Verbal Strat
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How to increase your accuracy on RC – 3

In the previous two posts, RC-1 and RC-2, we discussed 3 RCs from CAT 2017 Slot – 2 and executed a specific strategy — paragraph to questions — to solve CAT RCs that will increase your accuracy.

In this final post of this series, we will solve the two remaining passages and fine-tune the methods discussed so far.


What if there is only one paragraph?

The GMAT has over the years consistently had two long and two short passages — one para passages — in its Verbal Reasoning section.

The single paragraph RC has never appeared in the Verbal Ability section of the CAT — barring the sole passage in last year’s second slot. Even Slot 1 did not have one. Suffice to say that it seems to be by accident rather than by design.

Typewriters are the epitome of a technology that has been comprehensively rendered obsolete by the digital age. The ink comes off the ribbon, they weigh a ton, and second thoughts are a disaster. But they are also personal, portable and, above all, private. Type a document and lock it away and more or less the only way anyone else can get it is if you give it to them. That is why the Russians have decided to go back to typewriters in some government offices, and why in the US, some departments have never abandoned them. Yet it is not just their resistance to algorithms and secret surveillance that keeps typewriter production lines – well one, at least – in business (the last British one closed a year ago). Nor is it only the nostalgic appeal of the metal body and the stout well-defined keys that make them popular on eBay. A typewriter demands something particular: attentiveness. By the time the paper is loaded, the ribbon tightened, the carriage returned, the spacing and the margins set, there’s a big premium on hitting the right key. That means sorting out ideas, pulling together a kind of order and organising details before actually striking off. There can be no thinking on-screen with a typewriter. Nor are there any easy distractions. No online shopping. No urgent emails. No Twitter. No need even for electricity – perfect for writing in a remote hideaway. The thinking process is accompanied by the encouraging clang of keys, and the ratchet of the carriage return. Ping!

Question 19

Which one of the following best describes what the passage is trying to do?

A) It describes why people continue to use typewriters even in the digital age.

B) It argues that typewriters will continue to be used even though they are an obsolete technology.
C) It highlights the personal benefits of using typewriters.

D) It shows that computers offer fewer options than typewriters.

Question 20

According to the passage, some governments still use typewriters because:

A) they do not want to abandon old technologies that may be useful in the future.

B) they want to ensure that typewriter production lines remain in business.
C) they like the nostalgic appeal of a typewriter.

D) they can control who reads the document.

Question 21

The writer praises typewriters for all the following reasons EXCEPT

A) Unlike computers, they can only be used for typing.

B) You cannot revise what you have typed on a typewriter.
C) Typewriters are noisier than computers.
D) Typewriters are messier to use than computers. 

Now that there is only one paragraph to read, we know there is only one way to go — from the passage to the questions.

Once you go to the questions, it becomes important, as discussed in the previous post, to look at the sequence in which you have to attempt the questions. It is always advisable to finish off the detail questions first and then proceed to the summary questions.

The first question is a summary question and hence needs to be left for later.

Question 20 is a detail question that is very direct and I don’t need to solve it for you to arrive at the answer as option D.

Did you notice the paraphrasing? The passage says the only way anyone can get a typewritten document is if you hand it over, which is why some governments have reverted to them.

This has been paraphrased to — they can control who reads the document.

Very often test-takers are subconsciously looking for the same wording to be used in the options, as in the passage.

This expectation tends to have two negative fallouts.

Firstly, they fall for trap options that use the phrasing from the passage but tweak the logic. Secondly, they tend to, at first glance, quickly reject the correct option since it uses different words. So ensure that you are reading for logic and not for phrasing.

Question 21 takes paraphrasing to a new level and hence can become tricky. But any tricky question can become easy if you go by rejection.

  • The author clearly says that when typing there are no distractions and lists them out. This has been paraphrased to — they can’t be used for anything other than typing. So this can be rejected since it is an EXCEPT question.
  • Option B has been clearly stated — since you can’t revise you have to be attentive to what you type. So this can be rejected since it is an EXCEPT question.
  • Option C is tricky. Does the author praise the noisiness of typewriters? The word/phrase that is used is “encouraging clang”, clang means noise and the author finds the noise encouraging. The author lists this as one of the things to like about typewriters. So this can be rejected since it is an EXCEPT question.
  • The author does not mention the messiness of typewriters as one of the reasons for liking it. So this has to be your answer.

Now we can go to the summary question, which is a primary purpose question.

  • Option A cannot be rejected since the passage talks about how some governments are using it for security reasons and then lists all the other positive things about typewriters
  • Option B is incorrect since the author makes no claim that typewriters will continue to be used
  • Option C is close but it talks only about the personal benefits and not the security benefits
  • Option D is incorrect since the passage is not about computers versus typewriters

So by rejection, you are again left with the right option, in this case, A.

If you read this passage in under 3 minutes and answered the other two questions in about 4 minutes, you will have 6 marks in about 7 minutes. If you found yourself even remotely struggling with the Summary Question then you should have asked yourself whether you want to waste time over this.


Despite their fierce reputation. Vikings may not have always been the plunderers and pillagers popular culture imagines them to be. In fact, they got their start trading in northern European markets, researchers suggest.

Combs carved from animal antlers, as well as comb manufacturing waste and raw antler material has turned up at three archaeological sites in Denmark, including a medieval marketplace in the city of Ribe. A team of researchers from Denmark and the U.K. hoped to identify the species of animal to which the antlers once belonged by analyzing collagen proteins in the samples and comparing them across the animal kingdom, Laura Geggel reports for LiveScience. Somewhat surprisingly, molecular analysis of the artifacts revealed that some combs and other material had been carved from reindeer antlers. Given that reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) don’t live in Denmark, the researchers posit that it arrived on Viking ships from Norway. Antler craftsmanship, in the form of decorative combs, was part of Viking culture. Such combs served as symbols of good health, Geggel writes. The fact that the animals shed their antlers also made them easy to collect from the large herds that inhabited Norway.

