Boost Your CAT Verbal Ability with These Essential Reading Comprehension Practice Questions
For those preparing for the CAT exam, it is highly recommended to download the provided PDF of important Reading Comprehension practice questions. These questions are based on previously asked questions in the CAT and other MBA exams, making them highly relevant and valuable study material. The PDF contains a variety of practice questions covering a wide range of topics, enabling test-takers to improve their comprehension skills and familiarize themselves with the exam format and question types. The PDF is available for free and offers an excellent opportunity for candidates to enhance their preparation for the Verbal Ability section of the CAT exam.
Instructions: When Buddhism entered China it brought with it a new world. It brought a knowledge unknown before regarding the heavenly bodies, regarding nature and regarding medicine, and a practice vastly above the realm of magical arts. In addition to these practical benefits, Buddhism proclaimed a new spiritual universe far more real and extensive than any of which the Chinese had dreamed, and peopled with spiritual beings having characteristics entirely novel. In comparison with this new universe or series of universes which Indian imagination had created, the Chinese universe was wooden and geometric. Since it was an organized system and a greater rather than a different one, the Chinese people readily accepted it and made it their own.
Buddhism not only enlarged the universe and gave the individual a range of opportunity hitherto unsuspected, but it introduced a scheme of religious practice, or rather several of them, enabling the individual devotee to attain a place in this spiritual universe through his own efforts. These “ways” of salvation were quite in harmony with Chinese ideas. They resembled what had already been a part of the national practice and so were readily adopted and adapted by the Chinese.
Buddhism rendered a great service to the Chinese through its new estimate of the individual. Ancient China scarcely recognized the individual. He was merged in the family and the clan. Taoists, to be sure, talked of “immortals” and Confucianism exhibited its typical personality, or “princely man,” but these were thought of as supermen, as ideals. The classics of China had very little to say about the common people. Buddhism, on the other hand, gave every individual a distinct place in the great wheel dharma, the law, and made it possible for him to reach the very highest goal of salvation. This introduced a genuinely new element into the social and family life of the Chinese people.
Buddhism was so markedly superior to any one of the four other methods of expressing the religious life, that it quickly won practical recognition as the real religion of China. Buddhism was able to leave untouched the expressions of Chinese personal and social life, and yet it went far beyond them in ministering to religious development. Its ideas of being, of moral responsibility and of religious relationships furnished a new psychology which with all its imperfections far surpassed that of the Chinese. Buddhism’s organization was so satisfying and adaptable that not only was it taken over readily by the Chinese, but it has also persisted in China without marked changes since its introduction. Most of all it stressed personal salvation and promised an escape from the impersonal world of distress and hunger which surrounds the average Chinese into a heaven ruled by Amitâbha, the Merciful. The obligations of Buddhism are very definite and universally recognized. It enforces high standards of living, but has added significance because it draws each devotee into a sort of fellowship with the divine, and mates not this life alone, but this life plus a future life, the end of human activity. Buddhism, therefore, really expresses the deepest religious life of the people of China.
Question 1: What is the primary purpose of the passage?
a) To show how Buddhism was vastly superior to Confucianism and Taoism that existed in ancient China
b) To explain the primary differences between Buddhism and the religions native to China
c) To explain the reasons for Buddhism being readily adopted by the Chinese and its emergence as the real religion of China
d) To show that Buddhism was the first system in China to elevate the importance of the individual above the importance of the family and clan
Question 2: According to the paragraph, which of the following reasons contributed to Buddhism being readily accepted within China?
A. The ways to salvation described by Buddhism were similar to the prevailing practices
B. Buddhism was the first religion in China to recognize the importance of the individual
C. Buddhism was a well organized system
a) A & B only
b) A & C only
c) B only
d) All of the above
Question 3: Which of the following statements can be inferred from the paragraph?
A. Before Buddhism, there was no belief system in China which gave its individual followers the means to salvation
B. Buddhism placed an unprecedented amount of importance in the individual
C. The belief systems existing in China before Buddhism were less imaginative and more organized than Buddhism
a) A & B only
b) A & C only
c) B & C only
d) All of the above
Question 4: Which of the following, if true, would weaken the main argument being made by the author?
a) Buddhism was initially adopted by the royal court and spread through China because of the king’s patronage
b) At the time of Buddhism’s introduction, Taoism and Confucianism were in a state of decay and had become reduced to systems of superstitions
c) Buddhism was not limited to just the spiritual life of the Chinese but also seeped into their social and cultural life
d) Buddhism tried to bring unity of religion by interpenetrating Taoism and Confucianism
Question 5: Which of the following options would be the most appropriate title for the passage?
