CAT VARC Exam Pattern with Topics, Preparation Tips & Best Books

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cat varc pattern

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension or VARC is one of the three sections in the CAT exam. This section is part of the CAT paper and requires proper long-term planning as it cannot be mastered overnight. One cannot master it just by cramming the formulas for the Quantitative Aptitude section or by solving puzzles for Logical Reasoning. The key to cracking the VARC section is to have a proper exam strategy and develop a reading habit to solve the English reading comprehension section. To learn more about the CAT VARC Pattern, continue the blog post.

What is Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)?

Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC) is one of the three sections of the CAT exam and several other management exams. This section includes 20 multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and type in the answer (TITA). Under this section, there are four components, these are:

  • Vocabulary
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Grammar

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About CAT Exam 2024

CAT VARC Exam Pattern

Candidates can check the table given below to understand the CAT VARC Exam Pattern.

VARC Section Time Limit40 Minutes for VARC Section
Exam LevelNational Level
Exam PatternComputer-Based Test with MCQs
Number of Questions21
Total Marks72
Exam MediumEnglish
Number of Exam Cities155
Exam Frequency Once a year

CAT Exam Syllabus for VARC

When preparing for the VARC, the candidate needs to know the syllabus. Below is the syllabus for the VARC section for both Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension.

Verbal AbilityReading Comprehension
Word Usage, Para Jumbles, Para Summary, Idioms, Cloze Test, Analogies, Phrase Modifiers, Antonyms & Synonyms, Error Detection, Odd Sentence Out, Sentence CompletionAnalysis of Passage, Themes of the RC passage, Facts-Inference, JudgementCritical

CAT VARC Preparation Tips for Students

When preparing for the CAT VARC section, the candidate needs to have a basic exam strategy of how they need to move ahead with the preparation in a well-organised manner. Similarly, we have put together several preparation tips on how you must prepare for the VARC section present in the CAT exam. 

Read, Read & Read

The key to clearing the VARC section is the read as much as you can. Make sure you allot at least 1 hour for reading in a day. In this time duration, you can read anything, whether it is technology, psychology, politics, current affairs, history or anything that interests you. 

Once you have read something, make sure you write that thing in your own words. The best part is, you can always critique the opinion. Write about what you like and what you don’t.

Improve your Vocabulary

As you read, make sure you keep marking all the important and difficult words and find out the meaning of those words. Make sure you keep a separate notebook where you can write down all the meanings of those words from the dictionary. Not just write, make sure you also learn and understand the meaning of those words. 

Grammar is Important

You must incline towards grammar from the very beginning and become comfortable with English Grammar. Make sure you have some of the top books to learn and improve your vocabulary. Books like Wren and Martin are considered to be one of the best books when learning English.

Practice All!

Lastly, make sure you keep on practising all of this. Without this, you will be at a loss for words during the exam. Remember, practice is the key to perfection!

Best Books for VARC Preparation 2024

When preparing for the VARC section for the CAT exam, it is evident that you must have some of the best books at hand to crack this section. Below are some of the most preferred books that every candidate should refer to when preparing for the same. 

Name of the BookAuthor/Publisher
Word Power Made EasyNorman Lewis
High School Grammar and Composition Wren and Martin
How To Prepare For Verbal Ability And Reading Comprehension For CATArun Sharma, Meenakshi Upadhyay
The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for the CATNishit K Sinha
The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability for the CAT and Other MBA Entrance ExaminationsSujit Kumar
Verbal Ability & Reading ComprehensionAjay Singh

Tips for Time Management in the VARC Section for CAT

When attempting the VARC section in the CAT exam or any management section, candidates are expected to master the art of time management to complete the paper on time. Well, to make things easier for you we have compiled some tips and tricks to help you manage the paper easily. 

  1. Begin by going through the entire VARC section of the CAT paper. Read all the questions and start solving all the easy ones which won’t take much of your time. 
  2. Solve the Reading Comprehension section first and then the grammar and logical reading section. Make sure you master solving reading comprehension (RC) in just 10 minutes. 
  3. Next, try to solve Verbal Ability questions. Keep in mind, that Verbal Ability and Grammar questions are easy to solve. 
  4. One of the best ways to manage your time is not to get stuck on one question if you are not able to find an answer. Simply, move on to the next question. 

How to Improve VARC for CAT?

Here are some strategies which can be used to clear the VARC section in the CAT exam:

  • Read as much as you can
  • Begin by reading subjective passages as much as you can.
  • Develop your everyday vocabulary skills. Create a separate notebook for keeping a tab on all the new words that you learn every day.
  • Attempt sectional mocks regularly. Based on this, try to work on your accuracy. Soon you will see your speed increasing. 
  • Solve previous year’s VARC papers Accordingly, try to complete one reading comprehension in 10 minutes and practice this until you reach this time limit. 
  • Make sure you work hard to improve your speed and accuracy. 
  •  Finally, keep the last 10 minutes for revision of the entire VARC section. 
  • Figure out the topic, close your eyes, understand what they are trying to say and then attempt the questions. 
  • Do not include ideas which you do not know. 
  • Read the passage first and then move on to the next one. 
  • Re-read the passage, it is not a sin.


Is the CAT VARC section tough?

One cannot predict the toughness of the CAT VARC section. However, the difficulty level ranges from moderate to difficult.

How can I improve my VARC section for CAT exam?

To improve your VARC section, one must develop a reading habit, constantly evaluate their performance, read newspapers and more.

Is CAT tougher than UPSC?

No, the CAT is not tougher than UPSC as it does not have a vast syllabus as compared to the CAT.

This was all about the “VARC for CAT pattern”. For more informative blogs, check out our Management Exams Section, or you can learn more about us by visiting our Indian exams page.

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