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

Part 1: Building Skills for Reading Comprehension

Section 1: Reading Comprehension

Chapter 4. Illustrative CAT Passages (Solved)

The following eleven passages are a reproduction of the Reading Comprehension (RC) section of the CAT paper. The first three passages are from CAT 2006 paper & the later eight passages are from CAT 2003 paper. The choice of papers from these two years is due to the following reasons:

•Upto 2005, CAT paper had 4-option questions. CAT 2003 paper would give you a feel of these questions.

•CAT 2006 passages have 5-option questions which is the current trend. CAT 2006 paper would give you the practice needed to solve CAT RC questions according to the latest pattern.

CAT 2006 has been given preference over the later CAT papers because of the fact that Reading Comprehension in CAT 2006 is supposed to be the toughest in the history of CAT. Detailed solutions have been provided for each of the eleven passages (including the ideal process of reading the passages, as also the reason for the elimination of each of the incorrect options.) First try to solve these and then look at the detailed thought processes involved for each passage.

However, since such a detailed analysis (the best way to read a passage) is rarely available anywhere, we would like the reader to first solve each passage on his own, by reading it in his normal reading style. Once you have read and solved the passage completely, reread the passage—which is reproduced for your benefit, with detailed comments by the authors—understanding each of the points completely. Then try adopting this approach in your own reading style—by practicing it in everything you read (be it a newspaper article, a journal, a magazine, a fictional or non fictional book). As an additional exercise, you might also want to see what errors of comprehension occurred in case you had wrong answers.

CAT 2006

Passage I

 

Directions for Questions 1 to 5: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre seems once again to be haunting Europe. Last month, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the “crimes of totalitarian communist regimes,” linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still “legal and active in some countries.” Now Goran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further. Demands that European Ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign—including school textbook revisions, official memorial days, and museums—only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority. Mr. Lindblad pledged to bring the wider plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months:

He has chosen a good year for his ideological offensive: this is the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Josef Stalin and the subsequent Hungarian uprising, which will doubtless be the cue for further excoriation of the communist record. Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything, become more extreme as time has gone on. A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling report by Mr. Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration. Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained “different elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still seduce many” and “a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive.” Perhaps the real problem for Mr. Lindblad and his right-wing allies in Eastern Europe is that communism is not dead enough — and they will only be content when they have driven a stake through its heart.

The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense-. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror, there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sorbibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives—in fact it played the decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine. Mr. Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of those “killed by communist regimes” (mostly in famines) from the fiercely contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number of deaths attributable to Hitler. But, in any case, none of this explains why anyone might be nostalgic in former communist states, now enjoying the delights of capitalist restoration.

The dominant account gives no sense of how communist regimes renewed themselves after 1956 or why Western leaders feared they might overtake the capitalist world well into the 1960s. For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialization, mass education, job security, and huge advances in social and gender equality. Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.

It would be easier to take the Council of Europe’s condemnation of communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far bloodier record of European colonialism—which only finally came to an end in the 1970s. This was a system of racist despotism, which dominated the globe in Stalin’s time. And while there is precious little connection between the ideas of fascism and communism, there is an intimate link between colonialism and Nazism. The terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager were both first used by the German colonial regime in South-West Africa (now Namibia), which committed genocide against the Herero and Nama peoples and bequeathed its ideas and personnel directly to the Nazi parry.

Around 10 million Congolese died as a result of Belgian forced labor and mass murder in the early twentieth century; tens of millions perished in avoidable or enforced famines in British-ruled India; up to a million Algerians died in their war for independence, while controversy now rages in France about a new law requiring teachers to put a positive spin on colonial history. Comparable atrocities were carried out by all European colonialists, but not a word of condemnation from the Council of Europe. Presumably, European lives count for more.

No major twentieth century political tradition is without blood on its hands, but battles over history are more about the future than the past. Part of the current enthusiasm in official Western circles for dancing on the grave of communism is no doubt about relations with today’s Russia and China. But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the new global capitalist order - and that any attempt to find one is bound to lead to suffering. With the new imperialism now being resisted in the Muslim world and Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within the existing economic system, the pressure for alternatives will increase.

1.Among all the apprehensions that Mr. Goran Lindblad expresses against communism, which one gets admitted, although indirectly, by the author?

(a)There is nostalgia for communist ideology even if communism has been abandoned by most European nations.

(b)Notions of social justice inherent in communist ideology appeal to critics of existing systems.

