CAT 2019 Exam – CAT English & Verbal Ability Tips and Important Points to remember


It is a common misconception that CAT English is vast and the preparation can never truly ends for CAT Exam. While the latter statement is true philosophically, in actuality, it is enough if you understand how it works. You can always draw on experience and practice to answer those questions. Of course, it goes without saying that there’s nothing that can beat the speed you acquire by reading a lot of books and articles up to the date of exam. However, in case you found that it was hard to do it, there are some tips that you can follow as last minute resort as well.

Tips for CAT English Comprehension

CAT English has focussed highly on Reading Comprehension in the last few years. Out of the 34 questions, you can expect anywhere between 20 and 23 questions on reading comprehension. The others would be on the verbal ability part. For that reason, you need to employ both generally and in learning the subject.

Generic Tips

  • In the weeks preceding the exam, read articles about the most random topics. Just ensure that you can understand the article. Try reading one every day. This will lead to a magical increase in your reading speed.
  • Buy a Wren and Martin book on English grammar to help answer Verbal Ability. There is really no substitute to that book in learning English grammar.
  • In all that, ensure you’re not spending too much time just working on English. Ensure you have enough time for breaks and to focus on other topics as well.
  • Editorials are the best way to ramp up your English speaking skills. The Hindu and The Economist are usually highly recommended. Just ensure you’re not influenced by left-wing bias in the papers.

Subject-wise Tips

  • Check where the focus is on in each of them. For example, in Reading comprehension, questions are asked on inferences, tone and summaries besides others. For none of these, is there an easy way out. The only solution is to practice a lot so that you’ll get a hang of how to identify the tone of the author or how to identify the right summary.
  • In case of Grammar in Verbal Ability, questions on sentence correction and use of proper part of speech, go through Wren and Martin book. Also know clearly and concisely what each part of speech is for. While this works more on understanding than getting a hang of it like Reading Comprehension does, there’s a chance you could slip up in the exam. Therefore, once again, practice.
  • One of the toughest to find tips for are the jumbled passages. You need to understand how literature is constructed. For that, you should either be aware of historic sentence constructions by reading a lot of books or practice jumbled passages a lot. Focus on this, but don’t give a lot of attention to it.
  • There is a trick called skimming wherein you glance through the passage taking note of the important lines. However, this in itself requires a certain level of practice to ensure that you don’t fall in the exam. So whether you’d want to try your hand out at that, is your call.
  • In the exam, while attempting RC, if you see a particularly long passage and a relatively short passage asking inferences or other questions, choose the shorter one. Because, the higher the length of the passage, the lower the short-term retention of facts which make having to re-read the passage again tedious.

While it is really true that English is time-consuming, it is one of the topics one can score very easily. A higher score in this would compensate for a lower score in Quant or DI-LR. So do your reading, and brush up on your language skills.

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