Important CAT 2023 Reading Comprehension Questions [PDF]

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Reading comprehension questions for CAT
Reading comprehension questions for CAT

Important CAT 2023 Reading Comprehension Questions [PDF]

Reading Comprehension is one of the key topics in the CAT VARC Section. You can check out these Reading Comprehension questions in the CAT Previous year’s papers, along with detailed video solutions. Also, note that questions on Reading Comprehension in the VARC section and it would help to practice a few questions on this topic. This article will look into some important Reading Comprehension Questions for CAT VARC. These are good sources for practice; If you want to practice these questions, you can download this CAT Reading Comprehension Most Important Questions PDF below, which is completely Free.

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Instructions

The passage given below is followed by a set of three questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Human Biology does nothing to structure human society. Age may enfeeble us all, but cultures vary considerably in the prestige and power they accord to the elderly. Giving birth is a necessary condition for being a mother, but it is not sufficient. We expect mothers to behave in maternal ways and to display appropriately maternal sentiments. We prescribe a clutch of norms or rules that govern the role of a mother. That the social role is independent of the biological base can be demonstrated by going back three sentences. Giving birth is certainly not sufficient to be a mother but, as adoption and fostering show, it is not even necessary!

The fine detail of what is expected of a mother or a father or a dutiful son differs from culture to culture, but everywhere behaviour is coordinated by the reciprocal nature of roles. Husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, waiters and customers, teachers and pupils, warlords and followers; each makes sense only in its relation to the other. The term ‘role’ is an appropriate one, because the metaphor of an actor in a play neatly expresses the rule-governed nature or scripted nature of much of social life and the sense that society is a joint production. Social life occurs only because people play their parts (and that is as true for war and conflicts as for peace and love) and those parts make sense only in the context of the overall show. The drama metaphor also reminds us of the artistic licence available to the players. We can play a part straight or, as the following from J.P. Sartre conveys, we can ham it up.

Let us consider this waiter in the cafe. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too rapid. He comes towards the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends forward a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too solicitous for the order of the customer. Finally there he returns, trying to imitate in his walk the inflexible stiffness of some kind of automaton while carrying his tray with the recklessness of a tightrope-walker….All his behaviour seems to us a game….But what is he playing? We need not watch long before we can explain it: he is playing at being a waiter in a cafe.

The American sociologist Erving Goffman built an influential body of social analysis on elaborations of the metaphor of social life as drama. Perhaps his most telling point was that it is only through acting out a part that we express character. It is not enough to be evil or virtuous; we have to be seen to be evil or virtuous. There is distinction between the roles we play and some underlying self. Here we might note that some roles are more absorbing than others. We would not be surprised by the waitress who plays the part in such a way as to signal to us that she is much more than her occupation. We would be surprised and offended by the father who played his part ‘tongue in cheek’. Some roles are broader and more far-reaching than others. Describing someone as a clergyman or faith healer would say far more about that person than describing someone as a bus driver.

Question 1: What is the thematic highlight of this passage?

a) In the absence of strong biological linkages, reciprocal roles provide the mechanism for coordinating human behaviour.

b) In the absence of reciprocal roles, biological linkages provide the mechanism for coordinating human behaviour.

c) Human behaviour is independent of biological linkages and reciprocal roles.

d) Human behaviour depends on biological linkages and reciprocal roles.

e) Reciprocal roles determine normative human behavior in society.

1) Answer (E)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The passage does not talk about “absence of strong biological linkages”. Hence, option A is wrong.

The statement in option 2 does not agree with the passage.Hence, option B is wrong.

Option 3 is contrary to the passage.

The passage never stated that human behavior depends on biological linkages. Hence, option D is wrong.

Option E correctly captures the theme of the passage.

Question 2: Which of the following would have been true if biological linkages structured human society?

a) The role of mother would have been defined through her reciprocal relationship with her children.

b) We would not have been offended by the father playing his role ‘tongue in cheek’.

c) Women would have adopted and fostered children rather than giving birth to them.

d) Even if warlords were physically weaker than their followers, they would still dominate them.

e) Waiters would have stronger motivation to serve their customers.