Since the artifacts were found in marketplace areas at each site it’s more likely that the Norsemen came to trade rather than pillage. Most of the artifacts also date to the 780s, but some are as old as 725. That predates the beginning of Viking raids on Great Britain by about 70 years. (Traditionally, the so-called “Viking Age” began with these raids in 793 and ended with the Norman conquest of Great Britain in 1066.) Archaeologists had suspected that the Vikings had experience with long maritime voyages [that] might have preceded their raiding days. 

Beyond Norway, these combs would have been a popular industry in Scandinavia as well. It’s possible that the antler combs represent a larger trade network, where the Norsemen supplied raw material to craftsmen in Denmark and elsewhere.

Question 22

The primary purpose of the passage is 
A) to explain the presence of reindeer antler combs in Denmark.
B) to contradict the widely-accepted beginning date for the Viking Age in Britain, and propose an alternate one.
C) to challenge the popular perception of Vikings as raiders by using evidence that suggests their early trade relations with Europe.
D) to argue that besides being violent pillagers, Vikings were also skilled craftsmen and efficient traders.
Question 23
The evidence – “Most of the artifacts also date to the 780s, but some are as old as 725” – has been used in the passage to argue that:
A) the beginning date of the Viking Age should be changed from 793 to 725.
B) the Viking raids started as early as 725.
C) some of the antler artifacts found in Denmark and Great Britain could have come from Scandinavia.
D) the Vikings’ trade relations with Europe pre-dates the Viking raids.
Question 24
All of the following hold true for Vikings EXCEPT
A) Vikings brought reindeer from Norway to Denmark for trade purposes.
B) Before becoming the raiders of northern Europe, Vikings had trade relations with European nations.
C) Antler combs, regarded by the Vikings as a symbol of good health, were part of the Viking culture.

D) Vikings, once upon a time, had trade relations with Denmark and Scandinavia.


Once you read the first two paragraphs you will see there are no questions on both of them.

The first specific question you will encounter will be question 23 which is based on the third paragraph.

This question is like a CR question and the answer to this is option D. The presence of artifacts, 70 years before the raids, is used to highlight the argument that trade relations began before the raids.

We are now left with question 24 and question 22.

As discussed, always move from detail to summary questions and you should approach the last question.

Option A is not mentioned and hence is the answer since this is an EXCEPT question.  The passage says that Vikings might have brought raw material to make combs from Norway to Denmark. The question-maker cleverly slips in the reindeer instead of raw material.

The summary question again is best solved by elimination.

The passage is about the image of Vikings — they are not the fierce pillagers that they are considered to be.

Based on this you can eliminate options A and B since they do not mention or refer to the popular the perception, image or view of Vikings

Between C and D. Option D says — to argue that besides being violent pillagers. This means that the author supports or acknowledges the fact that Vikings were violent pillagers. The author nowhere states this. Hence, C.

Whenever you are caught between two options, always look for ways to reject.


Notes on the Paragraph to Questions approach

Over the years, I have got the same set of queries with respect to this approach and I am sure all of you will end up having the same set of issues when you try to execute the method. 

Doesn’t this method take longer?

You are not going to read all questions each and every time you finish a para or two by the end of the first question, by the time you do it twice you will remember most of the questions.

If anything you will save the time going back to the passage to answer specific questions and reading the paragraph all over again since you have completely forgotten Para 3 of a 6-Para passage by the time you read Question 5, which is based on the third paragraph!

So, no, it just feels longer in the beginning because you have not perfected it yet.

With this method, I find it tough to retain the overall thought flow of the passage 

Some test-takers have said that they find it difficult to retain the flow of the passage when they break off after every paragraph and go to the questions. They either really feel disoriented or they feel that they lose track of the overall flow.

This is absolutely expected in the beginning, it is purely a question of getting used to the method. Once you solve about 30 passages you will feel comfortable.

I feel that answering questions with respect to a paragraph makes your understanding of the paragraph stronger!

Also, if the Passage to Questions approach is working well for you and you are getting your desired accuracy on RCs, then there is no need for you to change! 

There are passages that have very few specific questions

Some readers have said that there are passages that have barely any specific questions. There can be a 3-question passage with no question from a particular paragraph and all questions being Summary Questions. But on average there will be at least 2 to 3 questions based on specific paragraphs. 

And even if you encounter such a passage it does not hurt you in any way since you know at the end of the first paragraph, when you read all the questions, that all of them are summary questions and there is no point going back to the question after every paragraph!


P.S: I do the VA-RC feedback of 3 to 4 SimCATs every year, the videos are a much better way to learn the actual process of solving the questions, especially the getting stuck between two options, so do watch the video feedback.

79 Comments

  1. Anil says

    Hello Sir,
    It’s an amazing blog. In this series of blogs you have mentioned that to fine tune our RCs we can solve around 100 RCs in a week and I think it might help me. So can we use the same strategy for DILR and Quants ? Or it would be great if you could suggest something for the other 2 sections please.

