October 15, 2010

Verbal Ability - Know how to crack it....

In order to do well in Verbal Ability you need three things, reading, clarity on English grammar basics and building up your vocabulary. Verbal Ability holds a lot of weightage in the CAT entrance exam paper. This section consists of Verbal ability, verbal reasoning and reading comprehension. It consists of questions which are vocabulary based, English and grammar usage, verbal reasoning and reading comprehension. Like Quantitative Ability, this section also tests the Basic English language skills.
CAT 2008 exam threw a huge surprise towards the students by increasing the number of questions to 40. The questions were based on grammar, usage and vocabulary concepts. There were no new types of constructs in VA, while old constructs like fill in the blanks and inappropriate usage made a comeback this year. The only twist in the VA questions was that the grammar-based questions also involved identifying punctuation, spelling and logical errors. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension consisted of 20 questions each in CAT 2008. The passages of the RC were of medium length and easy to understand. The questions were a mix of inferential and direct questions, with a handful of vocabulary-based questions thrown in. It was a fairly easy section and had plenty of chances to maximize scores. CAT 2006 and 2007 exams had 25 questions with four marks each. Of these, 12 to 15 questions were of RC and rest questions were of verbal. While CAT 2004 exam there were 0.5, one and two, marks questions in this section. In CAT 2005 exam, there were one mark and two marks questions in this section.
What is Verbal Ability all about?
The Vocabulary-based questions can comprise of synonyms & antonyms, fill in the blanks, matching words with their appropriate meanings etc. The grammar usage mostly comprises of questions which test your understanding of grammar. It could be questions where you are asked to spot the section of a sentence that is grammatically incorrect or it could be questions where a part of a sentence in underlined and you are provided with four or five alternative choices. You have to select the choice that corrects the error in the underlined part. The verbal reasoning questions could take multiple forms. The most common one is that of rearranging sentences of a paragraph. It could also include paraphrasing what has been said in a paragraph.
This section consists of basic questions of English language. In order to get a decent score in this section, all you need is to be well versed with grammar, words and verbal reasoning. The concepts have to be clear, as well as you should know the right usage of words, sentence construction etc.
Preparation for Verbal Ability
In order to do well in Verbal Ability you need three things, reading, clarity on English grammar basics and building up your vocabulary. You must start growing a strong reading habit for that. In this way, you can get accustomed to various words as well as get an idea about their usages, sentence construction etc. It is a very good habit to read newspapers, especially editorial pages. It will help in improving the RC skills as well as general English usage. Reading newspapers online will help you a lot. That will serve two purposes, it will not only keep you aware of the current affairs and the verbal preparation but it will give you a competitive edge for the computer-based test which CAT entrance exam has been introduced.
In order to increase wordlists and knowing the meaning, context and usages -Find out multiple applications of commonly used words and phrases, if any. While reading, note the context in which words and phrases are used. This helps in tackling a number of Verbal Ability questions. In order to deal with the Reading Comprehensions, especially the unfamiliar topics, the only way is to broaden your reading and get familiar with various issues. To tackle Reading Comprehension passages about unfamiliar topics, broaden your reading to topics that challenge you.
Though extensive reading on all possible subjects and topics is necessary, to retain your learning is more important. Read as much as possible. The idea is to read and comprehend. Reading with the aim of retention and building the capability to identify the keywords, clues and signs. The only way to this is read more and more.
Knowing the words and their grammars is very important. It is also necessary to associate them properly. He suggested associating an image or a context with a word, in that way one can never forget its meaning. For e.g. associate the word Cornucopia (excess) with SACHIN . Don’t try to mug up grammar as set of rules. See the meaning and understand the connection.
In general, focus on building speed and accuracy, through practice, and careful analysis following practice.
Books and preparation material
By now you must have got the idea that the best material for the Verbal Ability section can be anything from daily newspapers, magazines, basic grammar and work books as well as books of fiction. First you have to start reading. Start with anything that you like. It can be fiction, nonfiction or any other book. Then gradually you can shift towards more serious books.
Intensive reading of newspapers, periodicals and reputed books and novels is paramount to tackle the Verbal Ability Section. It is important to understand whatever you read. The ‘Daily Wordlist’ sent by MBA INFORMER helps students to learn new words, their meanings.
“Use basic English grammar books to learn your fundamentals and there are a large number of books and online resources available which would help you to build your vocabulary, besides learning new words from there try and make an effort to use them in your normal conversation, even at the expense of sounding not your usual self to others and importantly build the capability of contextual comprehension, you cannot and are not expected to memorize the whole dictionary.
High School English Grammar and Composition’ by Wren and Martin, ‘Word Power Made Easy’ by Norman Lewis, ‘Verbal Ability’ by Arun Sharma, ‘A Communicative Grammar of English’ by Geoffrey Leech, ‘A Word A Day: A Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing, Words in English’ by Anu Garg, ‘Business English and Communication’ by Clark Grade C, ‘All about Words’ by Rosenblum and Nurenberg, ‘30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary’ by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis, The GRE and GMAT exam preparation books like ‘Kaplan GRE Verbal’, ‘Princeton GRE Verbal’, ‘Princeton GRE Verbal’ and ‘Kaplan GMAT Verbal’.  These books make your work easier.

You can find out the links to some news papers below:-
We feel the following News Sites will add miles to your gyaan.

It is important that you don't get lost in the web of information.
Keep restraint on what you are doing, by periodically asking yourself,
"Why am I doing it?”

 For magazines, he Business and Management Chronicle’ by Chronicle Publications, ‘Business Line’ by The Hindu Group, ‘Competition Success Review’, ‘Business Today’ by India Today Group, ‘Business World’. There are some must have materials.
 Apart from that, you should read and practice the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.
You should also solve previous years’ test papers to get an idea about the question pattern as well as to rate your performance. “All this should necessarily be supplemented by solving examples from previous exams as well as from books or course material developed by experts exclusively for CAT entrance exam.

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