Words with Similar Meanings and Subtle Differences

May 19th, 2017 by

In the series on confusing words (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) we looked at words that sound similar or look similar but mean different things. There is another class of words you should be careful about - these are words that are often used interchangeably (and wrongly at that, I must add). This generally leads to bad writing than bad comprehension when used. You do not need to look far away for instances of not knowing the difference between these similar sounding words. Just ask any MBA aspirant whether have any preferences for specialization and a lot of them say ‘Marketing’. Just

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What ‘Exasperating farrago of distortions’ and Shashi Tharoor can teach you about Vocabulary Preparation for CAT

May 12th, 2017 by

A couple of days ago, 'The Republic' was unleashed on India and my opinion about Arnab as a journalist is quite similar to my opinion about Chetan Bhagat as a writer. But then, who am I to question or even criticize the role-model of the masses. During the last week, a role-model of the classes came under fire - Mr. Dr. Shashi Tharoor. There are allegations of wrongdoing about his involvement in the death of his wife, Sunanda Pushkar. Somehow, the very serious allegations were ignored and what caught the attention of social media in general, twitterati in specific, was Shashi's reactionary

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Words from Books and RC Passages

May 12th, 2017 by

In one of the earlier posts on this blog, we had discussed the important books for CAT preparation and how reading helps with tackling the verbal ability section. If you go through a lot of the reading comprehension passages asked in exams you will realize they are similar in tone to these books or newspaper articles and that is why reading helps. But just reading will not help. To really shave off time required in answering a question (especially in RCs) it is best if you know what the words mean eliminating the need to guess or take time to understand what the passage is talking about

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Difficult to understand words from news, politics and society

May 3rd, 2017 by

If you are a regular consumer of news, there are a lot of words that people keep using especially on social media - nationalist, feminist, racist, etc. You may have heard of these words, but do you know what these actually mean? In this post, we will look at some of the most popular ‘-isms’ doing rounds these days. The idea is to better understand the meaning and usage so that you can use it in the correct manner. unlike news channel panelists or social media revolutionaries. A more important reason is as an aspirant you must be clear with these terms. You may find these words in

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Cat Idioms for the CAT exam (and also for IIFT, XAT, SNAP etc.)

April 26th, 2017 by

In the last post Important Idioms and Phrases for CAT and other exams, we looked at some important idioms and phrases for CAT and other exams. Again, knowing this will not suddenly put you on track to ace the verbal section, but where it will help is you may spend fewer seconds trying to understand what a particular sentence means. What better way to take this forward than by talking about cats. It is not just now that cats are popular - viral cat videos and GIFs I’m looking at you. Even years ago, cats were popular and perhaps this is why we quite a few idioms around cats. Be

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Important Idioms and Phrases for CAT and other exams

April 14th, 2017 by

Let’s start with the basic question - what exactly is the difference between an idiom and proverb? Are they the same? If you say, “at loggerheads” instead of “strong disagreement among people,” you're using an idiom. The meaning of an idiom is different from the actual meaning of the words used. “Make hay while the sun shines” is a proverb. Proverbs are old but familiar sayings that usually give advice. A phrase is just a group of words. If you know the meaning of the individual words in a phrase, you know the meaning it conveys. But in an idiom, the meaning is not c

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Understanding Confusing Words – Part 3

April 6th, 2017 by

This is the last post in the series on confusing words. If you haven't read them already, check out Understanding Confusing Words – Part 1 and Understanding Confusing Words – Part 2. where we have discussed a list of important words that you should know if you want to save some time in the verbal section of CAT, IIFT, XAT or any other MBA entrance exam. In this post, we will first look at a few more words and then we will talk about how to use make use of the words you have learnt through these posts. Why is this important? Because skimming through blog posts will not help much. Whe

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Understanding Confusing Words – Part 2

April 3rd, 2017 by

In the Understanding Confusing Words – Part 1, we discussed confusing words. As discussed Learning New Words – Why, How and Strategies, these words are not directly related to CAT prep for the vocab section or for any MBA exam per se (so don't expect direct questions based on these words) but knowing the right words and the correct usage will make your job much easier while attempting questions. Let us extend the list with a few more words. Prescribe vs. Proscribe - These similar sounding words have very different meanings. Prescribe is the more common word, and it's often

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Understanding Confusing Words – Part 1

March 21st, 2017 by

In the last post we looked at some ways to learn new words - reading with context, flashcards, word group lists and studying by comparing words. We had discussed about identifying words that are confused easily. In this post we will look at some examples involving these confusing words. Now, will a misunderstanding cost you marks in the exam? Not necessarily so, because like we discussed last time, no questions simply ask for meanings of words. However, when you’re reading a block of text and reach this word where you are not quite sure of the meaning, that is enough to cause a pro

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Learning New Words – Why, How and Strategies

March 17th, 2017 by

Take the previous papers of any MBA entrance exam and look for questions that ask for the meaning of a particular word. The chances are pretty low that you will find a multiple choice question of the format - “The meaning of X is:” followed by four options. Doing the same thing for antonyms or idioms will probably not give you a lot of questions either. So no exam is going to ask you for word meanings. If so, then why learn new words, antonyms or idioms if they are not asked as direct questions in the exams? It starts with having a large list of words at your disposal so that you

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