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CAT PYQ 2020: Paragraph Summary Notes | Study Topic-wise Past Year Questions for CAT - CAT

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Q.1. 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.
1. Biologists have questioned the long-standing view that ‘intelligence’ is a single entity and the attempts to estimate its heritability.
2. Biologists have started questioning psychologists' view of 'intelligence' as a measurable immutable characteristic of an individual.
3. Biologists have questioned the view that ‘intelligence’ is a single entity and the ways in which what is inherited.
4. Biologists have criticised that conventional wisdom that individuals are born with more or less intelligence potential.

Ans: 1
In this question, too, we have to look for the keywords. The passage talks about intelligence and its heritability, and the criticism mounted against it. Option 1 exactly captures all the keywords. 2 misses on the heritability part of the story. 3 wrongly mentions the debate about “ways in which intelligence is inherited”. The criticism is about heritability itself, not about the ways in which it is inherited. Choice 4 also missies the crucial idea of heritability. Thus 1 is the best choice.


Q.2. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
As Soviet power declined, the world became to some extent multipolar, and Europe strove to define an independent identity. What a journey Europe has undertaken to reach this point. It had in every century changed its internal structure and invented new ways of thinking about the nature of international order. Now at the culmination of an era, Europe, in order to participate in it, felt obliged to set aside the political mechanisms through which it had conducted its affairs for three and a half centuries. Impelled also by the desire to cushion the emergent unification of Germany, the new European Union established a common currency in 2002 and a formal political structure in 2004. It proclaimed a Europe united, whole, and free, adjusting its differences by peaceful mechanisms.
1. Europe has consistently changed its internal structure to successfully adapt to the changing world order.
2. Europe has consistently changed in keeping with the changing world order and that has culminated in a united Europe.
3. The establishment of a formal political structure in Europe was hastened by the unification of Germany and the emergence of a multipolar world.
4. Europe has chosen to lower political and economic heterogeneity, in order to adapt itself to an emerging multi-polar world.

Ans: 4
This is a slightly difficult question. The passage talks about what modern Europe has done in order to adapt to changing international order. There are two things it has done: establish a common currency, and a formal political structure, adjusting its internal differences by peaceful mechanisms. 1 looks good, but does the passage say that “Europe has consistently done this”? Maybe. But what it misses here is the essence. Europe has changed its structure, but the focus of the passage is on “what it has done of late”. For this reason, 4 wins. By choosing a common currency it has tried to lower economic heterogeneity, and by establishing European Union it has tried to lower political heterogeneity. Thus 4 captures the essence, while 1, 2 and 3 walk on the periphery.


Q.3. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
For years, movies and television series like Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) paint an unrealistic picture of the “science of voices.” In the 1994 movie Clear and Present Danger an expert listens to a brief recorded utterance and declares that the speaker is “Cuban, aged 35 to 45, educated in the […] eastern United States.” The recording is then fed to a supercomputer that matches the voice to that of a suspect, concluding that the probability of correct identification is 90%. This sequence sums up a good number of misimpressions about forensic phonetics, which have led to errors in reallife justice. Indeed, that movie scene exemplifies the so-called “CSI effect”—the phenomenon in which judges hold unrealistic expectations of the capabilities of forensic science.
1. Although voice recognition is often presented as evidence in legal cases, its scientific basis can be shaky.
2. Movies and televisions have led to the belief that the use of forensic phonetics in legal investigations is robust and fool proof.
3. Voice recognition as used in many movies to identify criminals has been used to identify criminals in real life also.
4. Voice recognition has started to feature prominently in crime-scene intelligence investigations because of movies and television series.

Ans: 2
This question is slightly easier than the earlier one. Let’s see the critical elements of the passage. The most important critical element is “forensic phonetics in movies and television”, and “these have led to errors in real-life justice, with unrealistic expectations of the capabilities of forensic science”. 1 goes out because it misses the context of “movies and television”. 3 is a complete distortion, whereas 4 misses the “unrealistic expectations” part. 2 is the best choice in every way.


Q.4. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
All humans make decisions based on one or a combination of two factors. This is either intuition or information. Decisions made through intuition are usually fast, people don’t even think about the problem. It is quite philosophical, meaning that someone who made a decision based on intuition will have difficulty explaining the reasoning behind it. The decision-maker would often utilize her senses in drawing conclusions, which again is based on some experience in the field of study. On the other side of the spectrum, we have decisions made based on information. These decisions are rational — it is based on facts and figures, which unfortunately also means that it can be quite slow. The decision-maker would frequently use reports, analyses, and indicators to form her conclusion. This methodology results in accurate, quantifiable decisions, meaning that a person can clearly explain the rationale behind it.
1. We make decisions based on intuition or information on the basis of the time available.
2. It is better to make decisions based on information because it is more accurate, and the rationale behind it can be explained.
3. Decisions based on intuition and information result in differential speed and ability to provide a rationale.
4. While decisions based on intuition can be made fast, the reasons that led to these cannot be spelt out.

