The CAT reading comprehension passages, in general, have two broad types of questions. One whose answers are not directly stated in the RC passage and the other whose answers can be found in the RC passage.
In the former case, it is important that the aspirant comprehends the passage well in order to answer the questions correctly. In the latter case, it is important for the aspirant to zero down on that area of the passage where the answer can be found. This process can be time-consuming, but the answers usually turn out to be correct.
Types of RC Questions based on the broad understanding
Let’s have a look at different types reading comprehension question whose answers are not found in the passage. The student has to comprehend the passage as a whole to arrive to mark the right answer. There will definitely be plenty of hints to the right answer, but the answer is never directly stated.
- The central idea of the passage?
- The main purpose of the passage?
- The main purpose of a specific paragraph/sentence?
- The tone of the passage/author/a specific entity in the passage?
- A suitable title for the passage?
- The source of the passage?
- The profession of the author/ the author is most likely to be?
Types of RC Questions based on Inference/suggestions
Further, in this category, there is one more sub-category of question type whose answers are never found, though a clear evidence is always there that helps you arrive at the right answer. I call them inference based RC questions. To answer these questions, you need not always understand the whole passage. Instead, you can go to that part of the passage from where the question has come and try looking for evidence to the right answer. Let’s have a look at such questions.
- What can be inferred about ‘xyz’ thing in the passage?
- Which of the following thing about ‘abc’ is suggested by the author?
- The author implies which of the following?
- Which of the following has been assumed by the author?
- What is the relationship between the x and the y thing given in the passage?
- Which of the following is analogous to the ideas/issue that has been discussed in the passage?
The above questions are indicative; there could be many more questions that might fall into this category. But, as far as the RC passages of CAT exam are concerned, these are some of the most frequently found questions.
I have observed that to answer the above type of questions you have to have a good understanding of the passage. In answering these type of questions haste indeed makes waste. You have to be careful and should mark the answer only after you have found strong evidence/hint.
Types of RC Questions based on information/data
The second category of questions is based on information/data that is given in the passage. These kind of RC questions are easy to answer because if you spend the time you are likely to spot the answer, though not always in black and white. Let’s have a look at such questions types:
- Which of the following is most responsible for the spread of ‘xyz’ virus?
- The author is likely to agree with all of the following EXCEPT
- The reason why a particular thing is ineffective is because
- The lowest per capita income was in which of the following decades?
- Which among the following is the thing that finally led to the downfall of something?
- The only thing about which the author or some other person seems to be happy is…
We can simply go on framing such questions, but one look at these shows that these are questions whose answers must be there in the passage.
The difference between these two categories of questions is that in the former you have to be careful and thus read like a scholar, while in the latter you have to be quick and hunt for the answer. Your strategy for both the question type has to be different.
As far as my suggestion is concerned, I would say that if you are new to RCs and are a little short on confidence, then you must always try to attempt all questions that are based on information/data given in the passage. Gradually once you have gained in confidence, you can move to the questions that are based on inference/broad understanding of the passage.
How to Approach CAT Reading Comprehension Questions in general?
There is a different article on how to read passages. Here we will discuss the approach to the CAT reading comprehension questions assuming that the student has read the passage.
After reading through the passage once, you should turn to the questions. At this point, you will probably have a fairly good sense of what the passage as a whole is trying to say, how the passage is organized, and roughly where in the passage specific points are made or particular facts are mentioned. But even if you do not feel all that confident of your understanding of the passage, you should proceed to solve the questions anyway rather than rereading the whole passage again.
You should not feel that you need to remember the passage in great detail in order to begin working on the questions. For example, a passage might talk about two theoretical accounts of the rationale for incarceration, rehabilitative and punitive, and provide detail, even important detail, about both.
In reading this passage, you should try to develop a clear sense of the difference between the two accounts and a general sense of where each is discussed. But there would be no point in trying to commit all of the detail in the passage to memory. First, not everything-not even every important thing in the passage is going to be asked about. Second, if you have a general idea of the structure of the passage and of where its key elements are located, it is easy to check on the relevant details by rereading just portions of the passage.
In fact, even if you are fairly confident that you remember everything you need to answer a particular question, it usually is a good idea to confirm your answer by checking the relevant portions of the passage anyway. Only if you have absolutely no doubt about the answer to a question is it advisable to respond without consulting the passage at least briefly.
We will discuss the different types of RC questions and the approach to those questions in separate articles. We will particularly focus on based on:
- Main idea
- Author’s tone and attitude
- Inference/assumptions and suggestions
- Context and hidden meaning
List of Articles on CAT Verbal Ability
- How to improve accuracy in Reading Comprehension
- 7 Easy Tips for CAT [RC] Reading Comprehension
- Types of Reading Comprehension Questions
- How to identify Tones of the RC Passages
- How to find main idea or central idea of the RC Passages
- How to solve inference based RC questions
- Types of Reading Comprehension Passages
- 5 most common mistakes made by students in CAT RCs
- How to approach CAT parajumbles
- CAT Para Summary Questions
- How to Solve CAT Odd sentences
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