CAT 2018 VARC Question Paper with solution [slot 1]


RC PASSAGE

“Everybody pretty much agrees that the relationship between elephants and people has dramatically changed,” [says psychologist Gay] Bradshaw. . . . “Where for centuries humans and elephants lived in relatively peaceful coexistence, there is now hostility and violence. Now, I use the term ‘violence’ because of the intentionality associated with it, both in the aggression of humans and, at times, the recently observed behavior of elephants.” . . .

Typically, elephant researchers have cited, as a cause of aggression, the high levels of testosterone in newly matured male elephants or the competition for land and resources between elephants and humans. But. . . Bradshaw and several colleagues argue. . . that today’s elephant populations are suffering from a form of chronic stress, a kind of species-wide trauma. Decades of poaching and culling and habitat loss, they claim, have so disrupted the intricate web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants have traditionally been raised in the wild, and by which established elephant herds are governed, that what we are now witnessing is nothing less than a precipitous collapse of elephant culture. . . .

Elephants, when left to their own devices, are profoundly social creatures. . . . Young elephants are raised within an extended, multitiered network of doting female caregivers that includes the birth mother, grandmothers, aunts and friends. These relations are maintained over a life span as long as 70 years. Studies of established herds have shown that young elephants stay within 15 feet of their mothers for nearly all of their first eight years of life, after which young females are socialized into the matriarchal network, while young males go off for a time into an all-male social group before coming back into the fold as mature adults. . . .

This fabric of elephant society, Bradshaw and her colleagues [demonstrate], ha[s] effectively been frayed by years of habitat loss and poaching, along with systematic culling by government agencies to control elephant numbers and translocations of herds to different habitats. . . . As a result of such social upheaval, calves are now being born to and raised by ever younger and inexperienced mothers. Young orphaned elephants, meanwhile, that have witnessed the death of a parent at the hands of poachers are coming of age in the absence of the support system that defines traditional elephant life. “The loss of elephant elders,” [says] Bradshaw . . . "and the traumatic experience of witnessing the massacres of their family, impairs normal brain and behavior development in young elephants.”

What Bradshaw and her colleagues describe would seem to be an extreme form of anthropocentric conjecture if the evidence that they’ve compiled from various elephant researchers. . . weren’t so compelling. The elephants of decimated herds, especially orphans who’ve watched the death of their parents and elders from poaching and culling, exhibit behavior typically associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related disorders in humans: abnormal startle response, unpredictable asocial behavior, inattentive mothering and hyperaggression. . . .

[According to Bradshaw], “Elephants are suffering and behaving in the same ways that we recognize in ourselves as a result of violence. . . . Except perhaps for a few specific features, brain organization and early development of elephants and humans are extremely similar.”


Question 1:
The passage makes all of the following claims EXCEPT:
  1. elephant mothers are evolving newer ways of rearing their calves to adapt to emerging threats.
  2. the elephant response to deeply disturbing experiences is similar to that of humans.
  3. human actions such as poaching and culling have created stressful conditions for elephant communities.
  4. elephants establish extended and enduring familial relationships as do humans.
Answer: 1

The second choice can be seen in the last sentence of the second last paragraph: ?the elephants of decimated herds, especially orphans who?ve watched the death of their parents and elders from poaching and culling, exhibit behavior typically associated with?. humans?

Again, the evidence for choice 2 can been found in the second last paragraph; anthropocentric means concerning humans or brought by/caused by humans. Thus both options 2 and 3 can be safely eliminated.

The clue to the choice 4 can be found in the third paragraph, which says that elephants are profoundly social creatures. For option 1 we have no evidence.



Question 2:
Which of the following statements best expresses the overall argument of this passage?
  1. Recent elephant behaviour could be understood as a form of species-wide trauma-related response.
  2. Elephants, like the humans they are in conflict with, are profoundly social creatures.
  3. The relationship between elephants and humans has changed from one of coexistence to one of hostility.
  4. The brain organisation and early development of elephants and humans are extremely similar.
Answer: 1

This question is just another way of asking the central idea of the question. Here we have been asked to express the overall argument of the passage.

Though option 4 is visible in the paragraph, it is not the central idea. The central idea seems to be focusing on the change in the elephants? attitude towards humans. Option 1 captures the key argument of the passage.

Like option 4, option 2, though true as per the passage, is not the key focus of the passage.

Option 3 might look like a good choice, but there is a flaw in the option. The passage is not focusing on the relationship between elephants and humans, though the passage starts on that note. The author is more focused on bringing to our attention the aggressive behavior of elephants and tries to find out the causes of that aggression.

Option 1 is the best choice because bulk of the passage is dedicated to how and why the elephants behave aggressively (species-wide-trauma-related response)



Question 3:
Which of the following measures is Bradshaw most likely to support to address the problem of elephant aggression?
  1. Funding of more studies to better understand the impact of testosterone on male elephant aggression.
  2. The development of treatment programmes for elephants drawing on insights gained from treating post-traumatic stress disorder in humans.
  3. Studying the impact of isolating elephant calves on their early brain development, behaviour and aggression.
  4. Increased funding for research into the similarity of humans and other animals drawing on insights gained from human-elephant similarities.
Answer: 2

To answer this question, we must first carefully read the question. The question wants us to address the problem of aggression in elephants, suggesting that we must pick the option that brings a solution to the problem of elephant aggression.

Option 1 goes out because the testosterone issue is not at all a concern or the bone of contention. Moreover, by understanding it, how would we be able to address the problem concerning elephant aggression.

