Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Read somewhere that you must read 'The Hindu' if you want to crack CAT? Well, that's only half-truth.
Simply reading it will not help you unless you take care of the following points, which aspirants commonly ignore while reading The Hindu:
1. Keeping objective in mind
If you're reading The Hindu for CAT Preparation, there can be two major objectives:
To improve GK
To improve RCs
For aspirants, it is important to be clear of the objective with which they are reading the paper because the strategy to read entirely changes in both scenarios. Each scenario will be discussed ahead in the points.
2. Reading online
If you're preparing with the intention to improve your reading comprehensions (RCs), it is recommended to read The Hindu online. Since the CAT paper is also online, when you read an electronic version of the newspaper, scrolling through the articles will simulate reading RCs for you. It'll do wonders in improving your reading speed, skimming ability as well as retention.
3. Focusing on editorials
Unless you're reading the newspaper to improve your GK, it is suggested to focus on the editorials or opinion articles. This is because the average length and difficulty of these articles is comparable to the CAT paper. Moreover, the writing style is less news-like and more towards the fancy side, just like CAT.
If you're preparing for GK, then reading the front page news along with the editorials will help. In that case, you should also read Mint, which has less political news and more business-focused articles.
4. Reading para-by-para
While sharing the secret behind IIM students' comprehension abilities, I disclosed a technique of reading para-by-para (point 6). It involves the noting down of meaning of each paragraph by using just one short line. Slowly, you should transition to using just 2-3 words to describe what each para means. It is suggested to note it down on a piece of paper while you read. I've shared a sample of how to note it down (excuse the legibility).
5. Noting down post reading
Once you've read the article, note down the important points with the objective of framing an opinion in mind. In the IIM interviews, candidates are often asked their opinion on certain topics. In order to back your opinion with strong arguments, you should create a repository of such arguments on an excel sheet or in a diary.
6. Ignoring Vocabulary
Having a strong vocabulary is not necessary for CAT. The exam will not test you on how many words you know. It is true that a strong vocabulary can make the comprehension of an article easy for you, but you should learn the art of understanding the meaning of a word by grasping the context of the sentence in which it is placed.
So, when you read 'The Hindu' editorials, you'll come across a lot of unknown words. The key is to not refer to a dictionary straight away. First, try guessing the meaning of the word using the sentence as a whole. Then, check the meaning to see how close you were.
These are all the points I had in mind to share with you all. Here are some of the FAQs regarding reading The Hindu for the purpose of CAT preparation:
Why read 'The Hindu'?
It is one of the most well-written papers in terms of the content, opinions as well as the flow of words in the editorials. Out of all the newspapers, its quality of articles matches the level of CAT exam.
How often should one read 'The Hindu?'
It should be read on a daily-basis. The best time to read it is in the morning, so that you can apply the reading skills acquired during the evening while practicing the RCs.
How long before CAT should one start reading 'The Hindu'?
Even if you're not preparing for CAT, it is recommended to be generally aware by reading the paper. But, for the purpose of CAT, at least a year before is extremely good.