(c)Communist regimes were totalitarian and marked by brutalities and large scale violence.

(d)The existing economic order is wrongly viewed as imperialistic by proponents of communism

(e)Communist ideology is faulted because communist regimes resulted in economic failures.

2.What, according to the author, is the real reason for a renewed attack against communism?

(a)Disguising the unintended consequences of the current economic order such as social injustice and environmental crisis.

(b)Idealising the existing ideology of global capitalism.

(c)Making communism a generic representative of all historical atrocities, especially those perpetrated by the European imperialists.

(d)Communism still survives, in bits and pieces, in the minds and hearts of people.

(e)Renewal of some communist regimes has led to the apprehension that communist nations might overtake the capitalists.

3.The author cites examples of atrocities perpetrated by European colonial regimes in order to

(a)compare the atrocities committed by colonial regimes with those of communist regimes.

(b)prove that the atrocities committed by colonial regimes were more than those of communist regimes.

(c)prove that, ideologically, communism was much better than colonialism and Nazism.

(d)neutralise the arguments of Mr. Lindblad and to point out that the atrocities committed by colonial regimes were more than those of communist regimes.

(e)neutralise the arguments of Mr. Lindblad and to argue that one needs to go beyond and look at the motives of these regimes.

4.Why, according to the author, is Nazism closer to colonialism than it is to communism?

(a)Both colonialism and Nazism were examples of tyranny of one race over another.

(b)The genocides committed by the colonial and the Nazi regimes were of similar magnitude.

(c)Several ideas of the Nazi regime were directly imported from colonial regimes.

(d)Both colonialism and Nazism are based on the principles of imperialism.

(e)While communism was never limited to Europe, both the Nazis and the colonialists originated in Europe.

5.Which of the following cannot be inferred as a compelling reason for the silence of the Council of Europe on colonial atrocities?

(a)The Council of Europe being dominated by erstwhile colonialists.

(b)Generating support for condemning communist ideology.

(c)Unwillingness to antagonize allies by raking up an embarrassing past.

(d)Greater value seemingly placed on European lives.

(e)Portraying both communism and Nazism as ideologies to be condemned.

 

Detailed Explanation

Have you read and solved this passage? Now go through it again with our comments. “Check your answers with those given below along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read. The passage in italics is the reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanation or author’s interpretation of the same.”

 

Directions for Questions 1 to 5: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre seems once again to be haunting Europe.

(Introduction of an idea—communism is raising its head again??)

Last month, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the “crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” linking them with Nazism

(New idea—link of totalitarian communist regimes with Nazism)

and complaining that communist parties are still “legal and active in some countries.” Now Goran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further.

(Introduction of the person behind the resolution—Goran Lindblad)

Demands that European Ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign - including school textbook revisions, official memorial days, and museums - only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority. Mr. Lindblad pledged to bring the wider plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

(The author is mentioning specific details here—so all you need to gather here is that Lindblad is trying to intensify the anti communism campaign through a variety of means) (New papragraph coming up—start to focus on what ideas are going to be thrown at you)

He has chosen a good year for his ideological offensive: this is the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Josef Stalin and the subsequent Hungarian uprising, which will doubtless be the cue for further excoriation of the communist record. Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything, become more extreme as time has gone on.

(new idea introduced here—that the attacks on communism have got intensified as time goes on in spite of the fact there are almost no communist governments in Europe)

A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling report by Mr. Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration.

(idea coming up—tentacles on!!)

Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained “different elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still seduce many” and “a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive.”

(Obviously the author is hinting at the fact that Lindblad is not content that communism as a form of government is not thriving—he even has a problem with the fact that the ideals of communism like class struggle and public ownership of resources still sound seductive to the minds of many—the next sentence confirms this predictive thought.)

Perhaps the real problem for Mr. Lindblad and his right-wing allies in Eastern Europe is: that communism is not dead enough — and they will only be content when they have driven a stake through its heart.

(New paragraph—new idea coming up)

The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense.

(The author starts off with a strong statement about what he feels on the issue of the equation of Nazism and communism. Obviously he has to go on and support his argument—that Nazism and Communism cannot be compared!! Look out for what he says to support his argument as you read the next few lines.)

Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror,

(even if you do not know that Stalin’s regime represented communism, you would have known by now.)

there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sorbibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives - in fact it played the decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine. Mr. Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of those “killed by communist regimes” (mostly in famines) from the fiercely contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number of deaths attributable to Hitler. But, in any case, none of this explains why anyone might be nostalgic in former communist states, now enjoying the delights of capitalist restoration.

