Verbal Strat
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How to increase your accuracy on RC – 1

So much weight does RC have on the CAT, so many are the difficulties faced by test-takers and so frequent are the queries that I receive about RC, that I thought that it will be best to devote a series of posts to cracking Reading Comprehension.

Passage to questions or Questions to Passage or…

Now the big question has always been whether to read the passage first and then go the questions or read the questions first and then go to the passage.

The problem with reading the entire passage first is that it is a great strategy for those who are exceptionally good and comfortable with reading long texts. What does being exceptionally good and comfortable mean?

  1. The ability to read through the whole passage without losing concentration and the thread of the passage
  2. The ability to answer the primary purpose, the central idea or other summary questions (questions that test your understanding of the passage as a whole) without going back to the passage
  3. The ability to remember the exact part of the passage to go back to find the answer to a specific question

With most Indian test-takers the first ability itself is suspect. While they might start with the best of intentions, by the time they reach of the middle of the passage they

  • start losing interest
  • start sneaking a peek at the questions
  • somehow manage to reach the end or
  • start going back and forth between the questions and the passage

The problem with looking at the questions first is that we are then not doing RC but Match The Following. So that is something that I would rule out straightaway.

Paragraph to questions approach

What I would recommend to most test-takers is a third way that addresses the problems of the first two.

  1. Read one paragraph, check if there is any question related to it. If there is then solve it immediately — this will increase your accuracy on specific questions since you will have just read the specific part of the passage.
  2. If there is no question related to it then go-ahead to the next paragraph and repeat the exercise.
  3. Solve all Summary Questions at the end
  4. If the paragraphs are short in length, say 4 lines or fewer, you can read two at a time and then go to the questions

While I have been advocating this approach I am still getting queries around both the approach and RC accuracy in general.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 3.06.48 PM

The best way to answer this and other queries is to take RCs from a recent CAT and solve them using the paragraph to questions approach.

Creativity is at once our most precious resource and our most inexhaustible one. As anyone who has ever spent any time with children knows, every single human being is born creative; every human being is innately endowed with the ability to combine and recombine data, perceptions, materials and ideas, and devise new ways of thinking and doing. What fosters creativity? More than anything else: the presence of other creative people. The big myth is that creativity is the province of great individual geniuses. In fact, creativity is a social process. Our biggest creative breakthroughs come when people learn from, compete with, and collaborate with other people.

Cities are the true fonts of creativity. With their diverse populations, dense social networks, and public spaces where people can meet spontaneously and serendipitously, they spark and catalyze new ideas. With their infrastructure for finance, organization and trade, they allow those ideas to be swiftly actualized.

As for what staunches creativity, that’s easy, if ironic. It’s the very institutions that we build to manage, exploit and perpetuate the fruits of creativity — our big bureaucracies, and sad to say, too many of our schools. Creativity is disruptive; schools and organizations are regimented, standardized and stultifying.

The education expert Sir Ken Robinson points to a 1968 study reporting on a group of 1,600 children who were tested over time for their ability to think in out-of-the-box ways. When the children were between 3 and 5 years old, 98 percent achieved positive scores. When they were 8 to 10, only 32 percent passed the same test, and only 10 percent at 13 to 15. When 280,000 25-year-olds took the test, just 2 percent passed. By the time we are adults, our creativity has been wrung out of us.

I once asked the great urbanist Jane Jacobs what makes some places more creative than others. She said, essentially, that the question was an easy one. All cities, she said, were filled with creative people; that’s our default state as people. But some cities had more than their shares of leaders, people and institutions that blocked out that creativity. She called them “squelchers.”

Creativity (or the lack of it) follows the same general contours of the great socio-economic divide – our rising inequality – that plagues us. According to my own estimates, roughly a third of us across the United States, and perhaps as much as half of us in our most creative cities – are able to do work which engages our creative faculties to some extent, whether as artists, musicians, writers, techies, innovators, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, journalists or educators – those of us who work with our minds. That leaves a group that I term “the other 66 per cent,” who toil in low-wage rote and rotten jobs — if they have jobs at all — in which their creativity is subjugated, ignored or wasted.

Creativity itself is not in danger. It’s flourishing is all around us – in science and technology, arts and culture, in our rapidly revitalizing cities. But we still have a long way to go if we want to build a truly creative society that supports and rewards the creativity of each and every one of us.

Question 1

In the author’s view, cities promote human creativity for all the following reasons EXCEPT that they contain spaces that

(A) enable people to meet and share new ideas

(B) expose people to different and novel ideas, because they are home to varied groups of people.

(C) provide the financial and institutional networks that enable ideas to become reality.

(D) provide access to cultural activities that promote new and creative ways of thinking.

Question 2

The author uses ‘ironic’ in the third paragraph to point out that

(A) people need social contact rather than isolation to nurture their creativity

(B) institutions created to promote creativity eventually stifle it

(C) the larger the creative population in a city, the more likely it is to be stifled

(D) large bureaucracies and institutions are the inevitable outcome of successful cities

Question 3

The central idea of this passage is that

(A) social interaction is necessary to nurture creativity

(B) creativity and ideas are gradually declining in all societies

(C) the creativity divide is widening in societies in line with socio-economic trends

(D) more people should work in jobs that engage their creative faculties

Question 4

Jane Jacobs believed that cities that are more creative

(A) have to struggle to retain their creativity

(B) have to ‘squelch’ unproductive people and promote creative ones

(C) have leaders and institutions that do not block creativity

(D) typically do not start off as creative hubs

Question 5

The 1968 study is used here to show that

(A) as they get older, children usually learn to be more creative

(B) schooling today does not encourage creative thinking in children

(C) the more children learn, the less creative they become

(D) technology today prevents children from being creative

Question 6

The author’s conclusions about the most ‘creative cities’ in the US (paragraph 6) are based on his assumption that

(A) people who work with their hands are not doing creative work

(B) more than half the population works in non-creative jobs

(C) only artists, musicians, writers, and so on should be valued in a society

(D) most cities ignore or waste the creativity of low-wage workers

Paragraph 1

A quick scan through the questions shows that there is no question based on the first paragraph. So you can move to the second one without answering any question.

