Reading Comprehension (RC) For CAT

Reading Comprehension (RC) For CAT 2019: RC Tips For CAT, RC Questions
Updated on April 04, 2019


Common Admission Test (CAT) 2019 is the largest MBA entrance exam conducted by IIMs. CAT 2019 will be conducted by IIM Kozhikode on November 24, 2019 for MBA admission 2020 in 20 IIMs and other top MBA colleges like FMS Delhi, MDI Gurgaon, SPJIMR Mumbai, IITs, IMI New Delhi, IMT Ghaziabad, JBIMS Mumbai, NITIE Mumbai among others.


CAT is divided into three major sections and the first section in the CAT exam is Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (RC). In this section on Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), the RC questions for CAT 2019 occupy 70% share.  Out of the total 100 questions divided in 3 sections in CAT exam, VARC consists of 34 questions and out of them 24 questions are RC Questions for CAT 2019.


RC for CAT Exam: Look before you Leap
Before  exploring on how to prepare Reading Comprehension; how to solve reading comprehension; which are the Reading Comprehension for CAT books and out of them how to choose the best book for Reading Comprehension; which are the best Reading Comprehension practice test and whether your Reading Comprehension for CAT Online preparation is good enough or requires some change and what type of Reading Comprehension test for CAT should be taken to prepare on Reading Comprehension for CAT exam, we should know what is the composition and share of Reading Comprehension Passages in the CAT 2019 Exam pattern which remains similar to CAT previous year Reading Comprehension section.


Reading Comprehension for CAT Exam: Sectional Composition
The CAT exam now begins with the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension as the first section instead of last section. RC Questions for CAT 2019 in the new pattern were revamped by IIM Ahmedabad in 2015. The Logical Reasoning was separated from VARC Section. 


Reading Comprehension questions in CAT have remained on the same pattern during 2016, 2017 and 2018 also. The RC questions for CAT 2019 play an important role to achieve high sectional score as well as in improving the overall CAT percentile. RC for CAT Exam in 2019 will remain as per the CAT Previous Year Reading Comprehension section. The composition of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT 2019 is also expected to remain on the same pattern as of 2018 as below: 

RC Questions for CAT 2019
Sectional Composition
Section Name
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
Total VARC Questions
Number of Reading Comprehension Passages for CAT
Type of RC Passages for CAT
3 Long RC Passages; 2 Short RC Passage
Total questions Based on Reading Comprehension passages for CAT
Bifurcation of RC Based Questions
6 Questions follow each Long RC passage (Total 18 questions);
3 questions follow each short RC passage (Total 6 questions)
Type of Questions Based on RC Passages in CAT
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Time to attempt the complete section
60 Minutes
Marks for Each Correct Answer
Negative Marks for Each Wrong Answer
Difficulty Level of RC passages
Moderate to tough Reading Comprehension Passages
Number of Reading Comprehension questions with No-Negative Marking

Reading Comprehension: Key Highlights

  • Reading Comprehension for CAT exam 2019 has a lion’s share in the sectional composition of VARC
  • Share of RC questions for CAT in the VARC section has been increased to 70% from 45%
  • Total Number of RC Questions for CAT 2019 are 24 out of total 34 VARC questions
  • Most of the RC questions for CAT 2019 are of MCQ type and carry penalty of 1/3 negative marking
  • Although the length & size of RC for CAT exam has been reduced,  there are now tough Reading Comprehension Passages for CAT with rich vocabulary words

How to Prepare Reading Comprehension of CAT: Mission CAT 2019
Reading Comprehension passages or RC passages in CAT command 24% share in overall CAT exam and 70% share in VARC section. So, how to crack Reading comprehension questions in CAT?  Your mission to crack CAT 2019 should be to focus more on RC Passages in CAT. Experts & CAT toppers with 100 and 99 percentile share following Reading Comprehension for CAT tips to accomplish your Mission CAT 2019:

