XAT Reading Comprehension questions

XAT 2024 Reading Comprehension questions

Question 1

Read the following paragraph and answer the question that follows.

Fear is the greatest motivator of all time. Conflict born of fear is behind our every action, driving us forward like the cogs of a clock. Fear is desire’s dark dress, its doppelgänger. “Love and dread are brothers,” says Julian of Norwich. As desire is wanting and fear is not-wanting, they become inexorably linked; just as desire can be destructive (the desire for power), fear can be constructive (fear of hurting another); fear of poverty becomes desire for wealth.

Which of the following statements can be BEST concluded from the paragraph?

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Question 2

Read the following paragraphs and answer the question that follows.

Paragraph 1:

Here are some handy rules of thumb. Anyone who calls themselves a thought leader is to be avoided. A man who does not wear socks cannot be trusted. And a company that holds an employee-appreciation day does not appreciate its employees.

Paragraph 2:

It is not just that the message sent by acknowledging staff for one out of 260-odd working days is a bit of a giveaway (there isn’t a love-your-spouse day ... for the same reason). It is also that the ideas are usually so tragically unappreciative. You have worked hard all year so you get a slice of cold pizza or a rock stamped with the words “You rock”?

Which of the following BEST describes the relationship of the first paragraph with the second paragraph?

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Question 3

Read the following passage and answer the question that follows.

How do we choose one discovery over any other? The physician Lewis Thomas made a choice. He bluntly asserts: “The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th-century science has been the discovery of human ignorance.”

The science writer Timothy Ferris agrees: “Our ignorance, of course, has always been with us, and always will be. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.”

It is an odd, unsettling thought that the culmination of our greatest century of discovery should be the confirmation of our ignorance. How did such a thing come about?

Which of the following statements can be BEST concluded from the above passage?

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Question 4

Read the following paragraph and answer the question that follows.

You may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value to you than a much smaller amount if you have not thought it over for yourself; because only through ordering what you know by comparing every truth with every other truth can you take complete possession of your knowledge and get it into your power.

Based on the above information, which of the following statements MUST be true?

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Question 5

Read the following passage and answer the question that follows.

That’s how life plays out for all of us. We lose some. Like sportspersons, we too pack our gear and go to work. But unlike them, the gaze of the world is not upon us. Most of us do our business in anonymity, very few of us are emotionally wired to the outcomes of our day jobs. We don’t come back feeling like winners. Or losers. As sports fans we can summon empathy for those who stretch their bodies and minds to the limit in the pursuit of athletic excellence and provide such joys in the process.

But we will never experience the highs that are their reward. And we will never know the depth of their lows, which are their burden.

Still, no one will know better than Rohit and Dravid that its already a new day. There might never be a World Cup win for them. But there are loved ones to go to. Life awaits still.

Which of the following statements BEST summarizes the above passage?

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Instruction for set 1:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

What I call fast political thinking is driven by simplified moral frames. These moral frames give us the sense that those who agree with us have the right answer, while those who disagree are unreasonable, or worse.
Each moral frame sets up an axis of favorable and unfavorable. Progressives use the oppressor-oppressed axis. Progressives view most favorably those groups that can be regarded as oppressed or standing with the oppressed, and they view most unfavorably those groups that can be regarded as oppressors. Conservatives use the civilization-barbarism axis. Conservatives view most favorably the institutions that they believe constrain and guide people toward civilized behavior, and they view most unfavorably those people who they see as trying to tear down such institutions. Libertarians use the liberty-coercion axis. Libertarians view most favorably those people who defer to decisions that are made on the basis of personal choice and voluntary agreement, and they view most unfavorably those people who favor government interventions that restrict personal choice.

If you have a dominant axis, I suggest that you try to learn the languages spoken by those who use the other axes. Don’t worry—learning other languages won’t make it easy for others to convert you to their point of view. By the same token, it will not make it easy to convert others to your point of view. However, you may become aware of assumptions your side makes that others might legitimately question.
What learning the other languages can do is enable you to understand how others think about political issues. Instead of resorting to the theory that people with other views are crazy or stupid or evil, you may concede that they have a coherent point of view. In fact, their point of view could be just as coherent as yours. The problem is that those people apply their point of view in circumstances where you are fairly sure that it is not really appropriate.