Option 2 could indeed help us address the problem of elephant aggression because the trauma experienced by elephants is very similar to stress disorder in humans, and because elephants are social creatures just as humans are, insights gained from treating post-traumatic stress disorder in humans might help us address the problem of elephant aggression. Option 2 is the right choice

Both option 3 and 4 are not likely to contribute in any ways to addressing the problem of elephant aggression. If yes, then there must a strong evidence for that in the passage, but we have no such evidence.



Question 4:
In paragraph 4, the phrase, “The fabric of elephant society . . . has(s) effectively been frayed by . . .” is:
  1. an accurate description of the condition of elephant herds today.
  2. a metaphor for the effect of human activity on elephant communities.
  3. an exaggeration aimed at bolstering Bradshaw’s claims.
  4. an ode to the fragility of elephant society today.
Answer: 2

The fabric has been frayed is a figurative expression in which the elephant society has been compared to a fabric that humans have frayed. Choice 2, by stating that it is a metaphor, properly captures the essence of the statement.

Option 1 is incorrect because the statement is not a description but an assertion of a condition that exists today.

Both option 3 and 4 are not in tune with the author?s purpose. The author is not exaggerating the disintegration of elephant society. He is, in fact, being quite sympathetic.

Option 4 suggests that the society has become frail on its own, without any external cause. But human activity is the cause and that has frayed the fabric. Thus, option 4 too is not correctly expressing the idea given in the question.



Question 5:
In the first paragraph, Bradshaw uses the term “violence” to describe the recent change in the human-elephant relationship because, according to him:
  1. there is a purposefulness in human and elephant aggression towards each other.
  2. elephant herds and their habitat have been systematically destroyed by humans.
  3. human-elephant interactions have changed their character over time.
  4. both humans and elephants have killed members of each other’s species.
Answer: 1

The hint to the right answer is there in the first para. The author says that there is intentionality associated with the word ?violence?, suggesting that there is a reason behind human and elephant aggression towards each other. Option 1 is thus the right choice.

Option 2 says ?systematically destroyed?. There is no evidence of ?systematic destruction? of elephant herds by humans. It is an extreme choice.

Option 3 is true as per the passage, but that is not the reason behind the author?s using the term ?violence? to describe the recent change in the human-elephant relationship.

Option 4 is incorrect but the author is focusing on elephants? aggression towards humans, something that should not be necessarily interpreted as ?killing?



RC PASSAGE

The only thing worse than being lied to is not knowing you’re being lied to. It’s true that plastic pollution is a huge problem, of planetary proportions. And it’s true we could all dwvg o more to reduce our plastic footprint. The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it.

Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper. You struggle to find a place to do it and feel pleased when you succeed. But your effort is wholly inadequate and distracts from the real problem of why the building is collapsing in the first place. The real problem is that single-use plastic—the very idea of producing plastic items like grocery bags, which we use for an average of 12 minutes but can persist in the environment for half a millennium—is an incredibly reckless abuse of technology. Encouraging individuals to recycle more will never solve the problem of a massive production of single-use plastic that should have been avoided in the first place.

As an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, I have had a disturbing window into the accumulating literature on the hazards of plastic pollution. Scientists have long recognized that plastics biodegrade slowly, if at all, and pose multiple threats to wildlife through entanglement and consumption. More recent reports highlight dangers posed by absorption of toxic chemicals in the water and by plastic odors that mimic some species’ natural food. Plastics also accumulate up the food chain, and studies now show that we are likely ingesting it ourselves in seafood. . . .

Beginning in the 1950s, big beverage companies like Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch, along with Phillip Morris and others, formed a non-profit called Keep America Beautiful. Its mission is/was to educate and encourage environmental stewardship in the public. . . . At face value, these efforts seem benevolent, but they obscure the real problem, which is the role that corporate polluters play in the plastic problem. This clever misdirection has led journalist and author Heather Rogers to describe Keep America Beautiful as the first corporate greenwashing front, as it has helped shift the public focus to consumer recycling behavior and actively thwarted legislation that would increase extended producer responsibility for waste management. . . . [T]he greatest success of Keep America Beautiful has been to shift the onus of environmental responsibility onto the public while simultaneously becoming a trusted name in the environmental movement. . . .

So what can we do to make responsible use of plastic a reality? First: reject the lie. Litterbugs are not responsible for the global ecological disaster of plastic. Humans can only function to the best of their abilities, given time, mental bandwidth and systemic constraints. Our huge problem with plastic is the result of a permissive legal framework that has allowed the uncontrolled rise of plastic pollution, despite clear evidence of the harm it causes to local communities and the world’s oceans. Recycling is also too hard in most parts of the U.S. and lacks the proper incentives to make it work well.


Question 6:
In the second paragraph, the phrase “what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper” means:
  1. relying on emerging technologies to mitigate the ill-effects of plastic pollution.
  2. encouraging the responsible production of plastics by firms.
  3. focusing on consumer behaviour to tackle the problem of plastics pollution.
  4. focusing on single-use plastic bags to reduce the plastics footprint.
Answer: 3

The clue to the right answer is given in the last sentence of the first para and first sentence of the second para. The last sentence of the first para says ?the lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it.? The author suggests that changing consumer habits may not be a solution to the problem.

He further adds in the second para ?Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper?. He suggests that neither recycling nor change in consumer behavior is going to solve the problem. The right answer is 3



Question 7:
In the first paragraph, the author uses “lie” to refer to the:
  1. blame assigned to consumers for indiscriminate use of plastics.
  2. understatement of the enormity of the plastics pollution problem.
  3. understatement of the effects of recycling plastics.
  4. fact that people do not know they have been lied to.
Answer: 1

The answer to this question can be directly found in the passage. The author has used the word ?lie? in the first para. He says ?The lie is that blame for the plastic problem is wasteful consumers and that changing our individual habits will fix it?. The first part gives us the answer: the lie is the blame for the plastic problem is consumers. Thus, option 1 is the right choice. Since, the answer is directly stated and we have got the right choice, there is no point in disproving the others.



Question 8:
The author lists all of the following as negative effects of the use of plastics EXCEPT the:
  1. slow pace of degradation or non-degradation of plastics in the environment.
  2. air pollution caused during the process of recycling plastics.
  3. adverse impacts on the digestive systems of animals exposed to plastic.
  4. poisonous chemicals released into the water and food we consume.
Answer: 2

This is one of the simplest questions in this paper. You have to search the options and you will find the right answer. Except for the air pollution effect, everything is given in the passage. Thus option 2 is the right choice.



Question 9:
Which of the following interventions would the author most strongly support:
  1. completely banning all single-use plastic bags.
  2. having all consumers change their plastic consumption habits.
  3. recycling all plastic debris in the seabed.
  4. passing regulations targeted at producers that generate plastic products.
Answer: 4

The clue to the right answer can be found in the last sentence of the paragraph. Right from the start the author says that there is no point in blaming consumers and in recycling plastics. The problem is likely to persist until we change the legal framework. The last part of the para says ?Our huge problem with plastic is the result of a permissive legal framework that has allowed the uncontrolled rise of plastic pollution, despite clear evidence of the harm it causes to local communities and the world?s oceans.?

If we pass regulations targeted at producers of plastics, we might be able to change the situation. Thus option 4 is the right choice.



Question 10:
It can be inferred that the author considers the Keep America Beautiful organisation:
  1. an innovative example of a collaborative corporate social responsibility initiative.
  2. a sham as it diverted attention away from the role of corporates in plastics pollution.
  3. an important step in sensitising producers to the need to tackle plastics pollution.
  4. a "greenwash" because it was a benevolent attempt to improve public recycling habits.
Answer: 2

The authors opinion about Keep America Beautiful can be found in the following lines in the second last paragraph of the passage: This clever misdirection has led journalist and author Heather Rogers to describe Keep America Beautiful as the first corporate greenwashing front, as it has helped shift the public focus to consumer recycling behavior and actively thwarted legislation?. From this sentence we can infer that the author believes that Keep America Beautiful diverted people?s attention away from the role of corporates in plastic pollution.



RC PASSAGE

Economists have spent most of the 20th century ignoring psychology, positive or otherwise. But today there is a great deal of emphasis on how happiness can shape global economies, or — on a smaller scale — successful business practice. This is driven, in part, by a trend in "measuring" positive emotions, mostly so they can be optimized. Neuroscientists, for example, claim to be able to locate specific emotions, such as happiness or disappointment, in particular areas of the brain. Wearable technologies, such as Spire, offer data-driven advice on how to reduce stress.

We are no longer just dealing with "happiness" in a philosophical or romantic sense — it has become something that can be monitored and measured, including by our behavior, use of social media and bodily indicators such as pulse rate and facial expressions.

There is nothing automatically sinister about this trend. But it is disquieting that the businesses and experts driving the quantification of happiness claim to have our best interests at heart, often concealing their own agendas in the process. In the workplace, happy workers are viewed as a "win-win." Work becomes more pleasant, and employees, more productive. But this is now being pursued through the use of performance-evaluating wearable technology, such as Humanyze or Virgin Pulse, both of which monitor physical signs of stress and activity toward the goal of increasing productivity.

Cities such as Dubai, which has pledged to become the "happiest city in the world," dream up ever-more elaborate and intrusive ways of collecting data on well-being — to the point where there is now talk of using CCTV cameras to monitor facial expressions in public spaces. New ways of detecting emotions are hitting the market all the time: One company, Beyond Verbal, aims to calculate moods conveyed in a phone conversation, potentially without the knowledge of at least one of the participants. And Facebook [has] demonstrated . . . that it could influence our emotions through tweaking our news feeds — opening the door to ever-more targeted manipulation in advertising and influence.

As the science grows more sophisticated and technologies become more intimate with our thoughts and bodies, a clear trend is emerging. Where happiness indicators were once used as a basis to reform society, challenging the obsession with money that G.D.P. measurement entrenches, they are increasingly used as a basis to transform or discipline individuals.

Happiness becomes a personal project, that each of us must now work on, like going to the gym. Since the 1970s, depression has come to be viewed as a cognitive or neurological defect in the individual, and never a consequence of circumstances. All of this simply escalates the sense of responsibility each of us feels for our own feelings, and with it, the sense of failure when things go badly. A society that deliberately removed certain sources of misery, such as precarious and exploitative employment, may well be a happier one. But we won't get there by making this single, often fleeting emotion, the over-arching goal.


Question 11:
In the author’s opinion, the shift in thinking in the 1970s:
  1. introduced greater stress into people’s lives as they were expected to be responsible for their own happiness.
  2. was a welcome change from the earlier view that depression could be cured by changing circumstances.
  3. put people in touch with their own feelings rather than depending on psychologists.
  4. reflected the emergence of neuroscience as the authority on human emotions.
Answer: 1

This is a very good question. We must touch the right area of the passage to arrive at the answer. The clue to the answer lies in the last paragraph, which says ?Since the 1970s, depression has come to be viewed as a cognitive or neurological defect in the individual, and never a consequence of circumstances. All of this simply escalates the sense of responsibility each of us feels for our own feelings, and with it, the sense of failure when things go badly.?

The author suggests that before 1970 people thought that depression was a result of one?s circumstances. Option b is incorrect, as it speaks about how depression could be cured, while the passage has nothing about it.

