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Rules & Examples: Reading Comprehension | Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT PDF Download

Introduction

  • Reading Comprehension questions can be broadly categorized into two types, i.e. Idea-based and Fact-based. They can further be subdivided into different categories. Each type of question requires a special approach. 
  • Different entrance examinations stress different aspects of RC skills. CAT normally focuses on inferential skills and one’s ability to tackle tricky options. This demands a thorough understanding of the logic employed by the author of the passage. These questions are the most challenging ones.
    Rules & Examples: Reading Comprehension | Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT
  • NMAT and IIFT normally focus on fact-based questions. They check a student’s ability to skim through the passage and find the correct answer. A basic understanding of the question types would help you tackle the RC section.
  • It is also a tool you can use to analyze your performance; evaluate what kind of questions you struggle with; take steps to overcome the weak areas.

Content

  • Idea Based Questions
  • Fact-Based Questions
  • Main Idea 
  • Specific Idea 
  • Implied Idea 
  • Contextual Meaning
  • Further Application 
  • Example based
  • Logical Structure
  • Tone/Style

1. Main Idea Questions

The main idea refers to the primary purpose of the author behind writing the passage. It is difficult to answer unless you have understood the essence of the author’s intention in the passage. Title question falls under this category too as the title of a passage means the main idea in a concise form.
➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • Which of the following is the main idea of the passage?
  • The primary purpose of the passage is to.
  • The author is primarily concerned with.
  • The thematic highlight of the passage is.
  • The best line to capture the content of the passage is.
  • A suitable title for the passage is.

➢ Approach

  • Typically, the main idea appears at the beginning of the end of the passage; so, pay special attention to these parts.
  • Eliminate any option that is either too general or too specific.
  • Don’t read or skim the entire passage to find the answer.
  • Eliminate ornamental or vague options.

2. Specific Idea Questions

These questions ask for specific information mentioned or stated in the passage. These are normally the easiest questions to answer. The answers are normally mentioned explicitly within the passage. However, watch out for tricky options.
➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • The author mentions which of the following?
  • Which of the following is true according to the passage?
  • The author provides information that would answer which of the following questions?

➢ Approach

  • Locate where the answer is mentioned in the passage. Don’t answer it unless you have located that section.
  • Skim and find the portion from which the question has been asked.
  • Don’t hesitate to regress. This will ensure accuracy.

3. Implied Idea Questions

These are the kind of questions where the answers are not explicitly stated in the passage. They are hinted at or implied though. This demands a higher level of comprehension. An example of this question could be found in a passage where an author points out various critiques of the US’s foreign policy, especially its role in Iraq. Though the anti-US stance here is not stated explicitly, it is implied. CAT normally loves to ask such questions.

➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • It can be inferred that the author believes___
  • The author uses___to imply___
  • Which of the following can/cannot be inferred from the passage?

➢ Approach

  • In this case, the emphasis is on testing your ability to read between the lines, i.e. to infer the author’s purpose in stating something. 
  • Use the elimination method to ensure accuracy.
  • Make sure that the inference matches the author’s tone in the passage.

4. Contextual Meaning Questions

In these questions, the meaning of a given word, phrase, or sentence in the passage is asked. These are easy to answer if one has good command over vocabulary and the ability to understand the contextual usage of words.

➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • What does the author mean by the line?
  • What word can best substitute the word in the passage?
  • The word/phrase in the passage implies.

➢ Approach

  • Go back to the passage and read the context in which this word/phrase/sentence has been used.
  • Make sure to find out any element of sarcasm or satire in the usage.
  • The meaning must match the author’s Intention.
  • These questions typically test your vocabulary too. So make sure to improve your vocabulary.

5. Example-Based Questions

In these questions, you are asked to find out the reason behind a particular example given in the passage. These are easy questions. The approach and method should remain the same as that in the contextual meaning questions.

➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • The author talks about___ in the passage in order to___
  • The author gives an example of___in order to___
  • The instance of___has been mentioned in order to___

➢ Approach

  • The author always gives an example to back up his main idea.
  • Find the main idea of the passage.
  • Find the main idea of the paragraph where this example appears.
  • Choose an option that matches both.

6. Further Application Questions

As the name reveals, these questions demand the application of logic to extend the passage from where it ended. This would again depend on your understanding of the author’s line of thought and the logic used by him to develop the passage.