2) Answer (B)

View Video Solution

Solution:

We must look for an option that we do not consider as normal.

Except option B, all the options are normal.

For example, it is absolutely fine with us if a waiter serves more than that is expected from him.

But we are offended when a father behaves in a tongue in cheek manner. If biological linkages structured human society, it should not matter to us how a father behaves. Hence, option B is the correct answer.

Question 3: It has been claimed in the passage that “some roles are more absorbing than others”. According to passage, which of the following seem(s) appropriate reason(s) for such a claim?
A. Some roles carry great expectations from the society preventing manifestation of the true self.
B. Society ascribes so much importance to some roles that the conception of self may get aligned with the roles being performed.
C. Some roles require development of skill and expertise leaving little time for manifestation of self.

a) A only

b) B only

c) C only

d) A & B

e) B & C

3) Answer (D)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Statement A has been discussed in the passage while giving the example of clergymen and waiter. Hence, it is correct.

By the example of the father, we can say that statement B is true.

In the passage, the author has not mentioned that development of skill may result in denial of the self. So, statement C is incorrect.

So, only statements A and B are correct. Option d) is the correct answer.

Instructions

The passage given below is followed by a set of three questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Every civilized society lives and thrives on a silent but profound agreement as to what is to be accepted as the valid mould of experience. Civilization is a complex system of dams, dykes, and canals warding off, directing, and articulating the influx of the surrounding fluid element; a fertile fenland, elaborately drained and protected from the high tides of chaotic, unexercised, and inarticulate experience. In such a culture, stable and sure of itself within the frontiers of ‘naturalized’ experience, the arts wield their creative power not so much in width as in depth. They do not create new experience, but deepen and purify the old. Their works do not differ from one another like a new horizon from a new horizon, but like a madonna from a madonna.

The periods of art which are most vigorous in creative passion seem to occur when the established pattern of experience loosens its rigidity without as yet losing its force. Such a period was the Renaissance, and Shakespeare its poetic consummation. Then it was as though the discipline of the old order gave depth to the excitement of the breaking away, the depth of job and tragedy, of incomparable conquests and irredeemable losses. Adventurers of experience set out as though in lifeboats to rescue and bring back to the shore treasures of knowing and feeling which the old order had left floating on the high seas. The works of the early Renaissance and the poetry of Shakespeare vibrate with the compassion for live experience in danger of dying from exposure and neglect. In this compassion was the creative genius of the age. Yet, it was a genius of courage, not of desperate audacity. For, however elusively, it still knew of harbours and anchors, of homes to which to return, and of barns in which to store the harvest. The exploring spirit of art was in the depths of its consciousness still aware of a scheme of things into which to fit its exploits and creations.

But the more this scheme of things loses its stability, the more boundless and uncharted appears the ocean of potential exploration. In the blank confusion of infinite potentialities flotsam of significance gets attached to jetsam of experience; for everything is sea, everything is at sea – ….
The sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation …
– and Rilke tells a story in which, as in T.S. Eliot’s poem, it is again the sea and the distance of ‘other creation’ that becomes the image of the poet’s reality. A rowing boat sets out on a difficult passage. The oarsmen labour in exact rhythm. There is no sign yet of the destination. Suddenly a man, seemingly idle, breaks out into song. And if the labour of the oarsmen meaninglessly defeats the real resistance of the real waves, it is the idle single who magically conquers the despair of apparent aimlessness. While the people next to him try to come to grips with the element that is next to them, his voice seems to bind the boat to the farthest distance so that the farthest distance draws it towards itself. ‘I don’t know why and how,’ is Rilke’s conclusion, ‘but suddenly I understood the situation of the poet, his place and function in this age. It does not matter if one denies him every place – except this one. There one must tolerate him.’

Question 4: In the passage, the expression “like a madonna from a madonna” alludes to

a) The difference arising as a consequence of artistic license.

b) The difference between two artistic interpretations.

c) The difference between ‘life’ and ‘interpretation of life’.

d) The difference between ‘width’ and ‘depth’ of creative power.

e) The difference between the legendary character and the modern day singer.

