Are you also looking for ways to develop the reading habit?

If yes, this article might be helpful to you.

In the CAT examination, I find VARC very amusing. It is interesting that for some, it is a cakewalk, while for others, it is no less than a nightmare. The people in the latter category find themselves dumbstruck as to what they should do with this section. They often say that they can handle quant and DILR because those are formula and logic-based and can be mastered through regular practice. But in VARC, there is no logic as such. They often get stuck with the following questions.

“How can I score well in the VA section?”
“What are the ways to increase my accuracy in VA section?”
“Why do I fail to understand the meaning of many words that I come across.
“My reading speed is very slow. What should I do?”

And those who have taken the CAT exam, the only answer they have for this is: Develop the reading habit. Read, read, and read is what they advise. I second their opinion.

I also strongly feel that the VARC section can be comfortably tackled if one is good at reading. In my opinion, a good reader has a few good qualities.

  1. Good comprehension kill.
  2. Better intuition concerning the English language as compared to the ones who are not voracious readers.
  3. Rich vocabulary
  4. Relatively higher reading speed

So, one thing is clear: It is important to develop the reading habit to ace the VARC section of the CAT exam.

Then, the next question that comes to our mind is: How?

To answer this question, I will tell you a little about my background and what I did to enhance my reading skill. In the outset, I want to tell that if you are looking for some formula or any instant solution, you will be disappointed, because what I followed did not yield result quickly. So, in that case, you may skip reading this answer further.

I had my schooling till class 8 in the MP board school in my village. So, there was no culture of English. All I did till class 8 was rote-learning. In class 9, my family moved to a city, and I secured admission in a CBSE convent school.

And then began the struggle. There, the way of the study was completely different, where we had to study books instead of just mug-up text back questions. No concept of rote-learning was there. Also, teachers used to teach in English, and students were also very fluent in English communication.

Among them, I felt dumb. The inferiority complex crept in. I struggled a lot for years. My colleagues used to mock me for my inability to speak in English and my rustic pronunciation. Everything went wrong except one thing – this ordeal fuelled the fire within me.

During my engineering, I started reading the newspaper because we used to get it for free in our hostel. When I initially started, it took me an hour to read one page of the newspaper. I did not know the meaning of many words. But I was patient. Every day I would read one page of the newspaper, and in that also, I would pick articles that fascinated me.

I mostly read articles related to politics, sports, and lifestyle, and ensured that I understood what was written there. I would not assume the meaning of any word, rather I would underline the word, and look into the dictionary for the meaning. Not only reading, but I would also write all the new words in a notebook and make one sentence on my own using that word. This helped me remember the words.

Besides, I used to write a few words on my palm each day and form sentences using those words. All this helped me understand the articles well. I could understand how a sentence was written and learned quite a few new words in this process. After a month, I could read a page in around 40 minutes with a lesser number of unknown words cropping up each day.  I continued this practice for around six months, and it did wonders for me. I fell in love with English, and as a result, I started writing, and eventually, I started my blog.

Today, I read the English newspaper the way I read the Hindi newspaper.

I enjoyed this process. To my disbelief, it was very unwinding. I felt really good when I used to frame a sentence for words written on my palm during my free time – sometimes during my evening walk or at night when I was just roaming around.

I am not saying that this is the only way to enhance your reading skill, but it is one effective way I feel. It might work for you as well. But yes, in this process, one needs to be patient because it is a slow process, and it will take some time to yield a positive result.

In this whole process, one thing is very important, and it is that one should not try reading topics that do not fascinate them. At least, in the beginning, read those topics which fascinate you so that you develop a taste for reading and start enjoying it. Once you start enjoying reading, you can read those editorials of The Hindu and the likes.

Lastly, this process would work better if your basic English grammar is fairly good. If not, they brush it up as well alongside. You should be very clear with basic topics like tenses, voice, and speech.

To conclude, those who are targeting CAT 2021 should try this, and those who are targeting CAT 2020 can try this, but due to a paucity of time, instead of reading one page, read only one article a day. But be consistent. And for that matter, throughout your CAT preparation, be patient and work consistently. I strongly believe, CAT is one exam which is more about patience, persistence, and perseverance than it is about intelligence.

Read: How Should I Prepare VARC For CAT?


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