  • Read Newspaper Editorials and Articles
  • After Reading the passage, make a summary of it which should be one third of the passage size
  • Check that all the key points are covered in the summary of RC passage
  • Frame questions and try to answer them
  • Improve your reading speed
  • Since 2017, IIMs have started releasing CAT exam papers with answer keys, attempt the 10 RC passages from actual CAT test papers and answer questions on them
  • Monitor your time to attempt the CAT RC passages. One RC passage followed by 5-6 questions should not take more than 15 minutes to answer 

Reading Comprehension Questions and Answers
What is CAT Reading Comprehension? How is the Reading Comprehension Test for CAT? What are the topics covered in the online Reading Comprehension Test for CAT? What is the difference between Long and Short Reading Comprehension Passages with questions and answers? How to prepare for Reading Comprehension of CAT? From where can I download  Reading Comprehension for CAT PDF? Which is the best website for Reading Comprehension for CAT to prepare? Should I prepare Reading Comprehension for CAT Online or offline or opt for a mix of both?  Where do I get the Reading Comprehension exercises with answers for CAT? Should I opt for Reading Comprehension for CAT online practice or solve on paper the Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers for CAT? Is there availability of free Reading Comprehension for CAT Pdf and Reading Comprehension questions for CAT Pdf? Does the best book for Reading Comprehension contain good Reading Comprehension Aptitude Test?


These are the natural queries related to Reading Comprehension questions for CAT and the CAT aspirants need the answers and guidance how to prepare Reading Comprehension of CAT.


RC for CAT Exam: 4 Steps to Crack
One thing should however be remembered that Reading comprehension exercises are only expanded form of the Unseen Passages that you used to solve in your matriculation standard.


Sharing the reading comprehension for CAT tips on how to prepare for Reading Comprehension questions, Experts and toppers suggest the four steps to crack the Reading Comprehension Test for CAT:

  • Understand the English vocabulary,
  • Continue with Consistent flow of thoughts in RC Passages,
  • Read between the lines to cracking the meaning
  • Arrive at the correct and decisive answer option for the questions based on Reading Comprehension passages for CAT

Reading Comprehension: Question Pattern 
The query how to prepare Reading Comprehension of CAT needs to be addressed by knowing the structure and content of Reading comprehension section in CAT exam. With the increased number of Reading comprehension passages for CAT and increased number of Reading comprehension questions for CAT in VARC section, you should first know the Reading Comprehension question pattern, type of Reading comprehension questions, in the changed CAT exam pattern to take the right path before moving on your CAT preparation journey:

Reading Comprehension passages for CAT
Number of questions
Type of Questions
Long Passage-1 – Usually moderate based on facts
MCQs with 1/3 Negative Marking
Long passage-2 – Moderate to difficult with rich vocabulary – more literary and opinion based
MCQs with 1/3 Negative Marking
Long passage-3 – Difficult-based on abstract topic/opinion based/literature based, may contain too many unknown vocabulary words
MCQs with 1/3 Negative Marking
Short passage-1 – Moderate to difficult; business-economy/geography based
MCQs with 1/3 Negative Marking
Short passage-2- sometimes difficult with difficult words; based on historical facts, opinion, future plans
MCQs with 1/3 Negative Marking
Short Passage-3 – may be more difficult than other two; usually on Abstract topic
MCQs with 1/3 Negative Marking

How to Prepare for Reading Comprehension?
Unlike Verbal Ability Reading Comprehension requires different preparation strategy. Accordingly following are the most important guiding points on how to prepare Reading Comprehension of CAT:

  • Prepare as per latest trends on Reading Comprehension questions in CAT  
  • Read the Best books on Reading Comprehension for CAT
  • Get Updated CAT  Reading Comprehension Preparation Material of Best Coaching Institutes
  • Read CAT toppers’ Reading Comprehension Preparation Strategy
  • Take CAT Reading Comprehension Mocks and Analyse Each One

Let us understand in detail the strategy how to prepare for Reading Comprehension:


Reading Comprehension Questions for CAT: Number & Type
With the revamped pattern of CAT 2019, one of the key Reading Comprehension for CAT tips is to focus on such Reading Comprehension sample passages which are based on CAT previous year reading comprehension pattern of last 2-3 years.


