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5 ways to Improve Reading Speed for CAT 2018

Last Updated - August 27, 2018

CAT is a national level management entrance exam considered as one of the most difficult entrance exams. CAT 2018 will be conducted on 25 November (Sunday). CAT VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) section includes a lot of questions based on Reading Comprehension. Therefore, improving the reading speed can pay rich dividends for aspirants in enhancing their sectional score in VARC section.

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However, developing reading speed should be done with an emphasis and focus on solving maximum questions related to the passages in a short span of time. With CAT 2018 just a couple of months away, candidates must tie all the loose knots in their final preparation. Keeping in mind the previous year trends, candidates must secure a high sectional and overall score to clear CAT Cut off.

This article offers some easy-to-implement tips and resources that will help candidates improve their reading speed within a short time frame.

CAT VARC Exam Pattern

Before discussing the ways by which candidates can improve their reading speed for CAT 2018, let’s take a look at the structure of VARC section. CAT question paper would typically comprise 4-5 long or short reading comprehension passages. There are 4 questions per passage. The division of marks of the VARC section of CAT is listed in the table below:

SectionNumber of MCQsNumber of non-MCQsNumber of QuestionsTotal MarksDuration (minutes)
VARC (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension)24103410260

Scoring well in Reading Comprehension questions of CAT is all about time management and smart approach while reading to answer questions related to the passage itself.

Read More CAT Exam Pattern

Expected Reading Speed for CAT

Candidates are expected to have a speed of reading about 200-400 words per minute. A standard reading comprehension passage included in CAT question paper has around 300-700 words.

In order to accurately answer the questions related to the reading passage, candidates need to read the passage not only fast, but in a coherent manner so that they can understand the intent and gist of the passage. Candidates should miss reading any part of the passage at their own peril because questions can be framed from any portion of the passage.

7 ways to improve reading speed for CAT 2018

These 5 simple and easy-to-implement tips can go a long way in enhancing candidates’ reading speed for attempting CAT VARC Section:

  1. Read a lot

The most basic way to improve your reading speed is to read a lot. Make reading magazines and newspapers a daily habit. This will automatically increase your ability to read fast and accurately. Besides improving reading speed, magazines and newspapers can also enhance your vocabulary skills which are needed for scoring high marks in VARC section of CAT.

One easy trick is to start reading short articles and then gradually move to essays and longer pieces. You can read the editorial section of newspapers daily. This will expand your knowledge on broad current affairs and trending topics. Reading online blogs is another great idea to improve your reading speed. Candidates can read blogs from various niches on the internet.

There is an added advantage of reading blogs over newspapers because CAT 2018 is a computer based test. The habit of reading texts or long articles on the computer without getting distracted can prove to be handy for preparing CAT VARC section.

  1. Measure your reading speed through some sites

There are some online sites that will help you to measure your reading speed. This is another great way to measure and improve your reading speed for CAT 2018. Some of these sites are listed below:

  • Wall Street Journal: The Wall Street Journal ( is a wonderful site that will provide you with various excerpts from different novels. The website is fed with data of various reading speeds. It can effectively check your reading speed.
    You need to press the “play” button when you are ready to start reading. After you are done, you have to press the “stop” button. Don’t forget to check your reading score at the end of session.
  • Free Reading Speed Test: Free Reading Speed Test ( is a great site that tests your reading speed and comprehension. There are several passages on the site, based on theme, story and text complexity level. If you have a reading speed of 300 words per minute in a philosophy/psychology passage, it means that your speed is above average.
  • Staples: Staples ( is a site that consists of random passages of about 500 words. After each passage, there is a reading comprehension test. This site will let you measure your speed and accuracy.

These sites will help you in improving your reading speed to a large extent.

Check 5 Recommended Magazines for CAT Preparation 2018

  1. Regulating Reading Speed

When you are reading passages, rather than focusing on reading fast, emphasize on controlling the flow of your reading speed. The speed of reading depends primarily on the kind of textual material you are reading.

Regulating speed is the key to mastering all kinds of reading material. One good starting point could be using a pointer like a pencil or pen while scrolling through the entire reading material.

This exercise will allow your eyes to follow the movement of the pointer and thus help you regulate you reading speed.

  1. Get Rid of Sub-Vocalization

What is “sub-vocalization”? It is the common habit among readers to read aloud words in their mind while reading. There is a great deterrent to improving reading speed.

One can either chose to listen to soothing music while reading that can help you build your concentration and divert attention. Many aspirants also prefer to read aloud this not focusing on a single word in their heads while reading.

  1. Use a Voice Recorder

Another way to improve your reading speed is to use a voice recorder. You can read and record a passage and then listen to it. This will let you understand exactly how many words you can read within a particular span of time. This will also help you analyze if you have read the passage in a coherent manner for answering questions.

Therefore, it is recommended to not read the entire passage at a go. Candidates should read and record till they are comfortable. Repeating this process will help them to improve their reading speed.

  1.  Choose a Proper Environment to Read

It is important to choose a proper environment to practice reading. You should choose a place that is not noisy and unorganized. A neat and organized place that has less distractions will help you to concentrate better. When you are reading newspapers and magazines, sit at your desk and read actively. If you are reading a novel, you can relax on your sofa and read.

Your reading speed will improve with regular practice. If you want to master your reading speed, you should read regularly in a proper environment. This can have a huge impact on your reading performance at a later stage.

Check CAT 2018: Model Paper Predicted by Collegedunia

  1. Listen to Discussions and Debates on Television

Another effective way of improving your reading speed for CAT 2018 is to listen to discussions and debates on television. This will not require a lot of effort as you have to only listen.

The idea is to imitate the way the panelists speak: in a fast manner and with complete clarity. Television debates and discussions are timed. Therefore, the speaker has to finish saying his points within a particular span of time.

These are some simple ways by which MBA aspirants can improve their reading speed for CAT 2018. Having a great reading speed will save a lot of time and improve their performance in VARC section. As there are only 60 minutes for answering each section of CAT, candidates need to optimize their time management strategy for the day of exam.



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