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How to solve passage based questions in CAT 2018

Last Updated - August 27, 2018

CAT Syllabus comprises the questions from class 10+2. It evaluates a candidate’s quantitative, verbal/reading, data interpretation and reasoning skills. The paper consists of 100 MCQ & Non-MCQ questions with the duration of 3 hours. CAT 2018 will be conducted on November 25, 2018 (Sunday) via online (Computer Based) mode.

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Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension is one of the sections in CAT paper. The section consists passage based questions, and is considered the most time-consuming section. VARC section tests a candidate’s language, understanding and comprehension skills. While solving these type of questions students have to be quick, comprehend the information, analyze the data and then choose the correct answer.

Tip: As per experts, it is suggested to go through the questions first and then read the passage.   

Read the below points to solve passage-based questions in CAT 2018 exam:

Summaries well

Before start solving the passage-based questions, students should identify the central theme of the paragraph. They have to understand the paragraph well. Students should not get distracted by the paragraphs given in the passage. The summary should be precise and short. To expertise, this skill applicant should read a newspaper or magazine on daily basis. If the passage/ paragraph show the multiple ideas then, summarizing a paragraph in your own words would be a great idea. Once you summarize a paragraph it would be easy for you to find the correct answer.

Improve vocabulary

Vocabulary is the common string that can help you to reach at the correct option in less time. So, students are advised to expand your vocabulary base. To broaden the vocabulary the most common way is to invest more and more time in reading. Reading will not only enhance your vocabulary but it will definitely improve your comprehension skills. 

Evaluation skills

Evaluation skills are the most important skills that help to spot the right option. In some cases, while looking for the main option it seems too complex to find. In that situation, students are advised to use an elimination strategy. To develop this skills students need to practice summary questions from CAT previous year papers or mock tests.

While reading the passage, the first and the foremost task would be identifying the subject. This can be done by picking the key points and ideas as you read. After identifying the subject the linking of the key ideas comes into play. Try to write the paragraph short, crisp, and accurate in your own words. 

Select relevant option 

After writing the summary in your own words you will need to check the option which resonates with your answer more. The answer should be grammatically correct and concise. If students analyze and understand the passage well then they can summarize it easily. Sometimes, selecting the answer option state the facts accurately but do not encompass the entire passage. So, it is preferred to select an option that is wide in scope.

Read passage at comfortable speed

Do not skim through the passage or skip the words. During the CAT exam students have enough time to work on the passage. Do not read each and every part of the passage. Just try to understand the meaning of the point being conveyed by the author.  

Go through the summary of each paragraph

Give a quick read to all the points you have written for each paragraph so that you will get an overview of what the passage talks about. Writing the main points will help applicants to summarize the passage easily.

Mistakes that applicants often commit while solving passage questions

We are explaining some of the common mistakes that applicants commit while solving the passage based questions in CAT exam:

Not engaging with the passage

Students think that reading passage is similar to reading a newspaper article which results they forgot what was at the beginning passage when they reach the end of it. Students must try to imagine what the pictures and the author tend to explain rather than retained on the text. 

Not reading the options properly

Somehow aspirants make 1-2 mistakes per passage. The problem is not with reading the options carefully. A usual trick of paper setters is that they pick words straight from the passage and insert additional word which totally negates the meaning and students end up marking the wrong answer. 

Check here CAT Preparation Tips

Not reviewing mock tests properly 

Mock tests are the good way to improve passage reading. Once you attempt the mock test, review the passage again you will understand why the options you picked are wrong. Make sure to review all the wrong options to understand why these options are incorrect.

Best of Luck.



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