While it is difficult to determine CAT syllabus for Reading Comprehension, it is advisable to prepare as per the changed CAT Reading Comprehension test online. If you continue preparing as per the old pattern of Reading comprehension Syllabus for CAT, you may end up with negligible score in Reading Comprehension section in CAT 2019. Although, you cannot rule out the recurrence of questions on forgotten topics in Reading Comprehension, the priority of type of RC passages and questions to prepare on Reading comprehension for CAT as per revised CAT syllabus on Reading Comprehension should be focused.


While vocabulary, Phrases/idioms remain as the basics for CAT Reading Comprehension, the areas and topics on which Reading Comprehension questions for CAT are prepared as per the Changed type of RC pattern are as under:

CAT 2019 –Type of RC based questions
Expected number of questions
Key features
Reasoning type of questions
Statement, Assumption, True-False, Inference, Judgement 
Vocabulary based Questions
Explaining the similar meaning of the word/phrase used in the RC passage
Opposite Meaning questions
Picking out the answer option with the opposite meaning of the word/phrase as used in the passage
Thought based
Summarising the idea as expressed in the passage
Fact verification
Choosing the answer that agrees/disagrees with the idea expressed by the author

Read in detail the CAT Syllabus on Reading Comprehension


Reading Comprehension for CAT Books
If you are doing self-preparation for Reading Comprehension for CAT, you cannot deny the  importance of choosing the best Reading Comprehension for CAT books. Most of the CAT toppers who were weak in CAT Reading Comprehension opted for self –preparation after making thorough search on best books for Reading Comprehension.


Alongwith the reading Comprehension for CAT books, they explored the opportunity of getting the free Reading Comprehension practice Test; Reading comprehension for CAT Pdf with answers and Reading Comprehension for CAT online practice test and looked for best website for Reading Comprehension for CAT. Accordingly, in their view the best book for CAT Reading Comprehension should be the one carrying all these features. In addition to this, the best Reading Comprehension Book for CAT should be of latest edition with Reading Comprehension practice tests with questions and answers as per the revised CAT exam pattern.


Now the question is- which is the best book for Reading Comprehension for CAT? Out of 25 odd CAT preparation books on Reading Comprehension, in opinion of the CAT toppers and experts, is the Arun Sharma Reading Comprehension book. Other best books for Reading Comprehension for CAT are:

  • How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT’- by Arun Sharma & Meenakshi Upadhyay
  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT’ - by Nishit K Sinha
  • Arihant Book on Verbal Ability: Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension by Ajay Singh

Why these are the best books for Reading Comprehension CAT? The answer to this question is that these  Reading comprehension for CAT books are of latest edition as per current CAT exam pattern; have Free Reading comprehension Tests and Reading Comprehension passages for CAT with answers. Read more about the Best CAT Preparation Books


Best Study Material for Reading Comprehension for CAT
In case you are preparing Reading Comprehension for the CAT with the help of coaching centres, or wish to go for a mix of coaching supported preparation and self preparation to get the best of both in Reading Comprehension Preparation, alongwith the best book for Reading Comprehension for CAT you will be getting the best study material with more Reading Comprehension exercises for CAT.


The Preparation Material of Best Coaching Institutes like TIME, CL, IMS could be very helpful to prepare Reading Comprehension for CAT. The reason is that the study material on Reading Comprehension of top coaching centres is updated as per the latest and expected changes in CAT exam pattern. Following Study material on Reading Comprehension for the CAT by these coaching centres could prove quite helpful in your preparation on Reading Comprehension for the CAT:


Practice and Study Material by CL and IMS: The CL Test Gym, Sectionals and Application Builders from IMS are also very good study material for CAT preparation. Make sure that you read it well and solve all type questions on RC passages.


It will make you comfortable with the Reading Comprehension section especially on the latest pattern of RC passages in CAT, Question types and will help in improving your reading speed.


