How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT (2014)

Part 3: Verbal Reasoning

Section 1: Critical Reasoning

Chapter 2. Previous Years' Questions from the CAT

CAT 2003

Directions for Questions 1 and 2: Four alternative summaries are given below each text. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the text.

1.You seemed at first to take no notice of your school-fellows, or rather to set yourself against them because they were strangers to you. They knew as little of you as you did of them; this would have been the reason for their keeping aloof from you as well, which you would have felt as a hardship. Learn never to conceive a prejudice against others because you know nothing of them. It is bad reasoning, and makes enemies of half the world. Do not think ill of them till they behave ill to you; and then strive to avoid the faults which you see in them. This will disarm their hostility sooner than pique or resentment or complaint.

(a)The discomfort you felt with your school fellows was because both sides knew little of each other. You should not complain unless you find others prejudiced against you and have attempted to carefully analyse the faults you have observed in them.

(b)The discomfort you felt with your school fellows was because both sides knew little of each other. Avoid prejudice and negative thoughts till you encounter bad behaviour from others, and then win them over by shunning the faults you have observed.

(c)You encountered hardship amongst your school fellows because you did not know them well. You should learn to not make enemies because of your prejudices irrespective of their behaviour towards you.

(d)You encountered hardship amongst your school fellows because you did not know them well. You should learn to not make enemies because of your prejudices unless they behave badly with you.

2.The human race is spread all over the world, from the polar regions to the tropics. The people of whom it is made up eat different kinds of food, partly according to the climate in which they live, and partly according to the kind of food which their country produces. In hot climates, meat and fat are not much needed; but in the Arctic regions they seem to be very necessary for keeping up the heat of the body. Thus, in India, people live chiefly on different kinds of grains, eggs, milk, or sometimes fish and meat. In Europe, people eat more meat and less grain. In the Arctic regions, where no grains and fruits are produced, the Eskimo and other races live almost entirely on meat and fish.

(a)Food eaten by people in different regions of the world depends on the climate and produce of the region, and varies from meat and fish in the Arctic to predominantly grains in the tropics.

(b)Hot climates require people to eat grains while cold regions require people to eat meat and fish.

(c)In hot countries, people eat mainly grains while in the Arctic, they eat meat and fish because they cannot grow grains.

(d)While people in Arctic regions like meat and fish and those in hot regions like India prefer mainly grains, they have to change what they eat depending on the local climate and the local produce.

CAT 2004

Directions for Questions 3 to 5: Four alternative summaries are given below each text. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the text.

3.Although almost all climate scientists agree that the Earth is gradually warming, they have long been of two minds about the process of rapid climate shifts within larger periods of change. Some have speculated that the process works like a giant oven or freezer, warming or cooling the whole planet at the same time. Others think that shifts occur on opposing schedules in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, like exaggerated seasons. Recent research in Germany examining climate patterns in the Southern Hemisphere at the end of the last Ice Age strengthens the idea that warming and cooling occurs at alternate times in the two hemispheres. A more definitive answer to this debate will allow scientists to better predict when and how quickly the next climate shift will happen.

(a)Scientists have been unsure whether rapid shifts in the Earth’s climate happen all at once or on opposing schedules in different hemispheres; research will help find a definitive answer and better predict climate shifts in future.

(b)Scientists have been unsure whether rapid shifts in the Earth’s climate happen all at once or on opposing schedules in different hemispheres; finding a definitive answer will help them better predict climate shifts in future.

(c)Research in Germany will help scientists find a definitive answer about warming and cooling of the Earth and predict climate shifts in the future in a better manner.

(d)More research rather than debates on warming or cooling of the Earth and exaggerated seasons in its hemispheres, will help scientists in Germany predict climate changes better in future.

4.Local communities have often come in conflict with agents trying to exploit resources, at a faster pace, for an expanding commercial-industrial economy. More often than not, such agents of resource-intensification are given preferential treatment by the state, through the grant of generous long leases over mineral or fish stocks, for example, or the provision of raw material at an enormously subsidized price. With the injustice so compounded, local communities at the receiving end of this process, have no recourse except direct action, resisting both the state and outside exploiters through a variety of protest techniques. These struggles might perhaps be seen as a manifestation of a new kind of class conflict.

(a)A new kind of class conflict arises from preferential treatment given to agents of resource-intensification by the state, which the local community sees as unfair.

(b)The grant of long leases to agents of resource-intensification for an expanding commercial- “industrial economy leads to direct protests from the local community, which sees it as unfair.