➢ Common questions stem from these types of questions are:

  • The next paragraph of the passage is likely to deal with___
  • Which of these is similar to the example used by the author?
  • With which of the following statements is the author most likely to agree/disagree___
  • The passage is most likely an extract from___
  • The author of the passage is most likely a/an___

➢ Approach

  • Read the last paragraph carefully as this would give you an idea of what may follow next.
  • Think about the general progression of the passage in terms of the ideas contained in each paragraph and apply the same logic to extend the ideas of the last paragraph.
  • For the source of the passage or profession of the author questions, eliminate options on the basis of the target reader group. The use of jargons or theory will hint at it.

7. Logical Structure Questions

These questions test your understanding of the overall logic of the author, i.e. how s/he uses it to develop the passage. A deeper level of reading is required in order to answer these questions as it helps you understand the author’s use of logic and purpose.

➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • The author states his main point primarily by:
  • The author develops the passage primarily by:

➢ Approach

  • Read the options, revisit the part of the passage where the information asked in the question is stated (in case the question asks you something specific) and then choose the correct option.
  • If you can phrase the answer before you look at the options, it will help you save time.

8. Tone Questions

  • An author uses a particular tone in a passage, which relates to the overall attitude displayed by the author in writing on a topic. Is the author critical, argumentative, witty, nostalgic, etc.? 
  • In short, an author can use a positive, negative, or neutral tone in a passage. So, the tone is defined as the attitude of the author towards the main idea. 
  • The answer to this question is not explicitly stated in the passage and answering this question requires the ability to comprehend the way the author has treated the subject. 
  • Finding the tone of the passage becomes necessary in RC because this determines the validity of any inference. Even in a fact-based question, understanding the intention of the author becomes vital to ensure accuracy.

➢ The common question stems for these types of questions are:

  • The tone of the author in the passage is__
  • The tone of the passage is__
  • The style of the author can best be described as__
  • The attitude of the author towards the main idea is__

➢ Approach

  • Remember that in this case, you should not consider a paragraph in isolation to evaluate the tone. The tone encompasses the overall attitude of the author. Therefore, you should take the whole passage into account.
  • First, think of a description of the tone of the passage. Then look at the options and choose the one that is the closest.
  • Tone questions, invariably, turn into vocabulary questions. Work on your vocabulary.
  • Read the first and the last paragraph very carefully to answer such questions.
The document Rules & Examples: Reading Comprehension | Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT is a part of the CAT Course Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC).
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FAQs on Rules & Examples: Reading Comprehension - Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT

1. What are the main idea questions?
Ans. Main idea questions are questions that focus on the central theme or main point of a text. These questions aim to understand the overall message or purpose of the text.
2. Can you provide examples of specific idea questions?
Ans. Specific idea questions are questions that ask for specific details or information from a text. These questions require the reader to locate and extract specific facts or ideas from the text. For example, "What is the author's opinion on climate change?" or "What are the three main causes of pollution?"
3. How can implied idea questions be identified?
Ans. Implied idea questions are questions that require the reader to infer or deduce information that is not explicitly stated in the text. These questions often involve analyzing the context and making logical connections. For example, "What can be inferred about the protagonist's feelings based on their actions?"
4. What are contextual meaning questions?
Ans. Contextual meaning questions are questions that ask for the meaning of a word or phrase based on its context in the text. These questions require the reader to understand the surrounding words and sentences to determine the intended meaning. For example, "Based on the sentence, what does the word 'pensive' mean?"
5. How can example-based questions help in understanding a text?
Ans. Example-based questions ask for specific examples or illustrations from the text to support or clarify a concept or idea. These questions help the reader to further comprehend and visualize the information presented in the text. For example, "Can you provide an example from the text that demonstrates the concept of foreshadowing?"
6. How can logical structure questions aid in understanding a text?
Ans. Logical structure questions focus on the organization and flow of ideas within a text. These questions require the reader to identify the logical relationships between different parts of the text, such as cause and effect, compare and contrast, or chronological order. By understanding the logical structure, readers can better grasp the author's intended message and the overall coherence of the text.
7. What do tone questions aim to uncover in a text?
Ans. Tone questions investigate the author's attitude or feelings towards the subject matter. These questions require the reader to analyze the choice of words, language, and overall tone of the text to infer the author's perspective. For example, "Based on the text, what is the author's tone towards the government's environmental policies?"
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