# CAT 2018 VARC Question Paper with solution [slot 2]

RC PASSAGE

The complexity of modern problems often precludes any one person from fully understanding them. Factors contributing to rising obesity levels, for example, include transportation systems and infrastructure, media, convenience foods, changing social norms, human biology and psychological factors. . . . The multidimensional or layered character of complex problems also undermines the principle of meritocracy: the idea that the ‘best person’ should be hired. There is no best person. When putting together an oncological research team, a biotech company such as Gilead or Genentech would not construct a multiple-choice test and hire the top scorers, or hire people whose resumes score highest according to some performance criteria. Instead, they would seek diversity. They would build a team of people who bring diverse knowledge bases, tools and analytic skills. . . .

Believers in a meritocracy might grant that teams ought to be diverse but then argue that meritocratic principles should apply within each category. Thus the team should consist of the ‘best’ mathematicians, the ‘best’ oncologists, and the ‘best’ biostatisticians from within the pool. That position suffers from a similar flaw. Even with a knowledge domain, no test or criteria applied to individuals will produce the best team. Each of these domains possesses such depth and breadth, that no test can exist. Consider the field of neuroscience. Upwards of 50,000 papers were published last year covering various techniques, domains of enquiry and levels of analysis, ranging from molecules and synapses up through networks of neurons. Given that complexity, any attempt to rank a collection of neuroscientists from best to worst, as if they were competitors in the 50-metre butterfly, must fail. What could be true is that given a specific task and the composition of a particular team, one scientist would be more likely to contribute than another. Optimal hiring depends on context. Optimal teams will be diverse.

Evidence for this claim can be seen in the way that papers and patents that combine diverse ideas tend to rank as high-impact. It can also be found in the structure of the so-called random decision forest, a state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithm. Random forests consist of ensembles of decision trees. If classifying pictures, each tree makes a vote: is that a picture of a fox or a dog? A weighted majority rules. Random forests can serve many ends. They can identify bank fraud and diseases, recommend ceiling fans and predict online dating behaviour. When building a forest, you do not select the best trees as they tend to make similar classifications. You want diversity. Programmers achieve that diversity by training each tree on different data, a technique known as bagging. They also boost the forest ‘cognitively’ by training trees on the hardest cases – those that the current forest gets wrong. This ensures even more diversity and accurate forests.

Yet the fallacy of meritocracy persists. Corporations, non-profits, governments, universities and even preschools test, score and hire the ‘best’. This all but guarantees not creating the best team. Ranking people by common criteria produces homogeneity. . . . That’s not likely to lead to breakthroughs.

Question 1:
Which of the following conditions, if true, would invalidate the passage’s main argument?
1. If top-scorers possessed multidisciplinary knowledge that enabled them to look at a problem from several perspectives.
2. If assessment tests were made more extensive and rigorous.
3. If it were proven that teams characterised by diversity end up being conflicted about problems and take a long time to arrive at a solution.
4. If a new machine-learning algorithm were developed that proved to be more effective than the random decision forest.

This is one of the most difficult questions of slot 2. The clue to the right answer lies in finding the key argument of the author. From the above given options, we can shortlist two choices: 1 and 3. Though 3 seems tempting, it is not invalidating the author?s main argument because the author?s main argument is not about the time taken to arrive at the solution, and about whether there are conflicts in teams characterized by diversity. The author?s argument could be valid even if these two points are true. After all option 3 is in a way supporting the author by suggesting that solutions can be arrived at, even though there might a few conflicts and additional time taken by the teams. The author?s main concern is diversity and he says that diversity is important. He is against homogeneity throughout the passage, but if it were found that top-scorers possessed multidisciplinary knowledge that enabled them to look at a problem from several perspectives, then his argument on diversity would be totally weakened. Thus option 1 is the right choice.

Question 2:
The author critiques meritocracy for all the following reasons EXCEPT that:
1. an ideal team comprises of best individuals from diverse fields of knowledge.
2. modern problems are multifaceted and require varied skill-sets to be solved.
3. criteria designed to assess merit are insufficient to test expertise in any field of knowledge.
4. diversity and context-specificity are important for making major advances in any field.

The author in the passage discusses meritocracy from all the above perspectives except choice 1. Choice 1 speaks of what an ideal team comprises of, but the idea of ?ideal team? has not even come in the passage. To critique something means to evaluate that thing. The author evaluates meritocracy from different perspectives. Choice 2 can be seen in the first para of the passage where the author says: The multidimensional or layered character of complex problems also undermines the principle of meritocracy. Choice 3 is substantiated from the sentences that come in the second para where the author says: Even with a knowledge domain, no test or criteria applied to individuals will produce the best team. In other words, there cannot be a test to assess merit in any field of knowledge. Choice 4 can be found in the first sentence of the second paragraph: Believers in a meritocracy might grant that teams ought to be diverse but then argue that meritocratic principles should apply within each category.

Thus we see that meritocracy has been discussed from all of the above perspectives except 1. The composition of an ideal team has not been discussed anywhere in the passage.

Question 3:
Which of the following conditions would weaken the efficacy of a random decision forest?
1. If a large number of decision trees in the ensemble were trained on data derived from easy cases.
2. If the types of decision trees in each ensemble of the forest were doubled.
3. If a large number of decision trees in the ensemble were trained on data derived from easy and hard cases.
4. If the types of ensembles of decision trees in the forest were doubled.

The last sentence of the second last para says: Programmers also boost the forest ?cognitively? by training trees on the hardest cases ? those that the current forest gets wrong. This ensures even more diversity and accurate forests. Thus, if we want to weaken the efficacy of a random decision forest, we should train a large number of decision trees on data derived from easy cases. Thus option 1 directly weakens the argument. There is no need to test the other choices.