a) China’s acceptance of Buddhism
b) Buddhism’s domination over Taoism
c) The Road to Salvation
d) Buddhism’s introduction to China
Instructions: The Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer approaches to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist; the Politicus or Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions of the State are more clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art, the Symposium and the Protagoras are of higher excellence. But no other Dialogue of Plato has the same largeness of view and the same perfection of style; no other shows an equal knowledge of the world, or contains more of those thoughts which are new as well as old, and not of one age only but of all. Nowhere in Plato is there a deeper irony or a greater wealth of humour or imagery, or more dramatic power. Nor in any other of his writings is the attempt made to interweave life and speculation, or to connect politics with philosophy. The Republic is the centre around which the other Dialogues may be grouped; here philosophy reaches the highest point to which ancient thinkers ever attained. Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon among the moderns, was the first who conceived a method of knowledge, although neither of them always distinguished the bare outline or form from the substance of truth; and both of them had to be content with an abstraction of science which was not yet realized. He was the greatest metaphysical genius whom the world has seen; and in him, more than in any other ancient thinker, the germs of future knowledge are contained. The sciences of logic and psychology, which have supplied so many instruments of thought to after-ages, are based upon the analyses of Socrates and Plato. The principles of definition, the law of contradiction, the fallacy of arguing in a circle, the distinction between the essence and accidents of a thing or notion, between means and ends, between causes and conditions; also the division of the mind into the rational, concupiscent, and irascible elements, or of pleasures and desires into necessary and unnecessary—these and other great forms of thought are all of them to be found in the Republic, and were probably first invented by Plato. The greatest of all logical truths, and the one of which writers on philosophy are most apt to lose sight, the difference between words and things, has been most strenuously insisted on by him, although he has not always avoided the confusion of them in his own writings. But he does not bind up truth in logical formulae,—logic is still veiled in metaphysics; and the science which he imagines to ‘contemplate all truth and all existence’ is very unlike the doctrine of the syllogism which Aristotle claims to have discovered.
Neither must we forget that the Republic is but the third part of a still larger design which was to have included an ideal history of Athens, as well as a political and physical philosophy. The fragment of the Critias has given birth to a world-famous fiction, second only in importance to the tale of Troy and the legend of Arthur; and is said as a fact to have inspired some of the early navigators of the sixteenth century. This mythical tale, of which the subject was a history of the wars of the Athenians against the Island of Atlantis, is supposed to be founded upon an unfinished poem of Solon, to which it would have stood in the same relation as the writings of the logographers to the poems of Homer. It would have told of a struggle for Liberty (cp. Tim.), intended to represent the conflict of Persia and Hellas. We may judge from the noble commencement of the Timaeus, from the fragment of the Critias itself, and from the third book of the Laws, in what manner Plato would have treated this high argument. We can only guess why the great design was abandoned; perhaps because Plato became sensible of some incongruity in a fictitious history, or because he had lost his interest in it, or because advancing years forbade the completion of it; and we may please ourselves with the fancy that had this imaginary narrative ever been finished, we should have found Plato himself sympathising with the struggle for Hellenic independence (cp. Laws), singing a hymn of triumph over Marathon and Salamis, perhaps making the reflection of Herodotus where he contemplates the growth of the Athenian empire—’How brave a thing is freedom of speech, which has made the Athenians so far exceed every other state of Hellas in greatness!’ or, more probably, attributing the victory to the ancient good order of Athens and to the favor of Apollo and Athene.
Again, Plato may be regarded as the ‘captain’ (‘arhchegoz’) or leader of a goodly band of followers; for in the Republic is to be found the original of Cicero’s De Republica, of St. Augustine’s City of God, of the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, and of the numerous other imaginary States which are framed upon the same model. The extent to which Aristotle or the Aristotelian school were indebted to him in the Politics has been little recognised, and the recognition is the more necessary because it is not made by Aristotle himself. The two philosophers had more in common than they were conscious of; and probably some elements of Plato remain still undetected in Aristotle. In English philosophy too, many affinities may be traced, not only in the works of the Cambridge Platonists, but in great original writers like Berkeley or Coleridge, to Plato and his ideas. That there is a truth higher than experience, of which the mind bears witness to herself, is a conviction which in our own generation has been enthusiastically asserted, and is perhaps gaining ground. Of the Greek authors who at the Renaissance brought a new life into the world Plato has had the greatest influence. The Republic of Plato is also the first treatise upon education, of which the writings of Milton and Locke, Rousseau, Jean Paul, and Goethe are the legitimate descendants. Like Dante or Bunyan, he has a revelation of another life; like Bacon, he is profoundly impressed with the unity of knowledge; in the early Church he exercised a real influence on theology, and at the Revival of Literature on politics. Even the fragments of his words when ‘repeated at second-hand’ (Symp.) have in all ages ravished the hearts of men, who have seen reflected in them their own higher nature. He is the father of idealism in philosophy, in politics, in literature. And many of the latest conceptions of modern thinkers and statesmen, such as the unity of knowledge, the reign of law, and the equality of the sexes, have been anticipated in a dream by him.