(c)Preferential treatment given by the state to agents of resource-intensification for an expanding commercial-industrial economy exacerbates injustice to local communities and leads to direct protests from them, resulting in a new type of class conflict.

(d)Local communities have no option but to protest against agents of resource-intensification and create a new type of class conflict when they are given raw material at subsidised prices for an expanding commercial-industrial economy.

5.Modern bourgeois society, said Nietzsche, was decadent and enfeebled—a victim of the excessive “development of the rational faculties at the expense of will and instinct.” Against the liberal-rationalist stress on the intellect, Nietzsche urged recognition of the dark mysterious world of instinctual desires—the true forces of life. Smother the will with excessive intellectualizing and you destroy the spontaneity that sparks cultural creativity and ignites a zest for living. The critical and theoretical outlook destroyed the creative instincts. For man’s manifold potential to be realized, he must forego relying on the intellect and nurture again the instinctual roots of human existence.

(a)Nietzsche urges the decadent and enfeebled modern society to forego intellect and give importance to creative instincts.

(b)Nietzsche urges the decadent and enfeebled modern society to smother the will with excessive intellectualising and ignite a zest for living.

(c)Nietzsche criticizes the intellectuals for enfeebling the modern bourgeois society by not nurturing man’s creative instincts.

(d)Nietzsche blames excessive intellectualisation for the decline of modern society and suggests nurturing creative instincts instead.

CAT 2003

Directions for Questions 6 to 9: Four alternative summaries are given below each text. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the text.

6.Some decisions will be fairly obvious—“no-brainers.” Your bank account is low, but you have a two-week vacation coming up and you want to get away to some place warm to relax with your family. Will you accept your in-laws’ offer of free use of their Florida beachfront condo? Sure. You like your employer and feel ready to move forward in your career. Will you step in for your boss for three weeks while she attends a professional development course? Of course.

I.Some decisions are obvious under certain circumstances. You may, for example, readily accept a relative’s offer of free holiday accommodation. Or step in for your boss when she is away.

II.Some decisions are no-brainers. You need not think when making them. Examples are condo offers from in-laws and job offers from bosses when your bank account is low or boss is away.

III.Easy decisions are called “no-brainers” because they do not require any cerebral activity. Examples such as accepting free holiday accommodation abound in our lives.

IV.Accepting an offer from in-laws when you are short on funds and want a holiday is a no-brainer. Another no-brainer is taking the boss’s job when she is away.

(a) I           (b) II

(c) III         (d) IV

7.Physically, inertia is a feeling that you just can’t move; mentally, it is a sluggish mind. Even if you try to be sensitive, if your mind is sluggish, you just don’t feel anything intensely. You may even see a tragedy enacted in front of your eyes and not be able to respond meaningfully. You may see one person exploiting another, one group persecuting another, and not be able to get angry. Your energy is frozen. You are not deliberately refusing to act; you just don’t have the capacity.

I.Inertia makes your body and mind sluggish. They become insensitive to tragedies, exploitation, and persecution because it freezes your energy and decapacitates it.

II.When you have inertia, you don’t act although you see one person exploiting another or one group persecuting another. You don’t get angry because you are incapable.

III.Inertia is of two types—physical and mental. Physical inertia restricts bodily movements. Mental inertia prevents mental response to events enacted in front of your eyes.

IV.Physical inertia stops your body from moving; mental inertia freezes your energy and stops your mind from responding meaningfully to events, even tragedies, in front of you.

(a) I           (b) II

(c) III         (d) IV

8.Try before you buy. We use this memorable saying to urge you to experience the consequences of an alternative before you choose it, whenever this is feasible. If you are considering buying a van after having always owned sedans, rent one for a week or borrow a friend’s. By experiencing the consequences first hand, they become more meaningful. In addition, you are likely to identify consequences you had not even thought of before. May be you will discover that it is difficult to park the van in your small parking space at work, but that, on the other hand, your elderly father has a much easier time getting in and out of it.

I.If you are planning to buy a van after being used to sedans, borrow a van or rent it and try it before deciding to buy it. Then you may realise that parking a van is difficult while it is easier for your elderly father to get in and out of it.

II.Before choosing an alternative, experience its consequences if feasible. If, for example, you want to change from sedans to a van, try one before buying it. You will discover aspects you may never have thought of.

III.Always try before you buy anything. You are bound to discover many consequences. One of the consequences of going in for a van is that it is more difficult to park than sedans at the office car park.

IV.We urge you to try products such as vans before buying them. Then you can experience consequences you have not thought of such as parking problems. But your father may find vans more comfortable than cars.