(Again the author leaves us here with food for thought—if communism was so bad and capitalism so good—why would anybody in a previously communist state be nostalgic about communism—especially after he has supposedly got a taste of capitalism through capitalist restoration!! Strong opinion expressed by the author and he is clearly pointing out that communism is not nearly as bad as Mr. Lindblad is trying to suggest.)

The dominant account gives no sense of how communist regimes renewed themselves after 1956 or why Western leaders feared they might overtake the capitalist world well into the 1960s.

(The author is again raising a serious point here—if communism was so bad for everyone—how did it renew itself after 1956—50 years ago when the Khrushchev Stalin standoff referred to earlier in the passage must have occurred.)

For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialization, mass education, job security, and huge advances in social and gender equality.

(and how did it develop all these wonderful things!!)

Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination.

(another brownie point for communism!!)

(New paragraph—the author is likely to take a new turn!!)

It would be easier to take the Council of Europe’s condemnation of communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far bloodier record of European colonialism

(hmmm! Colonialism—new concept added—and most likely interchangeably used by the author as a precursor to capitalism!!)

- which only finally came to an end in the 1970s. This was a system of racist despotism, which dominated the globe in Stalin’s time. And while there is precious little connection between the ideas of fascism and communism, there is an intimate link between colonialism and Nazism.

(Hoo! Now the author comes out of defending communism and starts off with a full frontal attack on colonialism and its offspring capitalism).

The terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager were both first used by the German colonial regime in South-West Africa (now Namibia), which committed genocide against the Herero and Nama peoples and bequeathed its ideas and personnel directly to the Nazi party.

Around 10 million Congolese died as a result of Belgian forced labor and mass murder in the early twentieth century; tens of millions perished in avoidable or enforced famines in British-ruled India; up to a million Algerians died in their war for independence, while controversy now rages in France about a new law requiring teachers to put a positive spin on colonial history. Comparable atrocities were carried out by all European colonialists, but not a word of condemnation from the Council of Europe. Presumably, European lives count for more.

(Huge criticism of colonialism here!! Last paragraph coming up—the author is likely to move us into a conclusion—Increase your focus at this point.)

No major twentieth century political tradition is without blood on its hands, but battles over history are more about the future than the past. Part of the current enthusiasm in official Western circles for dancing on the grave of communism is no doubt about relations with today’s Russia and China. But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the new global capitalist order - and that any attempt to find one is bound to lead to suffering. With the new imperialism now being resisted in the Muslim world and Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within the existing economic system, the pressure for alternatives will increase.

1.Among all the apprehensions that Mr. Goran Lindblad expresses against communism, which one gets admitted, although indirectly, by the author?

(Read the question properly—we have to identify which of Lindblad’s apprehension has the author admitted indirectly!!)

(a)There is nostalgia for communist ideology even if communism has been abandoned by most European nations.

(This is not an apprehension of Lindblad against communism—so cannot be the answer!!)

(b)Notions of social justice inherent in communist ideology appeal to critics of existing systems.

(This is again not an apprehension of Lindblad against communism.)

(c)Communist regimes were totalitarian and marked by brutalities and large scale violence.

(First line of the last paragraph—‘No major twentieth century political tradition is without blood on its hands’, means that the author is agreeing that even communism has blood on its hands.)

(d)The existing economic order is wrongly viewed as imperialistic by proponents of communism.

(Irrelevant point—option has been created by picking up words from the last paragraph and has no relevance to the question asked.)

(e)Communist ideology is faulted because communist regimes resulted in economic failures.

(Again an irrelevant point)

2.What, according to the author, is the real reason for a renewed attack against communism?

(Read the question clearly and understand exactly what they are asking you to do—the question is pretty clear—we are looking for the ‘real reason’ for a renewed attack against communism—which means that we are essentially looking for the motives of the people who have attacked communism.)

(a)Disguising the unintended consequences of the current economic order such as social injustice and environmental crisis.

(Check the truth of the statement: “Disguising the unintended consequences of the current economic order is the real reason for a renewed attack against communism—Maybe a reason but not the real reason. Hence cannot be the answer.)

(b)Idealising the existing ideology of global capitalism.

