Master VARC for CAT – Step1: Understand the trend

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Are you serious about CAT preparation, especially the VARC section?

If you are not serious about it, please don’t read this and subsequent write-ups on this topic and waste your time. You can find better ways to use it.

But if you are really serious about it, don’t stop till you read and implement ALL the 5-steps to mastering the VARC section in CAT that I will share with you in 5 different blog posts over the next couple of weeks. This might be the most important content you will read wrt VARC section.

Step-1: Understand the trend

Before I ventured into teaching VARC for CAT, I studied Pharmacokinetics where I learnt that in order to bring about a drastic change in the rate of a pharmaceutical process, we must alter the step that dictates the phenomenon the most. Trying to manipulate a step which has little significance would barely bring any perceptible change. Same, my friends, is true for your CAT preparation!!

You are at, say, 70 percentile and wish to jump to 99+. How do you think you are going to make that big a jump? There are topics and subtopics in each of the three sections, but are all of them equally critical?

If not then which are the ones on which your performance in the exam broadly rests?

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence. So let us look at some data to see the distribution of 34 VA questions across different broad question categories – Reading Comprehension (RC), Critical Reasoning (CR), Grammar and Vocabulary, in that order

As is evident, the areas that have clearly dominated the VA section of CAT in the recent years are RC and CR. One may accuse me of being selective in considering only previous 6 years’ data, but the reasons for that are

  1. recent trend has to be a parameter of relevance. I am sure that while preparing for your end-sem exams, you pick the end-sem papers of previous 3-4 years as your cornerstone, and do not worry what was asked 10-15 years back.
  2. there has been remarkable consistency in the number of questions asked in CAT (100) and in the individual sections (34 in VA) in the last 5 years, before which it is hard to find such consistency and thus difficult to observe any clear pattern.

One may also point out that I am focusing on only one exam wherein there is a multitude of other tests that do have quite a few, or perhaps a lot of, questions from Grammar and vocabulary sub-sections. Understand that CAT is the mother of all MBA entrance exams you would appear for, for no other exam acts as a gateway to so many and such illustrious colleges, including the elite IIMs. There is a reason the name of most of your study groups on WhatsApp and Telegram is CAT preparation and not MBA entrances preparation!

Understanding the trend is the Step-1 to success in VARC section of CAT.

More soon!

The author, Lokesh Sharma, is a serial 99%iler in the VARC Section of the CAT and a Mentor at MBAGuru. The Legend of Logic (and the source of many a LoL in his sessions) is a master of CR and one of the most practical English mentors you could ever hope to learn from. Given his ability and experience, being anything under overconfident would infact be being underconfident.

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