Question 4:
On the basis of the passage, which of the following teams is likely to be most effective in solving the problem of rising obesity levels?
1. A team comprised of nutritionists, psychologists, urban planners and media personnel, who have each scored a distinction in their respective subject tests.
2. A team comprised of nutritionists, psychologists, urban planners and media personnel, who have each performed well in their respective subject tests.
3. A specialised team of nutritionists from various countries, who are also trained in the machine-learning algorithm of random decision forest.
4. A specialised team of top nutritionists from various countries, who also possess some knowledge of psychology.

To mark the correct answer, we must keep in mind the author?s criteria. The author is very much focused on diversity, but at the same time, he says that there cannot any test to judge the best expert. He says such a test is not possible. So the idea of distinction in choice 1 is not at all possible. You can do well in your respective subject test, but the idea of scoring a distinction implies a test, which is just not possible to design. Thus though option 1 has the diversity, it misses the test angle the author discusses. Option 2 has the diversity at the same time implies that an expert can perform well in his area of expertise, but that area of expertise cannot be tested.

Option 3 and 4 are missing on the diversity angle that the author argues in favor of.

Question 5:
Which of the following best describes the purpose of the example of neuroscience?
1. Unlike other fields of knowledge, neuroscience is an exceptionally complex field, making a meaningful assessment of neuroscientists impossible.
2. In narrow fields of knowledge, a meaningful assessment of expertise has always been possible.
3. Neuroscience is an advanced field of science because of its connections with other branches of science like oncology and biostatistics.
4. In the modern age, every field of knowledge is so vast that a meaningful assessment of merit is impossible.

To answer the question correctly, we must read the sentence that comes immediately before the sentence in which the idea of neuroscience is introduced. The sentence says: Each of these domains possesses such depth and breadth, that no test can exist. Consider the field of neuroscience

By reading these two sentences, we can say that the author gives neuroscience just as an example to illustrate the idea of depth and breadth of any field. The earlier sentence says ?each of these domains possess??. Thus it is not neuroscience alone that has immense depth and breadth but almost any other field.

RC PASSAGE

Grove snails as a whole are distributed all over Europe, but a specific variety of the snail, with a distinctive white-lipped shell, is found exclusively in Ireland and in the Pyrenees mountains that lie on the border between France and Spain. The researchers sampled a total of 423 snail specimens from 36 sites distributed across Europe, with an emphasis on gathering large numbers of the white-lipped variety. When they sequenced genes from the mitochondrial DNA of each of these snails and used algorithms to analyze the genetic diversity between them, they found that. . . a distinct lineage (the snails with the white-lipped shells) was indeed endemic to the two very specific and distant places in question.

Explaining this is tricky. Previously, some had speculated that the strange distributions of creatures such as the white-lipped grove snails could be explained by convergent evolution—in which two populations evolve the same trait by coincidence—but the underlying genetic similarities between the two groups rules that out. Alternately, some scientists had suggested that the white-lipped variety had simply spread over the whole continent, then been wiped out everywhere besides Ireland and the Pyrenees, but the researchers say their sampling and subsequent DNA analysis eliminate that possibility too. “If the snails naturally colonized Ireland, you would expect to find some of the same genetic type in other areas of Europe, especially Britain. We just don’t find them,” Davidson, the lead author, said in a press statement.

Moreover, if they’d gradually spread across the continent, there would be some genetic variation within the white-lipped type, because evolution would introduce variety over the thousands of years it would have taken them to spread from the Pyrenees to Ireland. That variation doesn’t exist, at least in the genes sampled. This means that rather than the organism gradually expanding its range, large populations instead were somehow moved en mass to the other location within the space of a few dozen generations, ensuring a lack of genetic variety.

“There is a very clear pattern, which is difficult to explain except by involving humans,” Davidson said. Humans, after all, colonized Ireland roughly 9,000 years ago, and the oldest fossil evidence of grove snails in Ireland dates to roughly the same era. Additionally, there is archaeological evidence of early sea trade between the ancient peoples of Spain and Ireland via the Atlantic and even evidence that humans routinely ate these types of snails before the advent of agriculture, as their burnt shells have been found in Stone Age trash heaps.

The simplest explanation, then? Boats. These snails may have inadvertently traveled on the floor of the small, coast-hugging skiffs these early humans used for travel, or they may have been intentionally carried to Ireland by the seafarers as a food source. “The highways of the past were rivers and the ocean–as the river that flanks the Pyrenees was an ancient trade route to the Atlantic, what we’re actually seeing might be the long lasting legacy of snails that hitched a ride…as humans travelled from the South of France to Ireland 8,000 years ago,” Davidson said.

Question 6:
All of the following evidence supports the passage’s explanation of sea travel/trade EXCEPT:
1. archaeological evidence of early sea trade between the ancient peoples of Spain and Ireland via the Atlantic Ocean.
2. the oldest fossil evidence of white-lipped grove snails in Ireland dates back to roughly 9,000 years ago, the time when humans colonised Ireland.
3. absence of genetic variation within the white-lipped grove snails of Ireland and the Pyrenees, whose genes were sampled.
4. the coincidental existence of similar traits in the white-lipped grove snails of Ireland and the Pyrenees because of convergent evolution.

The idea of convergent evolution would weaken the author?s argument of sea travel or trade. The author?s argument is that convergent evolution can be ruled out on the basis of the underlying genetic similarities between the two groups. If the author has ruled out convergent evolution, then it cannot be used as an evidence of the snails? sea travel. The sea travel has been used as an evidence in support of the purported snails? migration by sea from Spain to Ireland.