(Obviously this looks right. The people attacking communism are actually trying to idealise the ideology of global capitalism. Clearly stated in “But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the new global capitalist order - and that any attempt to find one is bound to lead to suffering” in the last paragraph. Hence, this option is correct.)

(c)Making communism a generic representative of all historical atrocities, especially those perpetrated by the European imperialists.

(This is clearly not a reason for the attack—although this might be partially the outcome of the attack. These are the kinds of options students get confused with—due to their misreading the question and what it is asking.)

(d)Communism still survives, in bits and pieces, in the minds and hearts of people.

(Again a fact – but cannot be attributed to be the reason behind the attack.)

(e)Renewal of some communist regimes has led to the apprehension that communist nations might overtake the capitalists.

(This is something that has again been said in the passage—but for it to be the answer to the present question it has to have a cause-effect relationship with the renewed attack on communism. For this to hold true the sentence you need to construct in your mind and check for its truth goes as: “The real reason for the renewed attacks on communism is due to the apprehension that communist nations might overtake the capitalists. Obviously this is not true!!)

3.The author cites examples of atrocities perpetrated by European colonial regimes in order to

(Look for what exactly the author is trying to prove by citing the examples of the atrocities of the European colonial regime—means look for the main tilt of the argument the author is making in the last couple of paragraphs where this point is mentioned.)

(a)compare the atrocities committed by colonial regimes with those of communist regimes.

(This is not his point although he might be doing it.)

(b)prove that the atrocities committed by colonial regimes were more than those of communist regimes.

(Similar to the first option—only goes one step further—and is not what the author is trying to prove.)

(c)prove that, ideologically, communism was much better than colonialism and Nazism.

(He does not go on to say that—the author is obviously more balanced than that—he says in the first line of the last paragraph that all regimes had blood on their hands—so he is obviously not trying to defend communism on that count.)

(d)neutralise the arguments of Mr. Lindblad and to point out that the atrocities committed by colonial regimes were more than those of communist regimes.

(e)neutralise the arguments of Mr. Lindblad and to argue that one needs to go beyond and look at the motives of these regimes.

(Obviously the author is trying to neutralise Mr. Lindblad’s arguments—however you need to discern the difference between the two options—Again here the fourth option fails because the author is clearly not trying to prove that the atrocities committed by the colonial regime were greater than those of the communist regimes. Hence, option 5 is correct.)

4.Why, according to the author, is Nazism closer to colonialism than it is to communism?

(a)Both colonialism and Nazism were examples of tyranny of one race over another.

(By the terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager the author is trying to allude to racial tyranny – which was one of the cornerstones of Nazism and originated as an idea from the German colonial regime. Hence, this option is correct.)

(b)The genocides committed by the colonial and the Nazi regimes were of similar magnitude:

(Magnitutes are not being compared—ideologies are!!)

(c)Several ideas of the Nazi regime were directly imported from colonial regimes.

(d)Both colonialism and Nazism are based on the principles of imperialism.

(They are not—imperialism was the precursor of capitalism – not of colonialism and neither of Nazism.)

(e)While communism was never limited to Europe, both the Nazis and the colonialists originated in Europe.

(Again not an important point)

5.Which of the following cannot be inferred as a compelling reason for the silence of the Council of Europe on colonial atrocities?

“Please note—we are looking for what cannot be inferred!!”

(a)The Council of Europe being dominated by erstwhile colonialists.

(The council of Europe is silent because of being dominated by erstwhile colonialists—true, this can be inferred, hence this cannot be the answer.)

(b)Generating support for condemning communist ideology.

(Check this option too by making a statement as illustrated in the previous option. True—can be inferred. Hence, cannot be the answer.)

(c)Unwillingness to antagonize allies by raking up an embarrassing past.

(True—can be inferred. Hence, cannot be the answer.)

(d)Greater value seemingly placed on European lives.

(This is said in the passage verbatim—but is not a reason why the council of Europe is silent. Hence, cannot be inferred. This is the correct option.)

The normal incorrect thought process from a confused mind would say that this has been explicitly mentioned – hence will not qualify as something that cannot be inferred. Notice that the CAT has a propensity to create such dummies for students—where they pick up a word or a phrase from the passage and use it to create a wrong option. Confused minds think that this has been said in the passage and fall for the trap. Hence, make sure that you are very clear about what the question is asking you and also make sure that you answer the question asked and not something else. Very often reading the question/options carefully will help you avoid errors!!)

(e)Portraying both communism and Nazism as ideologies to be condemned.

