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How to prepare for CAT reading comprehension?
April 10 2024

How to Prepare for CAT Reading Comprehension 

  • Understand the Structure:

    • The RC section typically comprises passages followed by questions.
    • Familiarize yourself with the types of passages commonly encountered: narrative, descriptive, argumentative, or analytical.
  • Improve Reading Speed and Comprehension:

    • Practice reading various types of texts regularly to enhance your reading speed and comprehension skills.
    • Focus on understanding the main idea, supporting details, and the author's tone and perspective.
  • Active Reading Techniques:

    • Engage actively with the passage by highlighting key points, summarizing paragraphs, and making mental notes of important information.
    • This helps in better retention and understanding of the content.
  • Vocabulary Enhancement:

    • Build a strong vocabulary by regularly reading newspapers, magazines, and articles.
    • Pay attention to unfamiliar words encountered during practice sessions and work on expanding your vocabulary.
  • Practice with Variety:

    • Practice with passages from diverse topics such as economics, sociology, science, and literature to become comfortable with different subject matters.
    • This prepares you to tackle any type of passage in the exam.
  • Effective Time Management:

    • Allocate specific time for each passage during practice sessions to improve your time management skills.
    • Aim to strike a balance between speed and accuracy to maximize your overall score.
  • Practice with Mock Tests:

    • Regularly attempt mock tests and previous years' question papers to simulate exam conditions.
    • Analyze your performance, identify weaknesses, and work on improving them.
  • Focus on Understanding Questions:

    • Pay close attention to the questions asked after each passage.
    • Understand the type of questions (main idea, inference, tone, etc.) and practice answering them effectively.
  • Elimination Technique:

    • In case of uncertainty, use the process of elimination to narrow down answer choices.
    • Eliminate obviously incorrect options to improve your chances of selecting the correct answer.
  • Stay Calm and Confident:

    • Maintain a calm and confident demeanor during the exam.
    • Manage exam anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques and maintaining a positive mindset.

By incorporating these strategies into your preparation routine, you can effectively improve your performance in the Reading Comprehension section of the CAT exam.

CAT is basically divided into three sections, which are:

  1. Quantitative Aptitude
  2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
  3. Verbal & Reading Comprehension

The primary language, across several countries, and most specifically corporate entities, is English. Considering the importance of this language across the globe, Verbal & Reading Comprehension is an integral part of several entrance exams for MBA. Verbal & Reading comprehension section in CAT, has around 34 questions, out which around 45-60% i.e. 15-20 questions could be expected on Reading comprehension. Hence, it becomes very important that the students are able to score well in this section, so as to improve the overall score and be able to make it in a reputed business school. 


 Let us analyze the Reading comprehension section today, which forms an important part of the Verbal Ability Section of CAT.

  • Reading Comprehension, popularly known as the RC section, requires that the candidates are able to read with good speed, properly process the data, analyze the information given, and come up with the solution for the questions mentioned.
  • CAT is one of the examinations, which not only tests the precision, accuracy, skills of the candidates, but also the speed at which the candidate is able to solve the questions. Time is a big constraint in CAT. It, therefore becomes very important, that the candidate, is able to quickly read and interpret the data, and come up with the correct solutions.
  • Once the students are done with reading the entire passage, he/she must be able to get an overall understanding of the main context of the passage. The comprehension, usually begins with an introduction, in the initial paragraph, followed by the conclusion in the end
  • If the students are not able to get an overall understanding of the context, he/she must re-read the first and last paragraph, to get the understanding of the theme of the comprehension.
  • Sometimes, candidates may be asked to identify the profession of the writer. Such questions require that the candidate is able to understand and interpret the style of writing of the author. Consider, if the passage is written by a professor, it would be based more on academics. If the tome of the passage seems to be unbiased, towards the subject, the author is likely to be a Journalist
  • Hence, getting an understanding of the overall style of writing becomes important during such questions.
  • The passages, which appear in exams, are usually the extracts of larger contents, and the candidate is required to come up with an appropriate title for the comprehension. Make sure that the title matches up with the content, the title must not be very specific, neither out of the context.
  • The title should be able to do justice to the contents of the comprehension and should be in line with the context of the passage.
  • Students must thoroughly read the entire passage and should be able to pay attention even at the smaller details in the passage. There could be questions, which are directly based on such details, and it becomes easier to score from these questions, just attention is required to these details.


After getting an understanding of the reading comprehension section of the CAT, one could interpret that the entire section focuses on the reading and understanding ability of the students. It is very important that the students get the speed and precision for reading. This could only be achieved, if the candidate is able to read much as possible, be it across several subjects, topics, areas. A regular reading habit is to be inculcated, this would be the basic necessity for cracking not just the comprehension section, but also other topics in Verbal ability. The next crucial thing is to PRACTICE. The practice is what keeps you going, which is a necessity for cracking the CAT exam. Students should at least practice 10 passages, in a week.       


Finally, I would like to conclude by stating that, Practicing as much as possible, and Inculcating the habit of Reading would be the two important success mantra for this section.  

Anisha Mukhija

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