Do not try to remember questions, if you do so then you will again be doing method 2 — match the following instead of RC.

Paragraph 2

The first question is a specific question based on paragraph 2.

It is an EXCEPT question that is asking you to identify the reason that is NOT stated to make the claim that cities promote creativity.

This has to be the easiest RC question of all time — A, B and C are clearly stated in the passage, D is not mentioned anywhere.

In effect, you have 3 marks in the bag in under 4 minutes.

Paragraph 3

As you start reading the first sentence of the third paragraph itself you should know that there will be a question on this; the first sentence itself says — it’s ironic. It goes without saying that they will test your understanding of what ironic means. The paragraph itself explains it. You go to the questions to find the next question based on it and pocket 3 more marks.

It is again pretty direct and you should have no trouble confirming option B as the right option.

By now you should have 6 marks in 6 minutes.

If you find this question tough then I am afraid there is a fundamental comprehension problem that no amount of strategies or shortcuts can solve. It might sound harsh but you might have to really take another shot at the CAT and spend a lot of time improving your ability in reading and comprehending text written in English.

If you have taken 10 minutes to score these 6 marks from three paragraphs then reading speed is a major issue. The only way out is to practice RCs alone non-stop for a week so that you put so much stress on your reading muscle that it has to grow.

Paragraph 4

After reading this paragraph, you should again scan the questions and you will find that question 5 is related to it.

This is where you will first encounter a mild case of — I am caught between two options.

Options B and C might seem to be vying for your vote.

So how do you break this deadlock?

In the words of my colleague Sujit Sir, who is the author of a famous RC Book, and is the one who makes most of the SimCAT RC questions, the first step is to identify the superficial difference between the options.

When caught between two options,

  1. Phrase the difference between the two options
  2. See which one is relevant to the question and eliminate if possible
  3. If not go the specific part of the passage
  4. If you are still unable to break the deadlock, go the previous paragraph

Option B — Schooling smothers creativity

Option C — Learning smothers creativity

Even without going back to the paragraph you can see that C has to be wrong! Between learning and schooling, the latter is definitely the culprit.

If you go the paragraph it will be clear the Ken Robinson is an education expert and he is referring to schools.

If it is still not clear then go to the previous paragraph, the last sentence screams the answer out loud.

By the way, I watched the Ken Robinson videos a long time back — this and this are definitely worth a watch.

9 marks in 8 minutes.

Paragraph 5

There is a question on this as well — question 4 — and as mildly indirect as a question can get. The answer is Option C.

If you are keeping count 12 marks in 10 minutes.

Paragraph 6

The last question is based on this. It is an assumption question that is pretty direct

The author says — in most of our cities 1/3, and in some 1/2, of our people work in creative jobs or jobs of the mind, while the other 2/3 have no jobs or do rotten jobs.

The assumption is captured by only by option A. 15 marks in 13 minutes.

At the end of the exercise, you are left with one unanswered summary question.

This is one of those typical CAT RC questions on which the options frustrate me since I do find any of them to be precisely correct. So the best option on CAT RC questions — reject don’t select. Your heart won’t leap and dance when you see the correct option, you have to reject and be happy with whatever is left.

Question 3

The central idea of this passage is that

A) social interaction is necessary to nurture creativity

B) creativity and ideas are gradually declining in all societies

C) the creativity divide is widening in societies in line with socio-economic trends

D) more people should work in jobs that engage their creative faculties

If we go by rejection then

  • A can be kept
  • B can be rejected since the last paragraph categorically says that creativity is flourishing
  • C can be rejected since the passage only says that creative divide follows the socio-economic divide it does not say that the divide has increased
  • D can be kept

Now we again boil down to two options and this is a summary question.

You can defend and not score instead of getting out

Should you always mark an answer for every RC question you encounter after you read a passage?

The summary question above is a poorly made one since neither option exactly captures the central idea.

Now if I look at my time spent so far, I have 15 marks in about 13 minutes, which is great from an MPM or Marks Per Minute perspective.

So do I need to break my head and waste my time over this silly question?

Nope, I will be better off moving on without collecting a negative.

Test-takers refuse to consider letting a question go an option. If they have spent so much time reading they think they might as well mark.

The odds of getting it right when stuck between two options are still 50 percent provided you haven’t eliminated the correct option!

So do yourself a favor — defend and not score instead of getting out.

Just to close things on this passage, between A and D I would choose A since it covers a larger portion of the passage and the author is not directly making a claim that more people should be doing creative jobs. The author only says that more people can be in creative jobs.

In the first version of this post, I only wrote this much about the last question of this passage.

But then I started a receiving a few queries that made it clear to me that for many test-takers weak VA scores have a basic problem with a few fundamentals.

They do not clearly look at what the question is asking but only look at the content that question refers to.

What do I mean by this?

The last question is an assumption question.

What is an assumption?

Something which is not stated but is central to drawing a conclusion.

Unlike the real world in which anything that is stated but not proven is not an assumption, on aptitude tests, it is an incorrect premise.