Consider that there may be situations in which one frame describes the problem much better than the others. For example, I believe that the civil rights movement in the United States is best described using the progressive heuristic of the oppressed and the oppressor. In the 1950s and the early 1960s, the people who had the right model were the people who were fighting for black Americans to have true voting rights, equal access to housing, and an end to the Jim Crow laws. The civilization-barbarism axis and the liberty-coercion axis did not provide the best insight into
the issue….

Question 6

Which of the following BEST describes the civilization-barbarism axis?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 1:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

What I call fast political thinking is driven by simplified moral frames. These moral frames give us the sense that those who agree with us have the right answer, while those who disagree are unreasonable, or worse.
Each moral frame sets up an axis of favorable and unfavorable. Progressives use the oppressor-oppressed axis. Progressives view most favorably those groups that can be regarded as oppressed or standing with the oppressed, and they view most unfavorably those groups that can be regarded as oppressors. Conservatives use the civilization-barbarism axis. Conservatives view most favorably the institutions that they believe constrain and guide people toward civilized behavior, and they view most unfavorably those people who they see as trying to tear down such institutions. Libertarians use the liberty-coercion axis. Libertarians view most favorably those people who defer to decisions that are made on the basis of personal choice and voluntary agreement, and they view most unfavorably those people who favor government interventions that restrict personal choice.

If you have a dominant axis, I suggest that you try to learn the languages spoken by those who use the other axes. Don’t worry—learning other languages won’t make it easy for others to convert you to their point of view. By the same token, it will not make it easy to convert others to your point of view. However, you may become aware of assumptions your side makes that others might legitimately question.
What learning the other languages can do is enable you to understand how others think about political issues. Instead of resorting to the theory that people with other views are crazy or stupid or evil, you may concede that they have a coherent point of view. In fact, their point of view could be just as coherent as yours. The problem is that those people apply their point of view in circumstances where you are fairly sure that it is not really appropriate.

Consider that there may be situations in which one frame describes the problem much better than the others. For example, I believe that the civil rights movement in the United States is best described using the progressive heuristic of the oppressed and the oppressor. In the 1950s and the early 1960s, the people who had the right model were the people who were fighting for black Americans to have true voting rights, equal access to housing, and an end to the Jim Crow laws. The civilization-barbarism axis and the liberty-coercion axis did not provide the best insight into
the issue….

Question 7

Which of the following BEST explains the author’s usage of the term moral frames?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 1:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

What I call fast political thinking is driven by simplified moral frames. These moral frames give us the sense that those who agree with us have the right answer, while those who disagree are unreasonable, or worse.
Each moral frame sets up an axis of favorable and unfavorable. Progressives use the oppressor-oppressed axis. Progressives view most favorably those groups that can be regarded as oppressed or standing with the oppressed, and they view most unfavorably those groups that can be regarded as oppressors. Conservatives use the civilization-barbarism axis. Conservatives view most favorably the institutions that they believe constrain and guide people toward civilized behavior, and they view most unfavorably those people who they see as trying to tear down such institutions. Libertarians use the liberty-coercion axis. Libertarians view most favorably those people who defer to decisions that are made on the basis of personal choice and voluntary agreement, and they view most unfavorably those people who favor government interventions that restrict personal choice.

If you have a dominant axis, I suggest that you try to learn the languages spoken by those who use the other axes. Don’t worry—learning other languages won’t make it easy for others to convert you to their point of view. By the same token, it will not make it easy to convert others to your point of view. However, you may become aware of assumptions your side makes that others might legitimately question.
What learning the other languages can do is enable you to understand how others think about political issues. Instead of resorting to the theory that people with other views are crazy or stupid or evil, you may concede that they have a coherent point of view. In fact, their point of view could be just as coherent as yours. The problem is that those people apply their point of view in circumstances where you are fairly sure that it is not really appropriate.

