Tips to Prep for CAT Verbal Ability

CAT Verbal and Reading Comprehension is more than 1/3 of your score, so CAT Verbal skills are a must have. Here are some tips to prep for CAT Verbal ability.

Tip 1: Read CAT-like materials

I chuckled as I wrote this tip, because for a moment, I pictured reading materials that are “cat-like” in a literal sense: slippery, quiet, and sneaky like a cat.

Tips to Prep for CAT Verbal Ability

Actually, this is kind of accurate. The readings in CAT Verbal can be slippery. There are long and winding sentences, with complex grammar. And the meaning behind the words can be “quite” and “sneaky” in a way. CAT writing uses poetic idioms and tricky vocabulary. Like the fast, hard-to-see movements of a real cat, it’s easy to miss parts of the “flow” of a CAT Verbal passage.

The best way to get used to this seemingly mysterious writing style? Practice, of course. Here are a few good websites for CAT-like reading practice:

Art & Letters Daily
The Economist
The Wall Street Journal
The New Yorker

There’s a lot of other good reading practice for CAT Verbal on ordinary news websites too. Political opinion pieces and movie reviews are especially likely to have a CAT-like writing style.

Tip 2: Practice Your Writing

It’s a good idea to build your writing skills as you prep for CAT Verbal. And no, an essay has not been added to the CAT syllabus (so you can breathe a sigh of relief). However, to have good reading comprehension, it helps to think like a writer. That way you can really understand the writers of the CAT passages, and the things the writers are trying to communicate.

So keep an journal, create a blog, or put some extra effort into your work emails or social media posts. Take pride in your writing, and put thought into the way you write.

And of course, practice paraphrasing the things you read. This helps you practice specifically for the paragraph summary questions in CAT Verbal.

Tip 3: Make Your Own Flashcards

Pre-made CAT flashcards have limited use. If you’re just reading someone else’s definitions of CAT vocabulary, you risk memorizing words without truly understanding them. But if you make your own flashcards, you need to write definitions and example sentences yourself. This is a powerful way to really recall new vocabulary, and to truly understand vocabulary words that you need for the CAT. You can make flashcards by hand with pen and index cards. Online platforms for making digital flashcards are good too. I esepcially recommend Quizlet.

This isn’t to say that pre-made flashcards are useless. In fact, flashcards made by test-prep companies are a great companion to the flashcards you make for yourself. Just be sure to get in some real, “hands on” work creating flashcards that meet your personal learning needs.

Tip 4: Don’t be Afraid to Use ESL Resources

Now, English is very widely spoken in India. So much so, in fact, that many Indians really are native English speakers. But even native English speakers in India probably don’t use English as exclusively as native English speakers from English-speaking countries.

As a result, you may not have the familiarity with English that you need for CAT Verbal. Or you may be more familiar with Indian English, rather than the more global, culturally neutral English on the CAT. To fully prepare for CAT-style English, ESL materials–especially ones for advanced learners–can be a hidden gold mine of tips and tricks for CAT Verbal abilities.

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