Which is why an assumption is also called the missing premise.

Premise 1 + Missing Premise (Assumption) = Conclusion

The paragraph is asking you to identify the behind the conclusion drawn in paragraph 6.

So before you go to the options go back and paraphrase the conclusion — Creativity divide mirrors the socio-economic divide.

Premises 1 — Cities that are more creative have 1/2 of the population doing work of the mind. Cities that are less creative have 1/3 doing work of the mind.

Premise 2 — The rest of the population is doing rotten jobs or is unemployed.

The conclusion has the term — creativity. The two premises have the terms work of the mind and rotten work.

So the missing premise has to connect creativity and work of the mind or rotten work. Only the first option does that.

So as a process when it comes to assumption questions please follow this process. Otherwise, you will always end up caught between the option that is relevant to the content but is not the answer and the actual assumption.

The reason I favour this approach is that as a question-setter (I have made a few RCs for this year’s SimCATs as well) I know that to make 6 questions I have to mine each and every paragraph for questions.

You can maybe have a 3-question passage with no question from a particular passage. But a 6-question passage will have 3 questions from three separate paragraphs.

I know that one passage isn’t enough to prove my point. So I will take up all the passages from the slot that this passage appeared in and analyze them through this lens. Hope by the end of this series of posts your RC woes will have reduced considerably.



  1. Praveen Singh says

    Sir, you advised this for slow readers
    “If you have taken 10 minutes to score these 6 marks from three paragraphs then reading speed is a major issue. The only way out is to practice RCs alone non-stop for a week so that you put so much stress on your reading muscle that it has to grow.”
    Sir, Should I have to dedicate a complete week only to RCs?
    I know it’s unusual to ask this but Sir please give a brief idea to that.


    • Yes, Praveen.

      The fact is that there is not enough time to increase reading speed super slowly.

      The only solution is to pass so much current that the brain gets magnetised in a particular direction.

      So you have no option but to put your brain under non-stop RC for a week and you will see your speed improve.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


      • Shantanu Mukherjee says

        Hello Sir!

        Sir if we read only a paragraph and got tricked by thinking this para is sufficient to answer question but eventually find out that we are wrong.

        for example

        some opinion of author about crocodile is given and question was related to opinion of author related to crocodile

        and then author changes his opinion subtly in other paras then the question will be wrong


      • Hi Shantanu,

        Specific detail questions will be much more specific than referring to crocodiles in general.

        Once you start practising the para to question approach you will be able to figure out which questions are clearly specific detail — belonging to one sentence or para — and which ones need more reading.

        So get started and you will be able to find your way — you should test an approach over 30 to 50 passages and then see if it works for you.

        All the best!


  2. Ritam Sharma says

    Hello sir!
    Thanks for your encouragement and advice which helps me to solve 4-5 LRDI sets in sectional mocks.

    I am constantly facing less accuracy issue in RC, especially in inference/assumption/judgement based questions. In addition to this, my speed in para jumble is also very low. Sometimes I take more than 5 minutes for a PJ.

    Please help!!suo


    • Hi Ritam,

      There will be more posts along the same lines this week on RC and also on VA, so those should help.

      I will be taking RC Masterclasses as well. But what is most important is that you take SimCAT 6 and take a look at the VA-RC explanation, I have done the video feedback for the same, it outlines a clear process for RC. I will be doing the feedback for SimCATs 9, 12 and 15 as well.

      All the best!


  3. Lokesh R says

    Hi sir,
    I have two problems in RC,one is i’m not able to understand the passage and sometimes not able to link one sentence to another sentence in paragraph and to its before paragraph.
    second is Accuracy problem,missing the logic while attempting questions
    Would like to know your inputs about those problems.


    • Hi Lokesh,

      You have managed to convey the end-to-end problems in RC in two sentences!

      I wish I could solve them through a comment.

      Comprehension issues at a sentence to sentence level are not easy to solve overnight, the only way is to spend a lot of time just solving passages. Prepping only for RC for a month is not a bad idea.

      For the question-solving bit, I have done the question-wise video feedback for SimCAT 6 and will be doing the same for Sims 9,10,12, and 15. The feedback will be useful for overall passage omprehension as well.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  4. Divyanshu Vats says

    majority of the times I am stuck between 2 options.Will apply the given strategy in upcoming simcats.


    • Hi Divyanshu,

      This will help accuracy indirectly but the main thing is the technique to solve questions. For this, you have to go through the SimCAT Video feedback, I have done the same for Sim6, and will be doing it for Sims 9, 12, 15 as well.

      All the best!


  5. Akshat says

    Sir thanks for these helpful posts . But where do we have to practice RCs from because the RCs on learn and practice module of IMS shows questions one at a time and we can’t practice this pragraph to question approach in that then.


    • Hi Akshat,

      We are working on changing the LEARN and Practice Module Features, it should be done in a fortnight. In the meantime, you can use the Section Tests and Take home Tests or the Study Material (if that is part of the product you have enrolled for enrollment).

      All the best!


      • Rituparna Sahoo says

        Hi Sir,
        Even I have the same query. We are unable to practice this approach in learn and practice module as till now one question appears after we have solved the last one.

        Hope that it will be Implemented Soon.


      • We have made the changes and are testing it before it goes live, as I said should be done in about 10 days.

        All the best!


  6. vruddhi says

    Hi sir,
    i find this approach towards RC’S very useful but i have problems in selecting the passage.Should I go as per the order in the paper or scan the paras first?


  7. dibya says

    Sir,I have been facing a problem,I have been preparing for CAT since last year but I got really good at solving RCs ,used to score 50+ marks but now my scores have dropped to 25-30s .What should I do?