    Like

  2. Sarthak says

    Hi Sir,
    Thank you for writting these amazing blogs. They are really helpful.
    Actually, I am having a little problem with the number of attempts in SIMCAT VARC section (at most, I am able to attempt only 19-20 questions). Investigation further, I realised that I take around 7-8 min in reading a passage and 3-4 min answering 3 questions.
    Can you please guide me with how can I increase my speed?
    I’ll be implementing your suggestion of practicing 100 RC’s per week. But, I think my habit of subvocalization also hinders my reading speed. Is it possible to curb subvocalization within 3 months? If yes, please suggest some ways

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Hi Sarthak,

      I’ll do a post on test-taking strategy for the section later.

      But targeting 15 marks at the very least on VA plus 4 passages is what you should look at. It is not a bad idea to start with VA and get 15 marks in 20 minutes and then do 4 RCs in 10 minutes each.

      Do not bother about sub-vocalization as of now, I do not know how to eliminate it. Even I sub-vocalize (internally, without any noise outside), I do not know when crept into my reading but it has been there for years now but I do not bother about it since I feel it is unrelated to reading speed. It has everything to do with the speed at which you move from word to word while keeping the brain fully switched on to comprehend.

      What matters is whether you read every word aloud (even a whisper), you should cut the whisper out.

      For now, focus on getting consistent scores and increase reading speed later and that too only by a small margin.

      All the best!

      Like

  3. pashu says

    hi sir ,
    how to select RCS ?
    like in DILR we have a basis to distinguish on parameters like Familiarity , questions and data. can we select RC’S also based on some parameters ? Please help since i am choosing the wrong RC’S like the difficult ones at the start and messing up my score ( I am not getting that good push in the beginning) ,if i can improve my RC selection it will help me stabilize my score .

    Like

  4. Praveen Singh says

    Hello Sir,
    You have mentioned to get minimum 15 marks in VA section which I hardly touch 2 or 3 times. Sir, is it advisable to skip the 4 para jumbles and instead try to solve one more passage left as probability of getting a para jumble correct is very low, I rarely got one correct. Or is there any alternative approach for this issue.
    Sir, Please suggest.

    One more query I have that is it necessary to first go through all the passages and then choosing one easy passage for a better start or should I do like, reading the first paragraph of first passage and if it seems doable then finish that passage at that time only without examining other passages or if it seems more challenging then immediately switch to other passage. What is you recommendation Sir.

    Like

    • Hi Praveen,

      When I said 15 marks from 10 questions, it meant that you need to solve at least the 5 easy and moderate question types from all the three question types including parajumbles. I suggest you solve the first the other question types at the beginning of the section and leave the PJs for the last 5 minutes.

      Solve the Rcs in between. You need to ideally select the RCs first and then solve. But if your current method of solving the do-able passages then and there is working then stick to it.

      All the best!

      Like

  5. briya888 says

    Hello sir,
    Is there any way to download the video solutions of SIMCATs and watch it later. please help because the network connection in my area is very bad and due to this i am unable to take the SIMCATs and to watch the video solutions. Thankyou

    Like

    • Hi Riya,

      As of now, that option is not feasible. We are planning something in the future (next season), where we will enable viewing the SimCAT video solutions on the APP.

      All the best.

      Like

  6. aditya agarwal says

    Hello sir,
    whenever I do the questions on RC, I try to figure out what logic could be applied to eliminate options but I oftenly get them wrong as like in question 21, I have eliminated option ‘A’ (only use for typing) as it is mentioned {” No online shopping. No urgent emails. No Twitter”} ; option ‘C’ (Typewriters are noisier than computers.) as you answered
    {‘encouraging clang of keys, and the ratchet of the carriage return”} and option ‘D’ (Typewriters are messier to use than computers) as messier is mentioned in paraphrasing {” By the time the paper is loaded, the ribbon tightened, the carriage returned, the spacing and the margins set, there’s a big premium on hitting the right key. That means sorting out ideas, pulling together a kind of order and organising details before actually striking off’} which is why I left with option B and hence choosen it later regretted.
    Now what could I change in my thinking process while eliminating options? please elucidate

    Like

    • Hi Aditya,

      How does or should one eliminate options?

      The logic of the options does not match the logic of the passage.

      How does one test comprehension at higher levels — always paraphrasing or condensing using different words what is given in the passage to test whether the test-taker has really comprehended the passage.

      So if the passage says, x>y, then the option will say y y — only typing — y < x.

      You are using logic but instead of RC, you are doing match the following — words in the passage to words in the option.

      Before you go to the options, you need to first determine what the question is asking of you — to identify the reasons the author praises the typewriter. So when you read option 1, you need to ask yourself, is this the reason why the author praises it — it can be used only for typing? Go to the passage check, and see if the logic is matching and then eliminate. You cannot directly start eliminating options based on words.

      All the best!

      Like

  7. Hello sir, could you suggest sources for solving RCs. I have solved everything from the IMS learn, practice, and e-books module. I am only left with 3 sectional tests and want to save them for now. So from where should I practice the RCs now?

    Like

    • Hello sir,
      I love your approach and it’s really helping me a lot but what troubling me is the ims portal rc questions. As we can’t move to next question until we answer the question.

      Like

      • Hi Rahul,

        Glad to know that the method is working for you.

        We are working on allowing the skip feature, should be done in a day or two.

        All the best!

        Like

  8. Debjeet says

    Sir , in the first question of the second RC you have marked option C as the correct answer . However the author in the second line of the 1st paragraph of the RC is not completely dismissing the popular idea and is subsequently adding another facet of Viking history regarding their trade relations. So can the answer be not D?

    Like

    • Hi Debjeet,

      They laid out a nice trap and you walked straight into it.

      When looking at primary purpose questions, it is important to look at how much time the passage has devoted to specific ideas.

      The author devotes the entire passage to one thing — there is more to the Vikings than their “image” of being pillagers.

      Option D says, to argue that besides being violent pillagers..