Ans: 3
In the passage the author compares the two factors based on which humans make decisions. The first is intuition and the other is information. The author seems to be comparing the two without any preference. 1 goes out because it inaccurately says that “we choose intuition or information based on the time available”. Nothing of this sort has been given in the passage. Time in not the causative factor here. 2 says “it is better”. Since the author has not given any preference, it would be wrong to say which one is better. Thus 2 also goes out. 3 is the right summary, and captures the essence by stating that the difference is differential speed and ability to provide a rationale. 4 just focuses on intuition, and ignores the other factor entirely.


Q.5. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
The rural-urban continuum and the heterogeneity of urban settings pose an obvious challenge to identifying urban areas and measuring urbanization rates in a consistent way within and across countries. An objective methodology for distinguishing between urban and rural areas that is based on one or two metrics with fixed thresholds may not adequately capture the wide diversity of places. A richer combination of criteria would better describe the multifaceted nature of a city’s function and its environment, but the joint interpretation of these criteria may require an element of human judgment.
1. The difficulty of accurately identifying urban areas means that we need to create a rich combination of criteria that can be applied to all urban areas.
2. With the diversity of urban landscapes, measurable criteria for defining urban areas may need to be supplemented with human judgement.
3. Current methodologies used to define urban and rural areas are no longer relevant to our being able to study trends in urbanisation.
4. Distinguishing between urban and rural areas might call for some judgement on the objective methodology being used to define a city’s functions.

Ans: 2
There are three important keywords in this paragraph: the challenge posed by rural-urban continuum, the objective methodology with one or two metrics may not be enough to capture the wide diversity, it may require an element of human judgement. 2 captures all the keywords succinctly. 1 misses the element of human judgement, 3 also misses on the same. 4 goes out because it is not about the judgment of objective methodology, but human judgement coming as an additional factor to aid the methodology.


Q.6. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
With the Treaty of Westphalia, the papacy had been confined to ecclesiastical functions, and the doctrine of sovereign equality reigned. What political theory could then explain the origin and justify the functions of secular political order? In his Leviathan, published in 1651, three years after the Peace of Westphalia, Thomas Hobbes provided such a theory. He imagined a “state of nature” in the past when the absence of authority produced a “war of all against all.” To escape such intolerable insecurity, he theorized, people delivered their rights to a sovereign power in return for the sovereign’s provision of security for all within the state’s border. The sovereign state’s monopoly on power was established as the only way to overcome the perpetual fear of violent death and war.
1. Thomas Hobbes theorized the emergence of sovereign states based on a transactional relationship between people and sovereign state that was necessitated by a sense of insecurity of the people.
2. Thomas Hobbes theorized the voluntary surrender of rights by people as essential for emergence of sovereign states.
3. Thomas Hobbes theorized the emergence of sovereign states as a form of transactional governance to limit the power of the papacy.
4. Thomas Hobbes theorized that sovereign states emerged out of people’s voluntary desire to overcome the sense of insecurity and establish the doctrine of sovereign equality.

Ans: 1
The passage has three important keywords: sovereign equality, sense of insecurity, and what was done to overcome that insecurity. The passage tells us that people delivered their rights to a sovereign power in return for the sovereign’s provision of security. This was the only way to overcome the fear of insecurity. After all there is a give and take happening, and therefore there is a transaction. Thus 1 is the best choice. 2 misses on the people’s sense of insecurity. 3 goes out because limiting the power of papacy is not the essence of the discussion. Choice 4 misses the idea of give and take, people give their rights to the sovereign in return for his protection. It misses the crucial word “transactional relationship”.


Q.7. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
The dominant hypotheses in modern science believe that language evolved to allow humans to exchange factual information about the physical world. But an alternative view is that language evolved, in modern humans at least, to facilitate social bonding. It increased our ancestors’ chances of survival by enabling them to hunt more successfully or to cooperate more extensively. Language meant that things could be explained and that plans and past experiences could be shared efficiently.
1. From the belief that humans invented language to process factual information, scholars now think that language was the outcome of the need to ensure social cohesion and thus human survival.
2. Since its origin, language has been continuously evolving to higher forms, from being used to identify objects to ensuring human survival by enabling our ancestors to bond and cooperate.
3. Most believe that language originated from a need to articulate facts, but others think it emerged from the need to promote social cohesion and cooperation, thus enabling human survival.
4. Experts are challenging the narrow view of the origin of language, as being merely used to describe facts and label objects, to being necessary to promote more complex interactions among humans.

