CAT Preparation - Verbal Section

What is the best overall preparation plan to crack CAT? Should I quit my job and prepare for CAT?

♠ Posted by Rajesh Balasubramanian

One of the most common questions I get is about how to draft a preparation plan for CAT preparation. This is often followed by the lament that managing CAT prep and job simultaneously is incredibly tough and that the boss was put on planet earth to test human beings level of tolerance.

Have an unambitious daily plan, but stick to it
When I say unambitious, I do not mean lackadaisical. I mean do not have a plan that demands 8 hours out of you 7 days a week. If you are balancing work and CAT preparation, there is no way you can manage that much over a 3 or 4 month period. And to let you in on a secret related to CAT preparation, you do not need that much,

2-3 hours per day done with very high intensity will easily do the trick. Prepare in three phases - 1) Get the basics right, 2) Do the drill and 3) Fine tune and focus on the overall paper. Very often, students get blinkered and chase arbitrary short-cuts without getting the basics right. I do not have any level of expertise over any list of short-cuts. I have taken CAT a number of times and I can vouch for the CAT that one can crack CAT without any fancy short-cuts. Get a lot of practice so that your mind can do some parts automatically.This saves a lot of energy, which is very vital in a 170 minute exam.

Most importantly, build the discipline to stick to a plan. This exam preparation is a marathon, not a sprint. It is very easy to get carried away, do lots of stuff for 4 days and then faff around for the next 10. Create some simple schedule, but stick to it.

Remember that any time spent on knowing about MBA, learning about different colleges, on various forums are all not equivalent of CAT preparation. Catch a break at fun websites if you must, but do not kid yourself and account this as CAT preparation.

This one is very simple, do not quit your job. More than anything else, this very often increases anxiety level in preparation. Having a credible plan B is very vital for retaining sanity. Dont invest everything on that one process that is fraught with volatility and randomness,  

Very often, the burning desire you have to be liberated from the constraints imposed by your job have NOTHING to do with CAT. Do not use CAT prep as an excuse to run away from a irritating boss or less-than-ideal working conditions. You need all the practice you can get for working in unpleasant places prior to MBA. Post MBA, you will be entrusted with the job of creating such places.:)

Do not revisit strategies with every new input
You might score 96th percentile in one mock and 88th in the next. You might suddenly start outperforming in your weak area. Take all these inputs, tweak your preparation plan mildly. But do not interpret every new input as something that demands a complete overhaul of your plan. You need to have the conviction to stick to the original plan, and wait for the results to come. Frequently changing. The temptation to go for an overhaul is higher if you do not have a job and are twiddling your thumbs pretending to prepare for CAT. So, think a lot before quitting your job.

    Do not use your job as an excuse to lament. 
    When CAT is over, you can take 3 days off and whine about the villain who pretended to be your boss. But till then, bin all this talk of how a tough schedule, late-night calls, and heavy travel are killing your preparation. You are taking this exam because you have a certain level of ambition. Now is the time to back up that ambition with effort. There is no joy in being this talented and ambitious guy who did not throw everything into the exam. Almost everyone gets through to an IIM has struggled hard to get there. So, put your head down, forget about the excuses and give it a full-fledged go. 

    Read. A lot.
    Read novels, magazines, newspaper, fiction, non-fiction, science, philosophy, Economics. Anything and everything. There is no single input that is as useful for CAT preparation as a neatly-honed reading habit. 

    CAT Verbal Question : Text Completion

    Given below are 3 interesting questions on Text Completion 

    Direction : For each blank select one entry from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.

    Question 1:

    More often than not, mothers are ____________ for oddities of behavior in their offspring. ____________, single mothers’ children, raised even in the most difficult of times, do not display ‘outrageous’ patterns of behavior, as do those of nuclear families.
    Blank (1)Blank (2)
    blamedIn the same manner
    praisedInterestingly enough

    Question 2:

    In measuring electrical activity in different parts of the brain, researchers found that people who describe themselves as generally happy have more activity in the left prefrontal lobe of their brains than do other people. Therefore, a medication for ____________ the left prefrontal lobe of the brain would be an ____________ treatment for clinical depression.
    Blank (1)Blank (2)

    Question 3:

    Researchers found that when people's hands were crossed to other side of their bodies, it confused the brain by ____________ the processing of information incoming from multiple regions. Lead researcher says the confusion results from a ____________ between the brain's external mapping of where it normally assumes the hands will be (on the appropriate side of the body) and its internal map of the physical source of the new pain information.
    Blank (1)Blank (2)

    Answers are given below :
    Answer for question 1: 
    Blank (1): Second sentence is crucial. Second sentence gives evidence that single mothers are better at managing kids, so they cannot be blamed for anything.
    Blank (2): We can eliminate ‘consequently’ and ‘in the same manner’ since they don’t logically fit.
    Correct Answer: blamed, Interestingly enough.
    Answer for question 2:
    Blank (1): If people are happy, why should we suppress that lobe?
    Blank (2): We are discussing some new insight; the discussion is towards finding something that will work.
    Correct Answer: stimulating, effective
    Answer for question 3:
    Blank (1): You cannot transmit the processing of info.
    Blank (2): confusion cannot arise out of alignment.
    Correct Answer: interrupting, misalignment

    CAT Verbal Questions : Sentence Rearrangement

    Given below are three interesting questions on Sentence Rearrangement :

    Question 1 :
    Directions: Sentences given in the following question, when properly sequenced form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labeled with a letter. Choose the most logical order of sentences from among the five given choices to construct a coherent paragraph.
    1. Another of his start-ups was sold to Google.
    2. He founded the first company to sell virtual reality products.
    3. But unlike most of his fellow technologists, he eventually came to feel that the rise of digital networks was no panacea.
    4. He was there, more or less, at its creation.
    5. Lanier has an unusual authority to criticize the digital economy:
    Following are the choices :

  • Question 2 : 
    Directions: Sentences given in the following question, when properly sequenced form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labeled with a letter. Choose the most logical order of sentences from among the five given choices to construct a coherent paragraph.
    1. Two reforms are possible here. The first is to encourage more entrants, since competition will reduce the incentive to store for long periods.
    2. However, if storage facilities are controlled by a small group of middlemen who procure in large volumes to manipulate price, it amounts to market failure.
    3. Hence, creation of storage facilities is encouraged in policy circles.
    4. Indian agriculture is vulnerable to sharp price cycles.
    5. The second is to bring in some degree of transparency and market intelligence.
    Following are the choices :
    • DCAEB
    • CBDAE
    • AECBD
    • DCBAE
    Question 3 :
    Directions: Sentences given in the following question, when properly sequenced form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labeled with a letter. Choose the most logical order of sentences from among the five given choices to construct a coherent paragraph.
    1. Lying at the point where the Eurasian plate constantly bumps up against the Indo-Australian plate, volcanoes in the archipelago have long been associated with outsized eruptions, deaths and misery.
    2. With some 130 active volcanoes, Indonesia is a hotbed of tectonic plate activity.
    3. The flip side of the destruction is the availability of a vast amount of geothermal energy that if harnessed, can provide Indonesia with the kind of clean and reliable energy source it is in desperate need of.
    4. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, for example, killed more than 36,000 people and is considered to be one of the loudest sounds ever heard in modern history.
    5. But all this geological ferment is not an unmitigated negative.
    Following are the choices :


  • Explanation :

    Question 1 : It is clear that the starting sentence is ‘E’. Every other sentence refers to ‘he’ or ‘his’, while E refers to the name ‘Lanier’. E says that Lanier has unusual authority to criticize; the best sentence to follow this would be D, which elaborates on why this authority is.
    So, we start with ED. BA seems to be a link. So, we could EDBAC or EDCAB. Between these two, EDBAC is better, as B and A elaborate on the idea espoused in E and C talks about something else. EDBAC is the solution. Answer Choice (2)
    Question 2 : AE is a powerful link; probably the most obvious one. However, we see that all the choices have AE. A refers to reforms. So, the previous sentence should refer to some problem. The best bet is B. D seems to be the best starting sentence, and the best order would be DCBAE.
    Answer Choice (4)

    Question 3 : E and C talk about the positives, of the other side, of the volcanoes. So, they should probably appear together and in the end. A talks about deaths and misery, D gives an example of this. So, AD is a link. BADEC is the best order. Answer Choice (1)