You are here: Rediff Home » India » Get Ahead » Careers » Cracking CAT
Search: The Web
   Discuss   |      Email   |      Print | Get latest news on your desktop

40 days to CAT: Ace Verbal Reasoning
Related Articles
CAT: Preparation and performance
CAT: Tips to crack each section
Success mantras for CAT 2008
5 fundamental strategies for Quant
Get news updates:What's this?
September 23, 2008

One area which has continually troubled all test takers is Verbal Reasoning. Not only is the subject matter of the questions dense, the options are extremely close too. This renders one incapable of marking a particular answer option, with conviction, as the correct one. Here are some tried and tested methods to reduce the ambiguity in three specific question types.

Read these features?
Vote! Worst-dressed Indian celebs
Shilpa Shetty sashays
Global meltdown: How the cookie will crumble in India

Fact, Inference, Judgements
These question types, after making a surprise comeback in CAT 2006, have irritated a lot of test takers to the end of their tether. A 'Fact' is easy to identify. The choice between a 'Judgement' and 'Inference' is somewhat tricky. A few tips to keep in mind while solving this question type:

Consider this question from CAT 2006:

Instructions: Classify each of the statements into:

F. Facts, which deal with the pieces of information that one has heard, seen or read, and which are open to discovery or verification or
I. Inferences, which are conclusions drawn about unknown, on the basis of the known or
J. Judgements, which are opinions that imply approval or disapproval of persons, objects, situations and occurrences in the past, the present or the future.

1. Given the poor quality of service in the public sector, the HIV/AIDS affected should be switching to private initiatives that supply anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) at a low cost.

2. The government has been supplying free drugs since 2004, and 35000 have benefited upto now - though the size of the affected population is 150 times this number.

3. The recent initiatives of networks and companies like AIDSCare Network, Emcure, Reliance-Cipla-CII, would lead to availability of much-needed drugs to a larger number of affected people.

4. But  how ironic  it is  that  we should face a  perennial  shortage  of  drugs  when India  is  one of  the world's largest suppliers of generic drugs to the developing world.

(1) JFIJ
(2) JIIJ
(3) IFIJ
(4) IFFJ
(5) JFII

The given options require you to evaluate statement 1 as either a Judgement or an Inference. 'Given the poor quality of services in the public sector...' is more of a Judgement than an Inference. What constitutes poor quality can differ from person to person. Based on this, the conclusion "should be switching..." is clearly an opinion and establishes statement 1 as a Judgement.  This eliminates option 3 and 4.

The numbers in statement 2 are a result of direct verification. Hence, statement 2 is a Fact. This eliminates option 2.

Evaluating options 1 and 5, both of which have statement 3 as an inference, one has to now establish whether statement 4 is an Inference or a Judgement (as per options 1 and 5).

" ironic it is..." can neither be verified nor is it verifiable through facts. Statement 4 is thus a Judgement.
Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Critical Reasoning
These questions are an epitome of verbal reasoning and test your depth of understanding. The questions are in the form of -- 'Which of the following best strengthens the argument', 'weakens the assertion', 'is a valid conclusion', 'assumption of the passage' etc. A good strategy to employ in these question types is to:

Paragraph Completion, Paragraph Summary
The key to cracking these question types is to identify the gist of the data given. Spend time understanding the paragraph before moving on to the answer options. Identify the purpose of writing the paragraph: the core idea. This can be done by looking at the connecting words used in the paragraph. Avoid answer options that add new data, or change the degree of intensity or the tone of the paragraph.

Let's take a 'Paragraph Completion' question from CAT 2007:

Instructions: The question has a paragraph from which the last sentence has been deleted. From the given options, choose the one that completes the paragraph in the most appropriate way.

Nevertheless, photographs still retain some of the magical allure that the earliest daguerreotypes inspired. As objects, our photographs have changed; they have become physically flimsier as they have become more technologically sophisticated. Daguerre produced pictures on copper plates; today many of our photographs never become tangible thins, but instead remain filed away on computers and cameras, part of the digital ether that envelops the modern world. At the same time, our patience for the creation of images has also eroded. Children today are used to being tracked from birth by digital cameras and video recorders and they expect to see the results of their poses and performances instantly. The space between life as it is being lived and life as it is being displayed shrinks to a mere second.

(1) Yet, despite these technical developments, photographs still remain powerful because they are reminders of the people and things we care about.

(2) Images, after all, are surrogates carried into battle by a soldier or by a traveller on holiday.

(3) Photographs, be they digital or traditional, exist to remind us of the absent, the beloved, and the dead.

(4) In the new era of the digital image, the images also have a greater potential for fostering falsehood and trickery, perpetuating fictions that seem so real we cannot tell the difference.

(5) Anyway, human nature being what it is, little time has passed after photography's inventions became means of living life through images.

The essence of the paragraph is Photographs still have some allure, in spite of going digital. The key word is 'Nevertheless 'at the beginning of the paragraph. This resonates with 'yet' at the beginning of option 1 and completes the paragraph logically. The paragraph starts with the core idea, moves on to state how the technology behind creating photographs has evolved, and concludes by coming back to the core idea.

Let's evaluate the other 4 other options. Option 2 adds new data with 'soldier' and 'traveller', and option 3 with 'beloved' and 'dead' They merely extend the paragraph without completing it. Option 4 could be a good option, except that it does not accommodate 'nevertheless' given at the start of the paragraph. Option 5 too adds a new (tangential) idea which extends the paragraph instead of concluding it. Option 1 is the reason why the paragraph is written -- to communicate that 'photographs are still powerful'. Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Try implementing these strategies in your next set of mock CATs. Tell us if your conviction and scores don't improve. is a site for personalised online preparation for competitive entrance exams like CAT, FMS, XAT, etc. also provides free Mock CATs, CAT question of the Day, Daily CAT word list, logical puzzles and Interactive Learning Games.

 Email  |    Print   |   Get latest news on your desktop
© 2008 India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback