Tips to solve Critical Reasoning questions in CAT RCs

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Critical reasoning in CAT VARC
Critical reasoning in CAT VARC

Tips to solve Critical Reasoning questions in CAT RCs

When it comes to the CAT exam, Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) is often considered as the nemesis for many. Whether it is the difficulty in understanding a given passage or answering the dreadful follow-up questions, many students simply shun the thought of dealing with this section. The RCs account for about 75% of the VARC section in CAT, so performing well in the RC questions is crucial to cracking CAT. Some of the questions asked in RCs are based on Critical Reasoning. The critical reasoning questions tests the candidate’s ability to analyse how the given statement would affect the argument. In this article, let us discuss some excellent tips on how to approach the critical resoning questions in the reading comprehension section for CAT, and also a few solved examples.

Check out the previous year papers of CAT to know about the level of CR questions and the type of passages that appear in the VARC section. Also, taking a Free CAT mock test will help the candidates in gauging their strengths and weaknesses, and can signifucantly help in understanding how to approach the CR questions in the RCs. You can also prepare for the same, and take the tests at your convenience by using this highly rated app for preparation.

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Impotant terminology and tips to solve critical reasoning questions in CAT RCs

Before we take a look at the examples, let us see the basic terminology related to Critical Reasoning:

Premise: A premise is a fact stated in the passage and can be assumed to be true. All conclusions are derived on the basis of these facts and implicit assumptions hidden within the stated inferences.

Assumption: An assumption is a fact that is not explicitly stated in the passage but is necessary to arrive at the conclusion stated in the passage.

Stated Inference is the conclusion explicitly stated in the passage.

Unstated Inference is the conclusion that can be derived with reasonable certainty from the information given in the passage.

Tips:

  • In order to support the argument, bolster the assumption.
  • To weaken the argument, attack the assumption.
  • While reviewing these questions after the test, check where your line of reasoning differed from that of the author.
  • Analyze the reason why you thought the answer you marked to be correct, and analyse the reason behind the actual correct answer.

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Examples

Let’s take a look at some examples on critical reasoning questions, along with detailed explanations. For more of such examples, you can take the Sectional tests and Topic tests regularly to measure your improvement and solidify your ability to identify and approach such questions.

Question 1:

Most reportage on Greece’s exit from EU has described it as a catastrophe for Greece. This is entirely untrue. It would be a catastrophe – for the bankers in Germany, Britain and France. Greece declaring bankruptcy and exiting the EU is in its best interests. Its debt is unsustainable and no amount of bailout money can change that. It is in the bankers’ interest that Greece continues to pay interest on a debt it can never repay. It is in the bankers’ interest that Greece’s debt remains on their books and Greece remains a debtor forever. Declaring bankruptcy is any nation’s basic right – and Greece should be allowed to exercise this right. Only then can they begin to rebuild their economy. Without a default, the current situation in Greece will only get worse.

Which of the following statements, if true, would do most to strengthen the author’s main point?

a)Greek politicians, and not the general public, were responsible for the profligate spending that caused the financial crisis

b)50% of Greek youths have been unemployed for more than 2 years and could potentially become unemployable forever if Greece does not default

c)There is popular support in Greece for defaulting on the debt and exiting the EU

d)Greece’s default is likely to be closely followed by default by Spain and Italy leading to major turmoil in the global financial markets.

Explanation

The main point of the paragraph is that the default is in Greece’s best interest and hence any information that points out the advantages of exiting or disadvantages of not exiting will strengthen author’s main point. Hence, option B highlights a potential risk if Greece does not default and hence strengthens the author’s main point.

Question 2: 

Chikungunya is an infection caused by the chikungunya virus, which is transmitted from the bite of an Aedes mosquito. The number of people diagnosed with Chikungunya in the state of Uttar Pradesh is thrice the number of people diagnosed last year. The concerned authorities have concluded that measures to control mosquitoes in this state have failed.

Which of the following, if true, would support the conclusion by the concerned authorities?

a) A very high number of people who have been diagnosed with Chikungunya in Uttar Pradesh have returned from abroad
b) Hospitals have been equipped with effective diagnostic tests to detect Chikungunya
c) Other diseases like Dengue fever, which are transmitted from mosquitoes have increased in number
d) Uttar Pradesh has a presence of a lot of industrial areas
e)More number of cases are being reported this year due to the awareness in people of the threat of Chikungunya

Explanation-

Answer (C)

The authorities have concluded that the measures to control mosquito population have failed. Option C directly supports the conclusion of the authorities by saying that other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes have also increased in number during the same time period. Thus Option C supports the conclusion of the concerned authorities.

Question 3: Consider the two statements given below.

Statement I: Changing the rules of a game makes it interesting. That’s why the rules of cricket have been changed constantly and this should not stop.
Statement II: People’s interest in Cricket has been increasing over the years.

a) Statement I is the cause, statement II is the effect.
b) Statement II is the cause, statement I is the effect.
c) Both the statements are independent causes.
d) Both the statements are effects of independent causes.
e)Both are effects of a common cause.