Question 6: Why does the author feel that the Republic is Plato’s greatest work?
a) Most of the modern day philosophers, like Bacon, Milton and Locke, were greatly influenced by the metaphysical genius present in The Republic.
b) The Republic contained gives a great overview of all the philosophy Plato wrote about and his other works can be considered extensions of The Republic.
c) The Republic was the first book to contain sciences like logic and psychology which greatly helped in developing many instruments of thought later on.
d) The Republic is part of a larger narrative which was supposed to have an ideal history of Athens in addition to political and physical philosophy
Question 7: Which of the following would the author mostly agree to?
a) The equality of sexes is a true representation of a modern developed society.
b) It is difficult to separate logic from metaphysics as the human thought process is not completely understood.
c) Logic, inference and theory of contradiction are powerful tools in philosophy.
d) The coherence of thought and logic present in the ancient philosophers is greater than that present in the modern philosophers.
Question 8: Which of the following is the author most likely to agree the most with?
a) Aristotle was largely influenced by Plato’s theories and he used them to invent Syllogolism and become the greatest ancient philosopher
b) Plato greatest contribution to philosophy was his insights in metaphysics
c) Many of the advances by modern society like gender equality and reign of law were primarily driven because of Plato’s efforts.
d) A lot of philosophers who were influenced largely by Plato, did not acknowledge publicly his influence.
Question 9: Which of the following does not follow directly from the passage?
a) Plato was masterful in defining truth using syllogism and logic.
b) Many philosophers don’t delve deep into the difference between words and things.
c) The Republic is only a part of an larger, incomplete work by Plato
d) The principles of logic, rationality and the laws of contradiction were probably invented by Plato for the first time in the Republic.
Question 10: Suggest a title for the passage described above.
a) Journey of Metaphysics, from Plato to Bacon.
b) The Republic – Plato’s greatest philosophical book.
c) The importance of logic in ancient Greek philosophy.
d) The Republic – How Plato’s work inspired modern philosophers.
Instructions: Read the following passage and answer the questions given below:
Suspicion is a beast with a thousand eyes, but most of them are blind, or colour-blind, or askew, or rolling, or yellow. It is a beast with a thousand ears, but most of them are like the ears of the deaf man in the comic recitation who, when you say “whiskers” hears “solicitors,” and when you are talking about the weather thinks you are threatening to murder him. It is a beast with a thousand tongues, and they are all slanderous. On the whole, it is the most loathsome monster outside the pages of “The Faërie Queene”. Just as the ugliest ape that ever was born is all the more repellent for being so like a man, so suspicion is all the more hideous because it is so close a caricature of the passion for truth. It is a leering perversion of that passion which sent Columbus looking for a lost continent and urged Galileo to turn his telescope on the heavens. Columbus may, in a sense, be said to have suspected that America was there, and Galileo suspected more than was good for his comfort about the conduct of the stars. But these were noble suspicions–leaps into the light. They are no more comparable to the suspicions which are becoming a feature of public life than the energies of an explorer of the South Pole are comparable to the energies of one of those private detectives who are paid to grub after evidence in divorce cases. One might put it a good deal more strongly, indeed, for the private detective may in his own way be an officer of truth and humanity, while the suspicious politician is the prophet only of party disreputableness. He is like the average suspicious husband, in the case of whom, even when his suspicions are true, one is inclined to sympathise with the wife for being married to so green-eyed a fool. Suspicion, take it all in all, is the most tedious and scrannel of the sins.
It would be folly, of course, to suggest that there is no such thing as justifiable suspicion. If you see a man in a Tube lift with his hand on some old gentleman’s watch-chain, you are justified in suspecting that his object is something less innocent than to persuade the old gentleman to become a Plymouth Brother. But the man of suspicious temperament is not content with cases of this sort. He is the sort of man who, if it were not for the law of libel, would suspect the Rev. F. B. Meyer of having stolen La Gioconda from the Louvre.
