The Reading Comprehension (RC) section often proves to be a deceptive element in CAT. It appears to be an easy section but going through the given passage and identifying answers to the given questions can prove to be a daunting task for candidates, in particular for the ones not very fluent in English. Even the ones who have a decent command on the language, may not be able to crack the passage or end up consuming too much time.
Composition of CAT
The CAT exam is primarily divided into three sections, namely:
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
- Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
The VARC section comprises a total of 34 questions on verbal ability and reading comprehension. The number of questions based only on reading comprehension varies year to year. For instance, in 2013, the number of questions in the Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning were comparatively less. There were 30 questions from this section. There were three Reading Comprehension passages of moderate difficulty level. The importance of this section has only increased since then. This is evident in the increase in the number of questions in VARC, as well as increased weightage.
Rising importance of Reading Comprehension
Since CAT 2013, when the number of questions on Reading Comprehension was 10 based on 3 passages, the CAT exam has seen change in pattern, especially in the Verbal Ability section. The emphasis on reading comprehension is clearly evident when from 2015 onwards, instead of VALR (Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning), this section was renamed as VRC and later, VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension). Earlier, candidates could skip attempting reading comprehension, instead attempt more questions on logical reasoning. But as logical reasoning was removed, reading comprehension became more significant with more questions and more marks being allotted to it.
Shift in favour of Reading Comprehension
There has been a continuous rise in the share of reading comprehension in the VARC section. In CAT 2014, Reading Comprehension had 33% share in CAT and around 50% share in the VARC section. This share has increased substantially since then. In 2016, the share of Reading Comprehension in the VARC section was 70%. The number of passages was also increased to five.
Likely trend of RC in CAT 2021
It is likely that Reading Comprehension will continue to be an important section in CAT 2021. In 2019, the number of passages in RC was reduced from 5 to 4 with 25 questions. CAT 2021 is likely to see 5 passages with 24 questions, the remaining 10 coming from Verbal Ability. This means that the total share of Reading Comprehension in the VARC section in CAT 2021 is likely to be around 70%.
Thus, Reading Comprehension continues to be an important section. The candidates must prepare well and attempt these questions, only then will be able to score well in CAT 2021. There is no way candidates can skip questions on RC. They must aim to attempt at least 16-17 questions from RC accurately.
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