    • Hi Dibya,

      It can be that in a super short span you developed the skill the solve RCs but that skill was also with respect to last year’s SimCATs which were based on CAT 2018 RC which was easy and this year’s SimCATs are based on the CAT 2019 RCs, which were considerably tougher than CAT 2018 RC.

      So you have to raise the level of your technique to match this new level. Please follow the processes I have demonstrated in the VA-RC video-feedback of SimCAT 6. I will be doing the same for SimCATs 9, 12, and 15.

      All the best!


  8. shashank singh says

    sir, i have been reading moderately and solving RCs and verbal resoning questions consistently ,still i m unable to score in the mocks…while taking the mocks i feel that i m doing great in the section but when i see the results , lo it hits rock bottom again 😦


    • Hi Shashank,

      It is not what you are solving but how you are solving that matters. If you are just reading passage, reading the question, eliminating options then, there is no process at all.

      I have done video-feedback for SimCAT 6 take look at the process I followed for each and every question. If you are not executing the process the step between reading the question and going to the options, you will realise that that is reason.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  9. Aman says

    Hello sir,

    Some say reading articles is a must. Some say doing RCs is the best. Can I solely do RC’s?. Also my major concern is that does it matter if we practice reading on laptop or in physical books? I am done with Learn Tab RC’s so what should be the next source for online Rcs? RC100 by IMS pdf?


    • Hi Aman,

      The RCs that we and everyone else gives in the practice material are made from articles only so I feel doing as many RCs is the best.

      If you have more time then reading articles can be a supplementary activity.

      It does not really matter whether you practice from books or laptop as long as you are seeing an increase in scores and feel you are doing well.

      The core of it is simply the ability to understand the text and answer questions and given that we are used to staring at screens I do not think practising from a book will be counterproductive. When will it be counterproductive? When your whole life revolves in a paper-based world and only for a test you take up a laptop, then doing more practice on a laptop will make sense.

      You can solve the questions from the Practice Module of the IMS — Area and Section Tests. You can also solve RC 100.

      All the best!


  10. Aman says

    Sir the passages in SIMCAT 4,5,6 seem extremely tough to me but the ones in physical modules are doable also this one was also easy I got 4/6 correct. So is the SIMCAT difficulty level extremely high as compared to actual CAT cause it is demotivating me a lot..


    • Yes, SimCATs are at a tougher level of difficulty since on D-day everything will seem more difficult than it actually is.

      In the books since it is preparatory material, we have arranged sets in increasing order of difficulty with difficult passage coming towards the end.

      There is no option but to keep going. Preparation will not be enjoyable at all.

      All the best!


  11. Akanksha says

    Hello Sir,
    Its an amazing blog. So for this particular passage that you have mentioned in this blog post, I tried both the methods, one- reading the entire passage and then solving the questions without going back to the passage, another was the paragraph method suggested by you. What I found was that when I followed the paragraph method, I somewhere lost the flow of the passage and sometimes I also had to go back to the previous passage and read it again.
    So I felt that reading the passage at once would work better for me. But my accuracy in this case was 4/6. So is it fine or I should learn the paragraph method? Or what are the drawbacks if I am reading the passage entirely?


    • Hi Akanksha,

      As I wrote in the post, this is not the only method. This is a method I suggest for people who find it very tough to execute passage to questions — read from start to end, to capture the main idea and primary purpose, to remember which part of the passage to go back to search for an answer.

      If you can do all of that comfortably and are getting a good accuracy then you can stick to reading the whole passage, that is the textbook method.

      Also, you cannot get comfortable with this with just one passage! So the lack of flow you are feeling is something that will go away after a period of time and this method is easier to execute on a screen with the questions.

      All the best!


  12. Raghav says

    Hello Sir,

    It was an amazing blog. Will definitely try to inculcate the above points in my upcoming Simcats.
    I would like to request you to please write a blog on all the types of Option traps and answer option elimination techniques in detail. This will be of great help.



    • Hi Raghav,

      Glad you liked the post.

      I will be doing more posts, Masterclasses and SimCAT feedback videos. I hope you saw the feedback of SimCAT 6.

      All the best!


  13. Hello Sir,

    It was an amazing blog. Will definitely try to inculcate the above points in my upcoming Simcats.
    I would like to request you to please write a blog on all the types of Option traps and answer option elimination techniques in detail. This will be of great help.



  14. Raghavendra Gade says

    Hello Sir,

    It was an amazing blog. Will definitely try to inculcate the above points in my upcoming Simcats.
    I request you to please write a blog on all the types of Option traps and answer option elimination techniques in detail. This will be of great help.



  15. Abhay says

    Hello Sir!
    Thank you for this article. I read this last night and attempted my RC section of SIMCAT 6 today. My accuracy doubled. Thanks for writing this article.

    Abhay M


    • Hi Abhay,

      That is amazing to hear.

      Do not forget to watch the VA-RC feedback of SimCAT 6 (I have done it ). Despite your good performance, there still can be a long way to go in terms of improving technique.

      All the best!


  16. SaiSaran says

    Hi Sir,

    Thank you for such a wonderful blog. This is my second attempt for CAT and last time if I see my avg scores in RC were around 40-45 my highest being 58. Right now my scores are around 20-25 which is a very huge setback. My question here contains a little paradox, while I started preparing for my CAT-19 I was completely new to RC’s and my ability to comprehend the passage was very poor, I often used to map the answers somehow from the RC’s, but when in 2020 I was able to comprehend the passage correctly (my comprehension matches the ones discussed in the solutions) still I am failing to withhold my accuracy. Please do suggest how should I proceed further.



