FREE Reading Comprehension Practice Problems for CAT

Tips on how to approach CAT Reading Comprehension passages
  • Don’t get into the minor details of the passage; just focus on what each paragraph has to say
  • As you read, create a map of the passage; you must remember what thing is located where in the passage
  • Once you read the question, come back to the part of the passage that is likely to have the answer
  • Compare the options and eliminate the incorrect choices based on the evidence that you see in the passage
  • Choose the answer once you are convinced of the right choice

Reading Comprehension Practice Passage

The new school of political history that emerged in the 1960’s and 1970’s sought to go beyond the traditional focus of political historians on leaders and government institutions by examining directly the political practices of ordinary citizens. Like the old approach, however, this new approach excluded women. The very techniques these historians used to uncover mass political behavior in the nineteenth-century United States—quantitative analyses of election returns, for example—were useless in analyzing the political activities of women, who were denied the vote until 1920.

By redefining “political activity,” historian Paula Baker has developed a political history that includes women. She concludes that among ordinary citizens, political activism by women in the nineteenth century prefigured trends in twentieth-century politics. Defining “politics” as “any action taken to affect the course of behavior of government or of the community,” Baker concludes that, while voting and holding office were restricted to men, women in the nineteenth century organized themselves into societies committed to social issues such as temperance and poverty. In other words, Baker contends, women activists were early practitioners of nonpartisan, issue-oriented politics and thus were more interested in enlisting lawmakers, regardless of their party affiliation, on behalf of certain issues than in ensuring that one party or another won an election. In the twentieth century, more men drew closer to women’s ideas about politics and took up modes of issue-oriented politics that Baker sees women as having pioneered.


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Question: The primary purpose of the passage is to

enumerate reason why both traditional scholarly methods and newer scholarly methods have limitations
identify a shortcoming in a scholarly approach and describe an alternative approach
provide empirical data to support a long-held scholarly assumption
compare two scholarly publications on the basis of their authors’ backgrounds
attempt to provide a partial answer to a long-standing scholarly dilemma

Question: The passage suggests which of the following concerning the techniques used by the new political historians described in the first paragraph of the passage?

They involved the extensive use of the biographies of political party leaders and political theoreticians.
They were conceived by political historians who were reacting against the political climates of the 1960s and 1970s.
They were of more use in analyzing the positions of United States political parties in the nineteenth century than in analyzing the positions of those in the twentieth century.
They were of more use in analyzing the political behavior of nineteenth-century voters than in analyzing the political activities of those who could not vote during that period.
They were devised as a means of tracing the influence of nineteenth-century political trends on twentieth-century political trends.

Question: It can be inferred that the author of the passage quotes Baker directly in the second paragraph primarily in order to

clarify a position before providing an alternative of that position
differentiate between a novel definition and traditional definitions
provide an example of a point agreed on by different generations of scholars
provide an example of the prose style of an important historian
amplify a definition given in the first paragraph

Question: According to the passage, Paula Baker and the new political historians of the 1960’s and 1970’s shared which of the following?

A commitment to interest-group politics
A disregard for political theory and ideology
An interest in the ways in which nineteenth-century politics prefigured contemporary politics
A reliance on such quantitative techniques as the analysis of election returns
An emphasis on the political involvement of ordinary citizens

Question: Which of the following best describes the structure of the first paragraph of the passage?

Two scholarly approaches are compared, and a shortcoming common to both is identified.
Two rival schools of thought are contrasted, and a third is alluded to.
An outmoded scholarly approach is described, and a corrective approach is called for.
An argument is outlined, and counterarguments are mentioned.
A historical era is described in terms of its political trends.

Question: The information in the passage suggests that a pre-1960’s political historian would have been most likely to undertake which of the following studies?

An analysis of voting trends among women voters of the 1920’s
A study of male voters’ gradual ideological shift from party politics to issue-oriented politics
A biography of an influential nineteenth-century minister of foreign affairs
An analysis of narratives written by previously unrecognized women activists
A study of voting trends among naturalized immigrant laborers in a nineteenth-century logging camp

Also Check: CAT Quant Challenging Questions with VIDEO Solutions
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