Consider that there may be situations in which one frame describes the problem much better than the others. For example, I believe that the civil rights movement in the United States is best described using the progressive heuristic of the oppressed and the oppressor. In the 1950s and the early 1960s, the people who had the right model were the people who were fighting for black Americans to have true voting rights, equal access to housing, and an end to the Jim Crow laws. The civilization-barbarism axis and the liberty-coercion axis did not provide the best insight into
the issue….

Question 8

Which of the following can BEST be concluded from the above passage?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 2:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination.
Any given vaccine can fail to produce immunity in an individual, and some vaccines, like the influenza vaccine, are less effective than others. But when enough people are vaccinated with even a relatively ineffective vaccine, viruses have trouble moving from host to host and cease to spread, sparing both the unvaccinated and those in whom vaccination has not produced immunity. This is why the chances of contracting measles can be higher for a vaccinated person living in a largely unvaccinated community than they are for an unvaccinated person living in a largely vaccinated community.

The unvaccinated person is protected by the bodies around her, bodies through which disease is not circulating. But a vaccinated person surrounded by bodies that host disease is left vulnerable to vaccine failure or fading immunity. We are protected not so much by our own skin, but by what is beyond it. The boundaries between our bodies begin to dissolve here. Donations of blood and organs move between us, exiting one body and entering another, and so too with immunity, which is a common trust as much as it is a private account. Those of us who draw on collective immunity owe our health to our neighbors.

Question 9

Based on the passage, which of the following CANNOT be concluded?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 2:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination.
Any given vaccine can fail to produce immunity in an individual, and some vaccines, like the influenza vaccine, are less effective than others. But when enough people are vaccinated with even a relatively ineffective vaccine, viruses have trouble moving from host to host and cease to spread, sparing both the unvaccinated and those in whom vaccination has not produced immunity. This is why the chances of contracting measles can be higher for a vaccinated person living in a largely unvaccinated community than they are for an unvaccinated person living in a largely vaccinated community.

The unvaccinated person is protected by the bodies around her, bodies through which disease is not circulating. But a vaccinated person surrounded by bodies that host disease is left vulnerable to vaccine failure or fading immunity. We are protected not so much by our own skin, but by what is beyond it. The boundaries between our bodies begin to dissolve here. Donations of blood and organs move between us, exiting one body and entering another, and so too with immunity, which is a common trust as much as it is a private account. Those of us who draw on collective immunity owe our health to our neighbors.

Question 10

Why does the author think about vaccination as a “banking of immunity?”

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 2:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

If we imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community, it is fair to think of vaccination as a kind of banking of immunity. Contributions to this bank are donations to those who cannot or will not be protected by their own immunity. This is the principle of herd immunity, and it is through herd immunity that mass vaccination becomes far more effective than individual vaccination.
Any given vaccine can fail to produce immunity in an individual, and some vaccines, like the influenza vaccine, are less effective than others. But when enough people are vaccinated with even a relatively ineffective vaccine, viruses have trouble moving from host to host and cease to spread, sparing both the unvaccinated and those in whom vaccination has not produced immunity. This is why the chances of contracting measles can be higher for a vaccinated person living in a largely unvaccinated community than they are for an unvaccinated person living in a largely vaccinated community.

The unvaccinated person is protected by the bodies around her, bodies through which disease is not circulating. But a vaccinated person surrounded by bodies that host disease is left vulnerable to vaccine failure or fading immunity. We are protected not so much by our own skin, but by what is beyond it. The boundaries between our bodies begin to dissolve here. Donations of blood and organs move between us, exiting one body and entering another, and so too with immunity, which is a common trust as much as it is a private account. Those of us who draw on collective immunity owe our health to our neighbors.

Question 11

Based on the last paragraph of the passage, which of the following would the author BEST agree with?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 3:

Read the following passage and answer the TWO questions that follow.

