You are here: Rediff Home » India » Get Ahead » Careers » Cracking CAT
Search: The Web
   Discuss   |      Email   |      Print | Get latest news on your desktop

CAT: 'What's the ideal VA strategy?'
Get news updates:What's this?
August 18, 2008

What should you do if you are not too good in Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension?

Are there any specific strategies you should be looking at to improve your sectional scores and accuracy?

What percentile should you be targeting to ensure a call from the IIMs?

To answer these and many other CAT-related questions, Jaya Desai, a faculty for Verbal Ability at IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd, hosted a chat with GA readers on August 13. For those of you who missed the chat, here's the \unedited transcript:

Ashutosh asked, Hi jaya,I am preparing this yr for CAT.I get A nice %ile in QA and DI but fail to get the same in VA.I try to take RC's every time since they are the open book kind of answers,but not able to clear cut off in VA.Pls suggest

Jaya Desai answers, Ashutosh, please ensure that you have two elements in place - your basic grammar and usage fundamentals and a broad based reading habit. Then, you must work on interpretation. If you answer anything incorrectly do not hesitate to go right upto the conceptual level. Analysis of incorrect attempts is crucial for gains.

dheeraj asked, how to start off with RC

Jaya Desai answers, begin by reading what you like and then to topics that you are not so familiar with. In any case, the CAT RC can be on any subject matter, so do not consciously have favourites or phobias. Once you are done with light reading, say over two weeks, move to more rigorous stuff.

Pillai asked, What are those tips to improve the verbal ability?

Jaya Desai answers, learnign new words contextually is one good way for improving vocabulary. Non fiction reading and interpretation will go a long way in acing RCs. Ensure your reasoning is evidence based.

Ankit asked, Hi, What is the percentile required for MDI and SP Jain......I am also weak in RCs.....Please suggest something for that too.....

Jaya Desai answers, MDI required about 97 percentile last year while SP Jain has no specific cut off. It is more a profile based call based on parameters like work experience, essays, academics and extra curriculars. Paraphrasing and determining the central idea of passages is a good way of improving strike rate.

VineetKK asked, In english the options generall in RC are so close how do u exactly know the difference....its all nearby.....plz advice

Jaya Desai answers, Since there has to be only one correct answer, you must be careful of options that seem right but are not. When you have to decide between two close options, read them carefully to determine what is contextually relevant and what is not.

phelps asked, Which is a better approach, reading the questions first & then going to the passage or vice-versa?

Jaya Desai answers, For any passage, reading it from end to end is the only way to form the crucial mental picture necessary to move ahead with the interpretation. Reading the question first is useful only when it refers to a specific word, line or phrase.

avk asked, Hi I have been suffering with a very low accuracy in Mock CATs in the English section. Does it make more sense to attempt more questions now or should I only focus on accuracy considering that past RC's in CAT have been ambigious?

Jaya Desai answers, the focus should be on accuracy. The key element is optimisation and not maximisation.

shantanu asked, hi jaya.......... i want to know that if pattern for VA changes,how can I have an idea about the sectional cut off or how much should I attempt while giving the exam

Jaya Desai answers, Once you read the instructions page, you will have an idea as to time allocation for each section.After that, it is answering what you know that is imp. Within the given time constraints you must combine attempts and accuracy.That will take care of cut off.

Confucius asked, I have 4 years experience as of now. Passed out from a reputed Engg. College. What percentile might get me a call from SPJain & MDI?

Jaya Desai answers, please refer to my earlier post in the current chat regarding this.

nitin asked, what do u suggest now about english just when only 3 months r left

Jaya Desai answers, Ensure that you have a broad based approach. Combine reading with reference. Only reading without understanding wont help. Also, practice on a regular basis is crucial. Taking the simulated national tests will help you to overcome common errors.

ruchi_g asked, Is it a good strategy to attempt jumbled paragraphs first and then the RCs for those who are weak in VA?

Jaya Desai answers, Attempting jumbled paragraphs is a good bet provided you have a fair idea of the logical flow of a theory, idea, process or situation. Again this can be made a high scoring component if you have been reading good writing.

