Tips to start preparation for CAT 2021 Verbal Ability Section
Part A of Verbal Skill Development: Reading
In the last post, we talked about reading, and how it should be the most vital activity for you. But the one question that was not answered was with regards to the nature of this reading: ‘what should you be reading?’
The first reading choice you have: Newspapers
Ask your teacher the same question and most would reply that you should be reading the editorial of ‘The Hindu’ everyday. The advice is pretty genuine but not quite up to mark. ‘The Hindu’ is one of the things that you should be reading. Better still, in this digital world, you should generally consume all your reading material online itself, and expose yourself to the best authors. The problem with ‘The Hindu’, as with other papers, is that the editorial page is not written keeping in mind a CAT aspirant. Reading the newspaper editorial helps but only till a certain level and the learning is never complete. What is the solution? I have three possible solutions for you:
Pick-up articles (selectively) from The Hindu or the Economic Times on a daily basis. The Sunday editions are always the best as they offer a quick recap of the week as well as interesting analysis. So you can give yourself extra time to read these.
Follow individual authors, and read them online. The list of authors you could begin with include:
a. Bachi Karkaria (Times of India): Wit, humor and good vocabulary
b. Jug Suraiya (Times of India): For the same reasons as Bachi Karkaria
c. SA Aiyar (Times of India/ET): Rigorous Economic Analysis
d. Hasan Suroor (The Hindu): International Flavor
e. P Sainath (The Hindu): In-depth exploration of India’s rural landscape.
The above are just five from a long list of authors and bloggers you should be following. You can also check out more newspapers and magazines you can read, in our last post.
The second reading choice you have: Books
Reading books for CAT is a religious activity, and trust me, treat it as one if you want to do well in the exam. The question again that you are faced with is what should you begin with? Well, a simple list of 15 books for you to browse through (arranged approximately in the order of difficulty, though subjective evaluation applies here):
Tin Fish by Sudeep Chakravarti
Love Story by Erich Segal
Oliver’s Story by Erish Segal
Bridges of Madison Country by Robert James Waller
To Sir with Love by ER Braithwaite
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Time Machine by HG Wells
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
Anthem by Ayn Rand
We the Living by Ayn Rand
How many from this list have you read? I expect at least 1 would be the answer. In case you are just beginning, pick books from this list and dig into them. The common theme of these books is that these are all short books. Yup, you heard me right. The theme, content, narrative styles and level of difficulty of these books have not been considered to generate this list. My criterion for selection was a simple one: suggest thin books which in themselves become easy targets to achieve. Read all or most of these books, get some reading confidence behind yourself, and prepare yourself for some heavy reading in the coming months.
The above forms a fairly huge amount of reading material. Don’t worry, I have a lot of other recommendations to pass on to you guys as well. Be ready for those in the foreseeable future.
Part B of Verbal Skill Development: Vocabulary
The second part of language development revolves around improving your vocabulary skills. How do you do that? In part, by reading more and more. When you read more, you discover more words, the more words you discover, the more words you learn. As simple as that. But beyond discovery of words, you should also look at making sure these words are embedded in your memory. What could you do for that?
Option 1: Use books
Refer to books such as ‘Word Power Made Easy’ and ‘Six weeks to words of power’. Both these books are pretty effective and highly recommended. You can browse a sample of Word-Power’s method here, in our Word Power Blogs.
Option 2: Use Online Tools
1. Flashcards: An amazing way to learn words. In fact, you should buy a deck of cards, and build flashcard sets of your own.
2. Kitabee Social Handles: You can find a lot of practice questions and new words on our Instagram and Youtube handles.
Part C of Verbal Skill Development: Grammar
This is a repetition of the last post. For Grammar, refer to Wren and Martin (High School Grammar and Composition). Go through its Parts of Speech section. Also, make sure you solve online exercises for all grammar topics you study. Basic exercises that probe you to identify nouns/pronouns/adjectives etc. go a long way in enhancing your learning.