Booklets by TIME: Booklets on Verbal and RC by TIME coaching Institute are good source to prepare for CAT Reading Comprehension. While reading and practicing on them, you will be able to understand the type of Reading Comprehension questions in CAT and the approach to solve them.


Reading Comprehension for CAT PDF
There are RC questions shared immediately after the CAT exam by IIMs to the candidates who have actually appeared in CAT exam. Besides CAT practice test with RC questions is released by IIMs about a month before the exam. At, these RC questions for CAT with answers are available. You can attempt and download the Reading Comprehension for CAT Pdf. As you are looking for the best website for Reading Comprehension for CAT, it could be your right source to get the questions on Reading Comprehension for CAT Pdf as it has all the actual CAT papers.


Changes in CAT Reading Comprehension section
During the last four years, Reading Comprehension has gone for substantial changes. There used to be around 16 questions out of 50 based on 3-4 Reading comprehension passages prior to 2015, and out of 30 prior to 2013. Now the number of Reading Comprehension passages for CAT has gone up to five and the reading Comprehension questions for CAT have also gone upto 24 out of total 34 questions. Accordingly with the change in question type Reading Comprehension exercises with answers and Reading Comprehension passages for CAT Practice have also changed over the years. 


Now the preparation of Reading Comprehension Test for CAT should therefore, be focused on the current CAT exam trends. The key changes in Reading Comprehension questions are:

  • All RC passages are followed by question of MCQ type with negative marking. This is a differentiating point between Verbal Ability questions and Reading comprehension questions. While almost all the Verbal Ability questions are of no negative marking type, the Reading Comprehension questions in CAT are of MCQs type carrying 1/3 negative marking
  • Length of the long RC passages in CAT has been reduced from 1200 words to 800-900 words and of the short RC passages to 500 words.  But the number of questions following the long RC passages have increased. Reading Comprehension and answers to the RC questions will further clarify it.
  • Reading comprehension passages in CAT now have difficult vocabulary words, which need a consistent preparation. There are 4-5 vocabulary based questions following the RC passages in CAT asking you to identify the meaning of the word as used in the RC passage. All the latest and updated Reading Comprehension passages for CAT practice with Reading Comprehension answers and questions as per the CAT 2019 exam pattern have them.
  • A few questions following the RC passages in CAT are of reasoning type like assumption, true/false statement, inference among others.

CAT Toppers Reading Comprehension Preparation Strategy 
Many CAT toppers with 99 and 100 percentile have shared that they found Reading Comprehension was their weak area but they improved a lot in it with consistent preparation. But what made CAT toppers improve so much and how they could score so high in Reading Comprehension in CAT? Sharing with, CAT toppers spoke about their preparation strategy for Reading Comprehension and also shared advice to CAT aspirants:


CAT Topper Rachit Saran, MDI Gurgaon  (99.04 % in CAT 2017) on how he cracked Reading Comprehension section
In an interview with, CAT Topper Rachit Saran explained how he cracked Reading Comprehension section. He said “It was all about reading, from whatever sources I could get my hands on: newspapers, novels, RC books, mock questions, etc. While solving the RCs, I would try to think from the point of view of the author, while keeping my own prejudices aside. Time management and approach to alternate between VA and RC sub-sections also helped me to get a hang of this section.”


CAT Topper Rohan Joshi (99.63 % in CAT 2017) on how he cracked Reading Comprehension section
Sharing with, CAT Topper Rohan Joshi (99.63 % in CAT 2017) explained how he cracked VARC section, “VARC was most challenging for me and my motive was to just clear the sectional cut off.” However, Rohan ended up with a sectional CAT score of 96.40 in Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehensionsection. He achieved this high percentile by consistent study and taking all sectionals for VARC.


CAT Topper Akhil Garg, IIM Ahmedabad  (99.73% in CAT 2016) on how he cracked Reading Comprehension section
Sharing with, CAT topper Akhil Garg IIM Ahmedabad student of 2017-19 batch, said “I focused a lot on reading different articles and novels, conversing in English with friends and even watching English TV series and movies. I wrote down whatever new words I encountered after reading at least 5-6 newspaper articles every day.”