(a) I          (b) II

(c) III        (d) IV

9.It is important for shipping companies to be clear about the objectives for maintenance and materials management—as to whether the primary focus is on service level improvement or cost minimization. Often, when certain systems are set in place, the cost minimization objective and associated procedures become more important than the flexibility required for service level improvement. The problem really arises since cost minimization tends to focus on out of pocket costs which are visible, while the opportunity costs, often greater in value, are lost sight of.

I.Shipping companies have to either minimize costs or maximize service quality. If they focus on cost minimization, they will reduce quality. They should focus on service level improvement, or else opportunity costs will be lost sight of.

II.Shipping companies should determine the primary focus of their maintenance and materials management. Focus on cost minimization may reduce visible costs, but ignore greater invisible costs and impair service quality.

III.Any cost minimization program in shipping is bound to lower the quality of service. Therefore, shipping companies must be clear about the primary focus of their maintenance and materials management before embarking on cost minimization.

IV.Shipping companies should focus on quality level improvement rather than cost cutting. Cost cutting will lead to untold opportunity costs. Companies should have systems in place to make the service level flexible.

(a) I           (b) II

(c) III         (d) IV

CAT 1999

Directions for Questions 10 to 17: Read each of the eight short passages given below and answer the questions that follows it.

10.Three airlines—IA, JA and SA—operate on the Delhi-Mumbai route. To increase the number of seats sold, SA reduced its fares and this was emulated by IA and JA immediately. The general belief was that the volume of air travel between Delhi and Mumbai would increase as a result.

Which of the following, if true, would add credence to the general belief?

(a)Increase in profitability of the three airlines.

(b)Extension of the discount scheme to the other routes.

(c)A study that shows that air travelers in India are price-conscious.

(d)A study that shows that as much as 80% of air travels in India are company-sponsored.

11.According to Mc Neil, a Brahmin priest was expected to be able to recite at least one of the Vedas. The practice was essential for several centuries when the Vedas had not yet been written down. It must have had a selective effect since priests would have been recruited from those able or willing to memorize long passages. It must have helped in the dissemination of the work, since a memorized passage can be duplicated many times.

Which one of the following can be inferred from the above passage?

(a)Reciting the Vedas was a ‘Brahmin’s obligation.’

(b)The Vedic priest was like a recorded audio cassette.

(c)Mc Neill studied the behavior of the Brahmin priests.

(d)Vedic hymns had not been scripted.

12.Developed countries have made adequate provisions for social security of senior citizens. State insurers (as well as private ones) offer Medicare and pension benefits to people who can no longer earn. In India, with the collapse of the joint family system, the traditional shelter of the elderly has disappeared. And a state faced with a financial crunch is not in a position to provide social security. So it is advisable that the working population give serious thought to building a financial base for itself.

Which one of the following, if it were to happen, weakens the conclusion drawn in the above passage the most?

(a)The investable income of the working population as a proportion of its total income will grow in the future.

(b)The insurance sector is underdeveloped and trends indicate that it will be extensively privatised in the future.

(c)India is on a path of development that will take it to a developed country’s status with all its positive and negative implications.

(d)If the working population builds a stronger financial base, there will be revival of the joint family system.

13.Various studies have shown that our forested and hilly regions and, in general, areas where biodiversity—as reflected in the variety of flora—is high, are the places where poverty appears to be high. And these same areas are also the ones where educational performances seem to be poor. Therefore, it may be surmised that, even disregarding poverty status, richness in biodiversity goes hand in hand with educational backwardness.

Which of the following statements, if true, can be said to best provide supporting evidence for the surmise mentioned in the passage?

(a)In regions where there is little variety in flora, educational performance is seen to be as good as in regions with high variety in flora, when poverty levels are high.

(b)Regions which show high biodiversity, also exhibit poor educational performance, at low level of poverty.

(c)Regions which show high biodiversity reveal high levels of poverty and poor educational performance.

(d)In regions where there is low biodiversity, at all levels of poverty, educational performance is seen to be good.

14.Cigarettes constitute a mere 20% of tobacco consumption in India, and fewer than 15% of the 200 million tobacco users consume cigarettes. Yet these 15% contribute nearly 90% of the tax revenues to the exchequer from the tobacco sector. The punitive cigarette taxation regime has kept the tax base narrow, and reducing taxes will expand this base.

Which one of the following best bolsters the conclusion that reducing duties will expand the tax base?

(a)The cigarette manufactures’ association has decided to indulge in aggressive promotion.

