parajumbles for CAT exam

Tips and Tricks to solve CAT Parajumbles [Without Options]

Tips and Tricks to solve CAT Parajumbles [Without Options]
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Parajumbles for CAT has been a part of CAT Verbal Ability for the past twenty years. Though the CAT exam pattern did change in CAT 2015 with the introduction of parajumbles questions without options [TITA type], the approach to solve parajumbles still remains the same.

This article will not only give you tricks but also it will define a process that you can use to solve parajumbles questions for the CAT exam. The minor change that we saw in CAT 2015 was that instead of picking the right option, the candidates were asked to enter the right answer—in this case, the right sequence.

Since 2015, the para jumble questions in CAT have been without options. Notwithstanding this change, parajumbles were and will always be an important part of CAT Verbal section. The parajumbles from previous year CAT papers are the best source for practice.

Difference between TITA Parajumbles and non-TITA parajumbles

The problem with TITA Parajumbles or parajumbles without option is that the time the candidate will take to arrive at the right answer would be outrageously different in each case.  When the options are given, the test taker is likely to arrive at the right answer in less time.

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But, when the right sequence is asked to be entered, the whole process of arriving at the right answer might be long and frustrating.

In a parajumble question, when the options are given, they can be used effectively to, first create the right sequence, and then eliminate the wrong answer. But when the options are not given, the test taker has to, from the sentences given, pick the one that is likely to start the paragraph, then the one that is likely to continue the idea, and continue this process until he has finally created the right sequence.

The chances are that in the process you might, if the question is easy, arrive at the right answer, but if the question turns out to be tough, then you, without ever realizing, might lose precious time (something that happened to me in CAT 15). One of the mysterious things that happen in the actual exam is that we never realize that we have lost significant amount of time until we have a look at the timer.

Approach to CAT Parajumbles:

The first and the most important step while attempting CAT verbal questions is to read the question direction; many a time students go wrong just because they did not carefully read the question direction.

In parajumbles, CAT expects you to form a COHERENT paragraph; a paragraph is coherent only when:

  1. It makes complete sense
  2. It is a singular unit
  3. Does not start abruptly
  4. Does not depend on any other sentence to make itself meaningful

If the right answer of a question does not have any of these, then it is no more a good question and is open to challenge.

Now, we will lay down some of the important points that the test taker must keep in mind while attempting questions on parajumbles.

The parajumbles must form a coherent paragraph:

Coherent paragraphs will never have an abrupt start; an abrupt start is the one in which the reader is not introduced to ‘certain concepts’ with which he must be familiar in order to completely comprehend the sentence; in other words,  there are certain ‘ideas’ in the very first sentence that  demand some additional or necessary information. Analyze, for instance, these two paragraphs:

Paragraph 1:

Zeus was brother and consort of Hera. By Hera, Zeus sired Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus, though some accounts say that Hera produced these offspring alone. Some also include Eileithyia and Eris as their daughters. The conquests of Zeus among nymphs and the mythic mortal progenitors of Hellenic dynasties are famous.

Paragraph 2:

According to Plato, a particular clan would gather on the mountain to make a sacrifice every nine years to Zeus, and a single morsel of human entrails would be intermingled with the animal’s. Whoever ate the human flesh was said to turn into a wolf, and could only regain human form if he did not eat again of human flesh until the next nine-year cycle had ended.

There were games associated with the Lykaia, removed in the fourth century to the first urbanization of Arcadia, Megalopolis; there the major temple was dedicated to Zeus.

The first paragraph is a coherent paragraph; the ideas expressed are clear and have both structural and logical unity.

The second paragraph is not a coherent paragraph because the part that is marked in bold makes us feel that it needs a prior introduction.

The definite article ‘The’:

As illustrated above, if the definite article ‘the’ is followed by a common noun, then that common noun must be introduced earlier in the paragraph.

Example:

On his way to Agra, Birbal met a king. Wearing a simple white gown, the king was travelling on foot.

The definite article ‘the’ can be effectively used to arrange the sentences in a logical order.

Pronouns can used to connect sentences in a parajumble question:

Paragraphs, irrespective of the topic in discussion, are replete with pronouns. These pronouns refer to nouns or noun phrases. The test taker must intelligently connect the pronoun to the right noun. The pronouns usually refer to the nouns or the noun phrases in the sentence that comes immediately before them.

So, if A, B and C are three sentences, the pronouns in sentence C will refer logically to the nouns/noun phrases in sentence B, provided sentence B has nouns and noun phrases. For example,

John, Mark and Peter were invited for dinner; John came with his wife, Peter with his sister. Mark was busy with something and so reached a little late. He came with his mother and was wearing a red shirt.