As the second part of the extract suggests, people, after 1970, became more responsible towards their happiness, as it became clear that depression was not a result of circumstances but of neurological or cognitive defects.

Option 1 is the best choice.



Question 12:
The author’s view would be undermined by which of the following research findings?
  1. There is a definitive move towards the adoption of wearable technology that taps into emotions.
  2. A proliferation of gyms that are collecting data on customer well-being.
  3. Individuals worldwide are utilising technologies to monitor and increase their well-being.
  4. Stakeholders globally are moving away from collecting data on the well-being of individuals.
Answer: 4

This is a slightly tricky question. To answer this question correctly, we have to correctly identify the author?s argument or view. The author?s views can be found in many parts of the passage. The author?s views are clearly expressed in the second paragraph:

As the science grows more sophisticated and technologies become more intimate with our thoughts and bodies, a clear trend is emerging. Where happiness indicators were once used as a basis to reform society, challenging the obsession with money that G.D.P. measurement entrenches, they are increasingly used as a basis to transform or discipline individuals.

The author in the last sentence says that happiness indicators are used as a basis to transform or discipline individuals. Option 4 clearly weakens the author?s argument by saying that stakeholders are moving away from collecting data on the well-being of individuals. Thus, option 4 is undermining or weakening the author?s argument.

All the other three choices are supportive of the author?s views given in the paragraph.



Question 13:
According to the author, Dubai:
  1. develops sophisticated technologies to monitor its inhabitants’ states of mind.
  2. incentivises companies that prioritise worker welfare.
  3. collaborates with Facebook to selectively influence its inhabitants’ moods.
  4. is on its way to becoming one of the world’s happiest cities.
Answer: 1

Option 1 is clearly stated in the second paragraph of the passage. The second para says:

Cities such as Dubai, which has pledged to become the "happiest city in the world," dream up ever-more elaborate and intrusive ways of collecting data on well-being ? to the point where there is now talk of using CCTV cameras to monitor facial expressions in public spaces?

Thus, option 1 is the right choice. There is no evidence for option 2 and 3, while option 4 says that it is on its way to becoming one of the world?s happiest cities. However, the passage says that Dubai wants to become. It doesn?t mean that it is likely to become the happiest city in the world.



Question 14:
According to the author, wearable technologies and social media are contributing most to:
  1. happiness as a “personal project”.
  2. disciplining individuals to be happy.
  3. depression as a thing of the past.
  4. making individuals aware of stress in their lives.
Answer: 2

The clue to the right answer is in the first paragraph; towards the end the author says that wearable devices are helping us to reduce stress. In other words, they are disciplining individuals to be happy. Option 3 is not so good a choice because though it is trying to make us happy, it does not say that it will entirely overcome depression in individuals. Option 3 is too extreme an interpretation of what is given in the passage.



Question 15:
From the passage we can infer that the author would like economists to:
  1. correlate measurements of happiness with economic indicators.
  2. measure the effectiveness of Facebook and social media advertising.
  3. incorporate psychological findings into their research cautiously.
  4. work closely with neuroscientists to understand human behaviour.
Answer: 3

The clue to the right answer is given in the very first sentence of the passage. The author right at the start says that economists have ignored psychology. From this we can infer that he would like economists to incorporate psychological findings in their research work. Option 3 becomes the right choice.



RC PASSAGE

When researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained mice to fear the smell of almonds (by pairing it with electric shocks), they found, to their consternation, that both the children and grandchildren of these mice were spontaneously afraid of the same smell. That is not supposed to happen. Generations of schoolchildren have been taught that the inheritance of acquired characteristics is impossible. A mouse should not be born with something its parents have learned during their lifetimes, any more than a mouse that loses its tail in an accident should give birth to tailless mice. . . .

Modern evolutionary biology dates back to a synthesis that emerged around the 1940s-60s, which married Charles Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection with Gregor Mendel’s discoveries of how genes are inherited. The traditional, and still dominant, view is that adaptations – from the human brain to the peacock’s tail – are fully and satisfactorily explained by natural selection (and subsequent inheritance). Yet [new evidence] from genomics, epigenetics and developmental biology [indicates] that evolution is more complex than we once assumed. . . .

In his book On Human Nature (1978), the evolutionary biologist Edward O Wilson claimed that human culture is held on a genetic leash. The metaphor [needs revision]. . . . Imagine a dog-walker (the genes) struggling to retain control of a brawny mastiff (human culture). The pair’s trajectory (the pathway of evolution) reflects the outcome of the struggle. Now imagine the same dog-walker struggling with multiple dogs, on leashes of varied lengths, with each dog tugging in different directions. All these tugs represent the influence of developmental factors, including epigenetics, antibodies and hormones passed on by parents, as well as the ecological legacies and culture they bequeath. . . .

The received wisdom is that parental experiences can’t affect the characters of their offspring. Except they do. The way that genes are expressed to produce an organism’s phenotype – the actual characteristics it ends up with – is affected by chemicals that attach to them. Everything from diet to air pollution to parental behaviour can influence the addition or removal of these chemical marks, which switches genes on or off. Usually these so-called ‘epigenetic’ attachments are removed during the production of sperm and eggs cells, but it turns out that some escape the resetting process and are passed on to the next generation, along with the genes. This is known as ‘epigenetic inheritance’, and more and more studies are confirming that it really happens. Let’s return to the almond-fearing mice. The inheritance of an epigenetic mark transmitted in the sperm is what led the mice’s offspring to acquire an inherited fear. . . .

