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How to prepare for CAT’s verbal section

education Updated: May 22, 2012 18:35 IST
Sujit Kumar

One of the most frequently asked questions about the verbal ability section in competitive MBA entrance tests is: How do I prepare for the verbal section in a way that will help me maximise my score?

The answer is tricky, but there is an answer. It’s tricky because verbal questions always are tricky. Students are clear about what they need to study and how they need to prepare for sections such as quantitative aptitude, data interpretation and logical reasoning. They even know the nuances of preparation for the group discussion and personal interview levels. But how do you prepare for a verbal section, where there are multiple types of questions — and a range of possible answers?

Most students satisfy themselves by solving as many questions in the verbal section as possible and then hope to perform well when the actual exam is conducted. While there is no magic formula that will help transform one’s verbal aptitude overnight, the unstructured ways of working only adds to the uncertainty about your performance. And precisely for this reason the decisive part of the test becomes the verbal section. A simple truth about the students taking the CAT and similar tests is that the number of students who are good at mathematics is more than the number of students who are good at the verbal ability. The CAT then essentially becomes a contest among those who are good at mathematics vying for the best verbal scores.

While the range of scores obtained by candidates in maths and data interpretation and logical reasoning is within a narrow band of 55-65% of the total marks, the overall scores of successful candidates are significantly influenced by their verbal scores.

The author is a member of the faculty for verbal ability at CPLC, Mumbai