    • Hi Sai,

      The papers this year are tougher than last year’s since the CAT itself raised the level of the VA-RC in the previous year.

      So while you managed to do a decent job last year the technique you have to solve the questions might not be good enough to handle tougher stuff.

      Take a look at the video feedback of SimCAT 6 that I have done and see if you solve questions using the same technique.

      All the best!


  17. Hello Sir,

    When I am normally practicing RC using para to question approach I am getting 3/5 or 4/5 correct.
    I use to practice RC’s from GMAT club in which questions are beside to RC.
    But at the time of writing SIMCAT,my accuracy is very low.I wrote two SIMCAT’s I scored just in 20’ish
    Problem which I am facing is that:-
    1. Let’s suppose I read first para and question related to that is Q.5 and while reaching to Q.5 I am reading Q1-Q4 (Obviously !!), and what I am doing in between is that if I see some option related to wording of first para,I try to knock out that option due to misrepresentation of some line of first para.
    I know I am doing wrong (I am thinking so..) but was not able to control in last two mocks.May be while writing mock I am thinking this (my activity) will save time and I don’t have to analyse that option(knocked off one) again.
    2. Let’s suppose out of 4 options 3 are made up of first para and out of those 3 options,2 are absolutely wrong and one option I can hold but I am not able to eliminate that fourth option because it is from some other para and owing to this I need to mark this question for review means and later I need to come back again to that question and do some sort of analysis again.(Taking too much time).

    I am not facing issue in understanding RC’s (atleast 3 out of 5 RC).But I am not able to score in these 3 RC’s also.
    Sometimes thought use to pop in my mind.Should I go back to old approach, but that old approach didn’t help me either.
    Now at this stage I am confused and little bit tensed also.
    What should I do?
    Should I read more or should I start practicing sectional so that I can get accustom to practicing RC’s under time pressure.
    I know I can score well but not able to do so and each low score mock is demotivating me.(Last year I scored 76 percentile in verbal).

    I need your help to steer me in the right direction so that I can also score some runs.
    I hope I am able to convey my thoughts!!
    Please give me some advice and what should I do each and every day to see improvement in my scores.


    • Hi,

      You have complicated things more than required.

      In this post did I go about striking out options in other questions related to the first paragraph? Nope! When I said read the questions and answer the ones related to the paragraph, I meant only that — reading the question no the options!

      The process you are following is bound to lead to disaster since you have taken what I have suggested and taken it to an absurd level.

      When I said read the questions and answer the ones related to the paragraph, I meant only that — reading the question no the options!

      Stick to the process, stay patient, skills take time to develop.

      All the best!


  18. vikash kumar says

    Hi Sir, The strategy you suggested is quite good, but isn’t it quite slow? According to the timings you have mentioned for solving, If we give around 15 minutes for a set, then we can hardly attempt 18 questions in 1 hour. And even if we take 90% accuracy (quite tough in va-rc) it would be just around 48 marks. Could you throw some light on this aspect as to how to take the score near to and beyond 60.


    • Hi Vikash,

      In the post above the RoI was 15 marks in 13 minutes, making it more than 1 mark per minute that is needed to do to above 60. So it is not 15 minutes for a set!

      Also, the first time you do this it will seem slow but overall if you do this effectively, you save the back to the passage time later since your memory of specific questions is fresh.

      Try it out for a while before you feel comfortable.

      There are more posts on the same to follow.

      All the best!


  19. Harshit Gupta says

    Hello Sir,

    Many thanks for sharing the tips – really helpful. I am also facing big challenges with RC and VA but hope to use the above tips to crack the same. Just a quick check, in most of the RCs that i have encountered, a single or two paragraphs were not sufficient to answer a question. Infact, i have marked based on the premise from a single one and it turned out to be a wrong choice.

    Can you suggest some ways to avoid the same ? Also, with the approach you have suggested, we need to read all the questions first right – as there might be a chance when its Q4 related to only first paragraph ?

    It would be helpful sir if you can share your thoughts on these questions.

    Best Regards,
    Harshit Gupta


    • Hi Harshit,

      If an RC has 5-6 questions then at least 1 or 2 will be from specific paragraphs. So how many questions can you solve in this way out of 24, not all 24, but around 10-12.

      The advantage of this process is for people who find it tough to read the whole passage, then remember what happened in the first para to solve the last question in the set.

      There are more posts to follow this week, with the remaining passages in the set, go through them.

      Yes, you have to read all the questions to identify the question that relates to a particular paragraph.

      All the best!


  20. shubhagata25 says

    Hi Sir,
    This article was really helpful, however, in my opinion, my problem is that I am done with my verbal section (all TITA and at least 2-2.5 RCs) in about 30-35 mins.
    However, my score is not that great.
    I have been practicing 3 RCs every day as well as reviewing my mocks. During the exam, I am pretty sure of my answers marked thus I don’t check them again.
    How can I fix this problem?



    • Hi Shubhagata,

      If reading speed and comprehension are not a problem then the core issue has to be a lack of clear problem-solving technique.

