Reading Comprehension


What are the skills tested in Reading Comprehension?

Managers of big companies read several documents a day and quickly grasp the important parts in each of them while filtering out the noise. This ability is tested in a student in the Reading Comprehension section of CAT. RC is a vital section in CAT and around 40% of the questions in the Verbal+LR section are from this topic. Improving RC is all the more important because a student who is good at RCs typically does well even in other related questions like Para-Completion and Para-Jumbles.


Things to remember while answering a RC

  • What is the main point the author is trying to make?
  • What are the key arguments he/she puts forward to make that point?
  • What is the tone of the author? Eg: Mocking, Condescending, Respectful, Curious, etc
  • Are there any negative conjunctions? These words indicate a change in the tone of the author. - - So, the implication of the author is not what the initial statement suggests. Eg: But, however, nevertheless, in spite of, etc
  • Are there any negative qualifiers? These words create a doubt about fact being stated. Eg: Appears, somewhat, seems like, perhaps, etc

What are the types of questions that are asked in a Reading Comprehension?

There are two types of questions asked in an RC

  • Perspective Questions: These questions are based on the entire essay as a whole and are not limited to a single paragraph of the essay. Questions like

    1. Suggest a title for the essay.
    2. What is the most significant point in the essay?
    3. What is the gist of the essay?
  • Specific Questions: These are comparatively easier to answer as they pertain to a specific paragraph in the essay. For example,

    1. Why did Alexander not succeed in invading India?
    2. Which of the following steps did India not take while pursuing green revolution?

What should the strategy be while answering Reading Comprehension?

  • Try to answer four out of five RCs given in the section.
  • Every RC has an underlying topic. Choose the RC whose topic you are familiar with.
  • Identify the theme of every paragraph while reading the RC for the first time.
  • Identify the 'specific questions', as described above, and the paragraphs they are pertaining to. These can be answered with better accuracy
  • For the 'generic questions', try to eliminate the least likely options

How to improve in Reading Comprehension?

Daily reading of national newspapers like The Hindu, Indian Express helps as their editorials are very well written and cover a diverse set of topics. Some of the international newspapers like The Guardian and New York Times also help in improving RC.

Students should read every article from the point of view of the examination and try to grasp the relevance of each paragraph in the article and the 'tone' of the author. Making a short, 100 word summary of every article is encouraged in the initial days of preparation.


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