4) Answer (B)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The sentence “the arts wield their creative power not so much ………… a new horizon from a new horizon” says that the art words do not differ in their “width” and “breadth” as well as “life” and “interpretation of life”. => Options C and D are wrong.

Option A is irrelavent as it is not discussed in the passage.

The comparison between Madonna and modern day singer is not correct => option E wrong.

Option B is the answer.

Question 5: The sea and ‘other creation’ leads Rilke to

a) Define the place of the poet in his culture.

b) Reflect on the role of the oarsman and the singer.

c) Muse on artistic labour and its aim lessens.

d) Understand the elements that one has to deal with.

e) Delve into natural experience and real waves.

5) Answer (A)

View Video Solution

Solution:

After giving the example of “sea” and “the other creation”, Rilke says “I suddenly understood the situation of the poet, his place and his function in this age”.

Option a) captures this idea succinctly. None of the other options are applicable.

Option A is the correct answer.

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Question 6: According to the passage, the term “adventurers of experience” refers to

a) Poets and artists who are driven by courage.

b) Poets and artists who create their own genre.

c) Poets and artists of the Renaissance.

d) Poets and artists who revitalize and enrich the past for us.

e) Poets and artists who delve in flotsam and jetsam in sea.

6) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the following lines of the paragraph: “Adventurers of experience set out as though in lifeboats to rescue and bring back to the shore treasures of knowing and feeling which the old order had left floating on the high seas. The works of the early Renaissance and the poetry of Shakespeare vibrate with the compassion for live experience in danger of dying from exposure and neglect.”

Here the author refers to the poets of renaissance as adventurers of experience.

Option c) is the correct answer.

Instructions

The passage given below is followed by a set of three questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

To discover the relation between rules, paradigms, and normal science, consider first how the historian isolates the particular loci of commitment that have been described as accepted rules. Close historical investigation of a given specialty at a given time discloses a set of recurrent and quasi-standard illustrations of various theories in their conceptual, observational, and instrumental applications. These are the community’s paradigms, revealed in its textbooks, lectures, and laboratory exercises. By studying them and by practicing with them, the members of the corresponding community learn their trade. The historian, of course, will discover in addition a penumbral area occupied by achievements whose status is still in doubt, but the core of solved problems and techniques will usually be clear. Despite occasional ambiguities, the paradigms of a mature scientific community can be determined with relative ease.

That demands a second step and one of a somewhat different kind. When undertaking it, the historian must compare the community’s paradigms with each other and with its current research reports. In doing so, his object is to discover what isolable elements, explicit or implicit, the members of that community may have abstracted from their more global paradigms and deploy it as rules in their research. Anyone who has attempted to describe or analyze the evolution of a particular scientific tradition will necessarily have sought accepted principles and rules of this sort. Almost certainly, he will have met with at least partial success. But, if his1 9 experience has been at all like my own, he will have found the search for rules both more difficult and less satisfying than the search for paradigms. Some of the generalizations he employs to describe the community’s shared beliefs will present more problems. Others, however, will seem a shade too strong. Phrased in just that way, or in any other way he can imagine, they would almost certainly have been rejected by some members of the group he studies. Nevertheless, if the coherence of the research tradition is to be understood in terms of rules, some specification of common ground in the corresponding area is needed. As a result, the search for a body of rules competent to constitute a given normal research tradition becomes a source of continual and deep frustration.

Recognizing that frustration, however, makes it possible to diagnose its source. Scientists can agree that a Newton, Lavoisier, Maxwell, or Einstein has produced an apparently permanent solution to a group of outstanding problems and still disagree, sometimes without being aware of it, about the particular abstract characteristics that make those solutions permanent. They can, that is, agree in their identification of a paradigm without agreeing on, or even attempting to produce, a full interpretation or rationalization of it. Lack of a standard interpretation or of an agreed reduction to rules will not prevent a paradigm from guiding research. Normal science can be determined in part by the direct inspection of paradigms, a process that is often aided by but does not depend upon the formulation of rules and assumption. Indeed, the existence of a paradigm need not even imply that any full set of rules exists.

