Proper Method of using Tech to Ace the RC Section

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Proper Method of using Tech to Ace the RC Section

Reading Comprehension (RC) has now become indispensable to the CAT exam. Each year one gets multiple passages for testing. Further, RC is also an important component in the other exams such as XAT, SNAP or NMAT. So, this section is one where students devote countless hours to prepare. A complication that has now arisen is due to the online nature of the CAT exam. There are many students who are genuinely active readers in their own lives, but cannot ace the RC section. It may have psychological reasons, but one factor is definitely the online nature. Research has proven that a human’s average span of attention decreases when reading the same content online, especially one of an intensive nature. So, let us understand how to beat this tech using tech of our own.


The human body posture changes while reading anything online as opposed to offline reading. Thus, even the most voracious of readers take time to adjust. That is why, it is advised that students start reading serious content online. A lot of readers of this blog may see this as manna from heaven, as it gives them leeway to pore over their smartphone. That is where the trick lies. We are not advocating surfing social media or playing games on the phone. Instead, a student needs to read serious content from laptops or desktop PCs. A smartphone doesn’t help here, because that induces a third kind of body posture. One can start by reading serious online magazines such as the web editions of Forbes, Fortune, HBR or The Economist. One could even do editions of national newspapers such as The Hindu, HT-Mint or Economic Times. Editorials will be an ideal test, as a lot of RC passages mimic these kind of articles. Eventually online reading speed also improves significantly.

Eclectic Reading

In addition to posture and content, online reading also provides the advantage of choice. While in any physical book or newspaper, it is relatively tough to switch from one topic to another, on a digital platform, it happens simply by the click of a button. One needs to specifically try reading from a variety of topics. These topics could be typically the RC-friendly ones such as politics, economy, philosophy, psychology, international relations, history, business, science, literature and sociology. No one can be adept at all these topics. Some may prefer business and economy, while another may like history and literature. Yet another may prefer a combo of topics. But it is essential that the student tries his/her hand in all these topics. Only then will he/she understand one’s strengths and weaknesses. One can then try to work on some of the concern areas. Philosophy is one area quite popular in the CAT exam, so one needs to lay special focus on it. Of course, no one should have the option of saying no to business and economy. One’s future career depends on grasping the concepts!

Mocks and Analysis

Business managers need to read a lot in their real work. From reports and analysis, to proposal documents and resumes. That is why their reading speed and comprehending ability needs to be top-notch. In India, as the trend has gone, most students at elite institutions belong to science and engineering backgrounds. Naturally, many of them are better in the quantitative part of the CAT exam rather than the Verbal section. That is why frequent mocks and analysis is so crucial. This will let them know where they stand. And this can best be understood from an online platform. That is because, no analysis will be complete unless one can chart the progress using graphs. Mock RCs must be practised in each of the areas highlighted above. One must analyse which sections one is doing better than the others and why. In fact, contrary to usual belief, a student might end up doing better in a topic he/she is apparently not too good at or interested in. This is because he/she will read that passage with greater focus on understanding the finer points. A passage on a more familiar topic, one may simply browse through.

Focus on Understanding, not Speed

Continuing on from the above point, understanding is key to acing an RC passage, and not necessarily speed. This is because CAT is not much of a speed test. Those are tests that are easy on content, so the idea is to solve as many rapid-fire questions as possible. CAT on the other hand provides ample time to finish, the challenge being the difficulty level. So, accuracy in attempts becomes king. And that is why one must use technology to thoughtfully pore over each RC passage, gauge the finer points and then answer the given questions. One can also then truly gauge the tone the author is writing in. Only through practice on the real medium, can one master this art.

Sectional Switching

This is another trick area where one would be well-advised to make use of technology. For CAT’19 there exists a sectional time limit. This means that one would need to complete a section before moving on to the next one. One cannot choose to do another topic before. This interplay is rather tricky. For some it may look easy, while others may fret unnecessarily over this. The reality is somewhat in between. But if there is one topic where being optimistically cautious is justified, that is the one on Reading Comprehension. In traditional pen-and-paper tests, one could choose to do either the toughest or the easiest topic as per one’s choice at the end. But now that is not possible in CAT as one can only do a section within the allotted time frame. Some RC passages are tediously long. Some maybe easy on the eye, but it may take much longer to actually deduce the answers. So, keeping an eye on the clock, while also maintaining accuracy, can only be developed by the use of technology. While doing mocks, sectional tests are fine, but full-length tests will prepare one for this particular challenge. The test giver can then choose which passage to go for and which could even be left out, in the bigger scheme of things.

Thus, using tech is a must for those who aspire to master the RC section. And RC is increasingly proving to be inseparable from the Verbal section of CAT.

This article was contributed by Aritro.
Aritro is an accomplished teacher and trainer with more than 8 years of experience in this field. He has worked with colleges, corporates and coaching institutes. He is also an established blogger having written extensively in the fields of education, environment, business, football, cinema, travel and food. In 2018 he was the Mentor to All India Rank 1 in the DUJAT exam.

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CAT Exam 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

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