      There is only one sentence about their pillaging — Despite their fierce reputation, Vikings may not have always been the plunderers and pillagers popular culture imagines them to be. In fact, they got their start trading in northern European markets, researchers suggest.

      From the above sentence does it mean that the author agrees with their reputation? No, he is just referring to their image and to their reputation, which he wants to change and devotes the entire passage to. He is not arguing as option D says that they were violent pillagers also since he has not presented any evidence to support the popular image and say yes that is true.

      The golden rule is on Primary Purpose questions: 1) differentiate between what is according to the passage — reputation, popular imagination, what is according to the author; 2)see how much space the author has devoted to something.

      Hope this clarifies,

      All the best!

      Like

      • vivek kaushik says

        Hello Sir
        I had the exact same question as Debjeet. Though your reply will help me in improving my accuracy but I still had one small doubt with respect to this particular question.
        When the authors mentions the arguments about the time of raids isn’t he acknowledging that Vikings are raiders? And hence he is just trying to soften their violent image by saying that they weren’t just that but traders as well?

        Like

      • Hi Vivek,

        The author acknowledges the image but does he spend any time making a case for it, how many sentences are devoted to arguing that Vikings are raiders?

        Please note that this is not a central idea question but a primary purpose question, so what is the author’s aim with the passage is best identified not by every small thing the author has mentioned but what he has devoted the bulk of the passage towards.

        Hope this clarifies,

        All the best!

        Like

    • vivek kaushik says

      Hi Sir,
      Thank you so vert much for such a prompt reply.
      So, is it correct to take this as a rule for primary purpose question? The amount of time spent by the author on a subject is what will determine the primary message?
      Thanks!

      Like

      • Yeah, look at the function of each paragraph as a whole and add them together. For example if there was an entire paragraph devoted to arguing that Vikings were raiders then it can be included as part of the primary purpose.

        Like

    • vivek kaushik says

      This clears the doubt for sure. Looking forward to your VA masterclass and blog as I am clueless in that section with very poor accuracy. Hope it is soon!
      Thanks.

      Like

  9. ANUJ MAURYA says

    Hello Sir,

    Thank you for these great articles.

    My VARC score is going down for 52 in beginning to current 30s.
    I tried to apply the strategy but i think the lack of practice of the strategy is hindering the accuracy.
    Also facing little anxiety in between paras within a set… moving here and there within a passage.

    Can you please suggest me the source to practice these RCs to do these test runs everyday and some tips i should follow going forward.

    Thank you in advance. 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Anuj,

      As you identified, it is purely lack of practice for you to get comfortable with this method.

      We will be enabling the SKIP question option very soon and you can use that to solve passages in the LEARN and PRACTICE Modues of myIMS.

      You can also buy the IMS RC 100 Book on Amazon.

      All the best!

      Like

  10. Shivam Pundir says

    Hello Sir,

    I face one problem in paragraph to questions approach.
    For example:
    If question is from the ideas mentioned in the first paragraph, so we try to answer that question based upon understanding of first paragraph.
    However, the last paragraph again comes to the ideas mentioned in the first paragraph and understanding of last paragraph is needed actually to answer that question.
    But since we are following paragraph to questions approach, we got that question wrong.

    How to tackle this problem ?

    Like

    • hi Shivam,

      The key is to understand whether the information in the first paragraph is enough to answer the question. If you read Part II of this series I have highlighted such cases where it is unclear whether the information is enough. I’ll will cover a bit in the IMS Masterclasses that I will take later in this month.

      All the best!

      Like

  11. Krishnamoni Kakati says

    Hi Sir, Thank you for your beautiful blog. My accuracy is improving now. But I want to know how to determine the exact order of the rc. Means which rc to attempt first and which to later.

    Like

  12. Nilakantha Talukdar says

    Sir, please feedback in the VARC part in coming SIMCATs. Sir thats what helping us to know in depth, how to follow the process of elimination and go from passage to question. The use of lebeling method to solve the odd one out is proving out to be the best efficient way to solve increase accuracy in VA part.
    Looking forward for your feedback in VARC section of coming SIMCAts

    Like

    • Hi Nilakantha,

      I will be doing the VA-RC feedback for SimCATs 9, 12, and 15.

      I will also be taking 3 Masterclasses on that will focus on the VA-RC skills, and 1 on Test-Taking Strategy.

      Glad to know that you are able to execute labelling, that is what I use 🙂

      All the best!

      Like

  13. Afreen says

    Hello Sir, I have been constantly struggling with RCs which brings my entire score very low. I feel I get this panic going in my head when I start with some RC which results in extremely poor accuracy. And however while analyzing mocks I do get them right most of the time.I feel that I struggle with comprehension in a test scenario.Despite solving a lot of RCs and constantly reading articles, I don’t really see any improvement which has demotivated my CAT prep to a great extent. I also feel that there is very less time left to improve. Essentially I am totally panicked at the moment.
    Can you please suggest me something to do to improve?
    Thank you.

    Like

    • Hi Afreen,

      If I could do anything about panic that students experience then I would.

      I can only help with the techniques to solve questions which I do the thorugh the RC posts on this blog, and in more detail through SIMCAT feedback videos (i cover about 3-4 SimCATs in a season). For all IMS students, I will be doing 3 VA-RC Masterclasses and we will be covering the sectional test-taking strategies thorugh the Last Mile to CAT series.

      The psychological aspect though is something that you have to deal with, I will be doing posts but I am not sure that finally it is you who has to make the change.

      You can start with setting yourself modest goals — 10 marks more than your average mock score so far — and plan to attempt passages and VA questions accordingly instead of attempting as many as you can. For a score of 40-45, for example, 20 questions with 15-16 right.