Ans: 3
This is a very simple summary question. There are two views pertaining to the evolution of language. One view believes in sharing of factual information as the reason, whereas the other view believes in social bonding as the reason. The former being the dominant view, while the latter being the less dominant. Choice 1 does not being out this distinction. Choice 2 also misses on this comparison. Option 4 incorrectly mentions that the views were challenged by one group. There is no such thing in the passage.


Q.8. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
Brown et al. (2001) suggest that ‘metabolic theory may provide a conceptual foundation for much of ecology just as genetic theory provides a foundation for much of evolutionary biology’. One of the successes of genetic theory is the diversity of theoretical approaches and models that have been developed and applied. A Web of Science (v. 5.9. Thomson Reuters) search on genetic* + theor* + evol* identifies more than 12000 publications between 2005 and 2012. Considering only the 10 most-cited papers within this 12000 publication set, genetic theory can be seen to focus on genome dynamics, phylogenetic inference, game theory and the regulation of gene expression. There is no one fundamental genetic equation, but rather a wide array of genetic models, ranging from simple to complex, with differing inputs and outputs, and divergent areas of application, loosely connected to each other through the shared conceptual foundation of heritable variation.
1. Genetic theory has a wide range of theoretical approaches and applications and Metabolic theory must have the same in the field of ecology.
2. Genetic theory has evolved to spawn a wide range of theoretical models and applications but Metabolic theory need not evolve in a similar manner in the field of ecology.
3. Genetic theory has a wide range of theoretical approaches and application and is foundational to evolutionary biology and Metabolic theory has the potential to do the same for ecology.
4. Genetic theory provides an example of how a range of theoretical approaches and applications can make a theory successful.

Ans: 3
For summary questions we must learn to pick the broader keywords and connect them together to form the summary. In this paragraph the author uses two broad keywords “genetic theory and metabolic theory. The genetic theory was successful because of the diversity of genetic models, and the same might happen for metabolic theory, which would provide a conceptual foundation for much of ecology.” The contrast in choice 2 makes the choice an incorrect one because the author stresses on similarity, not contrasts. Option 1 says “metabolic theory must have the wide range of theoretical models”. The word “must” makes this choice an incorrect one. The author talks about a possibility, not a necessity. Option 4 goes out it because it misses discussing the keyword “metabolic theory” and how it is compared with genetic theory. 3 is the right choice.


Q.9. The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
Aesthetic political representation urges us to realize that ‘the representative has autonomy with regard to the people represented’ but autonomy then is not an excuse to abandon one’s responsibility. Aesthetic autonomy requires cultivation of ‘disinterestedness’ on the part of actors which is not indifference. To have disinterestedness, that is, to have comportment towards the beautiful that is devoid of all ulterior references to use – requires a kind of aesthetic commitment; it is the liberation of ourselves for the release of what has proper worth only in itself.
1. Disinterestedness is different from indifference as the former means a non-subjective evaluation of things which is what constitutes aesthetic political representation.
2. Aesthetic political representation advocates autonomy for the representatives manifested through disinterestedness which itself is different from indifference.
3. Disinterestedness, as distinct from indifference, is the basis of political representation.
4. Aesthetic political representation advocates autonomy for the representatives drawing from disinterestedness, which itself is different from indifference

Ans: 4
This is one of the most difficult questions of this paper. There are three keywords in this paragraph: aesthetic political representation, disinterestedness and indifference. The author seems to prefer disinterestedness for aesthetic political representation. Option 1 is wrong because it inaccurately states that “aesthetic political representation constitutes of disinterestedness”. But the passage says that aesthetic political representation should be seen from the angle of disinterestedness. 3 is too short a summary and misses on the crucial word “aesthetic”. 2 and 4 are very close choices, with only a slight difference. 2 says “manifested through indifference”, while 4 says “drawing from indifference”. Now what is the difference between the two? When X is manifested through y, it is y that dominates. God is manifested through human beings, means that God is hidden within the human being and the human being dominates the outward appearance. Whereas drawing from something means, aesthetic political representation should have a tinge of disinterestedness. There is little to choose between 2 and 4, but the right choice is 4 because disinterestedness is just an outward shade which must be cultivated, but not necessarily allowed to dominate.

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