(b)There is a likelihood that tobacco consumers will shift to cigarette smoking if cigarette prices were to reduce.

(c)The cigarette manufacturers are lobbying for a reduction on duties.

(d)An increase in duties on non-cigarette tobacco may lead to a shift in favour of cigarette smoking.

15.Thomas Malthus, the British clergyman turned economist, predicted that the planet would not be able to support the human population for long. His explanation was that human population grows at a geometric rate, while the food supply grows only at an arithmetic rate.

Which one of the following, if true, would not undermine the thesis offered by Malthus?

(a)Population growth can be slowed down by the voluntary choices of individuals and not just by natural disasters.

(b)The capacity of the planet to feed a growing human population can be enhanced through biotechnological means.

(c)Human systems, and natural systems like food supply, follow natural laws of growth, which have remained constant, and will remain unchanged.

(d)Human beings can colonise other planetary systems on a regular and ongoing basis to accommodate a growing population.

16.The company’s coffee crop for 1998–99 totalled 8079 tonnes, an all-time record. The increase over the previous year’s production of 5830 tonnes was 38.58%. The previous highest crop was 6089 tonnes in 1970–71. The company had fixed a target of 8000 tonnes to be realized by the year 2000–01, and this has been achieved two years earlier; thanks to the emphasis laid on the key areas of irrigation, replacement of unproductive coffee bushes, intensive refilling and improved agricultural practices. It is now our endeavour to reach the target of 10,000 tonnes in 2001– 02.

Which one of the following would contribute most to making the target of 10,000 tonnes in 2001–02 unrealistic?

(a)The potential of the productivity enhancing measures implemented up to now has been exhausted.

(b)The total company land under coffee has remained constant since 1969 when an estate in the Nilgiri Hills was acquired.

(c)The sensitivity of the crop to climatic factors makes predictions about production uncertain.

(d)The target-setting procedures in the company have been proved to be sound by the achievement of the 8000 tonne target.

17.Animals in general, are shrewd in proportion as they cultivate society. Elephants and beavers show the greatest signs of this sagacity when they are together in large numbers, but when man invades their communities, they lose all their spirit of industry. Among insects, the labours of the bee and the ant have attracted the attention and admiration of naturalists, but all their sagacity seems to be lost upon separation, and a single bee or ant seems destitute of every degree of industry. It becomes the most stupid insect imaginable and it languishes and soon dies.

Which of the following can be inferred from the above passage?

(a)Humankind is responsible for the destruction of the natural habitat of animals and insects.

(b)Animals, in general, are unable to function effectively outside their normal social environment.

(c)Naturalists have great admiration for bees and ants, despite their lack of industry upon separation.

(d)Elephants and beavers are smarter than bees and ants in the presence of human beings.


Directions for Questions 18 and 19: For each of the two questions, indicate which of the statements given with that particular question is consistent with the description of the unreasonable man in the passage below.

Unreasonableness is a tendency to do socially permissible things at the wrong time. The unreasonable man is the sort of person who comes to confide in you when you are busy. He serenades his beloved when she is ill. He asks a man who has just lost money by paying a bill for a friend to pay a bill for him. He invites a friend to go for a ride just after the friend has finished a long car trip. He is eager to offer services which are not wanted but which cannot be politely refused. If he is present at an arbitration, he stirs up dissension between the two parties, who are really anxious to agree. Such is the unreasonable man.

18.He tends to

(a)entertain women.

(b)be a successful arbitrator when dissenting parties are anxious to agree.

(c)be helpful when solicited.

(d)tell a long story to people who have heard it many times before.

19.The unreasonable man tends to

(a)bring a higher bidder to a salesman who has just closed a deal.

(b)disclose confidential information to others.

(c)sing the praises of the bride when he goes to a wedding.

(d)sleep late and rise early

Directions for Questions 20 to 24: Read each of the short passages given below and answer the questions that follow it.

20.The Kolahal party had to fight the Golmal party bitterly to win the mayoral electrons. One of the main features of its campaign was that it would make public all the papers related to a scandal during the regime of the Golmal party. After the victory, however, the new mayor got busy introducing many schemes, both liked and not liked by the public. The Golmal party made only mild protests but refrained from tabling a serious no-confidence motion in the council which it could have won by obtaining the support of the independent members.

Which of the following statements, if true, implies that the Kolahal party is blackmailing the Golmal party?

(a)The papers mentioned in the election campaign are prepared and ready.

(b)Some members of the public disliked the reforms made by the new mayor.

(c)People complained about collusion between the two parties.