      People face bigger existential threats in their life, and those threats have beomce magnified during the pandemic, and you and I are discussing a question on a screen, which is essentially harmless, it is not hunger or joblessness or loss of family members. Answering a question is just a series of steps to be executed every single time nothing more, nothing less.

      Hope you are able to see things in the right perspective.

      All the best!

      Like

  14. abeer pareek says

    Sir is there any way that one can get access to the RC Master Classes seasons of yours, one of which was scheduled on 27th August and one which will be taking place on 30th August.

    Like

    • Hi Abeer,

      The recordings are available on the LIVE.IMS portal (if you are enrolled for a variant that is eligible for the Masterclasses that is)

      All the best!

      Like

  15. Akash Shashikant Kothawade says

    Hi Tony Sir,

    Thank you for such an encouraging and useful blog.
    I am struggling with the number of attempts in RC section, in 40 mins I am only able to attempt 4 passages with like 70% accuracy (obviously accuracy is an issue which I hope I can get over by strategy mentioned). Should I try to attempt all the passages in each mock or set a target to attempt only 3 passages with more than 90% accuracy and then target 4 and 5 passages in later mocks?
    Can you please suggest?
    Also, when you will be writing a blog post on Verbal Reasoning Section?

    Thanks,
    Akash Kothawade.

    Like

    • Hi Akash,

      Will cover this in the Last Mile to CAT: VA-RC session this weekend. The recording will be available for all Test Series students as well.

      The Verbal Reasoning post will be up after I finish the Masterclass, around the end of the month. In the meantime, the video solutions of SimCAT 6 should help.

      All the best!

      Like

  16. aarav says

    Hi Sir,
    I am facing a lot of fluctuations in my simcat score in varc section..
    simcat score percentile attempt accuracy
    1 49 92.1 32 62.5
    2 58 99.1 33 66.6
    3 48 87.3 32 59.4
    5 46 93.8 29 62.1
    6 36 82.6 33 48.5
    7 53 98.2 32 62.5
    4 39 92.5 28 57.1
    8 72 99.9 32 78.1
    I have gone through your masterclass videos.my biggest problem is that i am not able to anticipate that the section is tougher hence my attempts should be low or that it is better strategy to attempt 4 rc instead due to which in difficult va rc sectionsmy scores go for a toss.any suggestion or plan so that i can hone this skill when i have 3 months in my hand.

    Like

  17. Hi Sir, I had attended your masterclass session and on your suggestion, I started solving passages from GMAT OG 2019. I found the initial passages easy and had 90-100 percent accuracy, however towards the end, I felt the passages became quite dense in terms of language and hence was facing issues in comprehending the language and the vocab at times. I also felt that the CAT passages are a bit easy on comprehension, the options are the difficult part. Let me know if my observation is wrong.

    I just wanted to know if I should be worried about 60-70% accuracy (despite following the topic and argument technique….since most passages were descriptive in nature, it was easier to figure out the topic, rather than the argument from the first para) on tough passages of GMAT OG.
    Also, I am done with the GMAT passages, but not sure about the confidence I have in RCs as of now, so what should be my next plan?
    Thank you

    Like

    • Hi Tanya,

      The key to executing the method is to use it well to gain accuracy on the tougher passages.

      I have solved almost all the passages on the OG and it is not true that the passages are descriptive towards the end — there are more science passages but even on them the arguments are about a new study or a new hypothesis. there are enough and more passages from business and sociology as well in the latter half that are fairly tough.

      So the key is to slow down and execute the process on tougher passages.

      The second reason for accuracy falling is tougher questions — trickier wording, tougher options — whether you crack this or not depends on how well you frame the shadow answer and how well you are able to catch the paraphrasing on correct options — this applies both to the CAT and the GMAT.

      So you need to revisit those passages and analyse where you executed the at three pauses correctly.

      This is a fairly tough passage in terms of language and questions, it might help you figure out how to execute the process on a tougher text — https://thegmatblogger.in/2016/06/11/gmat-reading-comprehension-guided-practice-set-1/

      You can solve the GMAT Verbal Review with the goal of executing the 5 Pauses correctly by dropping your speed and ensuring that you are getting 80% accuracy.

      You can then move on to solving CAT Passages from the myIMS portal.

      The thing with CAt passages is that they can vary depending on the IIM that sets the paper. The passages that we discussed in the Masterclass, for example, were all from CAt 2018 Slot 2 and they were very much in GMAT mould as were the rest of the passages.

      Last year, the passages were slightly different but the toughest passages were super dense, even more than any GMAT Passage.

      So all you can take is a solid technique to the test!

      All the best!

      Like

      • Yes sir you are right. The link that you provided, I had gone through it before only. And yes, I have been doing verbal reasoning from GMAT OG, and have much better accuracy there.
        Trickier words are a problem in RC though, so going slow is the only way to comprehend them?

        Like

  18. denny says

    Hii Sir,

    I missed the RC masterclass due to workload. Can you please share the recorded session link?

    Thanks 🙂

    Like

  19. Karan says

    Hello sir,
    In question 24, how did you arrive at option A. Since, it is given that reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) don’t live in Denmark, the researchers posit that it arrived on Viking ships from Norway. Isn’t it true as per the passage?

    Like

    • Hi Karan,
      As I had explained in the passage, the researchers posit that Vikings might have bought antlers and combs not actual reindeer – IT does not refer to reindeer!

