CAT 2020 Slot 1

Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Vocabulary used in speech or writing organizes itself in seven parts of speech (eight, if you count interjections such as Oh! and Gosh! and Fuhgeddaboudit!). Communication composed of these parts of speech must be organized by rules of grammar upon which we agree. When these rules break down, confusion and misunderstanding result. Bad grammar produces bad sentences. My favorite example from Strunk and White is this one: “As a mother of five, with another one on the way, my ironing board is always up.”

Nouns and verbs are the two indispensable parts of writing. Without one of each, no group of words can be a sentence, since a sentence is, by definition, a group of words containing a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb); these strings of words begin with a capital letter, end with a period, and combine to make a complete thought which starts in the writer’s head and then leaps to the reader’s.

Must you write complete sentences each time, every time? Perish the thought. If your work consists only of fragments and floating clauses, the Grammar Police aren’t going to come and take you away. Even William Strunk, that Mussolini of rhetoric, recognized the delicious pliability of language. “It is an old observation,” he writes, “that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric.” Yet he goes on to add this thought, which I urge you to consider: “Unless he is certain of doing well, [the writer] will probably do best to follow the rules.”

The telling clause here is Unless he is certain of doing well. If you don’t have a rudimentary grasp of how the parts of speech translate into coherent sentences, how can you be certain that you are doing well? How will you know if you’re doing ill, for that matter? The answer, of course, is that you can’t, you won’t. One who does grasp the rudiments of grammar finds a comforting simplicity at its heart, where there need be only nouns, the words that name, and verbs, the words that act.

Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails. Rocks explode. Jane transmits. Mountains float. These are all perfect sentences. Many such thoughts make little rational sense, but even the stranger ones (Plums deify!) have a kind of poetic weight that’s nice. The simplicity of noun-verb construction is useful—at the very least it can provide a safety net for your writing. Strunk and White caution against too many simple sentences in a row, but simple sentences provide a path you can follow when you fear getting lost in the tangles of rhetoric—all those restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, those modifying phrases, those appositives and compound-complex sentences. If you start to freak out at the sight of such unmapped territory (unmapped by you, at least), just remind yourself that rocks explode, Jane transmits, mountains float, and plums deify. Grammar is . . . the pole you grab to get your thoughts up on their feet and walking.

Question 11

“Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails. Rocks explode. Jane transmits. Mountains float.” None of the following statements can be seen as similar EXCEPT:

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Question 12

Which one of the following quotes best captures the main concern of the passage?

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Question 13

All of the following statements can be inferred from the passage EXCEPT that:

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Question 14

Inferring from the passage, the author could be most supportive of which one of the following practices?

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Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

In the late 1960s, while studying the northern-elephant-seal population along the coasts of Mexico and California, Burney Le Boeuf and his colleagues couldn’t help but notice that the threat calls of males at some sites sounded different from those of males at other sites. . . . That was the first time dialects were documented in a nonhuman mammal. . . .

All the northern elephant seals that exist today are descendants of the small herd that survived on Isla Guadalupe [after the near extinction of the species in the nineteenth century]. As that tiny population grew, northern elephant seals started to recolonize former breeding locations. It was precisely on the more recently colonized islands where Le Boeuf found that the tempos of the male vocal displays showed stronger differences to the ones from Isla Guadalupe, the founder colony.

In order to test the reliability of these dialects over time, Le Boeuf and other researchers visited Año Nuevo Island in California—the island where males showed the slowest pulse rates in their calls—every winter from 1968 to 1972. “What we found is that the pulse rate increased, but it still remained relatively slow compared to the other colonies we had measured in the past” Le Boeuf told me.

At the individual level, the pulse of the calls stayed the same: A male would maintain his vocal signature throughout his lifetime. But the average pulse rate was changing. Immigration could have been responsible for this increase, as in the early 1970s, 43 percent of the males on Año Nuevo had come from southern rookeries that had a faster pulse rate. This led Le Boeuf and his collaborator, Lewis Petrinovich, to deduce that the dialects were, perhaps, a result of isolation over time, after the breeding sites had been recolonized. For instance, the first settlers of Año Nuevo could have had, by chance, calls with low pulse rates. At other sites, where the scientists found faster pulse rates, the opposite would have happened—seals with faster rates would have happened to arrive first.

As the population continued to expand and the islands kept on receiving immigrants from the original population, the calls in all locations would have eventually regressed to the average pulse rate of the founder colony. In the decades that followed, scientists noticed that the geographical variations reported in 1969 were not obvious anymore. . . . In the early 2010s, while studying northern elephant seals on Año Nuevo Island, [researcher Caroline] Casey noticed, too, that what Le Boeuf had heard decades ago was not what she heard now. . . . By performing more sophisticated statistical analyses on both sets of data, [Casey and Le Boeuf] confirmed that dialects existed back then but had vanished. Yet there are other differences between the males from the late 1960s and their great-great-grandsons: Modern males exhibit more individual diversity, and their calls are more complex. While 50 years ago the drumming pattern was quite simple and the dialects denoted just a change in tempo, Casey explained, the calls recorded today have more complex structures, sometimes featuring doublets or triplets. . . .

Question 15

All of the following can be inferred from Le Boeuf’s study as described in the passage EXCEPT that:

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Question 16

Which one of the following conditions, if true, could have ensured that male northern elephant seal dialects did not disappear?

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Question 17

Which one of the following best sums up the overall history of transformation of male northern elephant seal calls?

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Question 18

From the passage it can be inferred that the call pulse rate of male northern elephant seals in the southern rookeries was faster because:

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Instructions

For the following questions answer them individually

Question 19

Five jumbled up sentences, related to a topic, are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a coherent paragraph. Identify the odd one out and key in the number of the sentence as your answer:

1. For feminists, the question of how we read is inextricably linked with the question of what we read.
2. Elaine Showalter’s critique of the literary curriculum is exemplary of this work.
3. Androcentric literature structures the reading experience differently depending on the gender of the reader.
4. The documentation of this realization was one of the earliest tasks undertaken by feminist critics.
5. More specifically, the feminist inquiry into the activity of reading begins with the realization that the literary canon is androcentric, and that this has a profoundly damaging effect on women readers.

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Question 20

The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

For nearly a century most psychologists have embraced one view of intelligence. Individuals are born with more or less intelligence potential (I.Q.); this potential is heavily influenced by heredity and difficult to alter; experts in measurement can determine a person’s intelligence early in life, currently from paper-and-pencil measures, perhaps eventually from examining the brain in action or even scrutinizing his/her genome. Recently, criticism of this conventional wisdom has mounted. Biologists ask if speaking of a single entity called “intelligence” is coherent and question the validity of measures used to estimate heritability of a trait in humans, who, unlike plants or animals, are not conceived and bred under controlled conditions.

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