As seen Reading Comprehension in CAT can rightly be called the most venerated topic of CAT as 70% of the VARC section is dominated with Reading Comprehension. Over the past few years this topic alone has carried 24 questions (72 marks) in CAT and remained same in CAT 2020 with 18 ques of 24 total question. This is expected to be same in 2021 CAT as well.
The Xat Verbal & logical ability section consisted of 13-14 Reading Comprehension (RC) questions out of a total of 26 questions in XATs 2018 and 2019. Therefore, this question type is of utmost importance, if you, want to clear the cut offs for this section and secure a high percentile. It is important to know that this section has traditionally been quite difficult and hence the raw scores for clearing the cut offs have always been on the lower side.
Now that you are aware of the relevance of topic in various exams, it is recommended that you get a first hand practice & experience of previous year RC passages of CAT & XAT
For two years, I tracked down dozens of . . . Chinese in Upper Egypt [who were] selling lingerie. In a deeply conservative region, where Egyptian families rarely allow women to work or own businesses, the Chinese flourished because of their status as outsiders. They didn’t gossip, and they kept their opinions to themselves. In a New Yorker article entitled “Learning to Speak Lingerie,” I described the Chinese use of Arabic as another non-threatening characteristic. I wrote, “Unlike Mandarin, Arabic is inflected for gender, and Chinese dealers, who learn the language strictly by ear, often pick up speech patterns from female customers. I’ve come to think of it as the lingerie dialect, and there’s something disarming about these Chinese men speaking in the feminine voice.” . . .
When I wrote about the Chinese in the New Yorker, most readers seemed to appreciate the unusual perspective. But as I often find with topics that involve the Middle East, some people had trouble getting past the black-and-white quality of a byline. “This piece is so orientalist I don’t know what to do,” Aisha Gani, a reporter who worked at The Guardian, tweeted. Another colleague at the British paper, Iman Amrani, agreed: “I wouldn’t have minded an article on the subject written by an Egyptian woman—probably would have had better insight.” . . .
As an MOL (man of language), I also take issue with this kind of essentialism. Empathy and understanding are not inherited traits, and they are not strictly tied to gender and race. An individual who wrestles with a difficult language can learn to be more sympathetic to outsiders and open to different experiences of the world. This learning process—the embarrassments, the frustrations, the gradual sense of understanding and connection—is invariably transformative. In Upper Egypt, the Chinese experience of struggling to learn Arabic and local culture had made them much more thoughtful. In the same way, I was interested in their lives not because of some kind of voyeurism, but because I had also experienced Egypt and Arabic as an outsider. And both the Chinese and the Egyptians welcomed me because I spoke their languages. My identity as a white male was far less important than my ability to communicate.
And that easily lobbed word—“Orientalist”—hardly captures the complexity of our interactions. What exactly is the dynamic when a man from Missouri observes a Zhejiang native selling lingerie to an Upper Egyptian woman? . . . If all of us now stand beside the same river, speaking in ways we all understand, who’s looking east and who’s looking west? Which way is Oriental?
For all of our current interest in identity politics, there’s no corresponding sense of identity linguistics. You are what you speak—the words that run throughout your mind are at least as fundamental to your selfhood as is your ethnicity or your gender. And sometimes it’s healthy to consider human characteristics that are not inborn, rigid, and outwardly defined. After all, you can always learn another language and change who you are.
Question 1. According to the passage, which of the following is not responsible for language’s ability to change us?
(a) The ups and downs involved in the course of learning a language.
(b) Language’s ability to mediate the impact of identity markers one is born with.
(c) The twists and turns in the evolution of language over time.
(d) Language’s intrinsic connection to our notions of self and identity.
Explanation: " This learning process—the embarrassments, the frustrations, the gradual sense of understanding and connection—is invariably transformative." From this sentence, the option A can be inferred. Hence it is incorrect.
" After all, you can always learn another language and change who you are." From this line, option B can be inferred. Hence it is incorrect.
"You are what you speak—the words that run throughout your mind are at least as fundamental to your selfhood as is your ethnicity or your gender" From this option D can be inferred. Hence it is incorrect.
