity of the articles and books you read. Lengths, genres, styles…they must all be different. What this does is push your mind beyond the horizon of what it already knows, and train it to approach those aforementioned challenging passages from various genres.
Here’s a portal to Reading!
If you haven’t already checked out Bharath’s Curated Daily Reading List, you are really missing out on something in life! Tons of hand-picked, high quality articles from various genres exist within Bharath’s Reading List. Think of it as a portal to various sources of knowledge and information that simultaneously helps build your reading capacity.
Okay…what should you do apart from Reading?
Very little. Don’t worry about those pesky parajumbles, critical reasoning questions, and para summaries questions. Out of the 34 questions that are asked in the VARC Section, 24 are going to be from Reading Comprehension Questions.
For the Verbal Ability part of your VARC Preparation, it helps to familiarize yourself with the pattern of the parajumbles, parasummaries and critical reasoning questions. You’ll get the hang of it and be ready. For these categories, knowing how the questions will be and doing a few examples is crucial.
Check out this article on CAT Verbal Ability Preparation in order to learn more about acing this part of the VARC Section.
So your major takeaway from this is that 95% of your VARC Preparation is going to be anchored around Reading.
How should you Read?
As much as possible, do non-intense reading. Do not aim to absorb all the facts, numbers and information you come across. You aren’t preparing for a GK Section here.
The idea is to read so much, that you automatically build a grammatical intuition. Read with a sense of joy and curiousity.
Check out this wonderful article that dives deep into ‘how to read for reading comprehension’. It will provide you with more insights into the science behind reading. 🙂
For an article on CAT Quant Preparation from January, click here!
Happy Reading and Best Wishes for CAT! Stay Safe.
Rajesh Balasubramanian takes the CAT every year and is a 4-time CAT 100 percentiler. He likes few things more than teaching Math and insists to this day that he is a better teacher than exam-taker.