(True, they are trying to do this! Hence, cannot be the answer.)

Passage II

 

Directions for Questions 6 to 10: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

My aim is to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract. In order to do this we are not to think of the original contract as one to enter a particular society or to set up a particular form of government. Rather, the idea is that the principles of justice for the basic structure of society are the object of the original agreement. They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality. These principles are to regulate all further agreements; they specify the kinds of social cooperation that can be entered into and the forms of government that can be established. This way of regarding the principles of justice, I shall call justice as fairness. Thus, we are to imagine that those who engage in social cooperation choose together, in one joint act, the principles which are to assign basic rights and duties and to determine the division of social benefits. Just as each person must decide by rational reflection what constitutes his good, that is, the system of ends which it is rational for him to pursue, so a group of persons must decide once and for all what is to count among them as just and unjust. The choice which rational men would make in this hypothetical situation of equal liberty determines the principles of justice.

In ‘justice as fairness’, the original position is not an actual historical state of affairs. It is understood as a purely hypothetical situation characterized so as to lead to a certain conception of justice. Among the essential features of this situation is that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance. This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or the contingency of social circumstances. Since all are similarly situated and no one is able to design principles to favor his particular condition, the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement or bargain.

Justice as fairness begins with one of the most general of all choices which persons might make together, namely, with the choice of the first principles of a conception of justice which is to regulate all subsequent criticism and reform of institutions. Then, having chosen a conception of justice, we can suppose that they are to choose a constitution and a legislature to enact laws, and so on, all in accordance with the principles of justice initially agreed upon. Our social situation is just if it is such that by this sequence of hypothetical agreements we would have contracted into the general system of rules which defines it. Moreover, assuming that the original position does determine a set of principles, it will then be true that whenever social institutions satisfy these principles, those engaged in them can say to one another that they are cooperating on terms to which they would agree if they were free and equal persons whose relations with respect to one another were fair. They could all view their arrangements as meeting the stipulations which they would acknowledge in an initial situation that embodies widely accepted and reasonable constraints on the choice of principles. The general recognition of this fact would provide the basis for a public acceptance of the corresponding principles of justice. No society can, of course, be a scheme of cooperation which men enter voluntarily in a literal sense; each person finds himself placed at birth in some particular position in some particular society, and the nature of this position materially affects his life prospects. Yet a society satisfying the principles of justice as fairness comes as close as a society can to being a voluntary scheme, for it meets the principles which free and equal persons would assent to under circumstances that are fair.

6.A just society, as conceptualized in the passage, can be best described as:

(a)A Utopia in which everyone is equal and no one enjoys any privilege based on their existing positions and powers.

(b)A hypothetical society in which people agree upon principles of justice which are fair.

(c)A society in which principles of justice are not based on the existing positions and powers of the individuals.

(d)A society in which principles of justice are fair to all.

(e)A hypothetical society in which principles of justice are not based on the existing positions and powers of the individuals.

7.The original agreement or original position in the passage has been used by the author as:

(a)A hypothetical situation conceived to derive principles of justice which are not influenced by position, status and condition of individuals in the society.

(b)A hypothetical situation in which every individual is equal and no individual enjoys any privilege based on the existing positions and powers.

(c)A hypothetical situation to ensure fairness of agreements among individuals in society.

(d)An imagined situation in which principles of justice would have to be fair.

(e)An imagined situation in which fairness is the objective of the principles of justice to ensure that no individual enjoys any privilege based on the existing positions and powers.

8.Which of the following best illustrates the situation that is equivalent to choosing ‘the principles of justice’ behind a ‘veil of ignorance’?

(a)The principles of justice are chosen by businessmen, who are marooned on an uninhabited island after a shipwreck, but have some possibility of returning.

(b)The principles of justice are chosen by a group of school children whose capabilities are yet to develop.

(c)The principles of justice are chosen by businessmen, who are marooned on an uninhabited island after a shipwreck and have no possibility of returning.

(d)The principles of justice are chosen assuming that such principles will govern the lives of the rule makers only in their next birth if the rule makers agree that they will be born again.

(e)The principles of justice are chosen by potential immigrants who are unaware of the resources necessary to succeed in a foreign country.

9.Why, according to the passage, do principles of justice need to be based on an original agreement?

(a)Social institutions and laws can be considered fair only if they conform to principles of justice.

(b)Social institutions and laws can be fair only if they are consistent with the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.

(c)Social institutions and laws need to be fair in order to be just.

