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Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT PDF Download

In the CAT 2023 exam, the Reading Comprehension (RC) questions make up more than half of the VARC section, with approximately 16 questions focused on RC. Candidates must possess strong comprehension skills to accurately and promptly answer the related questions. The CAT exam includes seven types of RC questions, each requiring a distinct approach and mindset. This article offers guidance on the various types of Reading Comprehension questions featured in the CAT exam, along with tips for solving them and a sectional analysis of Reading Comprehension.

Reading Comprehension Questions for CAT 2023: Types & Number

Provided below are the types and number of RC questions you may come across in the CAT 2022 exam.

CAT 2023: Types of RC-Based Questions

Expected Number of Questions

Vocabulary Based Questions

3 - 4

Thought Based

1 - 2

Reasoning type of Questions

2 - 3

Fact Verification

1 - 2

Main Idea-Based Questions

2 - 3

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC 2023

Generally, we can classify the different question types into two broad categories:

  1. Big-picture Questions (based on the whole passage) and 
  2. Specific Purpose Questions (based on some specific element of the passage). 

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

These two categories along with their sub-categories are discussed as follows:

Big Picture Questions

These questions refer to the broad overview of the passage and check your overall understanding of the passage. These are mostly asked in the following forms:

1. Main Idea Question: 

This relates to the central idea/theme of the passage.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

  • Which of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?
  • Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?
  • The gist of the passage is: 
  • Which of the following is the principal topic of the passage?
  • Summarize the passage in one line.

(a) How to Find the Main Idea Summarize the Passage? 

After you've read the passage, summarize it in one sentence that includes the gist of ever idea from the paragraph.
A good way to do this is to pretend you have just ten words to tell someone what the passage was about. You'd have to think broadly, so you could included every detail in just a short statement.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

(b) Main Idea Questions: Points to be kept in mind

  •  Correct answer obscured by close answer-choices 
  • These either overstate or understate the author's main point.
  • Answer-choices that stress specifics tend to understate the main idea. 
  • Choices that go beyond the scope of the passage tend to overstate the main idea.

2. Tone-Based Question:

The author's stance on the topic discussed in the text is a vital component of the overall meaning of the piece. It is the author's approach to treating the subject that shapes the reader's experience and allows them to fully comprehend the literature.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

To misinterpret tone is to misinterpret meaning. In order to recognize tonal shift and to interpret complexities of tone , the reader must be able to make inferences based on an active reading of the work. 

The author's tone or voice is revealed by organization, choice of detail, and sentence structure, but word choice is probably the strongest indicator of tone.

Tone Questions 

  • Tone questions ask you to identify the writer's attitude or perspective. 
  • Is the writer's feeling toward the subject positive, negative, or neutral? Does the writer give his own opinion, or does he objectively present the opinions of others?
  • Before you read the answer-choices, decide whether the writer's tone is positive, negative, or neutral. It is best to do this without referring to the passage.
  • Check the adjectives that he chooses.
  • For instance, if we agree with a person who holds strong feelings about a subject, we may describe his opinions as impassioned. 
  • On the other hand, if we disagree with him, we may describe his opinions as excitable, which has the same meaning as "impassioned" but carries a negative connotation.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

Tones with Examples

Here are a few important tones with examples so that you have clear understanding of them and are able to identify while solving reading comprehensions 

