CAT Reading Comprehension Passages PDF [Most Important]

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 Reading Comprehension for CAT is the most important topic in the CAT VARC section. Reading Comprehension has around 75% weightage in the VARC section. You can check out these Reading Comprehension CAT Previous year questions. Practice a good number of Passages on the CAT Reading Comprehension questions. In this article, we will look into some important Reading Comprehension Questions for CAT. These are a good source for practice; If you want to practice these questions, you can download this CAT Reading Comprehension Questions PDF below, which is completely Free.  You can check out these CAT Reading Comprehension questions from the CAT Previous year’s papers. This post will look at some important Reading Comprehension Sets in the CAT LRDI section. These are a good source of practice for CAT preparation; If you want to practice these questions, you can download this Reading Comprehension Passages for CAT PDF along with the detailed solutions (and video solutions) below, which is completely Free.

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Instructions

The controversy over genetically modified food continues unabated in the West. Genetic modification (GM) is the science by which the genetic material of a plant is altered, perhaps to make it more resistant to pests or killer weeds, or to enhance its nutritional value. Many food biotechnologists claim that GM will be a major contribution of science to mankind in the 21st century. On the other hand, large numbers of opponents, mainly in Europe, claim that the benefits of GM are a myth propagated by multinational corporations to increase their profits, that they pose a health hazard, and have therefore called for government to ban the sale of genetically-modified food.

The anti-GM campaign has been quite effective in Europe, with several European Union member countries imposing a virtual ban for five years over genetically-modified food imports. Since the genetically-modified food industry is particularly strong in the United States of America, the controversy also constitutes another chapter in the US-Europe skirmishes which have become particularly acerbic after the US invasion of Iraq.

To a large extent, the GM controversy has been ignored in the Indian media, although Indian biotechnologists have been quite active in GM research. Several groups of Indian biotechnologists have been working on various issues connected with crops grown in India. One concrete achievement which has recently figured in the news is that of a team led by the former vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru university, Asis Datta — it has successfully added an extra gene to potatoes to enhance the protein content of the tuber by at least 30 percent. It is quite likely that the GM controversy will soon hit the headlines in India since a spokesperson of the Indian Central government has recently announced that the government may use the protato in its midday meal programme for schools as early as next year.

Why should “scientific progress”, with huge potential benefits to the poor and malnourished, be so controversial? The anti-GM lobby contends that pernicious propaganda has vastly exaggerated the benefits of GM and completely evaded the costs which will have to be incurred if the genetically-modified food industry is allowed to grow unchecked. In particular, they allude to different types of costs.

This group contends that the most important potential cost is that the widespread distribution and growth of genetically-modified food will enable the corporate world (alias the multinational corporations – MNCs) to completely capture the food chain. A “small” group of biotech companies will patent the transferred genes as well as the technology associated with them. They will then buy up the competing seed merchants and seed-breeding centers, thereby controlling the production of food at every possible level. Independent farmers, big and small, will be completely wiped out of the food industry. At best, they will be reduced to the status of being subcontractors.

This line of argument goes on to claim that the control of the food chain will be disastrous for the poor since the MNCs, guided by the profit motive, will only focus on the high-value food items demanded by the affluent. Thus, in the long run, the production of basic staples which constitute the food basket of the poor will taper off. However, this vastly overestimates the power of the MNCs. Even if the research promoted by them does focus on the high-value food items, much of biotechnology research is also funded by governments in both developing and developed countries. Indeed, the protato is a by-product of this type of research. If the protato passes the field trials, there is no reason to believe that it cannot be marketed in the global potato market. And this type of success story can be repeated with other basic food items.

The second type of cost associated with the genetically modified food industry is environmental damage. The most common type of “genetic engineering” involved gene modification in plants designed to make them resistant to applications of weed-killers. This then enables farmers to use massive dosages of weedkillers so as to destroy or wipe out all competing varieties of plants in their field. However, some weeds through genetically-modified pollen contamination may acquire resistance to a variety of weed-killers. The only way to destroy these weeds is through the use of ever-stronger herbicides which are poisonous and linger on in the environment.

Question 1: Using the clues in the passage, which of the following countries would you expect to be in the forefront of the anti-GM campaign?

a) USA and Spain.

b) India and Iraq.

c) Germany and France.

d) Australia and New Zealand.

1) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

According to the passage, European nations are anti GM. So, among the given options we must select those countries that are present in Europe.

USA is not in Europe => option A is wrong.

India is not in Europe => option B is wrong.

Australia is not in Europe => option D is wrong.

Both Germany and France are in Europe => option C is the answer.

