Preparing for CAT 2018? Enhance your Reading skills to improve Performance

CAT (Common Admission Test) 2018 is one of the most important national level entrance examinations in India for admission to MBA, PGDM and other major management courses in India. This year, IIM Calcutta will be conducting the examination on November 25, 2018 in two sessions (morning and afternoon) for which CAT Admit Cards will be available from October 24. It is suggested to download the Admit cards as early as possible to avoid last minute glitches.

There are three sections in the exam, Quantitative Ability, Verbal & Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning. In order to elevate your CAT score, it is very important to prepare well for each and every section. Now, students often take Verbal & Reading Comprehension section very lightly and focus majorly on the remaining two sections.

But the point to be kept in mind is that Verbal & Reading Comprehension section is equally as important and difficult as remaining two sections. In order to improve performance and get a better CAT score, you have to give time in enhancing your reading skills.

Reading Comprehension is an important part of your CAT preparation. It forms almost 70% of the Verbal Ability Section and if you wish to ace this section, then it is very important to focus on understanding it. Most students are unable to score well in this section due to the following reasons-

  • Lack of Vocabulary
  • Lack of Practice
  • Lack of exposure to different genres
  • Lack of knowledge of the tricks essential to ace this section

So, the most prominent solution to maximize your CAT Score in VARC Section is to read regularly and improve reading speed, but not at the cost of accuracy. The more you practice and read, the most accurate your reading speed will be. If you are planning to do well in CAT 2018 and dreaming to get a high CAT score which will get you admission in top management colleges, then you can’t ignore this section.  

Most of the passages that come in the RC section of CAT paper are from esoteric books or global magazines/newspapers. Mostly they are opinion pieces and data heavy in nature. So if you want to score well in the Reading Comprehension Section of CAT 2018, here are some useful & tested tips.


Reading is the most basic and most crucial key to ace RC section. The more you will read the higher will be your reading speed and grasping power. But reading should be done with full concentration or else it will lack accuracy and it won’t be of any use to you and your CAT score. So while you are reading, keep a pencil in your hand and mark important points, highlights or words of that particular article or passage that you are reading.


Vocabulary is very important to score well in RC section, as the questions that are asked based on the given passages are mostly based on vocabulary. If you do not understand the meaning of the words, you won’t be able to answer the questions. Reading also helps in increasing vocabulary, but, besides that, get a nice & recommended book like Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis to improve your vocabulary.


Apart from practicing & preparing for other sections, allocate at least 1 hour every day to read and learn new words. Make it a habit that whenever you are traveling or free then you should read anything, newspapers, magazines, books, etc. You should practice doing comprehensions and take mock tests regularly.

Mentioned below are some important tips that you must keep in mind while attempting the RC (Reading Comprehension) section.

4. Do Not Attempt All Questions

We come from a generation which is selfish and wants to have it all. But it’s very important to remember while attempting CAT 2018 Paper, that you cannot have it all. Attempting all questions associated with a passage whether you are sure or not can be dangerous for your CAT score. Keep it in mind that you are not getting marks for attempting questions but for the questions that you attempted correctly. So, do not get tempted to answer every question. It is okay if you know answer to 2 questions out of 4 questions, or maybe 3 out of 4 questions, doesn’t matter. Guessing answers in such an important paper can be dangerous, so do not do that.

5. Analyze the type of Questions that you get Wrong/Right

Usually, there are two types of questions asked in CAT Exam, which are, Fact-Based Questions & Inference Based Questions. Mostly Inference Based questions are harder to answer and Fact-Based questions are easier to attempt. But Inference Based questions are asked more frequently than the other type. Questions like, “tone of the author”, “theme of the passage” etc. are most commonly asked. Therefore, while practicing RC questions, check if you get these standard types of questions correct or wrong most of the times. On the basis of the observed pattern, you can decide in an exam, whether to attempt them or not.

6. Choose Reading Comprehension Passage that suits you

Another important skill that will help you better your accuracy and CAT Score in the Reading Comprehension section is the ability to pick better passages. While preparing for the RC section, most students practice passages one by one, this is a good way to improve your RC skills.

But instead, you should also try to solve them in a bunch. Allocate 30 minutes to yourself and try to attempt 4 passages in those 30 minutes. It is almost impossible that you will be able to attempt 4 passages in 30 minutes instead it will force you to select 2 or 3 passes in the allotted time.

Once those 30 minutes are over, see your performance in the passages you selected, which will help you to analyze that how good was your selection. Mastering this habit of selecting the right passages can really help you do well in the final exam.