  • Equivocal: 
    When a writer writes subject in which there are two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse 
    • Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CATThe bark was painful. (Could mean a tree’s bark was rough or a dog’s bark communicated pain or hurt the listener’s ears).
    • When President Bush was asked about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he said, "But for those who say we haven‘t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they‘re wrong, we found them."
    • In this case, "them" could refer to either the manufacturing devices or the banned weapons, and therefore skates around the issue of whether the actual weapons were found. 
  • Irony:
    In a general sense, irony is a rhetorical device that is characterized by incongruity in the real situation and what is expected.
    Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT
    • "A man looked out of the window to see the storm intensify. He turned to his friend and said ―wonderful weather we‘re having!"
    • Simple phrases, usually in the form of similes, with obvious incongruities i.e. clear as mud, smooth as sandpaper, friendly as a coiled rattlesnake
  • Analytical Writing
    Analytical writing is commonly required in academic writing to show relationships between pieces of information. It is used to compare and contrast, assess or evaluate (for example, a number of approaches, theories, methodologies or outcomes).
    It has a structure based on the ordering of main ideas in relation to each other and uses evidence from various sources.
    However, analytical writing does not present a position to be argued.  
    • Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CATAustralian mothers from a low-income background were less likely to utilise preventative services  but they were more likely to be hospitalised and visit the out-patient clinic.
      It seems these families put off  seeking medical treatment for their children until their condition was much progressed. Similarly, report that ..."
    • Learning how to 'fit in‘ seemed to capture the overall theme of this discussion and that the struggle was about navigating a relationship around the presences of an invisible barrier
  • Sarcasm:
    Sarcasm is an ironic or satirical remark that seems to be praising someone or something but is really taunting or cutting. Sarcasm can be used to hurt or offend or can be used for comic affect.Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT
    • I‘m trying to imagine you with a personality.
    • I work 40 hours a week to be this poor. 
    • Is it time for your medication or mine?
  • Conjectural: 
    In this tone, the author gives an opinion or a judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence; guesswork.
    This style is used when Author has no knowledge of the subject he is writing about. Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT
    • The commentators made various conjectures about the outcome of the next election.
      To judge or conclude by conjecture; guess: "From the comparative silence below ... I conjectured that Mr. Rochester was now at liberty"
  • Satire:
    The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or mockery in satire is a method used by authors to expose and critique the stupidity and corruption of a person or a society. 
    • It intends to improve humanity by criticizing its follies and foibles. 
    • A writer in a satire uses fictional characters, which stand for real people, to expose and condemn their corruption. 
    • A writer may point a satire toward a person, a country or even the entire world. Usually, a satire is a comical piece of writing which makes fun of an individual or a society to expose its stupidity and shortcomings. 
    • In addition, he hopes that those he criticizes will improve their characters by overcoming their weaknesses.Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT
    • Most political cartoons which we witness every day in newspapers and magazines are examples of satire. These cartoons criticize some recent actions of political figures in a comical way.

      "If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn‘t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we‘ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don‘t want to do it."

  • Euphemism: 
    A euphemism is a polite or mild word or expression used to refer to something embarrassing, taboo, or unpleasant.
    Euphemisms are especially common in reference to bodily functions and illegal behavior, and to substitute for curse words.  
  • Concern:
    When the author is showing concern about the subject or the topic he has presented.Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT
    • " A favorite hobby of many people for the last few decades is to bemoan the moral decay of the younger generation. Like most topics that get a lot of people hot under the collar, this of course relates primarily to sex. 
      A lot of other moral issues get discussed; dishonesty, rudeness, the drug problem, and so forth. But talk to anyone who is concerned about moral decay and pretty soon they will start to focus on sex-related matters; the high teen pregnancy rate, abortion, single parenthood, and so on.
      Not a lot is given as the cause for moral decay. Most so-called causes are either very nebulous or not easily definable. The closest that any commonly cited "reason" comes to being even somewhat concrete is the idea that moral decay is caused by "the media". Movies, television shows, popular novels, et cetera glorify nonmarital sex, which causes the younger generation (anyone more than twenty years younger than yourself) to act in a like manner. "
    • Here the author is showing his concern for the moral decay in the society. 
  • Paradox:
    • When used as a literary device, a paradox is the juxtaposition of a set of seemingly contradictory concepts that reveal a hidden and/or unexpected truth
    • The paradox may be hard or even impossible to believe, yet usually the contradiction can be reconciled if the reader thinks about the juxtaposition more deeply.
  • Didactic 
    • Didactic describes a type of tone that is written to inform or instruct the reader, especially in social or political lessons. 
    • Every textbook and "how-to" book is an example of didacticism, as their explicit purpose is to instruct and educate. 
    • Books written for children also often have a didactic intent, as they are often created to teach children about moral values. 
    • Religious sermons are also usually examples of didacticism, as the preacher is intending to use the religious text to give the congregation moral guidance.
  • Patronizing
    • If someone is patronizing, they speak or behave towards you in a way that seems friendly, but which shows that they think they are superior to you. 
    • Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CATA colleague came to the desk of a new clerk, saying, "Hey, I've heard that you're new here. I'm Sam, and I'm very experienced in this department; so if there's anything you don't understanding, you can ask me... you wouldn't want to step into the same landmine your predecessor did, right.
  • Cynical: 
    • A cynical tone is seen when the author is disposed to find fault with everything and to rant about it to everyone. 
    • A cynic trusts no one‘s sincerity or good intentions. 
    • Example 
      Bill Maher is a playful microphone-toting cynic, roaming the landscapes of Christianity, with a few references to Judaism, Islam, and Scientology.
  • Argumentative: 
    • An argumentative or persuasive paragraph is one in which you try to convince the reader of something. 
    • You state your reasons for believing something and try to get the reader to agree.  

3. Title Question

(a) What is title? 