The author makes no mention about the inherent ability of language to evolve over time to change a person. Hence, it is not responsible for language's ability to change us. Option C is the correct answer.
Q.2. A French ethnographer decides to study the culture of a Nigerian tribe. Which of the following is most likely to be the view of the author of the passage?
(a) The author would discourage the ethnographer from conducting the study as Nigerian ethnographers can better understand the tribe.
(b) The author would encourage the ethnographer, but ask him/her to first learn the language of the Nigerian tribe s/he wishes to study.
(c) The author would encourage the ethnographer, but ask him/her to be mindful of his/her racial and gender identity in the process.
(d) The author would encourage the ethnographer and recommend him/her to hire a good translator for the purpose of holding interviews.
Explanation: The author is of the opinion that learning the language of local cultures would help bridge cultural barriers.
Option D is against the author's point of view. Hence it is definitely incorrect.
Option A is incorrect. The author is of the opinion that the ability to communicate is far more important than the racial divide between two people. Hence it is unlikely to be the view of the author.
Option C is incorrect as the author, in the passage is much more concerned about the ability to communicate that racial and gendermidentity of the person.
Option B falls in line with the viewpoint of the author. Hence it is the correct answer.
Q.3. Which of the following can be inferred from the author’s claim, “Which way is Oriental?”
(a) Globalisation has mitigated cultural hierarchies and barriers.
(b) Orientalism is a discourse of the past, from colonial times, rarely visible today.
(c) Goodwill alone mitigates cultural hierarchies and barriers.
(d) Learning another language can mitigate cultural hierarchies and barriers.
Explanation: "And that easily lobbed word—“Orientalist”—hardly captures the complexity of our interactions. What exactly is the dynamic when a man from Missouri observes a Zhejiang native selling lingerie to an Upper Egyptian woman? . . . If all of us now stand beside the same river, speaking in ways we all understand, who’s looking east and who’s looking west? Which way is Oriental?" From the above passage, it is clear that the author consider the word Orientalist an easily lobbied word that does not capture the complex nature of interactions between people of different cultures. The author is of the opinion that if people in different parts of the world all speak in tongues that all of them understand, then the east west divide would be broken.
The author is of the opinion that learning new languages would help bridge the east west divide. There is no information provided in the passage that globalization has enabled people learn more languages and thereby mitigated cultural hierarchies and barriers. Hence, option A is incorrect.
Option B is incorrect. The author never makes the claim that Orientalism has disappeared for the most part.
The author makes no claim about goodwill. Hence option C is incorrect.
Option D correctly encapsulates the arguments made by the author. Hence it is the correct answer.
Q.4. The author’s critics would argue that:
(a) Language is insufficient to bridge cultural barriers.
(b) Empathy can overcome identity politics.
(c) Linguistic politics can be erased.
(d) Orientalism cannot be practiced by Egyptians.
Explanation: The major idea put forth by the author is that cultural barriers can be broken down and an outsider can ingrain himself with the local culture by learning the language of the culture. The author himself says that an individual who wrestles with a difficult language would learn to be more sympathetic to outsiders. He also says that empathy is not tied to gender and race, and therefore a individual who learns languages is usually empathetic to different races in the world. Thus option B can be inferred from the passage and is incorrect. The passage makes no mention of linguistic politics. Also he is of the opinion that a person's characteristics can be changed for the good by learning another language. Hence option C can be inferred from the author's argument and is incorrect. The word orientalism itself means looking down upon middle eastern countries by the US and European countries. Hence, option D does not make sense. Option A is directly in conflict with the author's main point and that would be the major criticism by the author's critics. Hence it is the correct answer.
Does having a mood disorder make you more creative? That’s the most frequent question I hear about the relationship. But because we cannot control the instance of a mood disorder (that is, we can’t turn it on and off, and measure that person’s creativity under both conditions), the question should really be: Do individuals with a mood disorder exhibit greater creativity than those without? Studies that attempt to answer this question by comparing the creativity of individuals with a mood disorder against those without, have been well, mixed.
