7 Sep 2012

Crack Vocab & Grammar


With only about A FEW DAYS to go for CAT ’12, 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! Here’s the first post in a new series: Countdown to CAT ’12. This series will bring you special strategies, tips, do’s and don’t's, devised by me especially for these last 60 days.

In VA section, Vocabulary and Grammar typically contribute to around 6 questions in CAT. Attempting these 6 questions takes around 10 minutes but normally leads to 2 correct and 4 incorrect answers.

In other words, for many of us, attempting Vocabulary and Grammar questions leads to 2 marks in 10 minutes!

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

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.

We did not develop a reading habit which would have ensured at least a contextual vocabulary if not the exact meaning of the word.
Vocabulary was never tested in school and college exams hence we never bothered about it.

With exactly 60 days for CAT, how do we ensure at least 3 or preferably 4 correct answers out of 6 these questions?
To ensure maximum utilization of the available time, let me start with what you should not do.

Do not pick up Wren and Martin or any other grammar book. The right time to go thru this book was when you were in school. You cannot cover up for this dereliction of work in school in the next 60 days without adversely impacting your preparation of other areas.

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 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 a few days 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:

Synonyms & Antonyms: It is not sufficient to know the meaning of the word in the question you should know the meaning of all the words in the choices.

Fill in the blanks: These are important for both Grammar and Vocabulary. A question with two blanks has 8 words in the choices make sure you know the meaning of all of them.

Grammar questions in which a part of the statement is incorrect, identify and try to remember the error.
Grammar questions with 4 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 grammar questions from these papers.In each paper identify the words and the grammar 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 4 out of 6 vocabulary and grammar 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.

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