      Like

  20. Anahita says

    Hi sir,
    Firstly a massive thank you. The masterclasses really helped, especially the guided practice.
    As you’d suggested, I’ve done questions from the GMAT OG and found that my accuracy there was much better than I’ve had in my SimCATs. I think this is because GMAT passages are direct facts and arguments whereas CAT passages have a lot of context providers so I get a little lost sometimes. Any suggestions?

    Also, a very happy teacher’s day to you 🙂

    Like

  21. Praveen Singh says

    Sir I am solving the GMAT OG passages and I have completed nearly 40% of it. But now it’s getting very difficult to comprehend those passages as they are a bit confusing to me and end up in distraction in between the passage and feels like wasting of time. So Sir, what should I do now. Should I leave the remaining passages or should I keep on solving.
    I solved the critical reasoning questions from that book and I end up fine but I don’t know why it’s getting difficult to solve the RCs of that book.
    Sir, please give some suggestions regarding this.

    Like

    • Hi Praveen,

      The key lies in sticking through the processes on the tough passages when the reading becomes difficult. If there was another way out I would have suggested the same.

      You can resort to the Para to Questions approach to solve these OG passages to see if that reduces the burden.

      You can read this post on how to navigate and execute the same processes for a super tough passage — https://thegmatblogger.in/category/gmat-verbal/gmat-reading-comprehension/

      It will be painful but you have to soldier on.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      Like

      • Praveen Singh says

        Thank you so much for your response Sir.
        I am solving passages by Para to Questions approach only. I tried analyzing the same. Then I realized I have been solving the passages for three consecutive days, I think it got beyond my saturation level, may be that could be the reason that I unable to connect with the passage.
        I hope practicing daily for few hours is also the same(close to that) helpful as practicing like that one week method.
        And yes first I go through all the painful posts to get a better picture of such passages.
        Sir, What’s your opinion in all this?

        Like

      • When I mentioned solving only one area for a focussed time, I was looking at someone prepping for 3-4 hours every day.

        A whole day of prep will obviously lead to saturation and burn out!

        So yeah, practice about 5 passages a day and that should be fine.

        Like

  22. Sharad Dubey says

    Sir, I started following this week ago, Since then, I attacked RCs only by this approach. This is Totally awesome sir. My score increased significantly. I request you to please write about Verbal ability too(TITA questions). I am taking a lot of time solving these and still not getting satisfactory results. It will be great help, sir.

    Like

    • Hi Sharad,

      Good to hear that your scores shot up after trying this Para to Questions approach.

      I have outlined the strategies to solve VA question types in the video solutions of SimCAT 6 VA-RC section. You can refer to those.

      I will be a doing a post on the same after a few weeks, once I complete the VA Masterclass for IMS students.

      All the best!

      Like

  23. Hi Sir, I have a different kind of worry. So I have been preparing for VA RC for quite a few months and had reached to 80 percentile from 60. After attending the masterclass and solving the whole of GMAT OG RCs and CRs, I gave the last simcat and got 20 percentile!! I have no clue what happened, as my accuracy in logical arguments has been perfectly fine, my speed was okay, I was very sure of the answers I had marked in the simcat (it wasn’t even difficult this time). It is demotivating and also I don’t know what my next move should be now! I had been aiming only the top IIMs since my profile is good with 95 and 96% marks in 10th and 12th(commerce), and I don’t want any of this to go in vain due to my inability of not being able to crack the CAT exam!! Please guide me on what should I do now, I am very confused and worried!!!

    Like

    • Hi Tanya,

      By the frequency of your comments, one thing is for certain even before you posted this comment — you are a bit freaked out about CAT Prep!

      Firstly, when I mentioned practising RC for a whole week it was for people who have been stuck and wanted to see a drastic improvement.

      Secondly, when I meant practice I did not mean the whole day. I assumed people had other work to do as well — college, office — and the prep time would be no more than 3-4 hours a day which would mean solving about 10 RCs a day at max. It seems to me now that there are a lot who are only preparing for CAT and are sitting just doing RC for the whole day! Obviously, the brain will freeze and hit a block.

      If one practices a full day and that too only one thing, the brain will definitely freeze and you will end up underperforming.

      So there is no need to worry, it is just a blip. Do moderate VA-RC practice there is little extra to be gained from a huge quantum of practice after you have been practising for a while as you have said. The focus should be on the quality of execution rather than the quantum. I would seriously suggest practising only VA-RC once every alternate day or third day.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      Like

      • Yes Sir, I am freaked out since I just got graduated, have a great CV but no job due to COVID, and seems like this is my only chance at CAT. There is performance pressure but I am doing everything that I should do. It is still not turning out that well in the results.

        Like

      • Well, Tanya one does best in a test when one is most relaxed.

        Since you have an entire day at your disposal freaking out is easier.

        I would suggest preparing for only 8 hours a day and not more than that — 3 hours, 3 hours, and 2 hours with atleast an hours gap between each slot.

        In fact, one cannot think at the edge of one’s intelligence for more than 6 hours in a day.

        Use the rest fo the time to read books, newspapers, or magazines — NYTimes, Scroll, Aldaily (and the books I outlined here — https://thecatwriter.com/2019/03/18/how-to-build-your-profile-for-an-mba-2/)

        Think of this break as a blessing in that you can prepare in a more all-round and relaxed way than if you had a job (a lot of people quit their job to prepare for the CAT)

        All the best!

        Like

  24. Hi T,
    I have some doubt regarding some questions in simcat 9.
    “This is an incredible achievement for someone they dismissed as a barbarian, and very important for Alexander (the Great),” says Kottaridi.
    from the above statement though it is clear that the achievement is important for Alexander is it safe to infer that it helped him?Isn’t it possible that something important had a negative consequence.