Question 11: What is the main point of the paragraph?
a) Suspicious men are rarely justified in their suspicions and almost never listen to reason
b) Suspicion is nothing like passion for truth as the latter is the domain of intellectuals while the former is the domain of rabblerousers
c) Suspicion is a loathsome monster, all the more loathsome for its close resemblance to the pursuit of truth
d) Though some suspicions are justified, most of them are fancies of unstable minds
Question 12: Which of the following can be inferred from the paragraph?
a) Suspicion was personified in some tales of “The Faërie Queene” as a green monster
b) The misgivings of a suspicious mind often extend to cases where there is little to no reason for there to be doubt
c) The author believes that women cheat on their husbands because they have suspicious fools for husbands
d) The Rev. F.B. Meyer was the victim of a malicious campaign driven by a suspicious mind
Question 13: Which of the following would strengthen the author’s main point?
a) Most of the world’s discoveries and inventions have been made by curious minds, not by suspicious minds
b) Galileo was dismissed by his peers as having an unsound mind
c) The passion for truth involves some amount of danger as it involves challenging socially accepted view of things
d) Women with suspicious husbands are far more likely to cheat as compared to women with trusting husbands
Question 14: What is the author’s attitude towards Galileo?
a) The author believes that Galileo had a passion for truth and pursued truth even though it put him danger
b) The author thinks Galileo had a suspicious mind but believes his suspicions were justified
c) The author thinks Galileo had a suspicious temperament but forgives this folly due to Galileo’s other considerable gifts
d) The author considers Galileo in the same league as the ordinary private detective who is hired to dig up dirt in divorce cases
Question 15: What is the main point of the example of the “man in the Tube” in the last paragraph?
a) When there is incontrovertible evidence against suspected party, suspicion is justified
b) Suspicion can rot the best of minds and make them see things that did not occur
c) Suspicion of theft can at times be justified but mud-slinging can never be justified
d) Some suspicions are perfectly justified
Answers & Solutions:
1) Answer (C)
The passage elaborates on why Chinese people were attracted to Buddhism. The primary purpose of the passage is to study the reasons behind Buddhism’s adoption by the Chinese. Hence, option C.
2) Answer (B)
A and C have been directly quoted as contributing factors to Buddhism’s ready acceptance by the Chinese. Statement B, though true, was not a contributing factor to Buddhism’s acceptance.
3) Answer (A)
Both A and B directly follow from the passage. Only the first half of statement C is given. The passage does not say whether Buddhism was less organized than the existing belief systems.
4) Answer (A)
The main point of the passage is that Buddhism readily spread through China because of its superiority to existing religions, its organization, its similarity to existing customs etc. If statement A is true then the reason for Buddhism’s acceptance throughout China, contradictory to the author’s assertion, would be the royal patronage.
5) Answer (A)
The passage elaborates the different reasons behind China’s acceptance of Buddhism. Hence, a is the most appropriate option.
6) Answer (B)
Although all the statements given in the options are factually correct, the reason the author feels that the Republic is Plato’s best work is contained in the initial parts of the passage.
The author mentions that the largeness of view contained in the Republic is unmatched and ” The Republic is the centre around which the other Dialogues may be grouped”.
7) Answer (C)
The author describes the laws of contradiction and rational logic as ‘great forms of thought’ and suggests that they had a large influence on the works of the modern philosophers. So, option c) is something the author would agree with.
8) Answer (D)
The author writes in the last paragraph that many philosophers, especially Aristotle were largely indebted to Plato for his pinoeering work which was never acknowledged publicly. Option d) is the correct answer.
9) Answer (A)
Syllogolism was claimed to have been invented by Aristotle. Also, although Plato was extremely adept in writing about logic, he never wanted to define truth completely using logical formulae and always explained a part of it in abstract metaphysical sense. This is known from the phrase, “he does not bind up truth in logical formulae”.
10) Answer (B)
The passage talks about Plato’s work, The Republic, from various points of view. It describes why it is a great book, how it used logic for the first time and how it inspired modern philosophers.
Among, all the options given, the only one which encompasses all aspects of the passage is the second one.
11) Answer (C)
The main point of the passage is the repulsiveness of suspicion and how it is a gross caricature of passion for truth. Option C most appropriately captures this point.
12) Answer (B)
We can infer statement B from the last paragraph where the author states that “But the man of suspicious temperament is not content with cases of this sort”. Hence this implies that a man with a suspicious temperament suspects even in cases where there is no reason to suspect.
13) Answer (A)
The main point of the paragraph is that Suspicion is repulsive and unlike the passion for truth has no noble qualities. The first option ties in with the assertion of the author that the likes of Galileo and Columbus had a passion for truth and not a suspicious temperament.
14) Answer (A)
We can infer the author’s attitude towards Galileo from the line “Galileo suspected more than was good for his comfort about the conduct of the stars”. The line implies that Galileo’s ideas put him in danger.
15) Answer (D)
The example states that not all suspicions are baseless and some may be perfectly justified. The author does not insist on incontrovertible evidence but just the appearance of impropriety.