CAT Antonym and Synonym Tips & Tricks

CAT Antonym Synonym Tips

The big question: how many CAT antonym and synonym problems are you likely to see on upcoming CATs? The answer: surprisingly for many test-takers, not very many. If you’ve looked over old CAT exams, you might have noticed that there were a handful of these on every test. Now, you might see one or two. So you’ll still need those rephrasing abilities for the current test—after all, every question counts! Here are a few CAT antonym and synonym tips & tricks to help you maximize your score on test day with the most efficient practice.

  • Practice antonyms in context. Reading non-test materials like the Economist or the Financial Times is essential to success on the CAT. As you go through articles, stop when you come to challenging words. Ask yourself what the word means—then think about how you’d phrase the opposite meaning. It’s okay if you can’t get this down to a single word right away. Come up with a sentence if you need to, then whittle it down. If you’re in need of materials, you can check out some great suggestions for management entrance exam reading in this post for more.
  • Rephrase your reading practice. As you work through test materials, particularly Reading Comprehension passages, stop after every paragraph and rephrase the author’s main idea. Go smaller: do it with every sentence. Now, every clause. Finally, pick out the most complex words in the clauses and define them in your own words. Just as with antonym practice, you can start with longer descriptions and narrow them down.
  • Rephrase your practice questions. Synonyms can be helpful on the CAT when answering non-synonym questions, as well! This is especially true if the question uses complex vocabulary. Work on doing this in your practice, and it’ll be second nature by test day.
  • Use prefixes and suffixes when you’re stuck. It’s impossible to memorize all the vocabulary that might appear on the CAT, particularly when only one o two questions might ask you for a synonym or antonym directly. To answer these more efficiently, study word roots (prefixes and suffixes) to help you out when you’re confronted with words you don’t know. Magoosh has a free practice lesson on word roots here for you to check out!
  • As a last resort…use sound. But only as a last resort! You shouldn’t do this with grammar—the vast majority of people use incorrect grammar at least some of the time—but if you’re really and truly stuck on a particular antonym and synonym problem, think about what each word sounds like and take your best guess (hopefully eliminating one or more answer choices before you do).
  • A Final Word

    The CAT has shifted its focus over the past few years to questions about reading and verbal logic—but that doesn’t mean that knowing antonyms and synonyms is no longer helpful! Nevertheless, try to incorporate your antonym and synonym practice with your reading comprehension preparation, as these tips will help you do. Maximizing the efficiency of your preparation and primarily focusing on the more commonly tested question types will go a long way towards helping your score.

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