This blog is dedicated to all those who have been struggling with the Verbal section right through the mocks and also to those who are looking at marginal improvement in this section in the limited time available before #CAT2015. To get a 95%ile in this section you should be aiming to attempt around 25-28 questions with a 85-90% accuracy. And similarly, to get a 85%ile in this section you should be aiming to attempt around 20-22 questions with a 85-90% accuracy
Let us look at the possible split of question types in the Verbal Section to see where these attempts can come from (assuming you have not been performing too well in this section so far):
|Question Type||# Questions Expected||Possible attempts for 85 %ile||Possible attempts for 95 %ile|
|Grammar Based (sentence correction, identify errors, FIBs)||4-6||4-6||4-6|
|Vocabulary based (phrasal verbs/FIBs)||4-6||1-2||3-4|
|Paragraph completion/Summary based questions||4-5||2-3||2-3|
|Reading Comprehension – Light passages||8-12||8-10||8-10|
|Reading Comprehension – Heavy passages||8-12||4-5|
Caution: This is assuming the level of difficulty of the section does not change much in comparison to the last year. For an easier test, you may have to marginally push up your attempts in each case.
What should you work on the next few days?
Target those areas where you can gain maximum returns with minimum efforts. My recommended action plan would be as follows:
- Go Grammar
Solving 100 to 150 quality grammar questions back-to-back with a focus on understanding why 3 options are incorrect rather than which is the correct option. Briefly write down for every option that you think is incorrect explaining the error therein. If you do this exercise for all the mocks that you have taken thus far (For IMS students I am referring to the proctored SimCATs), I am sure that you would gain good enough confidence to take on Grammar in the actual test.
- Don’t Fumble with Jumbled Paras
If you are reasonably logical, this is one question type you can definitely master in the next few days. For questions with options, understand how to identify linkages and thereby eliminate options. In fact, use the options to identify linkages. Again solving 100-150 questions of this type back to back should help you have a better accuracy for this type of questions. As an exercise, solve at least 50 questions without looking at options to take care of the eventuality wherein these questions appear as TITA(Type-In-The-Answer) type questions .
- Quick Round-up of phrasal verbs (common usage)
You cannot improve your vocabulary by much in the short span of time but a quick round-up of commonly used phrasal verbs (refer basic material like IMS BRMs and questions that have appeared in SimCATs). If you are lucky enough you may find some of those in the actual test (has always happened in the past).
- Reading Comprehension with light passages
Again, you cannot increase your reading speed or your proficiency at comprehension in the next 1 week. But you can try to attempt the passages that offer light reading (I am not referring to those based on history, philosophy or economics) – read slowly with a focus on comprehending what you are reading. While answering questions – try and answer why 3 options are incorrect rather than which is the right option. It is unlikely that you will be short of time in this section, so giving yourself more time to read the passage and understand the questions maybe a good idea. Try and solve a few passages with this approach on a daily basis and you may be surprised to find yourself hitting a better accuracy rate by the time you reach the CAT date.
It is never too late to begin – who knows a little bit of effort in the right direction now could lead to favourable results in the CAT this year. So, get going and maximise your Verbal score in the days to come.
For another perspective on how to improve your verbal score visit http://www.imschennai.in/how-to-increase-your-va-rc-score-on-cat-2015-part-1/ a blog by Mr Tony Xavier, a colleague of mine and a popular test-prep mentor @ IMS.
All the Best!!