How to Improve VARC for CAT

Let’s know about How to Improve VARC for CAT. What’s an efficient VARC strategy 2023 for CAT aspirants appearing for CAT exam 2023? This is the section where many students face issues scoring high.

VARC is a language-based test that cannot be memorized or recollected like formulas. Moreover, to score a high percentile in this section, you should improve basic grammar, become a voracious reader, understand the structured reading, be consistent, and attempt sectional mocks.

Approach the RC’s of the CAT exam through the process of deriving the conclusion by evidence and logical reasoning. And there’s only one skill you need to work and improve on, reading comprehension.

What is Reading Comprehension and How to Improve VARC for CAT?

In simple terms, reading comprehension is the ability to understand what you are reading. Developing reading comprehension skills in any language is important. It helps comprehend the text, in the exact meaning of what the author has implied.

When solving the VARC section of the CAT exam, comprehension skills help you understand the structure of the passage and retain what you read without losing the focal theme of the text.

VARC Strategy For CAT Aspirants 2023 to Improve Reading Comprehension Skills

Presuming, the CAT exam will be 2 hours this year, and you will have 40 minutes to solve each section. There will be 16 questions of RC and 8 questions of VA to be completed accurately. As this is the section that checks your comprehension skills, the primary objective is to remember what you read.

So, here are a few tips to improve your comprehension skills and know how it helps solve RC.

  • Emphasize on reading articles, books, newspapers, much before you begin solving RC’s.
  • Read books on different genres. A suggestion for habitual readers, read out of your comfort zone. For non-readers, start with editorials, articles, and then jump to books. Few genre examples, technology, history, psychology, literature, arts, environment, politics, science, fiction etc.
  • Understand the subject to find the theme behind any passage/book/article you read. 
  • Form a structured approach to answer the questions by sticking to the details in the passage, rather than looking for a common message.
  • Practice mock RC’s. Initially focus on accuracy, eventually building up the speed to solve each RC.
  • Previous year’s CAT exam papers are critical in VARC preparation. Solve as many as possible.
  • As your reading comprehension skills improve, it increases concentration to stay focused for a longer time.
  • Learn to understand the contextual clues through the surrounding words in a sentence.
  • Remember, RC is not fact based. The questions are formed on critical reasoning.

Issues Aspirants Face When Attempting VARC In Mocks

Students appearing for the CAT exam find this section difficult to score. One, because there is no specific study material. And two, because it is not a subject that can be memorized or mastered with solving a series of questions. The common problems aspirants face are: 

  • Failure to concentrate throughout the RC’s.
  • Not able to understand the idea and logic of the para given.
  • Confusion in deciding to attempt the question or leave it because of an indecisive answer.
  • Inability to work through the options correctly in the para summary. It carries negative markings for every wrong answer.
  • Not knowing the meaning, synonym or antonym of a word. 

As a matter of fact, these seemingly problematic areas can be easily improved with practice, time, and patience.

VARC Strategy For CAT Aspirants 2023 to Score High Percentile

Once you begin working on your reading comprehension skills, the battle is half won. In addition, follow this simple strategy that many CAT aspirants have followed, and succeeded in scoring a high percentile in this section.