By title, we mean the heading that would be most suitable for the passage. The title should be built around the central idea of the passage.

For Example: 

  • The most apt title for the passage is:
  • Select the most suitable title for the passage from the following:

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

(b) Tips to find the most appropriate title 

  • Be sure not to go with a choice that aptly describes only the latter half of the passage. 
  • A valid title, like amain idea, must cover the entire passage. 
  • The title has to be catchy, short, and should be able to capturethe essence of the content of the passage.

4. Structure & Organization

(a) What is the structure of the passage? 

The term structure refers to how information is organized in a passage.

Structure/Organization is the pattern that the author follows to convey his notions about the given subject.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

  • Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
  • The structure of the passage can be outlined as:
  • The questions may also refer to a particular paragraph of the passage:
  • Which of the following best describes the organization of the first paragraph of the passage?
  • One function of the third paragraph is to:

(b) Commonly used patterns of organization:

  • Cause and Effect: The results of something are explained. 
  • Chronological: Information in the passage is organized in order of time. 
  • Compare and Contrast: two or more things are described. Their similarities and differences are discussed.
  • Order of Importance: Information is expressed as a hierarchy or in priority. 
  • Problem and Solution: A problem is described and a response or solution is proposed or explained. 
  • Sequence / Process Writing: Information is organized in steps or a process is explained in the order in which it occurs.
  • Social Science structures: Make comparisons; Describe cause and effect relationships; opinionate or reason
  • Science: Problem solving, cause and effect, classification of things and events; experimentation
  • Literature: Create moods, Narrate events, describe settings and characters. 
  • Possible ways: A hypothesis is stated and then analyzed; A proposal is evaluated and alternatives are explored. A viewpoint is set forth and then subsequently defended.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

Tricks for Big Picture Question

1. Check out the introduction and conclusion.
If the introduction and conclusion seem to contradict each other, that is a clear sign that you need to go even deeper into the passage/paragraph to find the main point/primary purpose/rhetorical strategy.

2. Use Key Words as Clues

Words like "in contrast," "while," "however," and so on, indicate important, contrasting information, while words like "again," "still," and "similarly" indicate the information is the same (or comparable to) what was just written. 

3. Answer In Your Own Words First

If you come across a question that asks you a big picture question, try to formulate the answer using your own words before you look at their answer choices.

Specific Questions

1. Fact-based/Specific Detail/Target Question

These questions intend to ask you to identify the correct/incorrect facts. Eg.

  • According to the passage,....
  • The passage states that:
  • Which, out of the following, is true/false?
  • Which _____ has not been cited as ______?
  • According to the author, what is ______?
  • By a ______, the author means......."
  • According to the passage, _______?
  • Which factor has not been cited _______?

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

 Tricks for Fact-based/Specific Detail/Target Question

You need to go through the directions carefully as multiple cases are possible here: he might ask you the statement the author agrees with, the statement the author does not agree with, the statement the author does not disagree with, etc.

2. Inference Question

Inferences are the indirect conclusions of the passage. They are not directly stated in the passage. Eg.

  • It can be inferred from the passage:
  • It cannot be inferred from the passage:
  • The passage uses ______ to imply that ______"
  • What can be inferred when the author states_____?"
  • The sentence, '_____', implies that
  • This question type can also be constructed from a specific portion of the passage.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

Trick for Inference Questions
 Inference refers to the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or logical judgement on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation. You need to draw out conclusions that relate to the passage. The common mistake committed here is to select an answer option that is outside the scope of the passage. Here again, practice becomes the key.

3. 'Must be true' Question

These refer to the direct and logical conclusions that follow from the passage. Eg.

  • According to the passage, which one of the must be true?
  • According to the passage, which one of the must be false?
  • According to the passage, which one of the following would the author agree with?
  • According to the passage, which one of the following would the author disagree with?
  • This question type can be constructed from a specific paragraph instead of the whole passage.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

Trick for 'Must be True' Question: 

If only two choices remain, and you feel confident in your work so far, you can just test one of them—if it accomplishes what you need (whether it’s a must be true or must be false) then it’s the answer! If it doesn’t accomplish what you need, then the other remaining choice is the answer.

4. Paraphrase Question

These questions essentially ask you to explain the meaning of a particular statement in other words or in different words than that given in the passage. Eg.

  • The following extract , ".........." , can be paraphrased as:

  • "........." can be rewritten as:

Paraphrase refers to 'Express the same message in different words/ Rewording for the purpose of clarification

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

Trick for Paraphrase Question:
These questions will essentially ask you to explain the meaning of a particular statement or conclude from it. The trick is to read the line before and after the one given; these have important hints you need to identify for the correct answer.