Question 7:
In paragraph 4, the evidence that “humans routinely ate these types of snails before the advent of agriculture” can be used to conclude that:

1. 9,000 years ago, during the Stone Age, humans traveled from the South of France to Ireland via the Atlantic Ocean.
2. white-lipped grove snails may have inadvertently traveled from the Pyrenees to Ireland on the floor of the small, coast-hugging skiffs that early seafarers used for travel.
3. the seafarers who traveled from the Pyrenees to Ireland might have carried white-lipped grove snails with them as edibles.
4. rivers and oceans in the Stone Age facilitated trade in white-lipped grove snails.

To answer this question, we must carefully understand the main idea of the passage. The passage is about white-lipped grove snails which are found only in Spain and Ireland. The passage focuses on why they are found only in these two places. The author seems to have ruled out a no of possibilities and has zeroed down on the migration theory, through which he suggests that the snails might have migrated on the ships or boats of seafarers who might have carried them as eatables. If humans routinely ate these types of snails before the advent of agriculture, then we can conclude statement 3 which says that seafarers might have carried white-lipped grove snails with them as edibles.

Question 8:
Which one of the following makes the author eliminate convergent evolution as a probable explanation for why white-lipped grove snails are found in Ireland and the Pyrenees?
1. The absence of genetic similarities between white-lipped grove snails of Ireland and snails from other parts of Europe, especially Britain.
2. The distinct lineage of white-lipped grove snails found specifically in Ireland and the Pyrenees.
3. The absence of genetic variation between white-lipped grove snails of Ireland and the Pyrenees.
4. The coincidental evolution of similar traits (white-lipped shell) in the grove snails of Ireland and the Pyrenees.

This point has come in the passage. The idea of convergent evolution has been eliminated by the author because there are genetic similarities between the two groups found in two different countries. Presence of genetic similarities means absence of genetic variation. Thus option 3 is the best choice. Option 1 is just the opposite. Absence of genetic similarities would support convergent evolution.

Question 9:
The passage outlines several hypotheses and evidence related to white-lipped grove snails to arrive at the most convincing explanation for:
1. how the white-lipped variety of grove snails independently evolved in Ireland and the Pyrenees.
2. how the white-lipped variety of grove snails might have migrated from the Pyrenees to Ireland.
3. why the white-lipped variety of grove snails are found only in Ireland and the Pyrenees.
4. why the white-lipped variety of grove snails were wiped out everywhere except in Ireland and the Pyrenees.

We have to understand the question to arrive at the right answer. The question speaks about several hypotheses. On the basis of ?several hypotheses? and ?the central idea of the passage?, we can shortlist two choices. The central idea is about why the white-lipped grove snails are found only in two places. The wiped out idea in option 4 is nowhere mentioned in the passage. So we can eliminate choice 4. Since there is no independent evolution of the two, we cannot choose option 1. We must not forget that convergent evolution and independent evolution are one and the same thing.

We are left with two choices only. The first is why the white-lipped grove snails are found only in these two places, and the second is how they might have migrated. The migration theory is a tempting choice, but there are not several hypotheses for this. There is only one hypothesis for the migration theory: the snails might have travelled on boats of seafarers, who might have carried them as eatables.

But there are several hypotheses, some rejected while some improbable, why the snails are found only in these two places. In fact, the whole passage seems to be discussing this idea only. Thus, choice 3 is the best answer.

RC PASSAGE

More and more companies, government agencies, educational institutions and philanthropic organisations are today in the grip of a new phenomenon: ‘metric fixation’. The key components of metric fixation are the belief that it is possible – and desirable – to replace professional judgment (acquired through personal experience and talent) with numerical indicators of comparative performance based upon standardised data (metrics); and that the best way to motivate people within these organisations is by attaching rewards and penalties to their measured performance.

The rewards can be monetary, in the form of pay for performance, say, or reputational, in the form of college rankings, hospital ratings, surgical report cards and so on. But the most dramatic negative effect of metric fixation is its propensity to incentivise gaming: that is, encouraging professionals to maximise the metrics in ways that are at odds with the larger purpose of the organisation. If the rate of major crimes in a district becomes the metric according to which police officers are promoted, then some officers will respond by simply not recording crimes or downgrading them from major offences to misdemeanours. Or take the case of surgeons. When the metrics of success and failure are made public – affecting their reputation and income – some surgeons will improve their metric scores by refusing to operate on patients with more complex problems, whose surgical outcomes are more likely to be negative. Who suffers? The patients who don’t get operated upon.

When reward is tied to measured performance, metric fixation invites just this sort of gaming. But metric fixation also leads to a variety of more subtle unintended negative consequences. These include goal displacement, which comes in many varieties: when performance is judged by a few measures, and the stakes are high (keeping one’s job, getting a pay rise or raising the stock price at the time that stock options are vested), people focus on satisfying those measures – often at the expense of other, more important organisational goals that are not measured. The best-known example is ‘teaching to the test’, a widespread phenomenon that has distorted primary and secondary education in the United States since the adoption of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Short-termism is another negative. Measured performance encourages what the US sociologist Robert K Merton in 1936 called ‘the imperious immediacy of interests … where the actor’s paramount concern with the foreseen immediate consequences excludes consideration of further or other consequences’. In short, advancing short-term goals at the expense of long-range considerations. This problem is endemic to publicly traded corporations that sacrifice long-term research and development, and the development of their staff, to the perceived imperatives of the quarterly report.