Leander asked, Why do some RCs & para jumbles have debatable answers? How is the aspirant supposed to read what the question setter has in mind?

Jaya Desai answers, As test aspirants, rest assured that what seems debatable is debatable only because we have been in a hurry to tick the answer or we have skipped some part of the text crucial to answer that particular question. So, the paper setters mind need not be known!

spandan asked, i am good in the english section but sometimes there are some questions where two options are very close and ultimately after the mock tests i find that the correct answer is invariably the one which i have not do i rectify it?

Jaya Desai answers, Simple, spandan. All you must do is analyse the close options very carefully . We leave out this part once we answer something incorrectly. There is light at the end of the tunnel for those who sieve the grain from the chaff!good luck. I am happy that you are aware of your strength in the english section.

amresh asked, hi jaya this is amresh here.... last year i was an IMS student and got 95.6 percentile in Verbal.. this year i m writing mocks of another institute and yet to get even 70 percentile.. i was getting above 90 percentile last year in IMS mocks.. i m unable to understand it... is it loss of form?

Jaya Desai answers, please revise the entire range of concepts so that you do not face a problem in application. Be in first class form! after all the right attitude is half the battle won!

Benny asked, Hello Jaya, I feel that VA is my best shot in scoring more marks at a faster pace. But, this is leading me into trouble some times.. I tend to attempt too many questions and hence end up losing marks on the wrong ones.. What should be ideal strategy for me on this section..?

Jaya Desai answers, whatever you are sure about , attempt that first! A bird in hand is worth two in the bush!

cat vicelet asked, is it worthful to mugup words.....while going for CAT???????

Jaya Desai answers, No! When you come across a word you do not know , find out the meaning, In this way, recall is better. Also, practise word based exercises so that you are raring to go!

sharath_again asked, hi Am desperately looking for some tips from you to excel in VA

Jaya Desai answers, Though the trend has been towards a rigorous section, please practise tests along with reading on a regular basis. Combine good old grammar and usage fundamentals with jumbled paragraph practice. A lot can be achieved in 90 days!

spandan asked, do some institutes give more preference to verbal score over others..for eg if i get higher marks in verbal can a 97-95 percentile in quants be shielded?

Jaya Desai answers, In institutes like MICA, a higher English percentile over Math is the norm.

Rajesh asked, My verbal scores are inconsistent. I get a very high score in some papers and sometimes I get very low scores. I am confused as to what is wrong with my prep. My grammar and other verbal funds are decent. Even in last year CAT I got a 55%ile. Please advise.

Jaya Desai answers, If scores are inconsistent, then you have conceptual gaps that you have not addressed. For example, you may not have done justice to an RC passage cos you have never read that kind of subject before or simple verbal components which seem deceptively simple, may have been consistently ignored eg- the diff between complementary and complimentary[ cat 2007].

sharath_again asked, will elimination method work out for unfamiliar words?

Jaya Desai answers, yes .elimination works on the basis of the context, feel and nature/root of the word.

abhir asked, Hello Jaya, What can the strategy to improve in english over the next few months? ive given CAT twice and both the times i got less only in english .. around 70 percentile

Jaya Desai answers, Since the English component consists mainly of usage, reading comprehension and verbal reasoning, identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. maybe you have been committing the same type of mistakes. So take remedial measures.

bhuvn asked, Hi Jaya, I need few pointers on how to attempt FIJ (fact, inference, judgement) based questions?

Jaya Desai answers, A fact is that which is true and verifable. There is no subjectivity involved in this. A judgement indicates approval or disapproval - hence subjective in nature. An inference is a projection based on something current.

sameer asked, jaya, wat wud u suggest as the best strategy now onwards. taking more tests and analysing it or revising all the chapters properly.

Jaya Desai answers, quantity is not indicative of quality. It is how you anayse that is crucial.

Jaya Desai says, Guys it is time for me to wind up. For any further queries please feel free to write to me at All the best!!

Jaya Desai is a faculty for Verbal Ability at IMS Learning Resources Pvt Ltd, an educational services provider that prepares candidates for leading competitive examinations like CAT, GRE and GMAT.

 Email  |    Print   |   Get latest news on your desktop
© 2008 India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback