Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension: Weightage, Syllabus and Tips

Verbal Ability usually has questions on paragraph completion, sequencing, and arrangementThese questions will evaluate your interpretation skills along with your grammatical skills. Whereas, Reading Comprehension consists of answering questions based on the given passages. These passages are over 600 words and given the time constraint one needs to read and understand the same within a minute.

 

About the section

Number of questions: Total 26

Duration: 40 minutes

The verbal ability and reading comprehension section has four components

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Grammar
  3. Verbal Reasoning
  4. Reading Comprehension

Let’s understand each of these components and the nature of the questions asked.

Vocabulary

This section aims to evaluate your versatility and your English vocabulary. The section mainly comprises sentence completion questions, fill-in-the-blanks, word substitutions, etc. Hence, it is important to study and build an above-average to an excellent level of vocabulary.

 

Grammar

The section evaluates your clarity of the grammatical concepts and their usage. Error detection questions are the most common in this section. It is important to take a more strategic approach to strengthen your grammar, unlike other sections where free reading seems to be the focus.

 

Verbal Reasoning

This sub-section of VARC usually has questions on paragraph completion, sequencing, and arrangementThese questions will evaluate your interpretation skills along with your grammatical skills. Some questions ask you to identify the best summary of the given passage. Critical reasoning and interpretation skills are of paramount importance here.

 

Reading Comprehension

This section consists of answering questions based on the given passages. These passages are over 600 words and given the time constraint one needs to read and understand the same within a minute. These passages often have complex writing styles and dense and challenging arguments. Hence, these might be more difficult to read and interpret compared to newspapers and books.

 

How to kick-start the VARC preparation

Over the years it has been observed that the emphasis has moved from testing the knowledge of English to contextual understanding of the language. Some of the things you can keep in mind while reading or studying for VARC are:

  • The nuances of the given word
  • The subtleties of the given word as per its context and usage
  • Correct syntax and structure
  • Various ways of sentence formation
  • Identifying and understanding the complex ideas

Looking at the complexity of language and the questions asked, studying for VARC may feel overwhelming sometimes. Here are a few steps to get you started with the prep.

 

1. Study the syllabus

It is not only important to know the entire syllabus but also know where you stand on each of those topics. Evaluate which topics you are already good at and which topics need more work. Outlining this will also help you to divide your time accordingly for the preparation.

 

2. Select books as per your need for VARC preparation

After understanding your strengths and weaknesses for various topics, you will know where you need the most help. For example, the concepts that you are weak at will require you to start from the basics, hence, it makes sense to invest in multiple books that have different difficulty levels to prepare for such topics.

 

3. Set reading goals

Reading is by far the most non-negotiable requirement for the VARC preparation. However, starting your reading without specific goals can be overwhelming and less productive. Hence, pick specific reading material for specific goals. For example, to understand complex arguments read editorials and opinion pieces. Similarly, for building vocabulary, pick writers and novels that have an above-average vocabulary.

 

4. Practice papers

Practice papers are the best way to get over the fear of attempting the VARC section. Don’t focus on the speed right from the start. For your first practice papers just get an idea of the kind of questions you can attempt correctly. Build speed eventually with more practice.

Building vocabulary and improving English comprehension skills is the most critical aspect of your preparation for VARC. While reading extensively and consistently is of utmost importance, it is imperative to study grammatical concepts, understanding their application and strengthening your critical reasoning to have a good chance at scoring well in this section.

The key to prepare for this section enthusiastically is to get curious about the language, its usage and its various forms.

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