Epigenetics is only part of the story. Through culture and society, [humans and other animals] inherit knowledge and skills acquired by [their] parents. . . . All this complexity . . . points to an evolutionary process in which genomes (over hundreds to thousands of generations), epigenetic modifications and inherited cultural factors (over several, perhaps tens or hundreds of generations), and parental effects (over single-generation timespans) collectively inform how organisms adapt. These extra-genetic kinds of inheritance give organisms the flexibility to make rapid adjustments to environmental challenges, dragging genetic change in their wake – much like a rowdy pack of dogs.


Question 16:
The Emory University experiment with mice points to the inheritance of:
  1. psychological markers
  2. acquired characteristics
  3. personality traits
  4. acquired parental fears
Answer: 2

This is a very easy question and right at the start of the passage the clue to the right answer can be found. The passage says ?a mouse should not be born with something that its parents have learned during their lifetime?. Thus the author suggests that they should not have been born with acquired characteristics during their lifetime. We should not be tempted with option 4 because though it looks good, it is not the right choice. Fear is just one characteristics that is likely to be inherited, while the passage points at a broader conclusion that can be derived from this experiment. So the inheritance may not necessarily be of fears, but of anything that the parents might have acquired in their lifetime.



Question 17:
Which of the following  best describes the author's argument?
  1. Darwin’s and Mendel’s theories together best explain evolution.
  2. Mendel’s theory of inheritance is unfairly underestimated in explaining evolution.
  3. Wilson’s theory of evolution is scientifically superior to either Darwin’s or Mendel’s.
  4. Darwin’s theory of natural selection cannot fully explain evolution.
Answer: 4

The hint to the right answer can be found in the second paragraph of the passage. The second para says: The traditional, and still dominant, view is that adaptations ? from the human brain to the peacock?s tail ? are fully and satisfactorily explained by natural selection (and subsequent inheritance). Yet [new evidence] from genomics, epigenetics and developmental biology [indicates] that evolution is more complex than we once assumed. .

Thus 4 is the best choice, as the author attributes inheritance to much more than natural selection and mendelian gentics. The other negative opinions expressed in the other options cannot be seen anywhere in the passage.



Question 18:
Which of the following, if found to be true, would negate the main message of the passage?
  1. A study affirming the influence of socio-cultural markers on evolutionary processes.
  2. A study highlighting the criticality of epigenetic inheritance to evolution.
  3. A study indicating the primacy of ecological impact on human adaptation.
  4. A study affirming the sole influence of natural selection and inheritance on evolution.
Answer: 4

To answer this question correctly, we have to understand the main message of the passage. The main idea is that there is a lot more to inheritance than just natural selection and genetics. So if there is a study that affirms the sole influence of natural selection and inheritance on evolution than the author?s main argument would be weakened.

We can see clear evidence in these lines: All these tugs represent the influence of developmental factors, including epigenetics, antibodies and hormones passed on by parents, as well as the ecological legacies and culture they bequeath.



Question 19:
The passage uses the metaphor of a dog walker to argue that evolutionary adaptation is most comprehensively understood as being determined by:
  1. extra genetic, genetic, epigenetic and genomic legacies.
  2. socio-cultural, genetic, epigenetic, and genomic legacies
  3. ecological, hormonal, extra genetic and genetic legacies.
  4. genetic, epigenetic, developmental factors, and ecological legacies.
Answer: 4

This too is an easy question, the clue to the right answer can be seen here in these lines:

We can see clear evidence in these lines: All these tugs represent the influence of developmental factors, including epigenetics, antibodies and hormones passed on by parents, as well as the ecological legacies and culture they bequeath.



RC PASSAGE

The] Indian government [has] announced an international competition to design a National War Memorial in New Delhi, to honour all of the Indian soldiers who served in the various wars and counter-insurgency campaigns from 1947 onwards. The terms of the competition also specified that the new structure would be built adjacent to the India Gate – a memorial to the Indian soldiers who died in the First World War. Between the old imperialist memorial and the proposed nationalist one, India’s contribution to the Second World War is airbrushed out of existence.

The Indian government’s conception of the war memorial was not merely absent-minded. Rather, it accurately reflected the fact that both academic history and popular memory have yet to come to terms with India’s Second World War, which continues to be seen as little more than mood music in the drama of India’s advance towards independence and partition in 1947. Further, the political trajectory of the postwar subcontinent has militated against popular remembrance of the war. With partition and the onset of the India-Pakistan rivalry, both of the new nations needed fresh stories for self-legitimisation rather than focusing on shared wartime experiences.

However, the Second World War played a crucial role in both the independence and partition of India. . . . The Indian army recruited, trained and deployed some 2.5 million men, almost 90,000 of which were killed and many more injured. Even at the time, it was recognised as the largest volunteer force in the war. . . .

India’s material and financial contribution to the war was equally significant. India emerged as a major military-industrial and logistical base for Allied operations in south-east Asia and the Middle East. This led the United States to take considerable interest in the country’s future, and ensured that this was no longer the preserve of the British government.

Other wartime developments pointed in the direction of India’s independence. In a stunning reversal of its long-standing financial relationship with Britain, India finished the war as one of the largest creditors to the imperial power.

Such extraordinary mobilization for war was achieved at great human cost, with the Bengal famine the most extreme manifestation of widespread wartime deprivation. The costs on India’s home front must be counted in millions of lives.

Indians signed up to serve on the war and home fronts for a variety of reasons. . . . [M]any were convinced that their contribution would open the doors to India’s freedom. . . . The political and social churn triggered by the war was evident in the massive waves of popular protest and unrest that washed over rural and urban India in the aftermath of the conflict. This turmoil was crucial in persuading the Attlee government to rid itself of the incubus of ruling India. . . .

Seventy years on, it is time that India engaged with the complex legacies of the Second World War. Bringing the war into the ambit of the new national memorial would be a fitting – if not overdue – recognition that this was India’s War.