    Like

    • Hi Aarav,

      I am not directly involved in the making of SimCATs so I have not solved this passage.

      Looking only at this part of the passage that you have pasted here I have two premises — a) it was an incredible achievement, which means it has to be positive, like a major conquest of strategic import or an alliance or reaching a particular position very soon b) it was important.

      From these two premises and incredible and important achievement, the inference that it was helpful or useful is clearly valid.

      One of the tests of inference is to check if the inference fails do the premises fail — it was not helpful at all to Alexander — then can it be called incredible?

      As I said I am only reading based on the little you have given me.

      The blogs is intended to be a strategic guide to students, given my other responsibilities, it will be tough for me to devote time to read and solve specific questions from other parts of the IMS material.

      All the best!

      Like

  25. Udit Modi says

    Dear sir,
    With practice I can do good performance but I often get stuck with the difficult words. Also I can’t able to remember that particular words’ meaning over a longer period of time.
    Kindly help me to figure out this problem.

    Like

    • Hi Udit,

      The way out is to try to understand the words in the context of the paragraph

      To partially help you can solve the book Word Power Made Easy to add some vocabulary muscle in a short span of time.

      I wish I had a solution to improve long-term memory!

      All the best!

      Like

  26. Srishti Agarwal says

    Dear Sir,

    My question is regarding SIMCAT-9 VARC section.
    There was this question in the first RC passage which goes as follows:
    “All of the following statements are true about Philip II of Macedonia EXCEPT”

    Like

  27. Srishti Agarwal says

    Dear Sir,

    My question is regarding SIMCAT-9 VARC section.
    There was this question in the first RC passage which goes as follows:
    “All of the following statements are true about Philip II of Macedonia EXCEPT”

    Among the 4 options, the last option says
    Philip’s military skills and expansionist vision later helped Alexander the Great.

    while the passage says
    his is an incredible achievement for someone they dismissed as a barbarian, and very important for Alexander (the Great),” says Kottaridi

    As per the solution, this option was not the correct answer (which means that this is true as per the passage since this is an EXCEPT question).

    Are we to assume that being important for Alexander is the same as having helped Alexander?
    Can you please throw some light on this. Thanks in advance!

    Like

    • I had the same doubt there were some questions in simcat 9 in which were dubious like a question from passage 3
      “The fires started here in December, after dry lightning strikes on the island’s north coast and remote western bushland areas, and then escalated and jumped containment lines, ripping through the island in early January, with high winds and hot temperatures fuelling the front.” from the above statement it is clear that high winds and hot temp exacerbates the problem but one of the option is “Hot weather and unfavourable winds caused the fires.” is assumed to be true.

      Like

      • Hi Aarav,

        One of the big things about last year’s CAT Verbal Section was that two the question stems and answer options become very short.

        What happened, as a result, was the logical reasoning could not be water-tight since it is always not possible to express everything in a one-liner.

        All test-prep players try to replicate the previous year’s patterns that is the reason why there has been so much ambiguity across the board on the questions of the Verbal section.

        In the above question, for example, forest fires are not just small fires like a campfire, they are fires that spread over a large area. So the very nature of the forest fires is defined by the spread, so in that context what causes a forest fire it is not just the initial spark but the acceleration as well, to use the example of a vehicle, the lightning is the ignition but the vehicle does not move ahead and cover a distance without the accelerator.

        So, if we stick strictly to the meaning of caused as started then obviously what you are saying is correct but in quite a few questions last year they have gone beyond direct meaning to a wider berth.

        The only way to tackle this is not to learn to think with a wider berth but to choose the most defensible option rejected everything and mark whatever you are left (but reject only the outright errors and leave the ambiguous ones for later).

        It is like batting on Day 5 and getting out because the ball hit a crack and kept low, the only way to survive is to cover the cracks by taking a super big stride (in our case, a wider logical width).

        The worst of it all is that this might not repeat next year when a different lot sets the papers.

        This is one of the big reasons why I think CAT Verbal is pure bullshit when compared to the GMAT and even the GRE 🙂

        All the best!

        Like

    • Hi Srishti,

      I am not directly involved in the making of SimCATs so I have not solved this passage.

      Looking only at this part of the passage that you have pasted here I have two premises — a) it was an incredible achievement, which means it has to be positive, like a major conquest of strategic import or an alliance or reaching a particular position very soon b) it was important.

      From these two premises and incredible and important achievement, the inference that it was helpful or useful is clearly valid.

      One of the tests of inference is to check if the inference fails do the premises fail — it was not helpful at all to Alexander — then can it be called incredible?

      As I said I am only reading based on the little you have given me.

      The blogs is intended to be a strategic guide to students, given my other responsibilities, it will be tough for me to devote time to read and solve specific questions from other parts of the IMS material.

      All the best!

      Like

  28. Vanshika says

    Hi Sir

    When I started CAT prep Verbal was my stronger section while I struggled with QA (non engineer issues). However, over the course of the last two months, I have managed to work on my QA. However, in the process, my verbal scores have started fluctuating. The last 5 mocks ranged between 58-30. I analysed my question wise performance on all these tests and have realized that I have very low accuracy on Inference and Logical Structure questions. Any specific advice on how to work upon this?

    Like

    • Hi Vanshika,

      It does happen that over the course of the prep some issues with technique crop up on your stronger section since you more or less take it for granted.

      I have covered the RC question-solving technique and every other thing in the two RC Masterclasses I took, the recordings of those are available on myIMS.

      All the best!

      Like

  29. Hi Sir,
    Can you please recommend the sources for RC to practice? I have been solving RC from GMAT club forum and observed that length and complexity in these RC are different from the mocks RCs. Is it advisable to invest time in practising these GMAT club RCs or opt for other books such as RC 99?Any suggestions pls?

