April 22, 2011

Verbal Ability for CAT: How to score in English Usage

Verbal Ability is an important section of CAT test. It is consists of three sub sections, Reading Comprehension, English Usage and Verbal Reasoning. Here we will talk about English Usage.
English Usage part consists of the grammar and vocabulary. They form a major part of Verbal Ability section in CAT Exam and other MBA Exams every year. The question patterns which are seen here are similar to the ones which you are familiar in getting during your school level exams. But that does not ensure that the questions will be a child’s play for you. You need to go through rigorous MBA Preparations & practice to ensure zero negative marking in this part for your MBA exams. As most of the time, CAT Exam takers are prone to lose marks by getting confused with the close and tricky options.
Question types on Grammar
The pattern of grammar questions range from sentence correction to locating the error in a sentence. Another question type could be, in a sentence, a portion remains underlined and the CAT Exam takers have to identify the error. You have to choose the option which will correct the error in the underlined part of the MBA Exam section for your MBA preparations 2010.
Another form of question could be that, you will be given four sentences, and you have to find out which of the four sentences are grammatically correct. This type of question was given in CAT 2005.
Questions types on Vocabulary
The questions on Vocabulary basically test your word power. The questions give you a word and ask you to choose the option with the closest or most different meaning with the given word. In simple words, the question tests your synonym and antonym knowledge. Questions like ‘Fill in the blanks with the appropriate word’ are also quite common in MBA Exams like the CAT exam.
Another form of question is, a single word is used in four different sentences with four different usages. You have to choose the sentence which uses the given word in the most appropriate manner.
You are usually not asked to choose the correct meaning of a difficult or less-known word or its antonym or synonym from among the options, a good Vocabulary is still quite crucial for doing well in the English section of any MBA Exam..
MBA Preparations 2010 for the English Usage section
The MBA preparations for English Usage section requires thorough practice and understanding of the basic concepts. In order to do well in Verbal Ability you need three things, reading, clarity on English grammar basics and building up your vocabulary.
For grammar practice, the best way is to consult the basic grammar book, ‘High School English Grammar and Composition’ by Wren and Martin. Not only will you get accustomed to the concepts, but you can also do ample practice from it. Another book which you shall refer for the improvement of your grammatical abilities is ‘A Communicative Grammar of English’ by Geoffrey Leech for advanced knowledge. “Don’t try to mug up grammar as set of rules. See the meaning and understand the connection.
MBA Preparations 2010 for the Vocabulary
The more you read, more often you will come across new words you will come across and hence you will be accustomed to its meaning. 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.
You should also keep a pocket size dictionary handy with yourself so that you can know the meaning and note it down whenever you come across a new word. Some books for MBA Preparations 2010, which you can refer for enhancing your Word Power are ‘A Word A Day: A Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing, Words in English’ by Anu Garg, ‘All about Words’ by Rosenblum and Nurenberg, ‘30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary’ by Wilfred Funk and Norman Lewis.
Also, try to understand the meaning of the words from its roots. “The best strategy is to understand the ‘roots’ or the origin of certain words. From what ‘main root’ has a particular word been derived? If you approach Vocabulary is a systematic manner, you can rapidly improve on it,” says Balakrishna.
At an overall level, you need to be prompt and accurate while your MBA Preparations 2010 for MBA Exams, for this part of Verbal Ability section. Adequate practice and having conceptual clarity is best in this regard. “In general, focus on building speed and accuracy, through practice, and careful analysis following practice.
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