Question 20:
In the first paragraph, the author laments the fact that:
  1. there is no recognition of the Indian soldiers who served in the Second World War.
  2. the new war memorial will be built right next to India Gate.
  3. India lost thousands of human lives during the Second World War.
  4. funds will be wasted on another war memorial when we already have the India Gate memorial.
Answer: 1

The clue to the right answer is there right in the first paragraph. The author says: Between the old imperialist memorial and the proposed nationalist one, India?s contribution to the Second World War is airbrushed out of existence.

The phrase ?airbrushed out of existence? has that regret in the tone. Thus 1 is the right choice.



Question 21:
The phrase “mood music” is used in the second paragraph to indicate that the Second World War is viewed as:
  1. setting the stage for the emergence of the India–Pakistan rivalry in the subcontinent.
  2. a tragic period in terms of loss of lives and national wealth.
  3. a backdrop to the subsequent independence and partition of the region.
  4. a part of the narrative on the ill-effects of colonial rule on India.
Answer: 3

Passage Overview: In the passage the author seems to be stressing on ?India?s contribution to the second world war, and its consequences, something which has been ignored both by academicians and the Indian government?

This question is a kind of interpretation question. If we don?t know the meaning of the phrase ?mood music?, we must try to the see the context in which it has been used. By the way, ?mood music? is recorded music that is played in the background to make the audience relax. So if you know the meaning, you can straightaway mark 3 as the answer. A backdrop is a background just as mood music is played in the background. Even from the passage it is clear that to the Indian government and Indian academicians, India?s contribution to the second world war is just a little more than a mood music, in other words it is not a significant contribution, something that the author seems to be lamenting.  Option 3 is the right choice. 



Question 22:
The author lists all of the following as outcomes of the Second World War EXCEPT:
  1. independence of the subcontinent and its partition into two countries.
  2. US recognition of India’s strategic location and role in the War.
  3. large-scale deaths in Bengal as a result of deprivation and famine.
  4. the large financial debt India owed to Britain after the War.
Answer: 4

This is a factual question whose answer depends on how well you are able to find the information scattered in the passage. The first outcome is stated in the first sentence of the third paragraph where the author says that ?India?s contribution played a significant role in India?s independence and partition?. So, since option 1 is given, it is not the right answer. Option 2 is given in the fourth paragraph. Option 3 is stated in the third last paragraph. Thus, option 4 is the right choice.

We could have marked option 4 directly, as it is stating exactly opposite of what is given in the passage. It was not India but Britain that owed large financial debt. India was one of the biggest creditors to Britain, the passage says. This means that it was India had lent resources to Britain.



Question 23:
The author claims that omitting mention of Indians who served in the Second World War from the new National War Memorial is:
  1. a reflection of the academic and popular view of India’s role in the War.
  2. appropriate as their names can always be included in the India Gate memorial.
  3. a reflection of misplaced priorities of the post-independence Indian governments.
  4. is something which can be rectified in future by constructing a separate memorial.
Answer: 1

This is a very easy question, as the clue to the right answer is directly visible in the passage. The first sentence of the second paragraph says that the ?omission was not absent-minded, suggesting that it was deliberate. He further adds that the omission ?accurately reflected the fact that both academic history and popular memory have yet to come to terms with India?s Second World War?. The other choices are neither stated nor implied in the paragraph.

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Question 24:
The author suggests that a major reason why India has not so far acknowledged its role in the Second World War is that it:
  1. blames the War for leading to the momentous partition of the country.
  2. wants to forget the human and financial toll of the War on the country.
  3. has been focused on building an independent, non-colonial political identity.
  4. views the War as a predominantly Allied effort, with India playing only a supporting role.
Answer: 3

This is a slightly difficult question, but can be solved by the process of elimination. Though the passage nowhere directly states the reason why India has not so far acknowledged its role in the Second World War, the hint is there in the second paragraph.

The last sentence of the second paragraph says: With partition and the onset of the India-Pakistan rivalry, both of the new nations needed fresh stories for self-legitimization rather than focusing on shared wartime experiences. ?Self-legitimization? would mean self-assertion, or establishing oneself as a strong legal entity. This makes option 3 the right choice. Moreover, none of the other options have any hint in the paragraph. Option 1 and 4 go out because the author asserts that India did make a significant contribution to the war. Option might seem a tempting choice, but there is no hint for it. 



Question 25:
The four sentences (labelled 1,2,3,4) given in this question, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labelled with a number. Decide on the proper sequence of order of the sentences and key in this sequence of four numbers as your answer:
  1. Impartiality and objectivity are fiendishly difficult concepts that can cause all sorts of injustices even if transparently implemented.
  2. It encourages us into bubbles of people we know and like, while blinding us to different perspectives, but the deeper problem of ‘transparency’ lies in the words “…and much more”.
  3. Twitter’s website says that “tweets you are likely to care about most will show up first in your timeline…based on accounts you interact with most, tweets you engage with, and much more.”
  4. We are only told some of the basic principles, and we can’t see the algorithm itself, making it hard for citizens to analyse the system sensibly or fairly or be convinced of its impartiality and objectivity.

Answer: 3241
This is an average difficulty question. Right from the start we can sense that sentence 1 is likely to start the paragraph. It introduces the idea of ‘impartiality and objectivity’. Sentences 2,3 and 4 form one unit because they all revolve around Twitter. The algorithm that statement 4 talks about must be about algorithm that twitter would be using. The pronoun ‘it’ in statement 2 refers to Twitter. Thus 2 must come after 3. 32 is a pair. The problem of transparency in statement 2 is further elaborated in statement 4. Statement 2 says that the problem of transparency lies in something…statement 4 takes over by saying ..we are only told some of the basic principles..(the problem of transparency is continued).



