100 Days plan for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Exam

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

100 Days plan for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Exam

Is there enough time to prepare for CAT 2019? As the CAT 2019 exam draws near, fear and sometimes panic starts to set in and this the most common question that I get asked. I will try to answer the question in this post and probably two more.

Short Answer: Yes

Slightly long answer: CAT preparation requires anywhere from 300 hours to 500 hours of serious preparation. That much time is more than enough for you (and for anyone else) to reach his or her peak potential. So, if you can put in 3-4 hours on weekdays and perhaps a little more on the weekend, you have enough time.

Really long answer: I have already written posts about two other sections as well – 100 Days plan for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation and 100 Days plan for Quantitative Aptitude. In this post, we are talking about Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension. If this post generates decent feedback (and social shares), I would surely go ahead and write posts about the other two sections as well.

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If we are going to make a plan for acing the CAT Exam, there could not be a better source of inspiration that the words of perhaps the ultimate strategist the world has ever known – the great Chinese general Sun Tzu, who wrote ‘The Art of War’.

How to manage the available time to ace VA and RC in CAT 2019?

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

In order to ace the CAT Verbal Section, we need to have a winning strategy that takes into account the most important factor in any plan – time.  While there is no upper limit to the amount of preparation for the CAT, there must be a lower limit. In my opinion it must be no less than 12-hours of self-practice per week, whichever way you choose to divide the hours.

For example: Non-working test takers may divide them equally across 6 days of a week, while those who are working professionals may divide them equally between the week (6 hours) and the weekend (the remaining 6).

Assuming that the CAT is approximately 14 weeks (98 days) away, we have 168 hours (a minimum required time, I repeat) to devote to the Verbal and RC section. Given the fact approximately 3/4th of the entire set of VARC questions come from Reading Comprehension, 3/4th of these hours (112 hours – 8 hours a week) should be devoted to the preparation of Reading Comprehension.

The remaining 56 hours need to be divided between the following: Sentence Correction (grammar) and Vocabulary questions, Parajumbles, Para Completion questions, Critical Reasoning (including FIJ and Summary). These are the question types most likely to appear in the CAT Exam, irrespective of whether or not they appeared in the CAT 2018 or 2017.

That gives us a minimum preparation time of 21 hours (1.5 hours per week) for each of the above question types.

Let me point out something very important here: The minimum preparation time suggested above must be followed, irrespective of how good (or bad) you think you are when it comes to these questions. Even if some of these are your strengths, they must be practised regularly. It is similar to doing push-ups every day. You may be able to 100 push-ups non-stop, but in order to maintain that level of strength, you need to do them every day.

On the other hand, if some of the above questions require extra preparation (in most test-takers’ cases it is grammar and vocabulary), you must set aside extra time in addition to these 27 hours. It might mean waking up earlier on weekends or missing a movie on a Sunday evening!

The primary objective of the above division of time is to achieve a minimum proficiency in all kind of likely questions so that we have as few weaknesses as possible when we go into the CAT exam.

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

How to utilise the time allocated to Reading Comprehension?

“Plan for what it is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.”

Developing the requisite reading skill for RC is a long-term process, one that gets progressively difficult as the time to take the test approaches and the pressure begins to mount to focus on the question types, rather than general reading. As you must have discovered by now, Reading Comprehension passages in the CAT (and indeed, most other similar exams) are primarily non-fiction – something which most test-takers do not really frequently read.  As we have discussed earlier in these posts, it is extremely important that some amount of time is devoted to the reading of non-fiction materials, such as books, newspapers, magazines, online and offline journals etc.

Of the 108 hours we have for the RC preparation, a third needs to be set aside for such ‘extra-curricular’ reading. That means we have 72 hours for practising the passages, and 36 for such reading. That means 4 hours a week must be dedicated to practising the passages and the questions, and at least 2 hours a week (about 30 minutes a day) for such extra reading of newspapers and journals. Remember, this is the minimum. Depending on your existing level of preparation, you may need to devote more time to such reading.

Through such reading, we are going to improve not only our reading skills for RC but also general vocabulary, which is going to contribute to our performance in the vocabulary questions. Simultaneously, such reading is also going to help us sharpen our instinct for grammatical accuracy.

That we have 72 hours for practising RC passages means that we can devote 4 hours per week (240 minutes) to this task. Assuming that the average time taken to deal with an average-level passage is 15 minutes, we can practise a minimum of 16 passages per week. That is good practice.

In summary:

For the next 14 weeks, we have a total of 12 hours a week to devote to the preparation of Verbal and RC section.

You may choose to divide these 12 hours over the 7 days of a week in any way you desire. Personally, I would prefer to have Sundays entirely for relaxation!