Question 7: What is the author attempting to illustrate through this passage?

a) Relationships between rules, paradigms, and normal science

b) How a historian would isolate a particular ‘loci of commitment’

c) How a set of shared beliefs evolve in to a paradigm.

d) Ways of understanding a scientific tradition

e) The frustrations of attempting to define a paradigm of a tradition

7) Answer (D)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The main point of the first paragraph is to define what are accepted rules and how to identify them. In the second paragraph, the author talks about comparing different sets of accepted rules or community paradigms and analysing them. In the last paragraph, the author talks about how paradigm, even if they cannot be distilled into rules, can yet guide research and be widely accepted. Thus, the main point of the passage is how to understand scientific paradigms.

Option a) is an answer to how the author is attempting to illustrate his point through the passage. It does not answer the ‘what’ part.

Options b), c) and e) give only partial answers to what the author is trying to illustrate through the passage.

Hence, Option d) is the correct answer.

Question 8: The term ‘loci of commitment’ as used in the passage would most likely correspond with which of the following?

a) Loyalty between a group of scientists in a research laboratory

b) Loyalty between groups of scientists across research laboratories

c) Loyalty to a certain paradigm of scientific inquiry

d) Loyalty to global patterns of scientific inquiry

e) Loyalty to evolving trends of scientific inquiry

8) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

In the first line of the passage, the author describes loci of commitment as accepted rules. The passage talks about the historian trying to isolate the particular loci of commitment, which he later concludes as the community’s paradigms.

Option c) succinctly captures this idea. None of the other options are applicable.

Question 9: The author of this passage is likely to agree with which of the following?

a) Paradigms almost entirely define a scientific tradition.

b) A group of scientists investigating a phenomenon would benefit by defining a set of rules.

c) Acceptance by the giants of a tradition is a sine qua non for a paradigm to emerge.

d) Choice of isolation mechanism determines the types of paradigm that may emerge from a tradition.

e) Paradigms are a general representation of rules and beliefs of a scientific tradition.

9) Answer (E)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Throughout the passage, the author highlights that “the paradigms” are “the general rules of science”.

Rules are difficult to be defined. On the other hand, paradigms can follow without any rules. Option e) accurately represents the idea.

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Instructions

The passage given below is followed by a set of three questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

The difficulties historians face in establishing cause-and-effect relations in the history of human societies are broadly similar to the difficulties facing astronomers, climatologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, geologists, and palaeontologists. To varying degrees each of these fields is plagued by the impossibility of performing replicated, controlled experimental interventions, the complexity arising from enormous numbers of variables, the resulting uniqueness of each system, the consequent impossibility of formulating universal laws, and the difficulties of predicting emergent properties and future behaviour. Prediction in history, as in other historical sciences, is most feasible on large spatial scales and over long times, when the unique features of millions of small-scale brief events become averaged out. Just as I could predict the sex ratio of the next 1,000 newborns but not the sexes of my own two children, the historian can recognize factors that made2 1 inevitable the broad outcome of the collision between American and Eurasian societies after 13,000 years of separate developments, but not the outcome of the 1960 U.S. presidential election. The details of which candidate said what during a single televised debate in October 1960 Could have given the electoral victory to Nixon instead of to Kennedy, but no details of who said what could have blocked the European conquest of Native Americans. How can students of human history profit from the experience of scientists in other historical sciences? A methodology that has proved useful involves the comparative method and so-called natural experiments. While neither astronomers studying galaxy formation nor human historians can manipulate their systems in controlled laboratory experiments, they both can take advantage of natural experiments, by comparing systems differing in the presence or absence (or in the strong or weak effect) of some putative causative factor. For example, epidemiologists, forbidden to feed large amounts of salt to people experimentally, have still been able to identify effects of high salt intake by comparing groups of humans who already differ greatly in their salt intake; and cultural anthropologists, unable to provide human groups experimentally with varying resource abundances for many centuries, still study long-term effects of resource abundance on human societies by comparing recent Polynesian populations living on islands differing naturally in resource abundance.

