How to Prepare for VARC in CAT?

Effective Tips to Prepare for VARC in CAT/ PrepLadder

The Verbal Ability or Reading Comprehension (VARC) section of the CAT exam is considered the toughest among all the MBA entrance exams in India. It is that section that cannot be mastered overnight. Unlike Quantitative Aptitude (QA) or Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), there is no logical explanation or mathematical step-by-step solution to the answer and you cannot crack VARC by just memorizing formulas.

What is Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension?

VARC has four main components namely:

  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Verbal Ability
  • Reading Comprehension

Let us now understand them one by one.


This section of Verbal Ability (VA) mainly consists of questions related to sentence completion, one-word substitution, fill in the blanks etc. Having a stronghold on vocabulary and sentence-forming skills is key to scoring good scores in VA.


Consider Grammar, Maths! Practice solving grammar questions daily. Questions like finding mistakes in part of the sentence or in one of the sentences, or word substitution are the most frequently asked questions in MBA entrance exams. The only way to ace this section is to gain conceptual clarity of the fundamental rules during CAT exam preparation.

Verbal Ability:

VA is an important part of CAT preparation for the VARC section. This section tests the candidate’s knowledge and holds on English Language, grammar, vocabulary, correct understanding of paragraphs among other key topics. It usually has questions on paragraph completion, paragraph sequencing, ranking and arrangement, so it is important to have a good command of language comprehension.

Reading Comprehension: 

To score well in reading comprehension, you should be able to read over 600 words passages in less than a minute. This can happen only if you read, read and read more. Target at least an hour of reading per day. Read anything that interests you like Philosophy, politics, technology, history, current affairs, etc in a day. There is no substitute for reading.
Read more: How to Prepare for CAT 2021?

Explained: Preparation Strategy for VARC 

The preparation of CAT VARC requires time, dedication, and discipline. Follow the below-mentioned simple yet effective tips to ace VARC:

#1 Read as much as you can:

Reading is one of the prerequisites for scoring well in VARC. Anything that interests you should be read on a regular basis. It can be politics, current affairs, sports, technology, etc. To understand and comprehend information in a better way, try to analyze the text after reading it.

Your focus while reading should be on quality and not quantity. As you will read the text multiple times, you will find information that you did not pay attention to the first time. Try to write the text in your own words, once you read it.

#2 Enhance your Vocabulary: 

Having a strong vocabulary can do wonders in the VARC section. Usage of appropriate words while attempting the exam will help you to fetch those extra marks.

While reading, make sure to mark and write the words whose meanings you don’t know. Make a list of all such words and revise them regularly so that you can memorize those words easily.

#3 Take Small Steps: 

CAT curriculum is vast and it requires proper planning and a smart study plan to conquer it smoothly. Rather than making big study goals, make small ones. Small goals are easy to conquer, keep you inspired and give you constant motivation.

Divide big topics and take one week for each whole topic. Divide each topic into levels and exercises for every day. For example, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Correction, Incomplete sentences, and Critical reasoning.

#4 Focus on Grammar: 

Unless you become a pro in Grammar, you can’t succeed in the VARC section. It is strongly recommended to refer to a good grammar guide if you feel your grammar is not up to the mark.

Moreover, English grammar contains hundreds of very specific rules. The CAT tests only a few of these, so devote your time and energy to mastering the most common rules. Learning common rules of grammar will help you understand how correct or incorrect communicative English is. You will understand the minor nuances of the language. 

Also read: Common Mistakes to Avoid in CAT Preparation? 

#5 Practice a lot: 

If you keep following the instructions here and keep practicing diligently and consistently, you will be in a much better position than most candidates in 3-4 months. As compared to QA and DILR, the questions in the VARC take less time.

You can increase your CAT percentile significantly, in fact, for every unit of time, you can solve more VARC CAT questions than the other two sections. This means a much higher return on investment of time. 

Just remember, practice is the mantra to success.

#6 Take Mock Tests: 

Solving mock tests should be another mantra for success. Mock Tests give you practice, yet they help you to develop the exam temperament. CAT exam preparation, if done by solving Mock tests with dedication, can reap significant and rewarding benefits for students in the long run.

Mock tests provide a mirror-like image of real examinations. They are designed in such a way to give students a feel of the real examinations. The number of mock tests attempted during preparation is directly proportional to scoring good marks and a better rank in the exams. 

We hope the above-mentioned tips will help you to crack the VARC section of CAT with much ease.

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All the best for your exams. Stay tuned for more updates.  

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Raminder Singh

Raminder is a Content Manager at PrepLadder. He has worked in several aspects of the education industry throughout his career and has assisted numerous candidates in cracking major competitive exams.