Thursday, April 12, 2007

Preparing for CAT 2007: Reading Comprehension section

reading comprehension for CAT 2008

I have always found the Reading Comprehension (RC) section the most intriguing of the various sections in the CAT and other MBA Entrance Test. Now, here are a number of questions, where the answers lie right in front of your eyes. Yet, the RC section troubles those preparing for CAT like nothing else.

If there is one area of the CAT, for which the faculty, students and other experts (not excluding the idiots at the various top coaching institutes) have devised the maximum number of tips and strategies, it’s this R.C. section. 30 CATs have gone by, and CAT 2007 is just a few months away. Another new CAT, yet the same old question still lingers in every student’s mind – What’s the best strategy for the Reading Comprehension section?

I think the answer to this conundrum lies in the fact that it’s still an unsolved mystery – if after so many years, there is still no well-defined answer to this question, then chances are there is no well-defined answer. Just because the experts are supposed to give you an answer, they do.

Then, what should a CAT writer do in the Reading Comprehension section? My suggestion is – don’t listen to anyone, or if you do, don’t agree to anyone. Hear them all out, if you must – but find your own answers through your own experiments.

If there are 5 passsages with 5 questions each, try all these RC strategies and see what works for you.

- Do them as quickly as possible, and try and answer as many questions as possible. Objective of RC Strategy No.1: Maximize attempts.

- Do the passages as quickly as possible, and answer the questions which you are sure of /easies ones. Objective of RC Strategy No.2: Maximize passage and question scanning but filtered attempts.

- Scan passages and do the 2 or 3 that you like. Objective of RC Strategy No.3: Filtered attempts

So, while RC Strategy 1 will work towards attaining maximum attempts, it’s assumed that your accuracy levels will be lower. But since there are more marks for a correct answer than negative for an incorrect answer, if you can beat the odds sufficiently, this will work in your favour.

(Attempting 24 and getting 12 wrong leaves you with a net score of 44. on the contrary if you are choosy and do only 14 questions, and get 10 right you score 39)

Similar calculations can yield similarly better answers for each strategy. What will work best for you can be decided by only one person – you. But you will need to make an effort, after all getting it right means making it to the IIMs, so I guess it sense to put in that bit of work.

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