How I cracked verbal ability section.. by a hindi medium student.
Finally I made it happen, overcome my fears and cracked verbal section.
Last year, I was clueless before I started for CAT and thought it wasn’t my cup of tea to crack this because of my horrendous verbal skills. Honestly, I was good in maths and engineer from NIT; so was little over confident that I will work hard and make it happen. But when I took my CAT first time I was shocked to see only 10%ile in verbal and 92%ile I’m quant. That was last year but a good awakening call…
So this year I started with the objective of taking revenge with the exams especially in verbal section. Let me start with level one basics first. You have to do three things
1. Reading reading reading
Started my day everyday with newspaper reading reading and more reading everyday. you will make a habit of reading within a month. Start with anything thats in English Bollywood news, sports, novels anything u are interested in.
Grammar questions are still tricky for me and have a poor accuracy in that. Grammar is normally confused with sentence correction questions. But grammar is a must do as reading comprehension, paragraph based questions are all based on grammar. I started with wren and Martin but frankly couldn’t make anything out of it. So I moved to my coaching classes grammar book and moved to SC grail by aristotle. Its the bible for Sentence correction.
Here comes the donkey work.. I started with the flashcards and wordlists without much success but quickly moved to word power made easy for learning vocab based on roots and nemonics ie learning words though association of them with other words. I will be be posting few examples of grammar as I get time.
Even after going through strong foundation and with only 3 months left for the exam, I can tell you I was still horrendous when it comes to my verbal skills BUT i came to know the tricks of the trade!!!
Level II advance
Let’s move to advance stage now.
Once you have a sound base it’s good but not enough to crack the exams as basic is not what’s tested in the exams. Second phase is now more about practice. And I did three things:
A. Reading Comprehension
B. ParaJumbles Completion
C. Fill in the blanks
D. Sentence correction
Again back to reading reading reading..
One you are done with the basics ie habit of reading move to going through RC passages everyday instead of relying on newspaper. I used to solve daily 2 passages during my travel time to office or at office hours. I practiced upto the level that I could predict what kind of questions should be asked from this passage. It will take around 1 month time to reach that level. Read RC like a mechanical structure of paragraphs rather than getting emotionally involved in the words.
ParaJumbles and completion
I liked cetking approach of dividing questions into types like in maths. we have 10 formulas within a chapter similarly parajumbles can be divided into 8 to 10 type of questions which are coming in exams. I solved around 100 questions from each section from basic to advance level to gain confidence and get ready with my list of “type of questions”
Vocab usage and Fill in the blanks
Once u have mastered vocab you don’t need to worry about fill in the blanks just practice around 50 questions and you are ready to face the exam questions. Solve both fill in the blanks and Vocab usage questions.
Doing grammar and sentence correction again from your coaching classes notes are enough to crack it. There are only few types of commonly repeated questions which you need to practice.
1. Nouns and pronouns
2. Subject verb agreement
Are few commonly repeated topics in every competitive exam. So make your list of commonly repeated questions which will help you solve sentence correction questions in the exam.
Everybody reads these books (coaching notes, SC grail etc etc) but i feel no one understands the underlying tricks of how to identify and solve them by hit and trial. I still don’t understand them after scoring 99%ile but i surely mechanically solve them using set techniques and i was able to see improvement.
I got 6 IIM calls but unfortunately my good percentile was not enough for me. My dad got ill and i got distracted. Couldn’t crack the gdpi cuz of my speaking skills but made it to other top ten colleges.
Lastly Verbal is not only about skills but also the approach to deal with the beast. All the best.
CAT 99.2%ile, Verbal 99.1%ile