(d)Independent members were not keen on supporting the Golmal party.

21.Cellular phone services are being provided by two companies in each telecom circle. These companies were awarded the contracts based on the licence fees they agreed to pay the government and were selected on a competitive basis. Cellular phone service providers have found that their profits are much less than they expected—in fact, in most cases they are losing money.

Which of the following can be inferred from the above passage?

(a)All the cellular phone service providers have been operating inefficiently.

(b)The government was wrong in allowing private provision of cellular services.

(c)Cellular service providers have been unable to match performance to plan.

(d)Paging services have eaten into the revenue of the cellular service.

22.Organizations are often defined as groups of people who come together to pursue a common goal. But more often than not, goals diverge as much as they converge, making the rationality of the overall organization no more than an elusive ideal. Beneath the collective irrationality, however, organizations are often operating in a way that is eminently rational from the standpoint of the individuals, groups and coalitions directly involved.

Which of the following can be inferred from the above passage?

(a)If all employees of an organization pursue their individual goals, one can never have an organization that behaves rationally.

(b)Although conceptually, an organization may appear to be irrational—behaviors of individuals, groups and coalitions in the organization may be rational.

(c)As individuals, groups or coalitions in an organization pursue their own interests, the conceptual issues of rational behavior get blurred.

(d)Since people are essentially irrational, the ideal of building a rational organization is elusive.

23.BSE officials point out that ever since on-line trading took off, surveillance isn’t difficult any more. Sophisticated software has been installed for continuous monitoring of stock prices. If that is so, how could the unnatural spurt in prices of operator-driven stock go unnoticed? There does not seem to be regular checks or supervision.

Which of the following can be inferred from the above passage?

(a)The software used at BSE is not as sophisticated as it is claimed to be.

(b)The operators can drive stock prices crazy irrespective of the kind of software installed.

(c)Nobody can ever predict how stock prices move in the market.

(d)Having the infrastructure in place is one thing, but proper utilization is another.

24.At a movie theatre in Bangalore, last year, the proprietor decided to sell about one-third of his total balcony capacity on the internet. The response was tremendous. On every new release, the entire on-line capacity was sold out. Today, there are at least 2 million educated and well-heeled consumers in India who are ordering everything from cinema tickets to paan and tennis racquets to shirts from the comfort of their offices or homes.

Which of the following can be inferred from the above passage?

(a)There is a growing breed of computer-savvy consumers in Bangalore.

(b)It is more comfortable to purchase movie tickets through the internet.

(c)A retailing revolution is underway in India, with the advent of the internet.

(d)The proprietor of the theatre can profitably decide to sell all the balcony tickets through the internet.

Directions for Questions 25 and 26: Each passage below is followed by a question and four alternative answers. Select the best alternative.

25.In the Panchatantra, a woodpecker offered the following words of consolation to a hensparrow whose eggs had been crashed by an elephant with spring fever:

For the lost and dead and past

The wise have no laments:

Between the wise and fools

Is just this difference.

This stanza highlights an important lesson that:

(a)wisdom is a direct function of retaining the lessons contained in the past.

(b)there is no end to the reward of discriminating judgement.

(c)one must be sensitive to the past only in so far as it offers wisdom, not as an object of brooding or regret.

(d)Joy results from resolute yet circumspect use of the active powers; only the foolish would do otherwise.

26.The Sanskrit text of the Laws of Manu were first translated into English in 1794 and translations into other European languages swiftly followed. For Nietzsche, the humane wisdom of Manu far surpassed that of the New Testament; for the British Raj, it seemed to be the perfect tool with which to rule the Hindu. No understanding of modern India is possible without it and in the richness of its ideas, its aphoristic profundity and its relevance to universal human dilemmas, Manu stands beside the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabarata. The author of this passage

(a)believes that the Laws of Manu are greater than the epics.

(b)exaggerates the importance of Manu in Hinduism by declaring it to be the last word on the subject.

(c)states that Manu’s work is comparable to the great epics.

(d)Believes that the British could not have ruled India without reading the Laws of Manu; so great was its importance.

◊ Answer Key

CAT 2003

1. (b)

2. (a)


CAT 2004

3. (b)

4. (c)

5. (a)


CAT 2003

6. (a)

7. (d)

8. (b)

9. (b)

10. (c)

CAT 1999

11. (c)

12. (c)

13. (d)

14. (b)

15. (c)

16. (a)

17. (b)


CAT Archives

18. (d)

19. (a)

20. (a)

21. (c)

22. (b)

23. (d)

24. (c)

25. (c)

26. (c)