  1. Read, Read, and Read. Ask anyone who has successfully cracked the CAT exam, what is the importance of reading? Editorials from various newspapers are a great place to begin with. Make it a habit, reading 1 to 2 articles from the 250 Genre wise Reading Articles by iQuanta.
  2. Try reading long subjective passages to increase concentration span, eventually developing a habit of faster reading.
  3. Develop your everyday vocabulary. Create a Google Doc of new words list with their meanings to help you with the VARC section.
  4. Attempt sectional mocks. Initially, try to work on accuracy when solving mocks. Gradually, you will see your speed increasing.
  5. Solve previous year’s VARC papers. Try completing each RC within a time span of 10 minutes. Practice till you are able to solve RC’s under 10 minutes. 
  6. This is a great tip to follow. For answering para summary questions, find out one pair where sentences go one after the other. It’s not difficult if you focus on the theme.
  7. Boredom settles in too quickly when we practice the same thing on a repeated mode. As you have ample time for CAT prep, practice 1 RC a day.
  8. You have to work hard to improve speed and accuracy. So, do timed reading and practice sessions.
  9. VARC Mock and the actual CAT exam have 4 RC’s to solve. Each RC has 4 questions. There is negative marking for each wrong answer. So, answer only when you know the correct option. Else, don’t waste time contemplating. Move to next question. The trick is to figure out the easiest RC first, and then move up the difficulty level. If you finish each RC in 10 minutes, you will only have time to finish 3 RC’s. Try to solve it in less than 10 minutes to complete all 4 RC’s.
  10. Keep the last 10 minutes to solve the VA questions. VA has 8 questions on the topics – Para Jumbles, Odd One Out, and Para Summary. There is no negative marking for para jumbles and the odd one out, so attempt these two topics even if you are unsure of the answer. Para Summary needs concentration, as it is marked negatively for every wrong answer.

Also Read: 150 New Words List to Increase CAT Vocabulary

Basically, it is not difficult to crack the VARC section if you have planned and timed your strategy well. The key is to read a lot and keep practising. Give mocks, analyze the mocks thoroughly. And solve the wrong questions again. Understand your speed to solve the questions within the required time. And make sure to attempt at least 3 RC’s with accuracy.

Important Questions Answered


I will suggest following the most conventional approach, i.e. always read the whole passage before looking at the questions. The most important step is to absorb and understand what you read. Many times, when the passage is long, after reading half the text you realize that you’ve already forgotten the previous text. And you have to start reading the passage again from the beginning. This wastes a lot of time. To overcome this issue, you can make a note of significant highlights of the paragraph while reading.


There will be a few easy questions. In such questions, you can directly pick the correct option by reading the paragraph. Other than that, most questions in RC are a bit confusing with similar looking options. The first rule for solving such questions is that you leave all assumptions behind. The topic of the RC might be familiar, but you have to disregard everything you know while reading it. Whatever the author writes is the facts, and you have to follow that only.

The most reliable technique to solve the RC questions is the method of elimination. In most questions, you will be able to eliminate two options and be left with two, with one likely the answer. In these cases, I suggest you always go with your gut feeling and choose one of the two options you are left with. Another important point to note here is that during analysis of such questions, read the explanation behind the answer.

If the other option, which you had not eliminated, is the correct answer, then you were at least half-correct, and you can take some confidence from it. But, if you eliminated the right answer at the beginning, then you are either not reading the question carefully, or you haven’t understood the passage clearly. If this happens frequently, you need to work on your reading skills.

If you are scoring low in RC’s, then don’t worry too much right now. You have time to get used to it, and you will improve only with practice. There is no shortcut which will suddenly increase your marks in mock tests. I can’t stress enough how critical it is to read the question and the explanation of the answers carefully; the latter step is obviously your analysis part.

How To Analyze VARC Mocks?

You have just started working on your comprehension skills. So, there may be inconsistencies in your initial VARC mock test scores. Do not worry. Follow the steps below to analyze your VARC mock, understand the mistakes, and voilà, you are good to start over.

  • Identify the type of questions in which you are making mistakes repeatedly. It could be theme based, critical thinking based, or detail oriented based.
  • Once you have figured out the problem area, practice those questions again.
  • Understand what type of mistake are you making: not able to locate details, missing parts of information in the passage, or not able to grasp the main idea.
  • List down the mistakes you are making.
  • Practice those questions again.

If you want to practice all RC’s, you can opt for iQuanta IIM ABC Course, which has 500 RC Sets with detailed solutions.

Hoping, we have set the tone of your How to Improve VARC for CAT to help you ace this section of the entrance exam.


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