Question 2: Genetic modification makes plants more resistant to killer weeds. However, this can lead to environmental damage by

a) wiping out competing varieties of plants which now fall prey to killer weeds.

b) forcing application of stronger herbicides to kill weeds which have become resistant to weak herbicides.

c) forcing application of stronger herbicides to keep the competing plants weed-free.

d) not allowing growth of any weeds, thus reducing soil fertility.

2) Answer (B)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the last lines of the passage:”However, some weeds through genetically-modified pollen contamination may acquire resistance to a variety of weed-killers. The only way to destroy these weeds is through the use of ever-stronger herbicides which are poisonous and linger on in the environment.” This line indicates the point made in 2 that once the weeds acquire resistance to weak herbicides, we have to apply stronger ones to eradicate them.

Question 3: According to the passage, biotechnology research

a) is of utility only for high value food items.

b) is funded only by multinational corporations.

c) allows multinational corporations to control the food basket of the poor.

d) addresses the concerns of developed and developing countries.

3) Answer (D)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the lines made in the paragraph:”Even if the research promoted by them does focus on the high-value food items, much of biotechnology research is also funded by governments in both developing and developed countries. Indeed, the protato is a by-product of this type of research. If the protato passes the field trials, there is no reason to believe that it cannot be marketed in the global potato market. And this type of success story can be repeated with other basic food items.” Here the author wants to illustrate that biotechnology resarch helps to address the concerns of the developing countries. For this illustration, the author gives the exmaple of potatoes.

Question 4: Which of the following about the Indian media’s coverage of scientific research does the passage seem to suggest?

a) Indian media generally covers a subject of scientific importance when its mass application is likely.

b) Indian media’s coverage of scientific research is generally dependent on MNCs interests.

c) Indian media, in partnership with the government, is actively involved in publicizing the results of scientific research.

d) Indian media only highlights scientific research which is funded by the government.

4) Answer (A)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the following lines in the passage:”It is quite likely that the GM controversy will soon hit the headlines in India since a spokesperson of the Indian Central government has recently announced that the government may use the protato in its midday meal programme for schools as early as next year. Why should “scientific progress”, with huge potential benefits to the poor and malnourished, be so controversial?” Here the author wants to highlight that the scientific progress which has a huge impact on large number of people is likely to be covered by the media.

Instructions

Social life is an outflow and meeting of personality, which means that its end is the meeting of character, temperament, and sensibility, in which our thoughts and feelings, and sense perceptions are brought into play at their lightest and yet keenest.

This aspect, to my thinking, is realized as much in large parties composed of casual acquaintances or even strangers, as in intimate meetings of old friends. I am not one of those superior persons who hold cocktail parties in contempt, looking upon them as barren or at best as very tryingly kaleidoscopic places for gathering, because of the strangers one has to meet in them; which is no argument, for even our most intimate friends must at one time have been strangers to us. These large gatherings will be only what we make of them if not anything better, they can be as good places to collect new friends from as the slavemarkets of Istanbul were for beautiful slaves or New Market for race horses.

But they do offer more immediate enjoyment. For one thing, in them one can see the external expression of social life in appearance and behaviour at its widest and most varied where one can admire beauty of body or air, hear voices remarkable either for sweetness of refinement, look on elegance of clothes or deportment. What is more, these parties are schools for training in sociability, for in them we have to treat strangers as friends. So, in them we see social sympathy in widest commonalty spread, or at least should. We show an atrophy of the natural human instinct of getting pleasure and happiness out of other human beings if we cannot treat strangers as friends for the moment. And I would go further and paraphrase Pater to say that not to be able to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, even when we meet them casually, is on this short day of frost and sun which out life is, to sleep before evening.

So, it will be seen that my conception of social life is modest, for it makes no demands on what we have, though it does make some on what we are. Interest, wonder, sympathy, and love, the first two leading to the last two, are the psychological prerequisites for social life; and the need for the first two must not be underrated. We cannot make the most even of our intimate social life unless we are able to make strangers of our oldest friends everyday by discovering unknown areas in their personality, and transform them into new friends. In sum, social life is a function of vitality.

It is tragic, however, to observe that it is these very natural springs of social life which are drying up among us. It is becoming more and more difficult to come across fellow-feeling for human beings as such in our society and in all its strata. In the poor middle class, in the course of all my life. I have hardly seen any social life properly so-called. Not only has the grinding routine of making a living killed all desire for it in them, it has also generated a standing mood of peevish hostility to other human beings. Increasing economic distress in recent years has infinitely worsened this state of affairs, and has also brought a sinister addition class hatred. This has become the greatest collective emotional enjoyment of the poor middle class, and indeed they feel most social when they form a pack, and snarl or howl at people who are better off than they.

Their most innocent exhibition of sociability is seen when they spill out from their intolerable homes into the streets and bazaars. I was astonished to see the milling crowds in the poor suburbs of Calcutta. But even there a group of flippant young loafers would put on a conspiratorial look if they saw a man in good clothes passing by them either on foot or in a car. I had borrowed a car from a relative to visit a friend in one of these suburbs, and he became very anxious when I had not returned before dusk. Acid and bombs, he said, were thrown at card almost every evening in that area. I was amazed. But I also know as a fact that my brother was blackmailed to pay five rupees on a trumped up charge when passing in a car through one such locality.

The situation is differently inhuman, but not a whit more human, among the well-to-do. Kindliness for fellow human beings has been smothered in them, taken as a class, by the arrogance of worldly position, which among the Bengalis who show this snobbery is often only a third-class position.

Question 5: The word ‘they’ in the first sentence of the third paragraph refers to

a) Large parties consisting of casual acquaintances and strangers.

b) Intimate meetings of old friends.

c) New friends.

d) Both (1) and (2).

5) Answer (A)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Refer to the last lines of the second paragraph:”These large gatherings will be only what we make of them if not anything better, they can be as good places to collect new friends from as the slavemarkets of Istanbul were for beautiful slaves or New Market for race horses.”

Here “They” refers to the large gatherings of casual acquaintances as illustrated in these lines.

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Question 6: In this passage the author is essentially

a) showing how shallow our social life is.

b) poking fun at the lower middle class people who howl at better off people.

c) lamenting the drying up of our real social life.

d) criticizing the upper class for lavish showy parties.

6) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The passage starts with the author’s perception of social life. In the whole passage the author criticises the fact that we do not possess any social life. The author also gives his opinions of social life and then moves on to lament our little social life we have left. Option b and d are not clearly the main subject of the author. Option a is inappropriate as the author do not highlight our real social life but rather complaints of the social life.

Question 7: The author’s conception of ‘social life’ requires that

a) people attend large gatherings.

b) people possess qualities like wonder and interest.

c) people do not spend too much time in the company of intimate friends.

d) large parties consist of casual acquaintances and intimate friends.

7) Answer (B)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The author’s conception of social life is mentioned in the fourth paragraph where he says wonder and interest. Hence B is the correct answer.

Question 8: What is the author trying to show through the two incidents in the penultimate paragraph?

a) The crowds in poor Calcutta suburbs can turn violent without any provocation.

b) Although poor, the people of poor Calcutta suburbs have a rich social life.

c) It is risky for rich people to move around in poor suburbs.

d) Achieving a high degree of sociability does not stop the poor from hating the rich.

8) Answer (D)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The author has not mentioned that crowd in poor Calcutta can turn violent => option A is wrong.

B negates the statements said by the author in the passage.

C is too generalized to be the answer for this question.

Hence, option D is the answer.

Instructions

Modern science, exclusive of geometry, is a comparatively recent creation and can be said to have originated with Galileo and Newton. Galileo was the first scientist to recognize clearly that the only way to further our understanding of the physical world was to resort to experiment. However obvious Galileo’s contention may appear in the light of our present knowledge, it remains a fact that the Greeks, in spite of their proficiency in geometry, never seem to have realized the importance of experiment. To a certain extent this may be attributed to the crudeness of their instruments of measurement. Still an excuse of this sort can scarcely be put forward when the elementary nature of Galileo’s experiments and observations is recalled. Watching a lamp oscillate in the cathedral of Pisa, dropping bodies from the leaning tower of Pisa, rolling balls down inclined planes, noticing the magnifying effect of water in a spherical glass vase, such was the nature of Galileo’s experiments and observations. As can be seen, they might just as well have been performed by the Greeks. At any rate, it was thanks to such experiments that Galileo discovered the fundamental law of dynamics, according to which the acceleration imparted to a body is proportional to the force acting upon it.

The next advance was due to Newton, the greatest scientist of all time if account be taken of his joint contributions to mathematics and physics. As a physicist, he was of course an ardent adherent of the empirical method, but his greatest title to fame lies in another direction. Prior to Newton, mathematics, chiefly in the form of geometry, had been studied as a fine art without any view to its physical applications other than in very trivial cases. But with Newton all the resources of mathematics were turned to advantage in the solution of physical problems. Thenceforth mathematics appeared as an instrument of discovery, the most powerful one known to man, multiplying the power of thought just as in the mechanical domain the lever multiplied our physical action. It is this application of mathematics to the solution of physical problems, this combination of two separate fields of investigation, which constitutes the essential characteristic of the Newtonian method. Thus problems of physics were metamorphosed into problems of mathematics.

But in Newton’s day the mathematical instrument was still in a very backward state of development. In this field again Newton showed the mark of genius by inventing the integral calculus. As a result of this remarkable discovery, problems, which would have baffled Archimedes, were solved with ease. We know that in Newton’s hands this new departure in scientific method led to the discovery of the law of gravitation. But here again the real significance of Newton’s achievement lay not so much in the exact quantitative formulation of the law of attraction, as in his having established the presence of law and order at least in one important realm of nature, namely, in the motions of heavenly bodies. Nature thus exhibited rationality and was not mere blind chaos and uncertainty. To be sure, Newton’s investigations had been concerned with but a small group of natural phenomena, but it appeared unlikely that this mathematical law and order should turn out to be restricted to certain special phenomena; and the feeling was general that all the physical processes of nature would prove to be unfolding themselves according to rigorous mathematical laws.

When Einstein, in 1905, published his celebrated paper on the electrodynamics of moving bodies, he remarked that the difficulties, which surrouned the equations of electrodynamics, together with the negative experiments of Michelson and others, would be obviated if we extended the validity of the Newtonian principle of the relativity of Galilean motion, which applies solely to mechanical phenomena, so as to include all manner of phenomena: electrodynamics, optical etc. When extended in this way the Newtonian principle of relativity became Einstein’s special principle of relativity. Its significance lay in its assertion that absolute Galilean motion or absolute velocity must ever escape all experimental detection. Henceforth absolute velocity should be conceived of as physically meaningless, not only in the particular realm of mechanics, as in Newton’s day, but in the entire realm of physical phenomena. Einstein’s special principle, by adding increased emphasis to this relativity of velocity, making absolute velocity metaphysically meaningless, created a still more profound distinction between velocity and accelerated or rotational motion. This latter type of motion remained absolute and real as before. It is most important to understand this point and to realize that Einstein’s special principle is merely an extension of the validity of the classical Newtonian principle to all classes of phenomena.

Question 9: According to the author, why did the Greeks NOT conduct experiments to understand the physical world?

a) Apparently they did not think it necessary to experiment.

b) They focused exclusively on geometry.

c) Their instruments of measurement were very crude.

d) The Greeks considered the application of geometry to the physical world more important.

9) Answer (A)

View Video Solution

Solution:

Options B and D negate the information given in the passage => B and D are incorrect.

C is stated in the passage but does not answer the question.

Option A is the correct answer.

Question 10: The statement “Nature thus exhibited rationality and was not mere blind chaos and uncertainty” suggests that

a) problems that had baffled scientists like Archimedes were not really problems.

b) only a small group of natural phenomena was chaotic.

c) physical phenomena conformed to mathematical laws.

d) natural phenomena were evolving towards a less chaotic future.

10) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

In the second line after the line mentioned in the question, the author says that “the feeling was general that all the physical processes of nature would prove to be unfolding themselves according to the rigourous mathematic laws”.

Option C is the answer.

Question 11: Newton may be considered one of the greatest scientists of all time because he

a) discovered the law of gravitation.

b) married physics with mathematics.

c) invented integral calculus.

d) started the use of the empirical method in science.

11) Answer (B)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The author says that “The next advance was due to Newton, the greatest scientist of all time if account be taken of his joint contributions to mathematics and physics.”

Joint contributions is metaphorically said as married in option B. Hence, option B is the answer.

Question 12: Which of the following statements about modern science best captures the theme of the passage?

a) Modern science rests firmly on the platform built by the Greeks.

b) We need to go back to the method of enquiry used by the Greeks to better understand the lawsof dynamics.

c) Disciplines like Mathematics and Physics function best when integrated into one.

d) New knowledge about natural phenomena builds on existing knowledge.

12) Answer (D)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The author says that Einstein’s principle is merely an extension of classical Newtonian principle.

Option D agrees with this saying that new knowledge about natural phenomena builds on existing knowledge.

Hence, option D is the answer.

Question 13: The significant implication of Einstein’s special principle of relativity is that

a) absolute velocity was meaningless in the realm of mechanics.

b) Newton’s principle of relativity needs to be modified.

c) there are limits to which experimentation can be used to understand some physical phenomena.

d) it is meaningless to try to understand the distinction between velocity and accelerated or rotational motion.

13) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The author says that “Its SIGNIFICANCE lay in its assertion that absolute Galilean motion or absolute velocity must ever escape all experimental detection.”

Here, “it” refers to Einstein’s principle.

The meaning of the sentence is that it is not always possible to experiment.

Option C gives a similar meaning. Hence, C is the answer.