To the debit side of the ledger must also be added the transactional costs of metrics: the expenditure of employee time by those tasked with compiling and processing the metrics in the first place – not to mention the time required to actually read them. . . .

Question 10:
What main point does the author want to convey through the examples of the police officer and the surgeon?
1. Some professionals are likely to be significantly influenced by the design of performance measurement systems.
2. Metrics-linked rewards may encourage unethical behaviour among some professionals.
3. The actions of police officers and surgeons have a significantly impact on society.
4. Critical public roles should not be evaluated on metrics-based performance measures.

The author has cited examples of the police officer and the surgeon to highlight the undesirable practices that might result from metric fixation. Option 1 goes out because it has a positive tone to it. To significantly influence something means to have a positive impact on something. Option 1 goes out.

Option 2 makes sense as metrics-linked rewards may result in unethical behavior in undesirable practices. Option 3, like option 1, talks about significant impact, which is not the reason for discussing the actions of these two professions. Choice 4 takes the focus away from ?any role? to ?critical public roles?. The author does not have only critical public roles in mind. He is talking about roles in general.

Question 11:
Which of the following is NOT a consequence of the 'metric fixation' phenomenon mentioned in the passage?
1. Improving cooperation among employees leading to increased organisational effectiveness in the long run.
2. Short-term orientation induced by frequent measurement of performance.
3. Finding a way to show better results without actually improving performance.
4. Deviating from organisationally important objectives to measurable yet less important objectives.

This is a very simple question. The author talks about the flaws of metric-based rewards. One of the major flaws that the author discusses in the passage is loss of long-term objectives, and focus on short-term gains. Option 2 is one of the consequences that the author discusses in the passage. By discussing the example of a doctor and a policeman, the author points out at the ways people might improve metrics without actually improving their performance. Option 4 too, like option 2, suggests moving away from the more important long-term goals of the organization. The long-term improvement in choice 1 is opposite to what the author says in the passage. This is an exception and the right choice.

Question 12:
Of the following, which would have added the least depth to the author’s argument?
1. An analysis of the reasons why metrics fixation is becoming popular despite its drawbacks.
2. More real-life illustrations of the consequences of employees and professionals gaming metrics-based performance measurement systems.
3. A comparative case study of metrics- and non-metrics-based evaluation, and its impact on the main goals of an organisation.
4. Assessment of the pros and cons of a professional judgment-based evaluation system.

This is a difficult question. We have to understand the question, what is already given in the passage, and what, when added, would give more substance to the author?s argument.

The question wants to pick a choice that would add ?least? depth to the author?s argument. So the options that are likely to add depth will go out.

The reason why option 2 becomes the right choice right away is because the author has already discussed the negative consequences of gaming metrics-based performance by taking real-life illustrations of a doctor and a policeman. It would be superfluous for the author to discuss more examples. Option 1 is not discussed in the passage, and is likely to shed more light on why metric fixation is becoming popular despite its drawbacks. The comparative study mentioned in option 3 too is not discussed in the passage and will add some more substance to the author?s argument. Option 4 also has not been discussed in the passage. The author has said that a professional judgement-based evaluation is good, but why is not discussed. So the pros and cons will indeed shed more light on this.

Question 13:
All of the following can be a possible feature of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, EXCEPT:
1. standardised test scores can be critical in determining a student’s educational future.
2. the focus is more on test-taking skills than on higher order thinking and problem-solving.
3. school funding and sanctions are tied to yearly improvement shown on tests.
4. assessment is dependent on the teacher's subjective evaluation of students' class participation.

This too is a little tricky question, as it focuses on the ?except? part of the right choice. We have to pick an option that cannot be a feature of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is an example of how metric based performance might take the organization?s focus away from the more important organizational goals, the act will have features that are in tune with metric based performance criteria.

Option 1: test score is a metric based criterion. Since the option says that it is critical, it is likely to be a possible feature (ignore the choices that are pro metric based performance)

Option 2: the focus is more on test-taking skills (again we have metric based criteria)

Option 3: funding is based on improvement shown in tests (again we have metric based criteria)

Option 4: subjective evaluation is non-metric based criteria. Thus option 4 is the best choice.

Question 14:
What is the main idea that the author is trying to highlight in the passage?
1. All kinds of organisations are now relying on metrics to measure performance and to give rewards and punishments.
2. Long-term organisational goals should not be ignored for short-term measures of organisational success.
3. Performance measurement needs to be precise and cost-effective to be useful for evaluating organisational performance.
4. Evaluating performance by using measurable performance metrics may misguide organisational goal achievement.

To answer this question, we will take one option at a time

Option 1: all kinds of organization is not the focus. The drawbacks of metric fixation is the main idea of the passage

Option 2: This option completely ignores the drawbacks of metric-based performance evaluation. It rather compares the long term organizational goals vis a vis short-term measures of organizational success.

Option 3: The idea of cost-effectiveness is not there in the passage

Option 4: Precisely what the author is discussing in the passage. It has the keyword metric based performance with its negative outcome, which is what the author is primarily concerned with in the passage.

RC PASSAGE

NOT everything looks lovelier the longer and closer its inspection. But Saturn does. It is gorgeous through Earthly telescopes. However, the 13 years of close observation provided by Cassini, an American spacecraft, showed the planet, its moons and its remarkable rings off better and better, revealing finer structures, striking novelties and greater drama. . . .

By and large the big things in the solar system—planets and moons—are thought of as having been around since the beginning. The suggestion that rings and moons are new is, though, made even more interesting by the fact that one of those moons, Enceladus, is widely considered the most promising site in the solar system on which to look for alien life. If Enceladus is both young and bears life, that life must have come into being quickly. This is also believed to have been the case on Earth. Were it true on Enceladus, that would encourage the idea that life evolves easily when conditions are right.

