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CAT Prep for VA: Crack the correct context in Vocabulary Usa

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CAT has been through consistent changes over the years. While the vocabulary related questions in VA would be based on direct usage in nineties, now the questions are mostly based on the contextual usage of words.

Prior to nineties, CAT used to carry direct questions on Vocabulary which in fact, later on was found to be not so useful in comparison to the questions placed in contextual usage. An aspirant may have good stock of vocabulary words and might have mugged up thousands of them with synonyms and antonyms. However, they are of little relevance if correct usages are not known or the confusion still persists where to place the said word. If we can distinguish between ‘Avarice and Miser’, ‘ Pretty and Handsome’, ‘skilled and consummate’, and thousands of other such pairs and can put them to correct usage, cracking the questions in vocabulary section will be easier and nothing will leave you flummoxed.

Pair of words to fill in the blanks- These questions are the best way to practice and understand proper contextual usage since you have to pick out the correct pair of words in a given context. You will find two Blanks in a sentence followed by four options of pairs of words. Correct option has to be picked out. You may expect two to three vocabulary questions of this type in Verbal Ability section. The need is to adhere to correct contexts.

Good Dictionary is the primary need-To practice more and more, the suggestion is to have a very good dictionary and thesaurus. This will enable you to concentrate on the words that you do not recognize and work out from the context what they could mean. Usage restrictions are therefore must be duly taken care of. To avoid confusions, try to keep your first attempt at using a new word close to the way it was used when you made its acquaintance. Try to think – Can we write -

Examples –

i)    The small farmer didn’t like to _________ (yield / accede) to pressure since the _________(yield/harvest)  has been quite good this year. 

Correct use should be – yield to pressure; (accede to request); harvest has been good (yield although very much refers to agriculture production but in quantum of saleable amount)

ii) The innocent person was__________( amused/ weary) of repeated questioning by Police.

Correct is – weary as questioning by police cannot be amusing for an innocent person.

Strategy to attempt- 

1) Read the sentence in a flow – something will strike in your mind at the given blanks

2) Eliminate the options that you find absolutely incorrect to be placed

3) If you can get one word correct, another will be clear in the option itself

4) The understanding will now lead you to pick out the right option

Questions in CAT- Go through the following sample questions and have the glimpse on difficulty level -

Direction for questions - Following questions have a sentence with two blanks. Four pairs of words are given below the questions. Choose the pair that best completes the sentence.

Q.1- Mother told the _______ about her efforts to ______________ her brother to

get married.

A. story; move 

B. anecdote; persuade

C. incident; influence  

D. particulars; urge

1.A  2.B  3.C   4.D 

Q.1 Ans. 2 B. Explanation- Anecdote – a short narration of amusing event; persuade– to prepare for doing something, to exercise influence with various efforts, to convince 

Question-2 – The lady was ________ to do just about anything in her ________ plans to ruin his fortune.

1.    Apt; invidious

2.    Able ; injurious

3.    Willing; obsolete

4.    Liable; discriminatory

1.A  2. B   3. C   4. D

Q.2 Ans. 1. A Explanation – Apt- able to handle, clever to adjust according to the situation; invidious- hateful, envious – (negative usage)

Author of this article Mr S K Agarwal is a CAT Expert, a seasoned CAT trainer with over 25 years of experience, & author of many CAT books. He also guides Verbal Ability and LR Section to CAT Aspirants through online coaching classes.  Visit the link below for more information and new batch schedules:

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