5. Vocabulary Question

These questions are based on the meaning of the vocabulary or the phrase within the context of the passage. Sometimes these questions test your understanding of the meaning of a complicated sentence or an important comment or idea expressed in a paragraph.

 Eg.

  • Identify the meaning of the word, "............", in the given context.
  • In the passage, the phrase ______ refers to
  • In the sentence, _________, what is the meaning of '______'?
  • The above mentioned list is a comprehensive list of question types that are generally asked from the RCs. Any new question will be a derivative of these only.

Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC | How To Prepare For CAT

Tips to solve vocabulary based questions 

1. Use context clue to guess the meaning of the words or phrases tested in the reading comprehension passages

2. From the four answer choices given, choose the word or the phrase that is closest in meaning, or is a synonym, to the vocabulary or the phrase.
Some of the choices might have similar meanings, but only one will be the most appropriate meaning within the context.

3. If you do not know the meaning of a word or a phrase, read the entire sentence because the sentence may provide additional clues. 
The sentences used before or after the sentence in which the word or phrase appears often supply clues to the meaning of the word or phrase.

Also Read: 

Tips to Solve Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT 2023

Check some of the tips that can help you solve the reading comprehension problems in CAT 2023.

  • Improve your vocabulary
  • Practice many reading comprehension questions
  • Read newspapers daily and improve your reading speed
  • Try to solve at least 3-4 CAT mock tests in a week
  • Refer to the CAT best books suggested by the toppers and experts 
  • Try to understand the meaning and idea behind the passage by reading it

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Types of RC Questions in CAT VARC 2023

What are the different types of Reading Comprehension (RC) questions in CAT VARC 2023?

The different types of RC questions in CAT VARC 2023 are:

  1. Fact-based questions
  2. Inference-based questions
  3. Vocabulary-based questions
  4. Tone-based questions
  5. Purpose-based questions

What are fact-based questions in RC?

Fact-based questions are those that require the reader to identify a piece of information explicitly stated in the passage. These questions usually begin with words such as "according to the passage," "as per the author," or "the passage states that."

What are inference-based questions in RC?

Inference-based questions are those that require the reader to draw conclusions or make inferences based on the information presented in the passage. These questions usually begin with words such as "it can be inferred," "the author implies," or "the passage suggests that.

What are vocabulary-based questions in RC?

Vocabulary-based questions are those that require the reader to identify the meaning of a particular word or phrase in the passage. These questions usually begin with words such as "the word X in the passage means," "X is closest in meaning to," or "what does X mean in the context of the passage."

What are tone-based questions in RC?

Tone-based questions are those that require the reader to identify the author's tone or attitude towards a particular subject or idea presented in the passage. These questions usually begin with words such as "the author's tone in the passage is," "the author's attitude towards X can be described as," or "the author's tone can best be described as."

What are purpose-based questions in RC?

Purpose-based questions are those that require the reader to identify the author's purpose for writing the passage. These questions usually begin with words such as "the author's primary purpose in writing this passage is," "what is the author trying to accomplish in the passage," or "why did the author write this passage."

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FAQs on Types of Reading Comprehension Questions in CAT VARC - How To Prepare For CAT

1. What are the types of Reading Comprehension questions in CAT VARC 2023?
Ans. The types of Reading Comprehension questions in CAT VARC 2023 include Big Picture Questions and Specific Questions.
2. What are Big Picture Questions in CAT VARC 2023?
Ans. Big Picture Questions in CAT VARC 2023 require the reader to understand the main idea or theme of the passage and answer questions based on it. These questions test the ability to grasp the overall meaning of the passage.
3. What are Specific Questions in CAT VARC 2023?
Ans. Specific Questions in CAT VARC 2023 require the reader to find specific details or information mentioned in the passage. These questions test the ability to locate and comprehend specific information within the given text.
4. What are some tips to solve Reading Comprehension questions in CAT 2023?
Ans. Some tips to solve Reading Comprehension questions in CAT 2023 include: - Skim through the passage to get an overview before diving into the questions. - Read the questions carefully and underline or highlight important keywords. - Refer back to the passage for each question and eliminate answer choices that are not supported by the text. - Practice solving a variety of RC passages to improve speed and accuracy. - Develop a reading strategy that suits your strengths and weaknesses.
5. What study material does EduRev offer for CAT preparation?
Ans. EduRev offers CAT Study Material that includes comprehensive notes, practice questions, mock tests, previous year papers, and video lectures. The study material is designed to help students prepare effectively for the CAT exam and improve their chances of scoring well.
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