But as the behavioral economists like to remind us, we are already prone to all sorts of reductions as a species. It’s not just the scientists. We compress complex reality down into abbreviated
heuristics that often work beautifully in everyday life for high-frequency, low-significance decisions. Because we are an unusually clever and self-reflective species, we long ago realized that we needed help overcoming those reductive instincts when it really matters. And so we invented a tool called storytelling. At first, some of our stories were even more reductive than the sciences would prove to be: allegories and parables and morality plays that compressed the flux of real life down to archetypal moral messages. But over time the stories grew more adept at describing the true complexity of lived experience, the whorls and the threadlike pressures. One of the crowning achievements of that growth is the realist novel. That, of course, is the latent implication of Prince Andrei’s question: “innumerable conditions made meaningful only in unpredictable moments” would fare well as a description of both War and Peace and Middlemarch, arguably the two totemic works in the realist canon. What gives the novel the grain of truth lies precisely in the way it doesn’t quite run along the expected grooves, the way it dramatizes all the forces and unpredictable variables that shape the choices humans confront at the most meaningful moments of their lives.
When we read those novels—or similarly rich biographies of historical figures—we are not just entertaining ourselves; we are also rehearsing for our own real-world experiences….

Question 12

Which of the following is the BEST interpretation regarding reductive instincts?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 3:

Read the following passage and answer the TWO questions that follow.

But as the behavioral economists like to remind us, we are already prone to all sorts of reductions as a species. It’s not just the scientists. We compress complex reality down into abbreviated
heuristics that often work beautifully in everyday life for high-frequency, low-significance decisions. Because we are an unusually clever and self-reflective species, we long ago realized that we needed help overcoming those reductive instincts when it really matters. And so we invented a tool called storytelling. At first, some of our stories were even more reductive than the sciences would prove to be: allegories and parables and morality plays that compressed the flux of real life down to archetypal moral messages. But over time the stories grew more adept at describing the true complexity of lived experience, the whorls and the threadlike pressures. One of the crowning achievements of that growth is the realist novel. That, of course, is the latent implication of Prince Andrei’s question: “innumerable conditions made meaningful only in unpredictable moments” would fare well as a description of both War and Peace and Middlemarch, arguably the two totemic works in the realist canon. What gives the novel the grain of truth lies precisely in the way it doesn’t quite run along the expected grooves, the way it dramatizes all the forces and unpredictable variables that shape the choices humans confront at the most meaningful moments of their lives.
When we read those novels—or similarly rich biographies of historical figures—we are not just entertaining ourselves; we are also rehearsing for our own real-world experiences….

Question 13

Why would a realist novel consist of “innumerable conditions made meaningful only in unpredictable moments?”

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 4:

Read the following passage and answer the TWO questions that follow.

Beauty has an aesthetic, but it is not the same as aesthetics, not when it can be embodied, controlled by powerful interests, and when it can be commodified. Beauty can be manners, also a socially contingent set of traits. Whatever power decides that beauty is, it must always be more than reducible to a single thing. Beauty is a wonderful form of capital in a world that organizes everything around gender and then requires a performance of gender that makes some of its members more equal than others.
Beauty would not be such a useful distinction were it not for the economic and political conditions. It is trite at this point to point out capitalism, which is precisely why it must be pointed out. Systems of exchange tend to generate the kind of ideas that work well as exchanges. Because it

can be an idea and a good and a body, beauty serves many useful functions for our economic system. Even better, beauty can be political. It can exclude and include, one of the basic conditions of any politics. Beauty has it all. It can be political, economic, external, individualized, generalizing, exclusionary, and perhaps best of all a story that can be told. Our dominant story of beauty is that it is simultaneously a blessing, of genetics or gods, and a site of conversion. You can become beautiful if you accept the right prophets and their wisdoms with a side of products thrown in for good measure. Forget that these two ideas—unique blessing and earned reward—are antithetical to each other. That makes beauty all the more perfect for our (social and political) time, itself anchored in paradoxes like freedom and property, opportunity and equality.

Question 14

Based on the passage, which of the following CANNOT be inferred about beauty?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 4:

Read the following passage and answer the TWO questions that follow.