Explanation

Answer (A)

The first statement says that rules have been constantly changed over the years and statement II says that the people’s interest in the game has also been increasing over the years. Thus, I is the cause due to which people’s interest has been growing. Hence Option A is the correct answer.

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Question 4:

A majority of the most productive employees at GCS, a software consulting firm, work for 10 hours a day, 4 days of the week instead of the conventional 8 hours a day for 5 days a week. Observing this pattern, GCS’s CEO plans to keep the offices closed on Fridays and having all employees work the same schedule-ten hours a day, four days a week. He feels that this would improve the overall productivity of the company.
Which of the following, if true, would cast most serious doubt on the CEOS’s plan to increase the productivity by following the new work schedule?

a) Typically, GCS employee’s least productive hours in the workplace are the early afternoon hours.
b) Working ten hours a day has allowed the most productive employees to work two hours alone each day in their respective offices relatively undisturbed by fellow employees.
c) Those GCS employees who have a four-day workweek do not take any of their office work to do at home on Fridays.
d) None of the employees who work four days a week had volunteered to work that schedule, but all were assigned to it by their supervisors.

Explanation

Answer (B)

The major reason for his plan is based on the idea that people working ten hours on 4 days are more productive. So we have to look for an option which shows that the reasons for more productivity is something else. Option A is irrelevant because people working for 10 hours will also be working in the afternoon. Option C supports the CEO’s claim because it implies that people working 10 hours a day are able to finish their work in office hours itself. Option D is also irrelevant to the given situation. Option B weakens the CEO’s proposal because it shows that people were more productive because they did not have too many distractions. So if all the people work for 10 hours then it won’t have any impact on the productivity. Thus the correct option is option B.

Question 5:

The supermarkets waste more energy than any other industry in India. Nearly 85 percent of the Rs100 crores spent on electricity bills by supermarkets each year is thriftlessly squandered by the use of inept equipment. Furthermore, approximately 65 percent of supermarkets in India are small businesses that are incapable of investing in energy-efficient technology. Which of the following statements can be inferred from the information above?

a) Approximately Rs15 crores of the amount spent on energy each year by the supermarkets is not squandered.
b) By using energy-efficient technology, small supermarkets will reduce its expenses by a greater percentage than will a big supermarket.
c) The replacement of inefficient equipment represents the largest potential source of energy savings for the supermarkets
d) No industry in India spends greater than Rs 100 crores each year on energy.

Explanation

Answer (c)

The passage states that 85% i.e. Rs 85 crores is wasted due to inefficient equipment. The rest of Rs 15 crores in unaccounted. That doesn’t mean that some of this amount is not squandered. It might be wasted by employees who forget to turn off the lights. Thus, A is incorrect. B is incorrect because the no information is given about savings of small supermarkets as compared to that of big supermarkets. D is wrong because the passage doesn’t provide information about energy costs of any other industry except that of the supermarket. The passage only states that supermarkets waste more energy than any other industry. It does not claim that supermarkets spend the most in energy. C is correct because according to the passage, Rs 80 crores is attributed to inefficient equipment. That means Rs 20 crores is the highest amount that can be saved through other sources. Thus replacement of inefficient equipment represents the largest potential for energy savings.

Question 6:

It is sometimes mooted that there can be democracy in a two party system. That would be correct if politics were a game like cricket or football; but politics is not sports.

Which of the following would strengthen the argument?

a) Two party system functions well
b) Politics is a dirty game.
c) Two political parties limit the choice of the voters.
d) None of these.

Answer (C)

In this paragraph, the author compares the politics with the game like cricket or football and wants to conclude there can be no democracy in 2 party system. Option C strengthens the fact as if it was true than the two party system in a democracy would not be good as it limits the choice of voters.

Which of the following would weaken the argument?

a) The game of politics is played like any other game, for example, football.
b) Politics is not a sport.
c) Political parties struggle for power.
d) None of these.

Answer (A)

The contention of the argument is that there cannot be democracy in a two party system because politics is game unlike the other traditional games. So, if it is true that even politics is played like other games, then the argument is weakened. Option a) is the correct answer.

The assumption/assumptions of the argument is/are which of the following?
I. Politics is not a game.
II. Two party system is ideal for democracy.
III. Cricket is played by two teams.

a) Only I
b) Only II
c) Only III
d) I, II, III

Answer (C)

That politics is not a game is mentioned in the premise. The premise says that there can be democracy in a two party system if it is like a game like Cricket. It underlying assumption is that Cricket is a game played by two teams. So, only III is a valid assumption. Option c) is the correct answer.

The next step is to practice a lot of questions. Taking a lot of Mocks for CAT and Sectional tests will help you to get a hold on the concepts, which you can use to fine tune your test taking strategies. As mentioned earlier, while reviewing the VARC questions in a mock, check where your line of reasoning differed from that of the author. Analyze the reason why you thought the answer you marked to be correct. This will help you to refine your approach and thought process. Also, take Free CAT Daily targets, for a rigorous practice on a daily basis.

We hope that this article helped you to know the important tips to approach the critical reasoning questions in RCs. For more such useful articles, try going through Central idea and tone of the passage and download the CAT verbal ability PDF.

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