The student of human history can draw on many more natural experiments than just comparisons among the five inhabited continents. Comparisons can also utilize large islands that have developed complex societies in a considerable degree of isolation (such as Japan, Madagascar, Native American Hispaniola, New Guinea, Hawaii, and many others), as well as societies on hundreds of smaller islands and regional societies within each of the continents. Natural experiments in any field, whether in ecology or human history, are inherently open to potential methodological criticisms. Those include confounding effects of natural variation in additional variables besides the one of interest, as well as problems in inferring chains of causation from observed correlations between variables. Such methodological problems have been discussed in great detail for some of the historical sciences. In particular, epidemiology, the science of drawing inferences about human diseases by comparing groups of people (often by retrospective historical studies), has for a long time successfully employed formalized procedures for dealing with problems similar to those facing historians of human societies. In short, I acknowledge that it is much more difficult to understand human history than to understand problems in fields of science where history is unimportant and where fewer individual variables operate. Nevertheless, successful methodologies for analyzing historical problems have been worked out in several fields. As a result, the histories of dinosaurs, nebulae, and glaciers are generally acknowledged to belong to fields of science rather than to the humanities.

Question 10: Why do islands with considerable degree of isolation provide valuable insights into human history?

a) Isolated islands may evolve differently and this difference is of interest to us.

b) Isolated islands increase the number of observations available to historians.

c) Isolated islands, differing in their endowments and size may evolve differently and this difference can be attributed to their endowments and size.

d) Isolated islands, differing in their endowments and size, provide a good comparison to large islands such as Eurasia, Africa, Americas and Australia.

e) Isolated islands, in so far as they are inhabited, arouse curiosity about how human beings evolved there.

10) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Consider the following lines from the passage: “Those include confounding effects of natural variation in additional variables besides the one of interest, as well as problems in inferring chains of causation from observed correlations between variables.”
This explains the reason why islands with considerable degree of isolation provide valuable insights into human history. Option c) is the correct answer.

Question 11: According to the author, why is prediction difficult in history?

a) Historical explanations are usually broad so that no prediction is possible.

b) Historical out comers depend upon a large number of factors and hence predictions is difficult for each case.

c) Historical sciences, by their very nature, are not interested in a multitude of minor factors, which might be important in a specific historical outcome.

d) Historians are interested in the evolution of human history and hence are only interested in log term predictions.

e) Historical sciences suffer from the inability to conduct controlled experiments and therefore have explanations based on a few long-term factors.

11) Answer (E)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the following lines “Prediction in history, as in other historical sciences, is most feasible on large spatial scales and over long times, when the unique features of millions of small-scale brief events become averaged out. Just as I could predict the sex ratio of the next 1,000 newborns but not the sexes of my own two children. the historian can recognize factors that made inevitable the broad outcome of the collision between American and Eurasian societies after 13,000 years of separate developments, but not the outcome of the 1960 U.S. presidential election”

From this we can understand the reason why the author says prediction in history is difficult is because historical sciences suffer from the inability to conduct controlled experiments. Option e) is the correct answer.

Question 12: According to the author, which of the following statements would be true?

a) Students of history are missing significant opportunities by not conducting any natural experiments.

b) Complex societies inhabiting large islands provide great opportunities for natural experiments.

c) Students of history are missing significant opportunities by not studying an adequate variety of natural experiments.

d) A unique problem faced by historians is their inability to establish cause and effect relationships.

e) Cultural anthropologists have overcome the problem of confounding variables through natural experiments.

12) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the lines “The student of human history can draw on many more natural experiments than just comparisons among the five inhabited continents. Comparisons can also utilize large islands that have developed complex societies in a considerable degree of isolation (such as Japan, Madagascar. Native American Hispaniola, New Guinea, Hawaii, and many others), as well as societies on hundreds of smaller islands and regional societies within each of the continents.”

From this, we can understand that the students of history are missing opportunities by not studying a sufficient variety of natural experiments. Option c) is the correct answer.

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