Beauty has an aesthetic, but it is not the same as aesthetics, not when it can be embodied, controlled by powerful interests, and when it can be commodified. Beauty can be manners, also a socially contingent set of traits. Whatever power decides that beauty is, it must always be more than reducible to a single thing. Beauty is a wonderful form of capital in a world that organizes everything around gender and then requires a performance of gender that makes some of its members more equal than others.
Beauty would not be such a useful distinction were it not for the economic and political conditions. It is trite at this point to point out capitalism, which is precisely why it must be pointed out. Systems of exchange tend to generate the kind of ideas that work well as exchanges. Because it

can be an idea and a good and a body, beauty serves many useful functions for our economic system. Even better, beauty can be political. It can exclude and include, one of the basic conditions of any politics. Beauty has it all. It can be political, economic, external, individualized, generalizing, exclusionary, and perhaps best of all a story that can be told. Our dominant story of beauty is that it is simultaneously a blessing, of genetics or gods, and a site of conversion. You can become beautiful if you accept the right prophets and their wisdoms with a side of products thrown in for good measure. Forget that these two ideas—unique blessing and earned reward—are antithetical to each other. That makes beauty all the more perfect for our (social and political) time, itself anchored in paradoxes like freedom and property, opportunity and equality.

Question 15

Based on the passage, which of the following BEST explains beauty to be simultaneously a “blessing” and a “site of conversion?”

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 5:

Read the following poem and answer the TWO questions that follow.

In the darkened room
a woman
cannot find her reflection in the mirror
waiting as usual
at the edge of sleep
In her hands she holds
the oil lamp
whose drunken yellow flames
know where her lonely body hides

Question 16

Which of the following statements BEST conveys the theme of the poem?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 5:

Read the following poem and answer the TWO questions that follow.

In the darkened room
a woman
cannot find her reflection in the mirror
waiting as usual
at the edge of sleep
In her hands she holds
the oil lamp
whose drunken yellow flames
know where her lonely body hides

Question 17

What do the lines “the drunken yellow flames/know where her lonely body hides” BEST represent?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 6:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

Because it’s so easy to judge the idiocy of others, it may be sorely tempting to think this doesn’t apply to you. But the problem of unrecognized ignorance is one that visits us all. And over the years, I’ve become convinced of one key, overarching fact about the ignorant mind. One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather, one should think of it as misinformed.

An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous—especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power. As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (Ironically, one thing many people “know” about this quote is that it was first uttered by Mark Twain or Will Rogers—which just ain’t so.)

Because of the way we are built, and because of the way we learn from our environment, we are all engines of misbelief. And the better we understand how our wonderful yet kludge-ridden, Rube Goldberg engine works, the better we—as individuals and as a society—can harness it to navigate toward a more objective understanding of the truth.

Question 18

Which of the following statement is NOT true about an ignorant mind?

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 6:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

Because it’s so easy to judge the idiocy of others, it may be sorely tempting to think this doesn’t apply to you. But the problem of unrecognized ignorance is one that visits us all. And over the years, I’ve become convinced of one key, overarching fact about the ignorant mind. One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather, one should think of it as misinformed.

An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous—especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power. As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (Ironically, one thing many people “know” about this quote is that it was first uttered by Mark Twain or Will Rogers—which just ain’t so.)

Because of the way we are built, and because of the way we learn from our environment, we are all engines of misbelief. And the better we understand how our wonderful yet kludge-ridden, Rube Goldberg engine works, the better we—as individuals and as a society—can harness it to navigate toward a more objective understanding of the truth.

Question 19

Based on the passage, what does the author BEST mean when he says, “we are all engines of misbelief?”

Show Answer Explanation

Instruction for set 6:

Read the following passage and answer the THREE questions that follow.

Because it’s so easy to judge the idiocy of others, it may be sorely tempting to think this doesn’t apply to you. But the problem of unrecognized ignorance is one that visits us all. And over the years, I’ve become convinced of one key, overarching fact about the ignorant mind. One should not think of it as uninformed. Rather, one should think of it as misinformed.

An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous—especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power. As the humorist Josh Billings once put it, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” (Ironically, one thing many people “know” about this quote is that it was first uttered by Mark Twain or Will Rogers—which just ain’t so.)

Because of the way we are built, and because of the way we learn from our environment, we are all engines of misbelief. And the better we understand how our wonderful yet kludge-ridden, Rube Goldberg engine works, the better we—as individuals and as a society—can harness it to navigate toward a more objective understanding of the truth.

Question 20

With which of the following statements will the author agree the MOST?

Show Answer Explanation
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