One reason for thinking Saturn’s rings are young is that they are bright. The solar system is suffused with comet dust, and comet dust is dark. Leaving Saturn’s ring system (which Cassini has shown to be more than 90% water ice) out in such a mist is like leaving laundry hanging on a line downwind from a smokestack: it will get dirty. The lighter the rings are, the faster this will happen, for the less mass they contain, the less celestial pollution they can absorb before they start to discolour. . . . Jeff Cuzzi, a scientist at America’s space agency, NASA, who helped run Cassini, told the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston that combining the mass estimates with Cassini’s measurements of the density of comet-dust near Saturn suggests the rings are no older than the first dinosaurs, nor younger than the last of them—that is, they are somewhere between 200m and 70m years old.

That timing fits well with a theory put forward in 2016, by Matija Cuk of the SETI Institute, in California and his colleagues. They suggest that at around the same time as the rings came into being an old set of moons orbiting Saturn destroyed themselves, and from their remains emerged not only the rings but also the planet’s current suite of inner moons—Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus and Mimas. . . .

Dr Cuk and his colleagues used computer simulations of Saturn’s moons’ orbits as a sort of time machine. Looking at the rate at which tidal friction is causing these orbits to lengthen they extrapolated backwards to find out what those orbits would have looked like in the past. They discovered that about 100m years ago the orbits of two of them, Tethys and Dione, would have interacted in a way that left the planes in which they orbit markedly tilted. But their orbits are untilted. The obvious, if unsettling, conclusion was that this interaction never happened—and thus that at the time when it should have happened, Dione and Tethys were simply not there. They must have come into being later. . . .

Question 15:
Data provided by Cassini challenged the assumption that:
1. Saturn’s ring system is composed mostly of water ice.
2. there was life on earth when Saturn’s rings were being formed.
3. new celestial bodies can form from the destruction of old celestial bodies.
4. all big things in the solar system have been around since the beginning.

The first sentence of the second paragraph says that the things in the solar system are believed to have been around since the beginning. Cassini, however, comes up with evidence that challenges this assumption. Throughout the second and third paragraph we have evidence gathered by Cassini pointing at those things in the solar system that must have come into being later. Dione and Tethys are the two such examples discussed in the last paragraph. Thus choice 4 is the best choice.

Question 16:
The main objective of the passage is to:
1. establish that Saturn’s rings and inner moons have been around since the beginning of time.
2. demonstrate how the orbital patterns of Saturn’s rings and moons change over time.
3. highlight the beauty, finer structures and celestial drama of Saturn’s rings and moons.
4. provide evidence that Saturn’s rings and moons are recent creations.

This question can be answered on the basis of the evidence used to answer the first question. The author discusses Saturn?s rings and Saturn?s moons to attack the assumption that the things in the solar system have been there since a long long time. Thus the main objective of the passage is to provide evidence that Saturn?s rings and moons are recent creations.

Option 1 is the exact opposite of what the author is trying to convey

Option 2 is not the main objective of the passage. The orbits have been discussed only in the last paragraph where the author says that the orbits of the two of Saturn?s moons are not tilted.

Option 3 there is not much mention of Saturn?s beauty and its celestial drama.

Question 17:
Based on information provided in the passage, we can infer that, in addition to water ice, Saturn’s rings might also have small amounts of:
1. methane and rock particles.
2. helium and methane.
3. helium and comet dust.
4. rock particles and comet dust.

Support for comet dust can be seen in the last two sentences of the third paragraph. Now we are left with two choices: helium or rock particles. Helium is a gas, while rock particles is matter. The fourth para says that Saturn?s rings were created from the old set of moons that destroyed themselves. Thus the rings must have had substance that the moon was made up of. The moon can be made of rock particles, not helium. Thus option 4 is the best choice.S

Question 18:
The phrase “leaving laundry hanging on a line downwind from a smokestack” is used to explain how the ringed planet's:
1. atmosphere absorbs comet dust.
2. rings discolour and darken over time.
3. rings lose mass over time.
4. moons create a gap between the rings.

The fact that the rings haven?t discolored and darkened as much as they should have had, in spite of having been out there since a long time, suggests that they are recent creations. The laundry example is used to explain that. Thus choice 2 is the best answer

Question 19:
Based on information provided in the passage, we can conclude all of the following EXCEPT:
1. Saturn’s lighter rings discolour faster than rings with greater mass.
2. Saturn’s rings were created from the remains of older moons.
3. none of Saturn’s moons ever had suitable conditions for life to evolve.
4. Thethys and Dione are less than 100 million years old.

We can find evidence for 1 in the second half of the first paragraph. Option 2 can be found in the second last paragraph. Option 4 can be found in the last paragraph. Thus 3 is the best choice as we don?t have any evidence in the paragraph for 3.

RC PASSAGE

Will a day come when India’s poor can access government services as easily as drawing cash from an ATM? . . . [N]o country in the world has made accessing education or health or policing or dispute resolution as easy as an ATM, because the nature of these activities requires individuals to use their discretion in a positive way. Technology can certainly facilitate this in a variety of ways if it is seen as one part of an overall approach, but the evidence so far in education, for instance, is that just adding computers alone doesn’t make education any better. . . .

The dangerous illusion of technology is that it can create stronger, top down accountability of service providers in implementation-intensive services within existing public sector organisations. One notion is that electronic management information systems (EMIS) keep better track of inputs and those aspects of personnel that are ‘EMIS visible’ can lead to better services. A recent study examined attempts to increase attendance of Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANMs) at clinics in Rajasthan, which involved high-tech time clocks to monitor attendance. The study’s title says it all: Band-Aids on a Corpse . . . e-governance can be just as bad as any other governance when the real issue is people and their motivation.