      I’ll be doing an RC Masterclass later in the season and I have already done the video feedback of SimCAT 6 VA-RC (you can get a clear idea of what I mean by technique there. I’ll be doing the feedback of Sims 9, 12, and 15, so that will reinforce the same.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Sir,
    Thanks for this approach, however, I have some doubts-
    1. In the last 3-4 months, I have developed a fair habit of reading and hence somehow I prefer to go with the flow of the passage unless the passage is descriptive and the author has not expressed a lot of opinions (pls let me know if I am wrong here)

    2. Also, the first passage of the simcat-6 on autism took my 15-18 mins and I was only able to answer 3/5 questions with 100% accuracy. Only after you said in the video solution did I realize that the passage was heavy. Because during the exam, I ranked it before the other passages since the language seemed easy and I like passages on psychology. but yes, I realized that the questions had close options. however one can judge the options only when he/she has read the passage which itself took a lot of time! pls, help as to how to go about this!

    thank you!


    • Hi Tanya,

      As I wrote in the post, this is not the only method. This is a method I suggest for people who find it very tough to execute passage to questions — read from start to end, to capture the main idea and primary purpose, to remember which part of the passage to go back to search for an answer.

      If you can do all of that comfortably and are getting a good accuracy then you can stick to reading the whole passage, that is the textbook method.

      Also, you cannot get comfortable with this method with just one passage! So the lack of flow you are feeling is something that will go away after a period of time and this method is easier to execute on a screen with the questions. As I said this is just one of the two methods.

      Well, the judgment about the passage comes with time where you know that while the lines are easy to understand are there complex argument being made. From my experience in question-making, I can spot sentences on which there can be tricky questions, the punchlines that I was talking about in the video. So that you can only get with practice.

      I am doing a post soon on how to choose passages.

      All the best!


  22. Saurabh Chand says

    Sir, When I solve the RC and give them time like around 12-14 minutes I got most of the question right but when try to speed up I get most of them wrong . I am unable to comprehend it my mind quickly and unable to understand the passage. what should I do for this?


    • Hi Saurabh,

      Well, it just means that you have to take it slow as of now. You do not have the capability to process text at a faster speed.

      It is very similar to saying that I can drive with control at 40 kmph but at 60 kmph I fall, how to drive at 60 without falling.

      For that, you need to first get super comfortable at this speed, and then make small improvements —going from 40 to 45, 45 to 50, and so on.

      Alternatively, it might sound like a crazy idea, but solving only RCs non-stop for a week, say 100 RCs in a week, is not a bad idea to put on some serious RC muscle and speed.

      All the best!


  23. Pingback: How to increase your accuracy on RC – 2 | The CAT Writer

  24. Yash Agarwal says

    Hi Sir,

    Firstly, thank you for all the content that you put up, it’s truly a helpful resource. Your style of writing is something I really like, especially with the cricket references occasionally.
    I have had a rather weird relationship with the VARC section, my scores have ranged from 32 in the first SIMCAT to 18 in the 2nd to 48 in the 6th.
    I have been reading newspapers everyday (not just for CAT, but because I’m really passionate about Current Affairs) and have practiced most of the content available online.
    Can you guide me as to how i should see the next 2 months at least.. with respect to the efforts needed for the VARC Section.
    Thanking you….


    • Hi Yash,

      Glad you find the blog useful.

      The reading work that people put in — articles, novels, newspapers — only contributes to two things — comprehension and reading speed.

      It has nothing to do with question-solving technique. The yo-yo scores are clearly related to lack of technique when the questions are easy and options not very close, scores go up, else they go south.

      I’ll be doing an RC Masterclass later in the season and I have already done the video feedback of SimCAT 6 VA-RC (you can get a clear idea of what I mean by technique there). I’ll be doing the feedback of Sims 9, 12, and 15, so that will reinforce the same.

      All the best!


  25. Hello Sir, I have been reading novels and newspapers for the last 4-5 months to improve my reading speed and accuracy in the VA-RC Section, but lately, I have not been getting results for it. My score in SIMCATS in VA-RC has been declining.
    Please advise me for should I practise RCs from the IMS module only or should I try something else?



    • Hi Shreyas,

      Glad you find the blog useful.

      The reading work that people put in — articles, novels, newspapers — only contributes to two things — comprehension and reading speed.

      It has nothing to do with question-solving technique. The yo-yo scores are clearly related to lack of technique when the questions are easy and options not very close, scores go up, else they go south.

      I’ll be doing an RC Masterclass later in the season and I have already done the video feedback of SimCAT 6 VA-RC (you can get a clear idea of what I mean by technique there). I’ll be doing the feedback of Sims 9, 12, and 15, so that will reinforce the same.

      You can practice from anywhere, it is the technique that you use during practice that is important.

      All the best!


  26. Stephen Wei says

    Hi Sir,

    Thank you for the amazing tips you have provided in this article. But have a few queries-
    1. My VARC scores have been fluctuating a lot. I have scored as high as 69 in one of the mocks to as low as 30 in another. I am practicing 2-3 RCs on a daily basis but still I don’t see my VARC scores getting stable. Any suggestions/input on this will be much appreciated.
    2. Being from an engineering background, I am facing a tough time while solving RCs related to Philosophy or Sociology. I tend to loose concentration and interest midway while reading such RCs and end up going back and forth between the question and the passage (sometimes I even end up re- reading the same passage again). I have been trying to read more articles related to these topics but I am seeing no significant improvement. Sir, kindly suggest ways to deal with this problem.

    Thanks & Regards,


    • Hi Stephen,

      Glad you find the post useful.

      The yo-yo scores are clearly related to lack of technique when the questions are easy and options not very close, scores go up, else they go south.

      I’ll be doing an RC Masterclass later in the season and I have already done the video feedback of SimCAT 6 VA-RC (you can get a clear idea of what I mean by technique there). I’ll be doing the feedback of Sims 9, 12, and 15, so that will reinforce the same.

      About the passages from the humanities, it is not easy to pick get comfortable with such passages in a short duration. So the better thing to do will be to follow the para to questions approach on such passages and stick to the passage to questions approach on passages from other topics — horses for courses.

