Guest Article by Nishant Sinha
Nishant Sinha is currently studying in 1st year at IIM Bangalore. He completed his B.Tech from IIT Delhi in 2009. In this article he shares some insights on the new format for RC passages in online CAT.
The new computer-based testing format of CAT has created a need for changing the strategies for verbal section, especially in handling the reading comprehension (RC) passages.
Imagine an RC passage on a computer screen. The left half of the screen has the passage and the right has the questions, which appear one at a time. Some of the difficulties that emerge because of the computer version of the section are:
- You can no longer underline keywords in the passage or the questions
- You can’t see all the questions together, they come one at a time
- You can’t see all of the passage together and thus need to scroll it
- You may waste time re-reading the passage with every new question
- Many people have difficulty reading on the computer screen
Some of the techniques you can use to optimize time and accuracy could be:
- Create a framework: One must glance the passage- read the opening lines of each passage, and the last lines of the last passage to get a feel of the passage theme. If you know the key framework of the passage you know which information to retain and which to let go and this saves a lot of time.
- Try to give a Title: Once you identify the framework, this will help you remember the information better as you know what to expect. For eg: if you already know the author is comparing two solutions to a problem, you can retain the important information better than reading the whole passage without realizing what it was about and thus ending up re-reading it.
- Don’t try to learn: Do not try to learn the information, you can always read the passage again. But then, you should always know where to find the information, so read the structure carefully.
- Identify a story: Once you read the passage, formulate the story in your mind so that you can link the information and answer questions that require interpretation such as purpose of the author.
Also, after you create the framework for the passage, I would suggest that in the new format an aspirant should go through the questions first, and then go through the comprehension. Then, you must read the passage only once patiently and try to retain the structure of the passage. It should not affect the candidate even if he wastes a couple of minutes extra in this first reading. If he reads it well, the candidate should be in a position to answer 75% questions (on an average). For the remaining one or two questions, the candidate may have to go back to the article once more.
But I would also advise that to insure the accuracy, always confirm your answer by taking a look at the passage before you freeze it.
This is a guest article written by Nishant Sinha (Btech – IIT Delhi, PGDM – IIM Bangalore)