Studies that ask participants to complete surveys of creative personality, behavior or accomplishment, or to complete divergent thinking measures (where they are asked to generate lots of ideas) often find that individuals with mood disorders do not differ from those without. However, studies using “creative occupation” as an indicator of creativity (based on the assumption that those employed in these occupations are relatively more creative than others) have found that people with bipolar disorders are overrepresented in these occupations. These studies do not measure the creativity of participants directly, rather they use external records (such as censuses and medical registries) to tally the number of people with a history of mood disorders (compared with those without) who report being employed in a creative occupation at some time. These studies incorporate an enormous number of people and provide solid evidence that people who have sought treatment for mood disorders are engaged in creative occupations to a greater extent than those who have not. But can creative occupations serve as a proxy for creative ability?
The creative occupations considered in these studies are overwhelmingly in the arts, which frequently provide greater autonomy and less rigid structure than the average nine-to-five job. This makes these jobs more conducive to the success of individuals who struggle with performance consistency as the result of a mood disorder. The American psychiatrist Arnold Ludwig has suggested that the level of emotional expressiveness required to be successful in various occupations creates an occupational drift and demonstrated that the pattern of expressive occupations being associated with a greater incidence of psychopathology is a self-repeating pattern. For example, professions in the creative arts are associated with greater psychopathology than professions in the sciences whereas, within creative arts professions, architects exhibit a lower lifetime prevalence rate of psychopathology than visual artists and, within the visual arts, abstract artists exhibit lower rates of psychopathology than expressive artists. Therefore, it is possible that many people who suffer from mood disorders gravitate towards these types of professions, regardless of creative ability or inclination.
Q.1. Go through the following:
1. Mood disorders do not lead to creativity
2. The flexibility of creative occupations makes them more appealing to people with mood disorder
3. Mood swings in creative professions is less prevalent than in non-creative professions
Which of the following would undermine the passage’s main argument?
(a) 2 & 3
(b) 1 & 2
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 only
(e) 1, 2 & 3
Explanation: The idea conveyed in the passage is that while people with mood swings generally do better in creative profiles as compared to nine to five jobs, hence there is the possibility of mood swings being more prevalent in creative jobs as compared to other ones. There is no direct indication of mood swings leading to increased creativity (1) or the flexibility factor of creative jobs making it more appealing for the more creative people (2).
However, if mood swings in creative professions are less prevalent than in non-creative occupations (3), then it would undermine the idea of the passage.
Hence C is the only option that contradicts the passage's main argument.
Q.2. All of the following can be inferred from the passage except:
(a) Individuals with mood disorder often do better in creative job profiles than in regular nine-to-five jobs.
(b) In creative professions, people with mood disorder are more creative than those without mood disorder.
(c) Mood disorder is more prevalent among people in creative occupations than in non-creative occupations.
(d) An architect is more likely to have mood disorder than a botanist.
(e) An abstract painter is less likely to have mood disorder than an interpretive dance performer.
Explanation: According to the passage, people with mood disorders do better in creative jobs as compared to nine to five jobs. Options A, C, D&E all agree to this idea. However, there is no evidence showing that within creative jobs people with mood disorders are more creative than those without. Hence the correct option is B.
Q.3. Which of the following will make the authors contention in the passage fallacious?
(a) Everyone in a mental asylum is potentially a great artist.
(b) Patients in mental asylums prefer time-bound repetitive jobs.
(c) Creative geniuses never end up in mental asylum.
(d) Those with a creative spark will land up in a mental asylum.
(e) Creativity is a form of bipolar disorder.
Explanation: The author is trying to assert the idea that people who suffer from mood disorders may gravitate towards creative professions. Option A goes with this idea. Option C may seem like the right choice, but the author does not believe that all creative people are bound to end up with mental health
issues. Option D is the direct contrast of Option C and goes somewhat in line with the author's ideas. In option E, if creativity is a form of bipolar disorder, then it does not go against the author's beliefs. But if patients in mental asylums prefer time-bound repetitive jobs, then the author's contention would be rendered fallacious because time-bound repetitive tasks are considered mundane and uncreative. Hence the correct option is B.