      All the best!


  27. Hi Sir,
    Your analysis of the SIMCAT-6 was an absolute blockbuster,proving the subtle nuances we require to tackle the questions in a more efficient manner.Like, reading a manual and operating the machine is a completely different exercise & your first hand analysis ,exactly nailed it.It was so helpful to get insights to how to deal a question right away.Thank you so much for providing such an analysis,would be great to see you more frequently in the analysis.


    • Hi IWAV,

      Glad you liked the video feedback.

      You have a good way with words the manual metaphor was really nice!

      I’ll be doing the video-feedback of Sims 9, 12, and 15 as well.

      All the best!


  28. CAT aspirant says

    Sir, thank you for all your articles they’re extremely insightful! Many people say Arun Sharma and Sarvesh Sharma books are best since they have LOD wise questions unlike IMS material. Is it recommended for QA to use these books instead of IMS material? I have IMS 2019 material. Are Practice Exercise questions in BRM, Solved eg, and Learn tab, SIMCATs Sufficient for acing CAT?


    • Hi,

      The way we have organized the material, the BRM is focussed on prep from basics to practice at higher levels (the last exercises in every chapter).

      In the LEARN TAB, which is organized topic-wise, we wanted students to develop a certain level of skill by just practising a lot of questions immediately after they learn a topic by watching videos. If the questions are easy, we wanted students who are good to just solve them fast and move on, it doesn’t hurt. T

      The PRACTICE TAB by which time aspirants will have developed a certain competence, and also an idea of their levels, the questions are organized area-wise and by levels and section tests, which are old SimCATs.

      The e-MAXIMISER module with 15 workshops, which will be launched soon, is a final summary of all concepts at moderate to high levels.

      When we add the TEST Module with the 40 Sims, I personally feel you do not need more, but if you feel you still do, you can go ahead.

      All the best!


  29. Tanuj Choraria says

    Hi sir,
    Thanks a lot for your valuable articles. I have been taking all the SIMCATs till date and my VARC score is consistently low. i a able to attempt around 30 questions, but due to low accuracy i end up getting a low score. Is it possible to increase the accuracy in the next 3 months? Kindly suggest ways to increase the accuracy and maintain it in future.


    • Hi Tanuj,

      Lack of accuracy is a direct reflection of a lack of solid solving technique for each of the 4 question types RC, Summary, Incorrect Sentence, Jumbled Paragraphs.

      I’ll be doing posts and webinars on the same over the next few months but more importantly, SimCAT VA-RC feedback as well. I have already done the same for SimCAT 6 and will be doing them for 9,12 and 15 as well.

      All the best!


  30. Maitry Joshi says

    Hello Sir,
    I want to know how should one ideally analyse the RC after solving. I have very low concentration level and can’t remember the passage entirely so whenever I see an explanation i just simply see as ok I did this wrong and this was the answer because of this but it never clicks me.


    • Hi Maitry,

      If you saw the video feedback of SimCAT 6, I have clearly shown the process to solve RCs on all passages. So when you see you make mistake you should be able to trace it back to —

      — I did not frame a shadow answer
      — I did not evaluate the option, I passively read it and moved on to the next
      — I did not compare the options to the shadow answer

      If you are able to do this then you will know the reason behind your errors as a process error and make that change instead of thinking it is reasoning error.

      I will be doing the same for SimCATS 9, 12 and 15 as well.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


  31. Sambhaji Sawant says

    Hi Sir,
    This article was very helpful, got to know a new approach for solving RC. I was able solve all the 6 question in exact 10 minutes(Using traditional approach), however I lost in que 1 & 4 though they were quite direct. After reading this post, I have analysed that in all past SIMCats I am losing marks in such easy questions only and I was able to let go of questions creating confusion. How can I use your approach to get over this and solving RCs with my pace?
    Waiting next for next article!!


    • Hi Sambhaji,

      Questions 1 and 4 are related to specific paragraphs and if you are making such errors it can only be because you have forgotten the specific argument that the para is making.

      So you should make it a point to go back on check the passage on detail questions — this is a must if you are following the traditional approach since the advantage of the traditional method is that you read fast and get an overall grip and are thus able to knock off the Main idea, Primary purpose questions first and any other question based on the whole passage. The trade-off is that you can’t remember specifics and so to compensate for that you have to go back and check the para, frame a shadow answer and only then go to the options.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!


      • Hari says

        Sir! I am not able to find the va-rc feed back video for sim cat 6.Where can find the video?


      • Hi Hari,

        When you REVIEW the test, the videos for the questions explaining the solutions are done by me.

        All the best!


  32. abhi says

    while reading in mocks i try to pay all my attention to rcs but while practicing i am always distracted. i have tried many times to concentrate but majority of the times i get lost while reading rc. how should i tackle such problem.


  33. Ujjwal Tripathi says

    My accuracy increased with this approach but the number of attempts decreased , and how should I proceed in attempting the section to increase my VARC score from 50s to 70s.


    • Hi Ujjwal,

      The first thing to look at is where are the next 20 marks going to come from.

      Are you scoring at least 15 marks in VA without fail every single time?

      If not there is a serious problem with VA technique since you are netting less than 50% of a possible 30.

      So take a look at your Va technique and you must look to score around 21-24 from those 30 marks.

      The next step would be to increase your reading speed gradually while ensuring that your technique is right.

      Do not be in a hurry and try to do both at the same time.

      It is a long way till November and 20-point jumps take some time.

      All the best!