We devote 8 hours to the preparation for RC – 2 hours out of 8 are given to general, non-fiction reading, and 4 are given to the practising of RC passages, allowing us to practise a minimum of 16 passages every week.

We devote the remaining 4 hours to the preparation of the Verbal questions – with 1 hours per week devoted to the preparation of Sentence Correction and Vocabulary questions, Parajumbles, Para Completion, and Critical Reasoning questions.

I repeat, this plan represents the minimum required level of preparation for the VRC section of the CAT. You may add to the number of weekly hours as per your own and your trainer’s assessment of your need and your progress, and also as per the free time available to you outside your college/office hours. But whatever you choose to do, stick to a timetable. Have a roadmap. Do not lose your way into the battlefield by deviating from your plan. You may change the plan, but you must have a plan at all times.

Above all, remember the words of one of the greatest warriors ever – on the field of sports:

“Every time I feel tired while I am exercising and training, I close my eyes to see that picture, to see that list with my name. This motivates me to work again.” – Michael Jordan
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  • CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Verbal Ability – Odd One Out

    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q1: Displacement in Bengal is thus not very significant in view of its magnitude.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q2: In many cases time inconsistency is what prevents our going from intention to action.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q3: Translators are like bumblebees.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q4: As India looks to increase the number of cities, our urban planning must factor in potential natural disasters and work out contingencies in advance.?
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q5: Much has been recently discovered about the development of songs in birds.?
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q6: Our smartphones can now track our diets, our biological cycles, even our digestive systems and sleep-patterns.?

    CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Verbal Ability – Summary

    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q1: The conceptualization of landscape as a geometric object first occurred in Europe and is historically related to the European conceptualization of the organism, particularly the human body, as a geometric object with parts having a rational, three-dimensional organization and integration.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q2: Production and legitimation of scientific knowledge can be approached from a number of perspectives.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q3: Artificial embryo twinning is a relatively low-tech way to make clones. As the name suggests, this technique mimics the natural process that creates identical twins. In nature, twins form very early in development when the embryo splits in two.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q4: A Japanese government panel announced that it recommends regulating only genetically modified organisms that have had foreign genes permanently introduced into their genomes and not those whose endogenous genes have been edited.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q5: Should the moral obligation to rescue and aid persons in grave peril, felt by a few, be enforced by the criminal law?
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q6: The early optimism about sport’s deterrent effects on delinquency was premature as researchers failed to find any consistent relationships between sports participation and deviance.?

    CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Verbal Ability – Parajumbles

    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q1: The eventual diagnosis was skin cancer and after treatment all seemed well.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q2: Impartiality and objectivity are fiendishly difficult concepts that can cause all sorts of injustices even if transparently implemented.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q3: But now we have another group: the unwitting enablers.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q4: The woodland’s canopy receives most of the sunlight that falls on the trees.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q5: Self-management is thus defined as the ‘individual’s ability to manage the symptoms, treatment, physical and psychosocial consequences and lifestyle changes inherent in living with a chronic condition’.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q6: It was his taxpayers who had to shell out as much as $1.6bn over 10 years to employees of failed companies.?
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q7: They would rather do virtuous side projects assiduously as long as these would not compel them into doing their day jobs more honourably or reduce the profit margins.?
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q8: In the era of smart world, however, ‘Universal Basic Income’ is an ineffective instrument which cannot address the potential breakdown of the social contract when large swathes of the population would effectively be unemployed.?

    CAT Exam 2018 Questions from Reading Comprehension

    Reading Comprehension – Set 1: Everybody pretty much agrees that the relationship between elephants and people has dramatically changed,” [says psychologist Gay] Bradshaw.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 2: The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 3: [The] Indian government [has] announced an international competition to design a National War Memorial in New Delhi, to honour all of the Indian soldiers who served in the various wars and counter-insurgency campaigns from 1947 onwards.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 4: When researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained mice to fear the smell of almonds (by pairing it with electric shocks), they found, to their consternation, that both the children and grandchildren of these mice were spontaneously afraid of the same smell.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 5: Economists have spent most of the 20th century ignoring psychology, positive or otherwise. But today there is a great deal of emphasis on how happiness can shape global economies, or — on a smaller scale — successful business practice.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 6: NOT everything looks lovelier the longer and closer its inspection. But Saturn does. It is gorgeous through Earthly telescopes.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 7: More and more companies, government agencies, educational institutions and philanthropic organisations are today in the grip of a new phenomenon: ‘metric fixation’.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 8: The complexity of modern problems often precludes any one person from fully understanding them.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 9: Grove snails as a whole are distributed all over Europe, but a specific variety of the snail, with a distinctive white-lipped shell, is found exclusively in Ireland and in the Pyrenees mountains that lie on the border between France and Spain. ?
    Reading Comprehension – Set 10: Will a day come when India’s poor can access government services as easily as drawing cash from an ATM?

    CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Verbal Ability – Odd One Out

    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q1: Over the past fortnight, one of its finest champions managed to pull off a similar impression.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q2: Although we are born with the gift of language, research shows that we are surprisingly unskilled when it comes to communicating with others.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q3: The water that made up ancient lakes and perhaps an ocean was lost.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q4: Neuroscientists have just begun studying exercise’s impact within brain cells — on the genes themselves.
    Verbal Ability – Odd One Out – Q5: People who study children’s language spend a lot of time watching how babies react to the speech they hear around them.

    CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Verbal Ability – Summary

    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q1: Both Socrates and Bacon were very good at asking useful questions. In fact, Socrates is largely credited with corning up with a way of asking questions, ‘the Socratic method/ which itself is at the core of the ‘scientific method, ‘popularised by Bacon.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q2: North American walnut sphinx moth caterpillars (Amorpha juglandis) look like easy meals for birds, but they have a trick up their sleeves—they produce whistles that sound like bird alarm calls
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q3: For each of the past three years, temperatures have hit peaks not seen since the birth of meteorology, and probably not for more than 110,000 years.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q4: A translator of literary works needs a secure hold upon the two languages involved, supported by a good measure of familiarity with the two cultures.
    Verbal Ability – Summary – Q5: To me, a “classic” means precisely the opposite of what my predecessors understood.

    CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Verbal Ability – Parajumbles

    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q1: This has huge implications for the health care system as it operates today, where depleted resources and time lead to patients rotating in and out of doctor’s offices
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q2: Before plants can take life from atmosphere, nitrogen must undergo transformations similar to ones that food undergoes in our digestive machinery.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q3: The implications of retelling of Indian stories, hence, takes on new meaning in a modern India.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q4: This visual turn in social media has merely accentuated this announcing instinct of ours, enabling us with easy-to-create, easy-to-share, easy-to-store and easy-to-consume platforms, gadgets and apps.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q5: The study suggests that the disease did not spread with such intensity, but that it may have driven human migrations across Europe and Asia.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q6: Scientists have for the first time managed to edit genes in a human embryo to repair a genetic mutation, fuelling hopes that such procedures may one day be available outside laboratory conditions.
    Verbal Ability – Parajumbles – Q7: The process of handing down implies not a passive transfer, but some contestation in defining what exactly is to be handed down.

    CAT Exam 2017 Questions from Reading Comprehension

    Reading Comprehension – Set 1: Typewriters are the epitome of a technology that has been comprehensively rendered obsolete by the digital age.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 2: The end of the age of the internal combustion engine is in sight. There are small signs everywhere
    Reading Comprehension – Set 3: During the frigid season…it’s often necessary to nestle under a blanket to try to stay warm.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 4: Creativity is at once our most precious resource and our most inexhaustible one.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 5: Do sports mega events like the summer Olympic Games benefit the host city economically?
    Reading Comprehension – Set 6: Scientists have long recognized the incredible diversity within a species.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 7: This year alone, more than 8,600 stores could close, according to industry estimates, many of them the brand -name anchor outlets that real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 8: I used a smartphone GPS to find my way through the cobblestoned maze of Geneva’s Old Town, in search of a handmade machine that changed the world more than any other invention.
    Reading Comprehension – Set 9: Understanding where you are in the world is a basic survival skill, which is why we, like most species come hard-wired with specialized brain areas to create congnitive maps of our surroundings.

    Other posts related to Verbal Ability

    What Sherlock Holmes can teach you about Parajumbles in CAT
    Tips and Tricks to Solve Para-Jumble Questions for CAT Exam
    4 Rules to Crack the Paragraph Completion questions in the CAT
    Let Sherlock Holmes help you solve Sentence Exclusion questions in CAT
    Fact Inference Judgement – Tips to Solve FIJ Questions in CAT 2019
    How to solve problem on Syllogism in CAT Exam
    Critical Reasoning Tips – Strengthening and Weakening Arguments
    How to correctly use the punctuation marks in English

    Other posts related to Reading Comprehension

    Reading Comprehension Tips For CAT – Different Types of RC Passages
    Reading Comprehension Tips – Writing Styles of Passages in CAT Exam
    Tones of Passages for Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT Exam
    Reading Comprehension Sources for CAT Exam and Resources to Prepare
    A Wine-lover’s Guide to CAT Reading Comprehension Strategies
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    3 responses to “100 Days plan for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT Exam”

    1. PC says:


      Any plans for working professionals for these 112 days?

    2. Rajesh says:

      Thank you for this elaborate post on time management technique for preparation for CAT Verbal Ability and RC. I’m sure this will be of immense help to test aspirants.

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