CAT Topper Gyayak Jain, IIM Ahmedabad  (100% in CAT 2016) on how he cracked Reading Comprehension section
In an interview with, CAT topper with 100 percentile and IIM Ahmedabad student of 2017-19 batch, Gyayak Jain said, “I believe I was weak in VARC and therefore I started by looking into model answers given in the solutions and tried to understand if I associated with the logic given in the solution. If I was satisfied with the logic given in the solution, which was not always true, I tried to look problems from that point of view also in the next mock. When I was not convinced with the solution, I ignored the mistake and went ahead with my intuition/logic in next mocks too. If I find that same mistake is repeating, then I tried to find out situations where my logic will not work. I tried experimenting with various exam attempting strategies and realised I get fatigued if I do same kind of problems together in one go, so I mix-matched various types of questions.”


CAT Topper Rachit Gupta, IIM Lucknow  (99.83% in CAT 2016) on how he cracked Reading Comprehension section
CAT topper with 99.83 percentile, Rachit Gupta, IIM Lucknow student of 2017-19 batch shared with, “I was very weak at the verbal section. The key reason was the slow reading speed. I took course material from TIME and my strategy was to emphasize more on my weakness which was the Verbal section.”


Attempt More Mocks for CAT
Taking Mocks and sample tests is very important to crack Reading Comprehension section. This fact has been tested by the CAT toppers over a period of time. Taking more mocks on Reading Comprehension  will expose you to a vast variety of RC passages and questions. More the number of Mocks, the more you will be skilful in Reading Comprehension section.


Mocks, according to the toppers are the best source of preparation for CAT. But the most important is the post Mock analysis. You must analyse each mock attempted by you to check for your mistakes and understand them well. Ensure that the mistakes are not repeated. This will further strengthen your preparation.. Take CAT Mocks to improve your score 


Reading Comprehension for CAT Tips
Most CAT toppers admit that they were weak in Reading Comprehension and could crack this section after getting the tips for Reading Comprehension from experts and choosing the best book for reading comprehension in CAT and devoting time on CAT Reading Comprehension Passages practice. These Reading Comprehension exercises with answers can help you understand how to read and answer the Unseen Passages in CAT exam.


However, one thing which has remained common in regard to preparation for Reading Comprehension for CAT among all the CAT toppers with 99 or 100 percentile now studying in IIM A,B,C,L, FMS Delhi or other top MBA college, is that despite being weak in RC, they planned their strategy on how to prepare for Reading Comprehension for CAT and cracked the Reading Comprehension for CAT exam with a high percentile which also improved their CAT score overall.


How did these CAT toppers improve their Reading Comprehension Ability? What type of Reading Comprehension passages for CAT did they choose? Which best book for Reading Comprehension CAT they used?  What type of CAT Reading Comprehension practice test they preferred – whether they opted for Reading Comprehension test online or Reading Comprehension for CAT pdf or continued with online Reading Comprehension? Which are the best Reading Comprehension Exercises with Answers? All this they have shared with


According to CAT preparation experts and past toppers, you need to begin your preparation for VARC much earlier than for other sections. The Reading comprehension in VARC section has become more dominating during past few years. Since Reading comprehension will be the most important part of VARC in CAT 2019, you need to score high in it:

