With about 60 days to go for CAT, most CAT aspirants hit the panic button. Actually, this is the time to keep a calm head and make the best of these remaining days! In this post let us look at the two question types that give a head ache to most of the students – vocabulary and sentence correction.

In this new pattern of CAT there is uncertainty about how many vocabulary and sentence correction questions will be there but a estimated guess would be that around 6-7 questions of vocabulary and sentence correction are expected to come in CAT 2015 (i.e. 20% of the VRC paper). Also, these questions are the least time consuming ones out of all the VRC questions. However for a majority of CAT aspirants the time spent in these questions would result in 2-3 correct and 4-5 incorrect answers or the 12-13 minutes in these question types will result in not more than 4-5 marks in about 12-13 minutes!

Why does this happen? The reasons are known to all of us:

  1. We did not pay attention to Grammar in school because we felt speaking English confidently was more important than speaking Correct English. What we often tend to overlook is that many people around us speak incorrect English confidently.
  2. We did not develop a reading habit which would have ensured at least a contextual vocabulary if not the exact meaning of the word.
  3. Vocabulary was never tested in school and college exams hence we never bothered about it.

With 50 days for CAT, how do we ensure 5-6 correct answers out of the 6-7 these questions of vocabulary and sentence correction?

To ensure maximum utilization of the available time, let me start with what you should not do.

  1. Do not pick up Wren and Martin or any other grammar book.  The right time to go through this book was when you were in school. You cannot cover up for this dereliction of work in school in the next 50 days without adversely impacting your preparation of other areas.
  2. Do not worry about mugging up the word list from the vocabulary builder. You should have started using the vocabulary builder at least 6 months ago, if you have not done it till now, you are unlikely to do it in the next 2 months. In fact you would not lose much if you throw it away.

How then should you prepare for Vocab and Grammar?

With only about 2 months available, we need to be selective and intensive and focus on those words and grammar statements that have a greater probability of appearing in CAT. Where will you find these high probability words and statements?

These are available in past CAT, XAT, IIFT & FMS papers, Mock CATs and FLTs.  So no prizes for guessing what I expect you to do. You need to mug up word and grammar statements from these papers.

From the past papers of CAT (1991 – 2008), XAT, Mock CATs and FLTs focus on the following type of questions:

  1. Synonyms & Antonyms: It is not sufficient to know the meaning of the word in the question only, you should know the meaning of all the words in the choices also.
  2. Fill in the blanks: These are important for both Sentence Correction and Vocabulary. A question with two blanks has 8 words in the choices make sure you know the meaning of all of them.
  3. Sentence Correction questions in which a part of the statement is incorrect, identify and try to remember the error.
  4. Sentence Correction questions with 4-5 statements in which we need to identify the grammatically incorrect statement(s), try to remember the reason why each statement is correct or incorrect.

You need to mug up all the words and the sentence correction questions from these papers. In each paper identify the words and the sentence correction statements that you have a problem remembering, mark these words and statements and revise them every week, this will ensure that you will be able to answer correctly at least 5 out of 7 vocabulary and sentence correction questions.

Start with past papers of CAT & XAT and the current Mock CATs. After finishing these papers you can consider moving on to IIFT and FMS papers.

CL’s mSIS app has a new Vocab Builder feature that can help you with a lot of difficult yet common words. The words, meanings of which are known to you already, can be marked as mastered while the remaining words remain unmastered. The mastered words will not appear again in the random list unless you specifically choose to revise them.

Students who have enrolled with CL for Test Gym (or any program that includes Test Gym) have an added advantage, Vocabulary section with over a hundred tests has been included in Test Gym and more tests are being added every day. My suggestion is to attempt four tests daily, book mark the important (or difficult) works and revise them regularly. Remember it take two to three rounds of revision to ensure that you do not forget the word.

All the best.