How to improve verbal scores in CAT 2015?

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
Jumbled Para 4-5 4-5 4-5
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
20-22 25-28

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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 .

  1. 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).

  1. 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 a blog by Mr Tony Xavier, a colleague of mine and a popular test-prep mentor @ IMS.

All the Best!!


12 thoughts on “How to improve verbal scores in CAT 2015?

  1. sir, I do attempt nearly 24-28 attempts within time limit. I’m able to divide the time for every type of questions. But there is accuracy problem. I hardly achieve more than 60% accuracy in this section (Verbal). Please suggest me something effective.


    • @Vishal The problem in Verbal is that we attempt questions going by gut feeling rather than conviction. Follow the process of justifying why options are incorrect (as suggested in my blog) especially for Grammar, Critical Reasoning and RC – your accuracy is bound to improve. Also, go through Tony Sir’s blog (link mentioned in my post). Hope this helps. All the Best!!


  2. sir
    va is my weakest section of all i dont know y but i m only able to attemp 14-18 question with 50% accuracy that give me the score of 10-19 only.
    im able to score 50 each in qa nd di\lr
    what is wrong with me in english
    i have consulted my problem with many teacher but no one is able to help me out…..


    • @lakshay Have you done anything specifically to improve your scores so far? Even if you have, it does not seem to have helped. So, try what I have suggested in my post and I am sure that if you follow the same in earnest, you will find positive results.


  3. hello sir
    sir i attempt around 20-22 questions in V.A.. not more than 50% accuracy. in passage i think this option is correct, but it turned out wrong answer .same problem is happening with para and grammar based question .. i m very worried how can i improve
    my score in in last 7 days ..
    sir please help me to improve my score within 1 week,
    becouse of its very high time


    • Hi..your question is a proof of why you are not doing well in the verbal section…it is evident that you need to work on grammar for sure – and I am sure the same is also the case with other areas. There is no shortcut other than LEARNING – as you have very limited time pick a few topics and practice as I have suggested in my post. There will at least be some improvement in your score.


  4. sir in the last simcat my VA and LR DI section was good but i did silly mistakes in quant section .. i was abble to do questions wid 80 % accuracy in LD DI and 77 in VA but nearly 50 in Qa how can i do well in QUANT and also how can i improve my score??


    • Hi Divyadev…its simple – commit lesser errors:-p
      Jokes apart, generally 80+%accuracy is considered decent and you seem to be very close. Find out if there are questions where you go by intuition or gut feeling – and get them wrong eventually. Practice what I have suggested in my blog and I am sure your accuracy level will improve.


  5. Sir,
    When I’m taking sectional test I score 41 to 45 with 28 to 29 attempts,,,,but when I take simcat my score in VA alone comes down to 11 with same number of attempts,,,,I did analysis in RC’s and found I’m able to eliminate two very fast but other two I just the other one which as per the analysis very close bt nt the exact ans,,,,,,,,And how to improve sentence correction in just 6 days in hand,,,,,,,,,


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