For services to improve, the people providing the services have to want to do a better job with the skills they have. A study of medical care in Delhi found that even though providers, in the public sector had much better skills than private sector providers their provision of care in actual practice was much worse.

In implementation-intensive services the key to success is face-to-face interactions between a teacher, a nurse, a policeman, an extension agent and a citizen. This relationship is about power. Amartya Sen’s . . . report on education in West Bengal had a supremely telling anecdote in which the villagers forced the teacher to attend school, but then, when the parents went off to work, the teacher did not teach, but forced the children to massage his feet. . . . As long as the system empowers providers over citizens, technology is irrelevant.

The answer to successfully providing basic services is to create systems that provide both autonomy and accountability. In basic education for instance, the answer to poor teaching is not controlling teachers more . . . The key . . . is to hire teachers who want to teach and let them teach, expressing their professionalism and vocation as a teacher through autonomy in the classroom. This autonomy has to be matched with accountability for results—not just narrowly measured through test scores, but broadly for the quality of the education they provide.

A recent study in Uttar Pradesh showed that if, somehow, all civil service teachers could be replaced with contract teachers, the state could save a billion dollars a year in revenue and double student learning. Just the additional autonomy and accountability of contracts through local groups—even without complementary system changes in information and empowerment—led to that much improvement. The first step to being part of the solution is to create performance information accessible to those outside of the government. . . .

Question 20:
The main purpose of the passage is to:
1. argue that some types of services can be improved by providing independence and requiring accountability.
2. find a solution to the problem of poor service delivery in education by examining different strategies.
3. analyse the shortcomings of government-appointed nurses and their management through technology.
4. critique the government’s involvement in educational activities and other implementation-intensive services.

The author seems to be focusing on service improvement by empowerment. Option 1 captures the main idea aptly. Firstly, it speaks of service improvement of some type of services, secondly it speaks of how that service can be improved: by providing independence and requiring accountability. Thus option 1 is the best choice.

Option 2 goes out because the author has not examined different strategies in the passage; Moreover, education sector is just an example through which the author seems to be communicating his key idea of empowerment and accountability

Option 3 goes out because it misses the focus of the passage. The focus is not the shortcomings of nurses, but how service delivery can be improved.

Option 4, though close, misses the main idea. The author is not critiquing the government?s involvement. Rather, his focus is on what can be done to improve the services.

Question 21:
In the context of the passage, we can infer that the title “Band Aids on a Corpse” (in paragraph 2) suggests that:
1. the nurses who attended the clinics were too poorly trained to provide appropriate medical care.
2. the electronic monitoring system was a superficial solution to a serious problem.
3. the clinics were better funded, but performance monitoring did not result in any improvement.
4. the nurses attended the clinics, but the clinics were ill-equipped.

These types of questions have become quite common in CAT RC. The question wants the answer ?in the context of the passage?. Though the phrase has been used as a title of a book, in the context of the passage it suggests that it was a superficial solution to a more serious problem. The other choices are focusing too much on the nurses and the clinics, but that is not the main idea of the passage. In the context of the passage, the example of nurses is just a small suggestion of a superficial solution to a bigger problem. We should not forget that the question asks us to answer in the context of the passage.

Question 22:
The author questions the use of monitoring systems in services that involve face-to-face interaction between service providers and clients because such systems:
1. are ineffective because they are managed by the government.
2. are not as effective in the public sector as they are in the private sector.
3. do not improve services that need committed service providers.
4. improve the skills but do not increase the motivation of service providers.

The author in the second last para says that the solution to services that need face-to-face interaction is to hire people who want to teach. In other words, he suggests that we should hire people who are motivated to carry out the job.

Question 23:
According to the author, service delivery in Indian education can be improved in all of the following ways EXCEPT through:
1. use of technology.
3. recruitment of motivated teachers.
4. elimination of government involvement.

This is a slightly confusing question. To answer such questions correctly, we must read them carefully. The question says that service delivery can be improved in all of the following ways except, so we have to pick a choice in which service delivery cannot be improved. Both options 2 and 3 are evident in the passage and are likely to improve service delivery. Now we have two choices: use of technology and elimination of government involvement. We can see that the author has said in the first para that technology can certainly facilitate service delivery in a variety of ways. So the author suggests that technology is helpful but up to some extent.

Elimination of government involvement has not been implied or stated anywhere in the passage. Thus 4 is the best choice

Question 24:
Which of the following, IF TRUE, would undermine the passage’s main argument?
1. Empowerment of service providers leads to increased complacency and rigged performance results.
2. If absolute instead of moderate technological surveillance is exercised over the performance of service providers.
3. If it were proven that service providers in the private sector have better skills than those in the public sector.
4. If it were proven that increase in autonomy of service providers leads to an exponential increase in their work ethic and sense of responsibility.

This is an easy question. The author right across the passage talks of autonomy and empowerment, but if it turned that empowerment leads to increased complacency and rigged performance results, then the author?s position would be considerably weakened. Thus 1 is the best choice.

Question 25:
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. Much has been recently discovered about the development of songs in birds.
2. Some species are restricted to a single song learned by all individuals, others have a range of songs.
3. The most important auditory stimuli for the birds are the sounds of other birds.
4. For all bird species there is a prescribed path to development of the final song,
5. A bird begins with the subsong, passes through plastic song, until it achieves the species song.