    Regards,
    Aishwarya

    Like

    • Hi Aishwarya,

      After a point, the GMAT RCs are not useful since the questions on the CAT RCs as well the passages are not so water-tight.

      I do not know about RC 99, IMS has a book called IMS RC 100 on Amazon that can be of use if you do not have access the IMS content on myIMS.

      All the best!

      Like

  30. Sharad Dubey says

    Sir, This strategy works really good for me, My scores went up. But I am still struggling with getting to all the questions. No matter, How hard I try, There is one passage which is left, Or if I try to attempt that, Accuracy gets screwed. I think I can easily get 6-9 marks from that passage. Please help sir. Also, Yesterday’s LMTC was really amazing thorough.

    Like

    • Hi Sharad,

      After a point, once accuracy is set, the next thing boils down to pure speed.

      I will be doing a VA Masterclass so that might help you crash the time you are currently devoting to the same and give some additional time to RC.

      All the best!

      Like

  31. vivek kaushik says

    Good evening sir,
    Thank for such elaborate explanation of the process. This approach is definitely helpful. I had a specific question related to the passage on Meritocracy that you discussed in RC Masterclass 2. There was a question on teams that can effectively deal with problem of obesity.
    “The complexity of modern problems often precludes any one person from fully understanding them. Factors contributing to rising obesity levels, for example, include transportation systems and infrastructure, media, convenience foods, changing social norms, human biology and psychological factors… ”
    Options
    1. A team comprised of nutritionists, psychologists, urban planners and media personnel, who have each scored a distinction in their respective subject tests.
    2. A team comprised of nutritionists, psychologists, urban planners and media personnel, who have each performed well in their respective subject tests.
    3. A specialised team of nutritionists from various countries, who are also trained in the machine-learning algorithm of random decision forest.
    4. A specialised team of top nutritionists from various countries, who also possess some knowledge of psychology.
    As per your explanation it boiled down to choosing between option 1 and 2. Though your explanation seemed apt but i had a confusion.
    I took the view that tests will not be able to bring in diverse candidates and considered ‘various countries’ as being indicative of diversity of perspective and chose option 4. I am not able to pinpoint where am I exactly going wrong. Your help will be very much appreciated.
    Thanks!

    Like

    • Hi Vivek,

      The two things you got wrong with to understanding the passage:

      1. It says that there is no perfect test and hence looking at toppers of tests is misguided — the passage nowhere argues doing away with tests altogether.

      2. The part that you quote cites the need for multidisciplinary diversity — transportation systems and infrastructure, media, convenience foods, changing social norms, human biology and psychological factors — this is nowhere achieved through 4 and thus there is no way you should have chosen 4, you are adding an assumption — diversity of perspective — which is nowhere stated in the passage — if it is an inference question they will ask you to infer and when they do ask and you infer you are adding an assumption — even so the passage seeks out multi-disciplinary problem-solving diversity, not diversity of perspective.

      In both cases, you have extended the argument — tests and diversity — beyond what is stated in the passage.

      Hope this helps,

      All the best!

      All the best!

      Like

      • vivek kaushik says

        Got your point sir. No reading into the passage will be my takeaway.
        Thanks for your explanation. Always helpful.

        Like

  32. vivek kaushik says

    Good evening sir,
    Thank for such elaborate explanation of the process. This approach is definitely helpful. I had a specific question related to the passage on Meritocracy that you discussed in RC Masterclass 2. There was a question on teams that can effectively deal with problem of obesity.
    “The complexity of modern problems often precludes any one person from fully understanding them. Factors contributing to rising obesity levels, for example, include transportation systems and infrastructure, media, convenience foods, changing social norms, human biology and psychological factors… ”
    Options
    1. A team comprised of nutritionists, psychologists, urban planners and media personnel, who have each scored a distinction in their respective subject tests.
    2. A team comprised of nutritionists, psychologists, urban planners and media personnel, who have each performed well in their respective subject tests.
    3. A specialised team of nutritionists from various countries, who are also trained in the machine-learning algorithm of random decision forest.
    4. A specialised team of top nutritionists from various countries, who also possess some knowledge of psychology.
    As per your explanation it boiled down to choosing between option 1 and 2. Though your explanation seemed apt but i had a confusion.
    I took the view that tests will not be able to bring in diverse candidates and considered ‘various countries’ as being indicative of diversity of perspective and chose option 4. I am not able to pinpoint where am I exactly going wrong. Your help will be very much appreciated.
    Thanks!

    Like

  33. Hi Tony. Thanks for taking time to do this and answer our queries. I have one too. Everywhere you mention that we have to choose our RC’s first by rating them. How do we rate them? On a scale of 10? Should I read a part of the RC or check the questions or both? Can you please explain. I always choose the wrong RC’s first.

    Like

    • I have covered that in detail along with the time-management strategies in LMTC webinars that I have done. They are available on the CHANNEL Tab of myIMS.

      Like

  34. Debjeet says

    Sir, in few mocks I am just unable to apply the 5 pause technique and this results in low scores. However in few mocks I efficiently apply the technique . But in few tests the strategy just goes out of the window and I end up rushing and making mistaes. What should I do ,Sir?

    Like

    • Hi Debjeet,

      One of the things you need to do is to talk to yourself before the test to tell yourself what you will do during the 40 minutes of each section.

      Your brain has still not accepted the 5-pauses method as the default method, and hence it still regresses back to its usual processes, so talking to yourself before every single test as to what you will execute is the best way to train it.

      All the best!

      Like

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