Key tips

  1. Make it the regular practice to read the editorials, articles in the news paper.
  2. Underline the difficult words-search out their meanings and put them to use in writing, in conversation etc. Tests have shown that the number of unfamiliar words in a passage, if exceeds about one in twenty, the reader will lose track. If the proportion is lower, the reader may skip over the unfamiliar words and grasp, at least the general meaning.
  3. This procedure reinforces the parts that the reader half-knows. Then he or she can look up those new words that seem most interesting or important, to have proper understanding of the passage.
  4. Have a good book on grammar and reading comprehension with plenty of exercises. Get your concepts cleared and then attempt the exercises. At a later stage on line mock tests will enable you to have proper feel of examination hall and your level of preparation as well. So take on the challenge.
  5. Read the passage/article fairly quickly to get the general idea.
  6. Read again, if possible, a little slowly so as to understand the details.
  7. Write a summary in your own words neatly and precisely – with one third/fourth in length to the original length of the passage.
  8. Use complete sentences, Take care to understand.
  9. Make a chart on time consumed in reading and writing the summary of the passage. Check whether the time is getting reduced after a day or two.
  10. Go for versatile reading with different topics. Try to mark and note down the interesting/important words or sentences.

FAQs on Reading Comprehension preparation for CAT 2019

  1. How many RC Passages are there in CAT 2019? What could be their expected length?
    There are expected 5 RC passages in CAT 2019. 3 RC passages will be long with 800-900 words and 2 will be short with 500-600 words.
  2. What is the expected level of difficulty of RC passages in CAT 2019?
    Going by the past 3 year trends, RC passages in CAT may not be very difficult. The level of difficulty is moderate to difficult.
  3. What are the type of questions asked on RC passages?
    There is no fix rule on framing the questions based on Reading comprehension passage. Nevertheless the questions so far taken note of, are supposed to be any of following types:
  • A passage contains four-five paragraphs with the details of rich information spread out in each of the paragraphs. Any question on such information can be asked that may be available in one, two, three or all the paragraphs taken together since they are interlinked.
  • Questions based on inference drawn- on the basis of items of information available in the passage can be asked and must be answered accurately as the options are sometimes, very close ones.
  • Questions based on the Central idea of the passage-can be asked with close options. One has to read the passage between the lines to answer this type of question.
  1. What should be my strategy to go through the RC Passage?
    Reading comprehension exercise is a passage upon which questions are set to test the student’s ability to understand the content of the given text and to infer information and meanings from it. Read between the lines while going through the RC passage as there are idioms/phrases used in CAT RC passage. The meaning of the phrases as used in RC passage should also be understood in context of the passage.
  2. What should I do for Time Management while attempting RC Passage?
    Not more than ten minutes should be given to thoroughly read and understand the passages besides marking the answers on the computer screen. Read the passage twice, infer the main idea of the passage, answer those questions first which you have understood well.
  3. How to approach and answer RC based questions?
    Passage of interest- If the passage is on some topic which is of interest to you, you will be more comfortable with it. So read and answer it accurately and quickly.


Concentrate on main/important words in the sentence and while you go on reading try to link their reference to other parts.

Central Idea of the passage, inference the various types of information, the tone – go on to cover all of them while you are reading the passage. This will help you to promptly answer the questions accurately.


Read the passage and then proceed to questions. Jumping to questions before thoroughly reading the paragraph might affect adversely.


Questions on certain words used in paragraph are something to test your vocabulary. Even if they are unfamiliar you may check for the general meaning of the part of the paragraph. This will enable you to understand the options and mark your answer.


Scientific, technical, biological words wherever used, may be unfamiliar, but are the parts of the sentence and paragraph which you have understood in general, so nothing to worry- you may check the options and the reference that you have made would be correct. But at least general meaning must be understood.


RC Preparation: Important Notes

  • Reading comprehension needs specific attention and without this it is not possible to build the castle of your preparation.
  • To perform better and to score high in Reading Comprehension, you must improve the skills and efficiency to enhance the confidence level in usage of various distinctive parts of speech, correction of grammatical errors, application & use of vocabulary.
  • While you are reading an article, passage, book – pick out the words which are of interest to you- find out their meaning-try to understand the context in which they are used and follow the structure of sentence.
  • When you write, try to frame good sentences using the new words. This will give you ample opportunity to rectify the errors in sentences, improving the vocabulary, improving the speed and accuracy of reading and the skill to pick out the wrong sentences as well as how to complete the sentence or paragraph.

Read More: CAT 2019 - Exam Date, Registration, Syllabus, Preparation, Books