Statement should start the paragraph as it opens the idea by talking about the development of songs in birds. Statement 4 and 5 form a pair because statement 4 speaks of a prescribed path, and statement 5 describes that path (beginning, passing and achieving). So the odd sentence has to be either 3 or 2. Statement 2 is more likely to be a part of the paragraph because it talks about the bird species having a single song or a range of songs.

The right sequence could be 1245. 3 does not fit into the sequence, and is the odd one out.

Question 26:
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. It was his taxpayers who had to shell out as much as $1.6bn over 10 years to employees of failed companies. 2. Companies in many countries routinely engage in such activities which means that the employees are left with unpaid entitlements 3. Deliberate and systematic liquidation of a company to avoid liabilities and then restarting the business is called phoenixing. 4. The Australian Minister for Revenue and Services discovered in an audit that phoenixing had cost the Australian economy between$2.9bn and \$5.1bn last year.

This is a relatively easy question. There are a few clues that we must notice in order to get the sequence correct in shorter time.

The pronoun ‘such activities’ in statement 2 must refer to some activities. The only noun it could refer to is phoenixing, which has been introduced in sentence 3. Since statement 3 opens the idea of phoenixing, it should start the paragraph. After statement 3 we can have either 4 or 2. 2 makes more sense because it further adds more information about the idea of phoenixing. Thus 3 and 2 form a pair, and 4 and 1 form another pair because ‘his taxpayers’ in statement 1 should refer to a noun, which can be found in statement 4 in the Australian minister for Revenue and Services.

Thus 3241 form a logical sequence.

Question 27:
The passage given below is followed by four summaries. Choose the option that best captures the author’s position.

The early optimism about sport's deterrent effects on delinquency was premature as researchers failed to find any consistent relationships between sports participation and deviance. As the initial studies were based upon cross-sectional data and the effects captured were short-term, it was problematic to test and verify the temporal sequencing of events suggested by the deterrence theory. The correlation between sport and delinquency could not be disentangled from class and cultural variables known. Choosing individuals to play sports in the first place was problematic, which became more acute in the subsequent decades as researchers began to document just how closely sports participation was linked to social class indicators.

1. Sports participation is linked to class and cultural variables such as education, income, and social capital.
2. Contradicting the previous optimism, latter researchers have proved that there is no consistent relationship between sports participation and deviance.
3. Statistical and empirical weaknesses stand in the way of inferring any relationship between sports participation and deviance.
4. There is a direct relationship between sport participation and delinquency but it needs more empirical evidence.

This is an easy question and the right answer should be 3. We can arrive at the right quickly by way of elimination. The passage focuses on delinquency and sports participation, suggesting that deviation from delinquency and sports participation is not yet confirmed, as there are many hindrances to arriving at the right conclusion.

Option 1 goes out because it says that there is a link, but the link is not yet established

Option 2 is close but the later researches haven’t proved anything yet. They have gathered enough evidence that doubts the earlier optimism, without proving that there is no relationship

Option 3 aptly sums up the main position of the paragraph, which is statistical data not being enough to infer anything about relationship between sports participation and deviance.

Option 4 the direct relationship idea is being doubted in the paragraph, while the option states exactly the opposite.

Question 28:
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. They would rather do virtuous side projects assiduously as long as these would not compel them into doing their day jobs more honourably or reduce the profit margins.
2. They would fund a million of the buzzwordy programs rather than fundamentally question the rules of their game or alter their own behavior to reduce the harm of the existing distorted, inefficient and unfair rules.
3. Like the dieter who would rather do anything to lose weight than actually eat less, the business elite would save the world through social-impact-investing and philanthro-capitalism.
4. Doing the right thing — and moving away from their win-win mentality — would involve real sacrifice; instead, it’s easier to focus on their pet projects and initiatives.

Statements 1 and 2 have the pronoun ‘they’, which is likely to refer to a noun. That noun is ‘business elite’ in statement 3. Thus statement 3 would come before statement 1 and 2.

Statement 3 opens the paragraph by comparing a dieter with the business elite. The idea of social-impact-investing and philanthro-capitalism in statement 3 connects with ‘they would fund a million of the buzzwordy programs…’ in statement 2. Thus 32 form a pair.

4 and 1 form a pair because in statement 4 ‘doing the right thing would demand real sacrifice’ and ‘they would rather do virtuous side project assiduously’. The ideas connect. Thus 3241 form a coherent paragraph.

Question 29:
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. As India looks to increase the number of cities, our urban planning must factor in potential natural disasters and work out contingencies in advance.
2. Authorities must revise data and upgrade infrastructure and mitigation plans even if their local area hasn’t been visited by a natural calamity yet.
3. Extreme temperatures, droughts, and forest fires have more than doubled since 1980.
4. There is no denying the fact that our baseline normal weather is changing.
5. It is no longer a question of whether we will be hit by nature’s fury but rather when.

This question too is a little dubious because all the statements seem to go together. 1 and 2 form a pair. They speak of the same thing- things we must do to avoid disaster. Option 4 will start the paragraph because it introduces the idea. So the right answer boils down to 3 and 5. Either could be the right choice. The official answer, however, is 3

Question 30:
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. Self-management is thus defined as the ‘individual’s ability to manage the symptoms, treatment, physical and psychosocial consequences and lifestyle changes inherent in living with a chronic condition’.
2. Most people with progressive diseases like dementia prefer to have control over their own lives and health-care for as long as possible.
3. Having control means, among other things, that patients themselves perform self-management activities.
4. Supporting people in decisions and actions that promote self-management is called self-management support requiring a cooperative relationship between the patient, the family, and the professionals.

