Any management entrance test - CAT, XAT, SNAP CET – always has two main areas viz. Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Aptitude. There may be differences in the other sections but these two areas are common for all the tests. Generally, the Verbal consists of Reading Comprehension, Grammar, Vocabulary, and reasoning questions. Generally, these different areas are given equal importance in terms of number of questions and marks allotted.

Reading Comprehension questions involve a passage, followed by questions based on the passage. The length of passage and number of questions vary from test to test. The nature of questions also differs. Generally, the tests have 3 passages with different lengths in terms of number of words. The small passage contains around 400 words and medium sized passage has around 400-700 words. Passages with more than 700 words are the long passages.

An attempt has been made by us over here to cover almost all doubts that the students face while tackling the Reading Comprehension questions.

Q. How can the students tackle this unpredictability?

 A. One of the most important points about the RC questions is their unpredictability. The passages can be on any topic, any length and any questions can be asked on them. Due to this, there is no definite method of studying RC questions. One can solve 100 numerical problems on a topic and then for the 101st problem, can refer to the learning from the previously solved problems. This is not applicable in RC. After solving 100 RC passages and questions, the 101st passage and questions are still a new experience. This unpredictability of RC makes them the most important questions in the MBA entrance tests.

Q. What questions are asked for RC?

A. All of us have solved RC questions in our schools and colleges. However, there is a crucial difference. In our earlier years, the passages that we came across were either from our textbooks and the questions were straightforward. So, most of the times, we used to look at the questions first and then search the answer in the passage. However, for the MBA entrance tests, the questions are asked in a different manner. They require the understanding of the passage. There are three types of questions which can be seen – a) Main Idea Question – this is about the central or main idea of the passage. b) Inference Question – this is about the inference or opinion one can draw from the information given in the passage. c) Passage-based Question – Apart from the first two types, the questions can be asked on any information given in the passage.

One must always attempt questions by referring to the passage. For example, if the question is about an inference and the passage suggests one inference, then you should mark the appropriate option. The passage will completely support the answer choice.

Q. How much time should be spent on a passage?

A. If the passage is small or medium, 10 minutes are sufficient. If it’s a long passage, then 15 minutes will be required. Unlike the school or college RCs, in which one has to write an entire answer, MBA entrance tests require you to mark the answer on an OMR sheet or on the screen. Since it does not take much time to mark the answer, one should devote maximum time to reading and understanding it. In the 10 minutes allotted for the passage, one should spend 9 and half minutes in reading the passage. Once the passage is understood, then answering the questions is easy.

Q. How to improve the reading speed?

A. Reading speed is a function of familiarity with the words. If one’s vocabulary is good, then the reading speed is also good as the brain registers familiar words out of habit. Therefore, apart from regular reading, improving vocabulary is also required. The combination of regular reading practice along with good vocabulary will result in good reading speed.

Q. On what topics are the passages based?

A. The subject matter and the topic of the passages can be anything under the sun. However, it has been observed that passages from fiction generally do not appear. Philosophy, Science, Literature, Art, Social Science, Politics, Current Affairs – any topic can be asked. If the student has the habit of reading widely, it definitely helps.

The Verbal Section is a crucial area in any MBA entrance test. RC questions are the most crucial in this section. What makes them so significant is the fact that one cannot say that his or her preparation of RC is complete. So, facing the questions in a calm and quiet manner, not getting distressed, and reading the passage at least twice before marking the answers are the points one should remember while attempting these questions.