Instructions

As you set out for Ithaka

hope the journey is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

angry Poseidon – don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

wild Poseidon – you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one,

may there be many a summer morning when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you come into harbours seen for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind –

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey,

without her you would not have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Question 14: Which of the following best reflects the central theme of this poem?

a) If you don’t have high expectations, you will not be disappointed.

b) Don’t rush to your goal; the journey is what enriches you.

c) The longer the journey the greater the experiences you gather.

d) You cannot reach Ithaka without visiting Egyptian ports.

14) Answer (B)

View Video Solution

Solution:

The four lines “Better if it last for years ………… not expecting Ithaka to make you rich” gives us the central theme of the poem.

It says that the journey is more important than the goal.

This meaning is conveyed in option B.

Hence, option B is the answer.

Instructions

The controversy over genetically modified food continues unabated in the West. Genetic modification (GM) is the science by which the genetic material of a plant is altered, perhaps to make it more resistant to pests or killer weeds, or to enhance its nutritional value. Many food biotechnologists claim that GM will be a major contribution of science to mankind in the 21st century. On the other hand, large numbers of opponents, mainly in Europe, claim that the benefits of GM are a myth propagated by multinational corporations to increase their profits, that they pose a health hazard, and have therefore called for government to ban the sale of genetically-modified food.

The anti-GM campaign has been quite effective in Europe, with several European Union member countries imposing a virtual ban for five years over genetically-modified food imports. Since the genetically-modified food industry is particularly strong in the United States of America, the controversy also constitutes another chapter in the US-Europe skirmishes which have become particularly acerbic after the US invasion of Iraq.

To a large extent, the GM controversy has been ignored in the Indian media, although Indian biotechnologists have been quite active in GM research. Several groups of Indian biotechnologists have been working on various issues connected with crops grown in India. One concrete achievement which has recently figured in the news is that of a team led by the former vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru university, Asis Datta — it has successfully added an extra gene to potatoes to enhance the protein content of the tuber by at least 30 percent. It is quite likely that the GM controversy will soon hit the headlines in India since a spokesperson of the Indian Central government has recently announced that the government may use the protato in its midday meal programme for schools as early as next year.

Why should “scientific progress”, with huge potential benefits to the poor and malnourished, be so controversial? The anti-GM lobby contends that pernicious propaganda has vastly exaggerated the benefits of GM and completely evaded the costs which will have to be incurred if the genetically-modified food industry is allowed to grow unchecked. In particular, they allude to different types of costs.

This group contends that the most important potential cost is that the widespread distribution and growth of genetically-modified food will enable the corporate world (alias the multinational corporations – MNCs) to completely capture the food chain. A “small” group of biotech companies will patent the transferred genes as well as the technology associated with them. They will then buy up the competing seed merchants and seed-breeding centers, thereby controlling the production of food at every possible level. Independent farmers, big and small, will be completely wiped out of the food industry. At best, they will be reduced to the status of being subcontractors.

This line of argument goes on to claim that the control of the food chain will be disastrous for the poor since the MNCs, guided by the profit motive, will only focus on the high-value food items demanded by the affluent. Thus, in the long run, the production of basic staples which constitute the food basket of the poor will taper off. However, this vastly overestimates the power of the MNCs. Even if the research promoted by them does focus on the high-value food items, much of biotechnology research is also funded by governments in both developing and developed countries. Indeed, the protato is a by-product of this type of research. If the protato passes the field trials, there is no reason to believe that it cannot be marketed in the global potato market. And this type of success story can be repeated with other basic food items.

The second type of cost associated with the genetically modified food industry is environmental damage. The most common type of “genetic engineering” involved gene modification in plants designed to make them resistant to applications of weed-killers. This then enables farmers to use massive dosages of weedkillers so as to destroy or wipe out all competing varieties of plants in their field. However, some weeds through genetically-modified pollen contamination may acquire resistance to a variety of weed-killers. The only way to destroy these weeds is through the use of ever-stronger herbicides which are poisonous and linger on in the environment.

Question 15: The author doubts the anti-GM lobby’s contention that MNC control of the food chain will be disastrous for the poor because

a) MNCs will focus on high-value food items.

b) MNCs are driven by the motive of profit maximization.

c) MNCs are not the only group of actors in genetically-modified food research.

d) Economic development will help the poor buy MNC-produced food.

15) Answer (C)

View Video Solution

Solution:

By the line “Even if the research promoted by them ………………. in both developing and developed countries”, we can say that not only MNCs but also governments are involved in the research development.

So, MNCs are not the only group actors that are involved in genetically modified food research.

Hence, option C is the answer.

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