  34. Naveen Raj says

    Hi Sir, I was able to solve the 3 RC’s provided with good accuracy. This was the case even in the RC’s provided in material. But when it comes to exam scenario, it turns upside down. I am scoring very less due to less accuracy. One reasons may be the difficulty level varies is higher for current SIMCAT’s as you mentioned. If so how can i manage to score good in these level of RC’s. Or there may be some other reasons?. Please help me out on this sir. Since i was unable to post a comment in RC-2 article, I am posting here sir.


    • Naveen Raj says

      Hi Sir, To add on, after analysing SIMCAT 6, i realized that also i am not comprehending the passage 100%. How to increase my comprehension.


      • Hi Naveen,

        I wish I had an answer to how to improve comprehension! Words express logic in VA-RC just like they do in the other sections. The key thus is to read actively rather than passively.

        All the best!


  35. Pingback: How to increase your accuracy on RC – 3 | The CAT Writer

  36. Hi Sir,
    Thanks for your posts.
    In this RC i got 4 correct 1 wrong and left the assumption question, in about 10.5 mins. In simcats i usually get a score of 30-35, in the 1st two(45& 51) but in sim7 i got a score of 6 with accuracy 30%. So am confused whether it was my nervousness which caused me to panic and mark because i felt the passages were a bit tough or is it a more of a fundamental problem.


    • Hi Rohit,

      The last year’s CAT VA was especially tough when compared to all of the previous years.

      So this year’s SimCATs are a tad tougher.

      The fluctuation in scores is primarily due to the fact that you might not have a solid process or technique to solve each of the VA-RC question types. You should evaluate whether you solve the questions using the same process that I have demonstrated in the SimCAT 6 VA-RC feedback.

      Do you always frame a shadow answer, do you always do labelling on odd-sentence out.

      If you are solving by gut-feel and some logic but not suing a clear process, then you will find that your scores will keep moving up and down.

      Will do a few more posts on the other question types and the section as a whole.

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Esha says

    I was doing fairly well in the first mocks in the VARC section. However in the last three mocks I found my percentile and score steadily decreasing . I am practising RCs daily for the past few days but it seems to no avail . My accuracy has out of the blue vanished.
    Also, in q 5 , sir can you please explain why did you eliminate option b .I am confused between b and c.


    • Hi Esha,

      Fluctuation in scores is due to lack of a solid, consistent, technique — when passages are easy or the topic is understandable and questions are to your liking, the scores goes up, when the level is raised the score goes down.

      What you need to do is this — watch the video VA-RC feedback of SimCAT 6 and ask yourself if you follow all the steps outlined in the process, especially framing a shadow answer. If you are only reading the passage and answering questions without a clear technique, you will find your scores moving up and down.

      All the best!


  38. Arun K says

    I usually use the normal method of solving rc’s ie.., reading the full paragraph and answering the questions. I usually get 3-4 questions correct on an average in each rc’s i attend and also i feel that paragraph to question seems to be easy. would it be okay if i change the strategy from today? and still can master this with practice? since cat is just 100 days away?


    • Arun K says

      sorry for the error sir, in the first line it must have been “reading the full passage” instead of paragraph.


    • Arun K says

      sorry for the mistake sir. it should have been “reading the full passage” in the first line


    • Hi Arun,

      The paragraph to questions method is ideal for students who struggle to maintain the concentration to read the entire passage in one go.

      If you do not have that issue then you need to change your passage to questions method.

      All the best!


    • Hi Rishabh,

      As I detailed it out in the post, the assumption is always the missing premise, option B is already one of the premises.

      In CR, the assumption is the premise that is not stated but without which the conclusion will fail.

      All the best!


  39. J V M Kalyan says

    Hi Sir,

    I find this article very very enlightening. In fact, I gained a bit of confidence in solving RC’s now.
    I’m facing small trouble in understanding the assumption, conclusion, premise concepts.
    Could I find any detailed explanation in the form of a video session so that it would be more clear to me?



    • Hi Kalyan,

      Glad you found the post useful.

      You can learn CR from my blog — — or the videos in the LEARN Module of myIMS.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


  40. mudit says

    Hi sir
    I find your articles related to Rcs really helpful, can you please provide some strategies for VA apart from the general rules of solving para jumbles and odd sentences.


    • Hi Mudit,

      I solve them with detailed explanations in the feedback videos of SimCATs 6, 19, 12 and 15.

      Will put up a blog post in a few weeks.

      All the best!


  41. Anusha Bajpai says

    Hello sir,
    What generally happens with me is that I do questions fairly well while practicing sets (with 80-90% accuracy) but I am not able to do that well in mocks in both VA and RC.
    How should I go about it?


  42. Anubhav Pandey says

    Sir, thank you for the post. It is perhaps the most illuminating post on reading comprehension encountered by me. It’s really great that you’ve taken the time and efforts to reply to all the queries. This is extremely valuable for all the students.

    I too have a question. Isn’t it mentioned that the socio-economic divide is, in fact, the problem of rising inequality? So, that makes it seem as if the author is hinting towards the rising socio-economic divide.

    It does hint towards – “Creativity divide mirrors the socio-economic divide” but beyond this, it also hints towards the fact that the socio-economic inequality is rising.


    • Hi Anubhav,

      Glad you liked the post.

      I assume you are referring to the central idea question and option C.

      The author devotes the entire passage to creativity and how and where thrives.

      While you are right that the passage clearly hints at the relationship between creativity and economic divide, it is one aspect of creativity that is discussed in the passage and not good enough to be taken as the central idea of the passage. But as I mentioned in the post, the options are not really well framed.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!


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