CAT: Cracking Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning

Sep 6, 2012, 10.45AM IST by Shiksha


By Ulhas Vairagkar

Ulhas Vairagkar, director TIME, DelhiAfter understanding how to deal with the Quant section of CAT, let us discuss about the second section. This section includes Verbal Ability (VA) and Logical Reasoning (LR) and may include about 18-22 questions from Verbal Ability and 8-12 questions from Logical Reasoning.

Our suggestions on tackling this section:

Verbal Ability

The questions in this area may be broadly divided into four categories:

Grammar: Here, you may get questions that ask you to find out the mistakes in one of the sentences or in one of the parts of a sentence. The question could also ask you to identify the best option to correct the mistake identified in the sentence. To prepare for this area, you must have a sound understanding of English grammar and usage. ‘Wren and Martin’, ‘Thompson and Martinet’ and ‘Michael Swan’ are some of the standard authors that may be referred by the students.

Vocabulary: While direct questions like Synonyms and Antonyms have not been coming in CAT papers since more than last 10-12 years, question types like Sentence Completion (fill-in-the-blanks) and ‘Incorrect usage of the words’ have been a staple in recent CAT papers.

Having a good vocabulary will not just help you in tackling these questions but will also be essential to score in other areas like Reading Comprehension (RC) and Verbal Reasoning.  A good reading habit is a must to develop a good vocabulary. Students may also refer to books like ‘Word Power Made Easy’.

Reading Comprehension: Since this test area includes understanding the passages that are taken from various sources, mostly non-fiction, students not having diverse reading habits often find it more difficult than other areas.

Students should make it a practice to read at least two to three articles on diverse areas like Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Science & Technology, Medicine etc. every day so that they develop comfort in reading diverse subjects. We also recommend that more of the reading should now be online so as to get used to read and comprehend online passages.

Verbal Reasoning: This area includes questions relating to ‘Paragraph Formation/Completion’ for the given paragraph. You may also be asked to identify the sentence that doesn’t fit in the given paragraph. This is a new question type that was introduced recently. Other question types in this area include identifying the best summary of the given passage.

These questions rely on application of logic or reasoning and regular practice may help you to build proficiency in this area. Since most of the question types involve comprehension and strong command over the language, students who are regular readers will have an advantage.

Logical Reasoning

Questions in this area are essentially ‘puzzles’. These may involve Sequencing, Ranking, Selections, Arrangements, Cubes, Calendars, Clocks, Venn Diagrams, Games & Tournaments etc. Like Data Interpretation, proficiency in this area is also dependent on regular practice of solving various kinds of puzzles.

As the name indicates, Logical Reasoning requires application of logic in a given situation. This includes strong understanding of language since quite a few puzzles are based on verbal reasoning.

Ability to arrange the information provided in the question, set in a logical pattern, in an accurate manner and within a short time is essential to crack questions in this area. Ability to visualise is also essential in solving questions based on cubes/cuboids which may include cutting/painting of the cubes in various parts.

Finally, since the focus is on logic and reasoning, formulae or tricks are of little use in doing well in this area. In short, there are no short-cuts to success in LR!

About the author:

Ulhas Vairagkar is director at T.I.M.E. Delhi-NCR & founder-mentor at Vanguard Business School, Bangalore.

Other interesting reads:

- Must-know formulae for CAT

- Data Sufficiency (DS): A bonus or a Trap

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