The pronoun ‘he’ in the last sentence must refer to ‘Mark’ because ‘Mark’ is the noun in the sentence that comes immediately before the sentence that has the pronoun ‘he’.

In short, the pronouns and the nouns or the noun phrases they refer to must be kept together; any remote reference is likely to create confusion.

Generic ideas vis-à-vis specific ideas in a parajumble:

The test taker must be sharp enough to distinguish between a generic idea and a specific idea. In logical arrangement of ideas, a specific idea must come after a generic idea.

Example:

India is the biggest democracy and the seventh largest country in the world. It is a country of immense diversity.  It has 16 official languages, with each language having a more than thousand dialects.

‘Immense diversity’-generic idea

’16 official languages…’-specific idea

While distinguishing between a generic idea and a specific idea, the reader must be very careful. Compared with the specific ideas, the generic ideas are broader in scope and impact. Diversity, in the above example, is a generic idea because diversity can be in language, in food, in dress, and in many other things.

Diversity of culture will include diversity of languages, while diversity in languages will include variations in dialects.

Gravity of information or ideas:

Ideas or information that are of greater magnitude must be placed before ideas or information of relatively smaller magnitude, though this may not always be the rule.

Example:

Germany is one of the most successful national teams in international competitions, having won a total of four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014) and three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996). They have also been runners-up three times in the European Championships, four times in the World Cup, and have won a further four third places. East Germany won Olympic Gold in 1976. Germany is the only nation to have won both the men’s and women’s World Cups.

Since, in football, winning the world cup is an achievement of a greater magnitude than winning the European championship or winning the Olympic Gold, the writer first speaks about Germany’s four World Cup wins followed by the other feats. This sort of logical arrangement demands general knowledge, which is not always dispensable in CAT Verbal.

Sentence Connectors should be used to connect sentences in a parajumble:

Sentence connectors are words that connect ideas between sentences; the connectors could be words or phrases; they could be conjunctions (coordinating conjunctions or subordinating conjunctions), adverbial conjunctions, and some compound prepositions.

Coordinating conjunctions connect equal ideas; some coordinating conjunctions are: and, but, for, nor, so, yet.

Some subordinating conjunctions are: though, although, when, while, because, if, as , whenever etc.

Some adverbial conjunctions are: moreover, nevertheless, furthermore, accordingly, consequently, therefore, besides, however, thus, instead, in fact, hence, similarly, etc.

Compound prepositions: in addition to, to begin with, aside from, because of, as far as, etc.

Adverbs:

Adverbs, unlike adverbial conjunctions, don’t connect sentences. They modify verbs, adjectives and sometimes entire sentences. By modifying words, phrases or sentences, adverbs give a different meaning to already stated ideas.

Some of the most common adverbs are: also, too, even, just, already, only, still, as etc.

Imagine having a paragraph that starts with the sentence:

She is unhappy too (the presence of the adverb ‘too’ indicates that a similar idea is required before this sentence; not having that idea makes the sentence a little illogical)

Units of ideas:

Once you have formed units within which the sentences are inseparable, you must look for the options that have those mandatory pairs. Use elimination to arrive at the answers.

Chronology of events:

The chronology of events must be kept in mind; the conjunctions and adverbs of time will help you determine the chronology of events; the conjunctions of time such as: before, after, as, when, while, since etc. help you correctly understand the sequence of events, understand the cause and effect relationship between events, which, in turn, help you in logically arranging the sentences.

Example:

Stanley Kubrick won many accolades for his film ‘Paths of Glory’ for which he won numerous awards as well.  After this success, he would go on to direct Spartacus, an epic based on the life of the Thracian gladiator ‘Spartacus’.

Note the conjunction ‘after’, and how it creates a logical sequence of two events, telling us the right order in which the events occurred.

Conclusion in a parajumble question:

Just as the opening lines are important in introducing the paragraph, so closing lines are important in concluding the paragraph; and just as the opening lines must be generic and not abrupt, so the concluding lines must be smooth and aptly close the paragraph. The adverbial conjunctions here, too, play a very important role. The adverbial conjunctions such as hence, therefore, accordingly, consequently, thus must be noted by the test takers.

Example:

Sachin Tendulkar started his test career in 1989. He went on to play the highest no of test matches and went on to become the highest scorer in both the popular versions of the game. He won the Wisden cricketer of the year in 1997. Thus, we can say that he is one of the greatest batsmen who ever took guard on the cricket pitch.

You must observe how the adverbial conjunction ‘therefore’ smoothly completes the paragraph

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