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Tackle verbal ability with ease

education Updated: Aug 21, 2012 18:10 IST
Ulhas Vairagkar
Ulhas Vairagkar
Hindustan Times
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After understanding how to deal with the first section of CAT 2012, let us discuss the second section, which includes verbal ability and logical reasoning and can have as many as 18 to 22 questions from verbal ability and eight to 12 questions from logical reasoning.

Verbal ability
Reading different authors of different subjects is highly recommended. Questions in this area may be broadly divided into four categories:

Grammar: Here, you may get questions that ask you to find the mistakes in one of the four given sentences or in one of the four parts of a sentence. The question could also ask you to identify the best option to correct the identified mistake.

To prepare for this section, you must have a sound understanding of English grammar and usage. Wren and Martin, Thomson and Martinet and Michael Swan are some of the standard authors that may be referred to by students to build a strong base in grammar. However, memorising rules of grammar will be of limited help since questions test your ability to apply these rules and not the rules per se!

Vocabulary: While direct questions like synonyms and antonyms have not appeared in CAT for more than 12 years, question types such as sentence completion (fill-in-the-blanks) and incorrect usage of words have been a staple in recent CAT papers.

Having a good vocabulary will not just help you tackle these questions but will also help in the reading comprehension and verbal reasoning section. You must develop your reading habits if you want a good vocabulary. Students may also refer to books like Word Power Made Easy.

Reading comprehension: CAT requires you to understand the passages that are taken from various non-fiction sources. You should make it a practice to read online at least two-to-three articles on different topics like philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, science and technology, medicine etc every day so that you are comfortable dealing with diverse subjects. Spend about 30 to45 minutes every day surfing the net and reading the relevant articles online. Substitute reading newspapers with e-newspapers.

Verbal reasoning: This area includes questions relating to paragraph formation/completion. You may also be asked to identify the sentence that doesn’t fit in the given paragraph. This is a new question type that was introduced recently. Other question types in this area include identifying the best summary of the given passage.
These questions rely on application of reasoning and regular practice can help you build proficiency in this area. Since most of the question types involve comprehension and strong command over the language, students who are regular readers will have an advantage.

Logical reasoning
Questions in this area are essentially puzzles. These may involve sequencing, ranking, selections, arrangements, cubes, calendars, clocks, Venn diagrams, games and tournaments etc. Like data interpretation, proficiency in this area calls for regular practice in solving various kinds of puzzles.

The questions in this section are typically based on a puzzle. As the name indicates, logical reasoning requires application of logic in the given situation. This includes understanding of the language since quite a few puzzles are based on verbal reasoning.

The ability to arrange the information provided in the section in a logical pattern, answer the questions accurately and within the required timeframe is essential to tackle this section. The questions are based on cubes/cuboids and may include cutting/painting of the cubes in various parts.

If needed, make a diagram to visually arrange the information given on a rough paper and logically arrange the information provided.

Remember, you may get a set that may have just one easy question or conversely, one of the questions could be really tricky! It is, therefore, not advisable to attempt all the questions in an LR set.

Finally, since the focus is on logic and reasoning, formulae or tricks are of little use for doing well in this area. In short, there are no short-cuts to success in LR. Practice, practice and only practice will help you to do well here.

The author is director, Delhi, T.I.M.E. (Triumphant Institute of Management Education)

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