There is no doubt that statements 2 and 3 form a pair because they both speak of ‘having control’. Statement 2 says ‘most people … prefer to have control…’, while statement 3 says ‘having control means…’. Thus 2 and 3 form a pair. The idea of self-management is further elaborated on by ‘self-management support’, which has been introduced in statement 4. Now we come to the placement of statement 1. As we see, statement 1 is not about self-management support, but about self-management. Thus 1 must come before 4 because in 4 we have shifted our discussion from self-management to self-management support. Thus 2314 is the right sequence. Statement 1 is the intermediate conclusion for statements 2 and 3.

Question 31:
The passage given below is followed by four summaries. Choose the option that best captures the author’s position:

A Japanese government panel announced that it recommends regulating only genetically modified organisms that have had foreign genes permanently introduced into their genomes and not those whose endogenous genes have been edited. The only stipulation is that researchers and businesses will have to register their modifications to plants or animals with the government, with the exception of microbes cultured in contained environments. Reactions to the decision are mixed. While lauding the potential benefits of genome editing, an editorial opposes across-the-board permission. Unforeseen risks in gene editing cannot be ruled out. All genetically modified products must go through the same safety and labeling processes regardless of method.

1. A government panel in Japan says transgenic modification and genome editing are not the same.
2. Excepting microbes cultured in contained environments from the regulations of genome editing is premature.
3. Exempting from regulations the editing of endogenous genes is not desirable as this procedure might be risk-prone.
4. Creating categories within genetically modified products in terms of transgenic modification and genome editing advances science but defies laws.

The paragraph speaks about the Japanese government’s recommendation. The recommendation is the key idea of the passage. The recommendation is about regulating only genetically modified organisms, and leaving the rest. The reactions are mixed, however the author cautions about the unforeseen risks. Option 3 is the best choice.

Option 1 goes out because the Japanese recommendation is about regulating only genetically modified organisms. This is the main idea, but option 1 does not cover this idea. The right word is exempting, not excepting. Also, the prematurity part of it is nowhere found in the passage. Option 4 says “creating categories within genetically modified products…defies law”. The defying of the legal aspect of it is not there in the passage. Option 3 is the best choice.

Question 32:
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. In the era of smart world, however, ‘Universal Basic Income’ is an ineffective instrument which cannot address the potential breakdown of the social contract when large swathes of the population would effectively be unemployed.
2. In the era of industrial revolution, the abolition of child labour, poor laws and the growth of trade unions helped families cope with the pressures of mechanised work.
3. Growing inequality could be matched by a creeping authoritarianism that is bolstered by technology that is increasingly able to peer into the deepest vestiges of our lives.
4. New institutions emerge which recognise ways in which workers could contribute to and benefit by economic growth when, rather than if, their jobs are automated.

By reading the statements, we get to know that 213 form a pair. Statement 2 and statement 3 are the two contrasting ideas. 2 and 1 will form a pair. The idea of growing inequality in statement 3 is a consequence of ‘large swathes of population getting unemployed’, as indicated in statement 1. Thus we see that 2, 1 and 3 form a coherent paragraph. The difficult thing is the placement of statement 4. It could come at the start or at the end.

For this we have to understand the contents of statement 4. It says that ‘new institutions emerge…’. Both statements 2 and 1 have those new institutions. In statement 2 it is trade unions, while in statement 1 it is universal basic income. Thus the idea stated in 4 finds further substantiation in statements 2 and 1. 4 will come at the start. 4213 form a coherent paragraph.

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. Choose its number as your answer and key the number in:
1. Our smartphones can now track our diets, our biological cycles, even our digestive systems and sleep-patterns.
2. Researchers have even coined a new term, “orthosomnia”, to describe the insomnia brought on by paying too much attention to smartphones and sleep-tracking apps.
3. Sleep, nature’s soft nurse, is a blissful, untroubled state all too easily disturbed by earthly worries or a guilty conscience.
4. The existence of a market for such apps is unsurprising: shift work, a long-hours culture and blue light from screens have conspired to rob many of us of sufficient rest.
5. A new threat to a good night’s rest has emerged – smart-phones, with sleep-tracking apps.

This question is slightly dubious. Though the official answer is 3, it is statement 1 that should be the right answer. We can start with statement 3, and continue the idea with statement 5. Statement 2 takes over from 5, with statement 4 coming at the end. Thus 3524 form a coherent paragraph, leaving 1 as the odd one out.

Statement 3 speaks of the things that are likely to disturb sleep. Statement 5 adds one more threat- smartphones. Statement 2 gives a name to that threat, while 4 adds some more information as to why such apps have found a market.

Statement 1 should be the odd one out. However, surprisingly, the official answer given by CAT is 3.

Question 34:
The passage given below is followed by four summaries. Choose the option that best captures the author’s position.

Should the moral obligation to rescue and aid persons in grave peril, felt by a few, be enforced by the criminal law? Should we follow the lead of a number of European countries and enact bad Samaritan laws? Proponents of bad Samaritan laws must overcome at least three different sorts of obstacles. First, they must show the laws are morally legitimate in principle, that is, that the duty to aid others is a proper candidate for legal enforcement. Second, they must show that this duty to aid can be defined in a way that can be fairly enforced by the courts. Third, they must show that the benefits of the laws are worth their problems, risks and costs.

1. A number of European countries that have successfully enacted bad Samaritan laws may serve as model statutes.
2. Everyone agrees that people ought to aid others, the only debate is whether to have a law on it.
3. If bad Samaritan laws are found to be legally sound and enforceable they must be enacted.
4. Bad Samaritan laws may be desirable but they need to be tested for legal soundness.