85 Days to CAT 2011: Tighten Your Grip on English Usage

Noida, India (PressExposure) July 27, 2011 -- Apart from Reading Comprehension, Verbal Ability has questions on Grammar and Vocabulary which also needs due attention. To make you well aware about this section, Sidharth Balakrishna, CAT expert & mentor, author of CAT prep books and IIM Calcutta alumnus has shared this article exclusively with MBAUniverse.com on 'How to prepare for Verbal Ability three months before CAT 2011'.

In the last article (http://www.mbauniverse.com/article.php?id=4803) you had known about the strategies for the Reading Comprehension section. Today, he will tell you about the preparation tactics for the English Usage area.

Read on to know what the author has to say.

The Verbal Ability section of the CAT and other B-School entrance exams comprises questions on Reading Comprehension (RC), Parajumbles, Vocabulary, Grammar etc. In the last article, I gave you some tips on how you could prepare for the RC section. In this article, we shall discuss the manner in which you can prepare for questions pertaining to Grammar and Vocabulary.

The questions in this section generally test your knowledge of certain correct ways of speaking and writing the language. The emphasis is on contextual usage of elements of grammar, including when a particular phrase or idiom may be appropriately used.

Similarly, there are often questions on concepts such as subject-verb agreement, correct parallelism, which tense in appropriate given a particular context etc. This means that the test taker should be familiar with the ways of structuring a sentence in the English language correctly.

More importantly, there are an increasing number of questions being found pertaining to idioms and phrases.

Preparation Strategy for Vocabulary: Using 'roots' and technique of making flashcards:

How can you build your Vocabulary in the last few months? In my opinion, just going through long lists with hundreds or thousands or words will not be useful. In order to improve on a regular basis, you cannot just mug up the meaning of words-after all, how many word-meanings can you just learn by rote?

A better strategy is to understand the 'roots' or the origin of certain words. From what 'main root' has a particular word been derived? If you approach Vocabulary in a systematic manner, you can rapidly improve on it.

Let's understand this 'root-based' approach. Consider a word such as 'demographics': the root is 'dem' in this case. This root, from Greek, means 'people'. We all know that India is a democracy and also, it is a highly populated country. So it should be easy to remember the root 'dem' and people. Similar words are 'demographics'-refers to a population study, or the study of the various characteristics of the people that comprise the population.

Next, in order to ensure that you do not forget the meaning, I suggest you use flash cards.

Remember that there is a technique to make flashcards. What is this?

Do not just write random words. Try and group together words having a common theme or words that are related in some manner. For example, you may choose to write all the words with the same root on one flash card. Or you can use a common theme for the flashcard. An example here would be to write all the words which mean to talk a lot or use too many words: such as verbose, loquacious, garrulous etc. On the reverse side, you could write some words which mean the opposite-to speak little or use few words: such as taciturn, Spartan, laconic etc

Preparation Strategy for Grammar:

Since there are only three months left, I assume that by now, you would have a fairly good idea of the 'rules of grammar' used for writing or speaking the English language. This indeed is vital. But for the exam, one has to be familiar not only with the rules but also with the appropriate and contextual usage of these rules. This is what you should practice in the last few months-making sure that you are aware of the exceptions to the various rules, when to use which rule etc.

For example, do you know the correct option in the following sentences?

(Who/ whom) was it that called?

(Who/ whom) did you call yesterday?

This is one of the best speeches that (has/ have) been made.

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Press Release Submitted On: July 27, 2011 at 7:17 am
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