Question 26:
Five sentences related to a topic are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a meaningful and coherent short paragraph. Identify the odd one out. Choose its number as your answer and key it in.
  1. Translators are like bumblebees.
  2. Though long since scientifically disproved, this factoid is still routinely trotted out.
  3. Similar pronouncements about the impossibility of translation have dogged practitioners since Leonardo Bruni’s De interpretatione recta, published in 1424.
  4. Bees, unaware of these deliberations, have continued to flit from flower to flower, and translators continue to translate.
  5. In 1934, the French entomologist August Magnan pronounced the flight of the bumblebee to be aerodynamically impossible
Answer: 2
This is a dubious question, and deserves a challenge. All the sentences can come together and form a coherent paragraph. ‘this factoid’ in statement 2 can be found in statement 5. Thus 5 and 2 form a pair. 1 opens the paragraph. Impossibility of translation in 3 and impossibility of bumblebee flight are connected. Thus 1523 form a coherent paragraph. Statement 4 can come in the concluding lines. This question has no odd sentence. The source of the passage can be found here



Question 27:
The four sentences (labelled 1, 2, 3, and 4) given in this question, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Decide on the proper order for the sentences and key in this sequence of four numbers as your answer.
  1. The woodland’s canopy receives most of the sunlight that falls on the trees.
  2. Swifts do not confine themselves to woodlands, but hunt wherever there are insects in the air.
  3. With their streamlined bodies, swifts are agile flyers, ideally adapted to twisting and turning through the air as they chase flying insects – the creatures that form their staple diet.
  4. Hundreds of thousands of insects fly in the sunshine up above the canopy, some falling prey to swifts and swallows

Answer: 1432
This is a difficult question as there very little to choose from two sequences 1423 and 1432. Both the sequences are plausible, though 1 and 4 will come before 2 and 3. ‘the canopy’ in statement 4 refers to the woodland’s canopy in statement 1. Thus 1 and 4 form a pair. The hunting process of the swifts is described in statement 3, and this hunting is not just confined to woodlands is what statement 2 says. Thus 3 and 2 form a pair. The right sequence is 1432.



Question 28:
The passage given below is followed by four summaries. Choose the option that best captures the author’s position.

Production and legitimation of scientific knowledge can be approached from a number of perspectives. To study knowledge production from the sociology of professions perspective would mean a focus on the institutionalization of a body of knowledge. The professions-approach informed earlier research on managerial occupation, business schools and management knowledge. It however tends to reify institutional power structures in its understanding of the links between knowledge and authority. Knowledge production is restricted in the perspective to the selected members of the professional community, most notably to the university faculties and professional colleges. Power is understood as a negative mechanism, which prevents the non-professional actors from offering their ideas and information as legitimate knowledge.


  1. Professions-approach aims at the institutionalization of knowledge but restricts knowledge production as a function of a select few.
  2. The study of knowledge production can be done through many perspectives.
  3. Professions-approach focuses on the creation of institutions of higher education and disciplines to promote knowledge production
  4. The professions-approach has been one of the most relied upon perspective in the study of management knowledge production.
Answer: 1
This question, though it looks a little challenging, is in fact quite simple. You must read the passage twice to get some basic understanding of it. The first sentence says that scientific knowledge can be approached from a number of perspectives. Studying something from the perspective of a particular profession would lead to institutionalization of that knowledge. Though it helps, it restricts knowledge production to a domain of few, which results in power centered in the hands of few, preventing the non-professional actors from offering their ideas.

The above simplification helps us arrive at option 1 as the right choice. Options 3 and 4 are against the author’s stand in the passage. Option 2 is not the core message, but an inference that can be derived from the above passage.



Question 29:
The passage given below is followed by four summaries. Choose the option that best captures the author’s position.

Artificial embryo twinning is a relatively low-tech way to make clones. As the name suggests, this technique mimics the natural process that creates identical twins. In nature, twins form very early in development when the embryo splits in two. Twinning happens in the first days after egg and sperm join, while the embryo is made of just a small number of unspecialized cells. Each half of the embryo continues dividing on its own, ultimately developing into separate, complete individuals. Since they developed from the same fertilized egg, the resulting individuals are genetically identical.


  1. Artificial embryo twinning is low-tech and mimetic of the natural development of genetically identical twins from the embryo after fertilization.
  2. Artificial embryo twinning is low-tech unlike the natural development of identical twins from the embryo after fertilization.
  3. Artificial embryo twinning is just like the natural development of twins, where during fertilization twins are formed.
  4. Artificial embryo twinning is low-tech and is close to the natural development of twins where the embryo splits into two identical twins.
Answer: 1
This is a slightly tricky question in which we have to pick the options after carefully comparing them with the others. The first sentence says that artificial embryo twinning is low-tech. The second sentence says that it mimics the natural process that creates identical twins. Option 1 very much captures the key ideas. In option 2, the word ‘unlike’ shows dissimilarity, but the passage focuses on similarity, not dissimilarity. Option 2 goes out. Option 3 says twins are formed during fertilization, but the passage says that the twins are formed after fertilization. Option 4 is close to 1 but does not clearly specify the exact time when the embryo splits into two. Moreover, the passage says mimics, while option 4 says ‘close to’, which is a slight distortion of the facts as given in the passage.



Question 30:
The passage given below is followed by four summaries. Choose the option that best captures the author’s position.

