How to prepare for CAT Reading Comprehensions?

Welcome to this piece dealing with one of the major pain points of the CAT exam!

Before I actually begin with advice for tackling
CAT reading comprehensions, we need to dwell upon an important fact with
respect to CAT-2015: CAT has a sectional time limit and this means that you
will have to solve the full Verbal Ability section. What does this mean for
you? This simply means that you cannot leave out any section and in particular,
you cannot leave out important topics like Reading Comprehensions (RCs). For
this purpose, you will to put in a minimum modicum of preparation for all
important topics and RCs most definitely fall under that category.

With this important point out of the way, let’s get
down to some actual business: how can you prepare effectively for RCs in the
coming 60 days? How do you improve your existing skill set and what exactly do
you need to do in the next 60 days?

In order to cover all the important aspects related
to preparation for CAT Reading Comprehension, I will use a series of questions
and answers that will address some of the important aspects related to CAT RCs.

Question 1: What is the scope of CAT Reading

This is the most pivotal question for your prep.
The most common CAT RC sources, in order of priority, are listed below:

  • Art subjects (area-1): sociology, philosophy, psychology,
  • Art subjects )area-2): history, culture and art
  • Literature, Business and Economics
  • Science and Technology
  • Politics and current affairs

If you look at the above topics, you should easily
understand that a vast gamut of topics appear in CAT.

Question 2: What is the optimum approach for
reading at this stage?

This question is an obvious one and is a direct
derivative of question 1. At this stage, you should be reading as diversely as
possible and making sure you are aware of the important aspects in each of
these topics. A reading time of 30 to 60 minutes a day, covering 2 to 4
articles a day is an effective reading strategy at this stage.

Make sure you alternate between various topics
listed above and read from different sources every day.

Question 3: Should you be reading books at this

In the ideal world, this would be the perfect step to take
up at this stage. If you can somehow find time and muster the strength to read
one book each of sociology, philosophy, economics, psychology and history, then
you would have prepared for CAT RCs in the best way possible. But I totally
understand that this will be a huge challenge at this stage considering the
time constraints. Right now, it makes sense that instead of books, you limit
yourself to online blogs and articles on these subjects. This is the rational approach
out at this stage.

Question 4: How many RCs to solve in a day and from

You should solve at least 2 to 3 a day from now
onwards. This kind of practice has two distinct advantages:

1. It provides you sufficient problem solving

2. It helps you read some articles and explore some
topics through actual RC solving.

Question 5: From where should I solve these

Unfortunately, this is a problem area for CAT prep.
There are not enough reliable and high-quality sources for RC prep. Despite
this roadblock, you can take up the following:

1. Solve all previous year CAT RCs. This is still
the best resource for RC practice.

2. Solve RCs from Mock CATs. The best quality
passages are available in Mock CATs of different institutions and you should
try to solve as many as possible.

The above questions cover the most important
aspects for your CAT RC preparation. Use the above to create a plan of action
for your RC prep and ensure you can achieve the maximum possible learning in
the coming months.