The conceptualization of landscape as a geometric object first occurred in Europe and is historically related to the European conceptualization of the organism, particularly the human body, as a geometric object with parts having a rational, three-dimensional organization and integration. The European idea of landscape appeared before the science of landscape emerged, and it is no coincidence that Renaissance artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, who studied the structure of the human body, also facilitated an understanding of the structure of landscape. Landscape which had been a subordinate background to religious or historical narratives, became an independent genre or subject of art by the end of sixteenth century or the beginning of the seventeenth century.


  1. Landscape became a major subject of art at the turn of the sixteenth century.
  2. The three-dimensional understanding of the organism in Europe led to a similar approach towards the understanding of landscape.
  3. The study of landscape as an independent genre was aided by the Renaissance artists.
  4. The Renaissance artists were responsible for the study of landscape as a subject of art.
Answer: 2
Both options 2 and 3 are very close. Option a goes out because the paragraph says that landscape became an independent genre of art of form, while the option says it became a major subject of art. This is a distortion of the fact given in the passage.

Option 2 too has some distortions; while the passage says that conceptualization of landscape as geometric object is related to the European conceptualization of the organism as a geometric object, the option says that three-dimensional understanding of the organism led to a similar approach…. It should be geometric understanding of the organism.

Option 3 best captures the author’s position, which in the passage is clearly visible as “Renaissance artists also facilitated an understanding of the structure of landscape”.

Option 4 is incorrect because it distorts the fact by saying the Renaissance artists were responsible, while the passage says that they facilitated.



Question 31:
The four sentences (labelled 1,2,3,4) given in this question, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labelled with a number. Decide on the proper sequence of order of the sentences and key in this sequence of four numbers as your answer:
  1. But now we have another group: the unwitting enablers.
  2. Democracy and high levels of inequality of the kind that have come to characterize the United States are simply incompatible.
  3. Believing these people are working for a better world, they are, actually, at most, chipping away at the margins, making slight course corrections, ensuring the system goes on as it is, uninterrupted.
  4. Very rich people will always use money to maintain their political and economic power.

Answer: 2413
There is little doubt that statement 2 will open the paragraph. The sentence says that democracy and high levels of inequality are simple incompatible. Why? Because very rich people will always use money to maintain their political and economic power. Thus 2 and 4 form a pair. Statement 1 says that now apart from the rich people we have another group: the unwitting enablers. What they do is described in sentence 3. Thus 2413 is the right sequence.



Question 32:
Five sentences related to a topic are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a meaningful and coherent short paragraph. Identify the odd one out.
  1. In many cases time inconsistency is what prevents our going from intention to action.
  2. For people to continuously postpone getting their children immunized, they would need to be constantly fooled by themselves.
  3. In the specific case of immunization, however, it is hard to believe that time inconsistency by itself would be sufficient to make people permanently postpone the decision if they were fully cognizant of its benefits.
  4. In most cases, even a small cost of immunization was large enough to discourage most people.
  5. Not only do they have to think that they prefer to spend time going to the camp next month rather than today, they also have to believe that they will indeed go next month.
Answer: 4
This question is of a very high difficulty. It would be difficult for us to arrive at the answer because we don’t see any sentence that can start the paragraph. Statement 2 and 5 form a pair and must go together. Statement 2 says people will have to fool themselves and statement 5 says how they should fool themselves. Now we must find two more statements that can go together. Those two are statements 1 and 3. Both 1 and 3 speak of time inconsistency, 1 speaks of time inconsistency in most cases, while 3 speaks of time inconsistency in specific cases. Thus 1325 form a coherent para, there is no place for statement 4, as it does not connect with any other sentence.



Question 33:
Five sentences related to a topic are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a meaningful and coherent short paragraph. Identify the odd one out.
  1. Displacement in Bengal is thus not very significant in view of its magnitude.
  2. A factor of displacement in Bengal is the shifting course of the Ganges leading to erosion of river banks.
  3. The nature of displacement in Bengal makes it an interesting case study.
  4. Since displacement due to erosion is well spread over a long period of time, it remains invisible.
  5. Rapid displacement would have helped sensitize the public to its human costs.
Answer: 5
Though it would be difficult for us to create a coherent paragraph in this question, we can find the odd one out by looking for the sentence that does not match with any other sentence. Statement 3 is likely to open the paragraph, 2 will take the idea ahead as it explains to us the cause of that displacement, which in this case is caused by erosion. Statement 4 says that since displacement due to erosion is well spread over a long period of time, it remains invisible. Finally, we have the conclusion in statement 1. Statement 5 does not seem to connect with any of the sentences.



Question 34:
The four sentences (labelled 1, 2, 3, and 4) given in this question, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Decide on the proper order for the sentences and key in this sequence of four numbers as your answer.
  1. The eventual diagnosis was skin cancer and after treatment all seemed well.
  2. The viola player didn’t know what it was; nor did her GP.
  3. Then a routine scan showed it had come back and spread to her lungs.
  4. It started with a lump on Cathy Perkins’ index finger.

Answer: 4213
This is one of the easiest questions of CAT 18 VA. The clue to the sequence lies in the pronoun ‘it’, and in the phrase ‘had come back’, which suggests that it must have gone first, and then it must have come back. The pronoun ‘it’ refers to a disease, and is most likely to refer to the noun ‘skin cancer’. Also, we must look for that sentence in which ‘the skin cancer’ must have gone back. Sentence 1 has the noun ‘skin cancer’ and says that the treatment had gone well. This connects sentence 1 with 3. 13 is a pair. Statement 4 is likely to start the paragraph because it opens the idea by suggesting that something had started. So the idea goes like this: it started with a lump and no one knew what it was. Thus, 4 and 2 form a pair. After this must have come the diagnosis. Thus 4213 is the right sequence.