(d)Social institutions and laws evolve fairly only if they are consistent with the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.

(e)Social institutions and laws conform to the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.

10.Which of the following situations best represents the idea of justice as fairness, as argued in the passage?

(a)All individuals are paid equally for the work they do.

(b)Everyone is assigned some work for his or her livelihood.

(c)All acts of theft are penalized equally.

(d)All children are provided free education in similar schools.

(e)All individuals are provided a fixed sum of money to take care of their health.

 

Detailed Explanation

Have you read and solved this passage? Now go through it again with our comments. “Check your answers with those given below along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read. The passage in italics is the reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanation or author’s interpretation of the same.”

 

Directions for Questions 6 to 10: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

My aim is to present a conception of justice which generalizes and carries to a higher level of abstraction the familiar theory of the social contract.

(The author is trying to generalize the abstract theory of the social contract—at this stage even if you do not know what the social contract theory is, you would still need to carry the idea ahead—and trust that the author is going to explain the theory.)

In order to do this we are not to think of the original contract as one to enter a particular society or to set up a particular form of government.

(He is going ahead with the explanation of what he means by the social contract—in this sentence he has named it as the original contract. Look out for what he is trying to hint at in the next few sentences—concentration time)

Rather, the idea is that the principles of justice for the basic structure of society are the object of the original agreement.

(Catch a new concept here called the ‘original agreement’. Look out for the definition of this!!)

They are the principles that free and rational persons concerned to further their own interests would accept in an initial position of equality.

(There you go—the original agreement is defined!! Catch it at this point. From here you can move faster.)

These principles are to regulate all further agreements; they specify the kinds of social cooperation that can be entered into and the forms of government that can be established. This way of regarding the principles of justice, I shall call justice as fairness. Thus, we are to imagine that those who engage in social cooperation choose together, in one joint act, the principles which are to assign basic rights and duties and to determine the division of social benefits. Just as each person must decide by rational reflection what constitutes his good, that is, the system of ends which it is rational for him to pursue, so a group of persons must decide once and for all what is to count among them as just and unjust. The choice which rational men would make in this hypothetical situation of equal liberty determines the principles of justice.

In ‘justice as fairness’, the original position is not an actual historical state of affairs. It is understood as a purely hypothetical situation characterized so as to lead to a certain conception of justice.

(Further explanation of ‘justice as fairness’, a concept the author had introduced in the first paragraph. Light reading but grasp the essence of what the author is saying.)

Among the essential features of this situation is that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does anyone know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength, and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions of the good or their special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance.

(crucial idea)

This ensures that no one is advantaged or disadvantaged in the choice of principles by the outcome of natural chance or the contingency of social circumstances. Since all are similarly situated and no one is able to design principles to favor his particular condition, the principles of justice are the result of a fair agreement or bargain.

Justice as fairness begins with one of the most general of all choices which persons might make together, namely, with the choice of the first principles of a conception of justice which is to regulate all subsequent criticism and reform of institutions. Then, having chosen a conception of justice, we can suppose that they are to choose a constitution and a legislature to enact laws, and so on, all in accordance with the principles of justice initially agreed upon. Our social situation is just if it is such that by this sequence of hypothetical agreements we would have contracted into the general system of rules which defines it. Moreover, assuming that the original position does determine a set of principles, it will then be true that whenever social institutions satisfy these principles, those engaged in them can say to one another that they are cooperating on terms to which they would agree if they were free and equal persons whose relations with respect to one another were fair. They could all view their arrangements as meeting the stipulations which they would acknowledge in an initial situation that embodies widely accepted and reasonable constraints on the choice of principles. The general recognition of this fact would provide the basis for a public acceptance of the corresponding principles of justice. No society can, of course, be a scheme of cooperation which men enter voluntarily in a literal sense; each person finds himself placed at birth in some particular position in some particular society, and the nature of this position materially affects his life prospects. Yet a society satisfying the principles of justice as fairness comes as close as a society can to being a voluntary scheme, for it meets the principles which free and equal persons would assent to under circumstances that are fair.

(This paragraph was much lighter reading than the previous one. Let us now move onto the questions asked and see what is asked.)

6.A just society, as conceptualized in the passage, can be best described as:

(a)A Utopia in which everyone is equal and no one enjoys any privilege based on their existing positions and powers.

(The situation does not describe equality for everyone.)

(b)A hypothetical society in which people agree upon principles of justice which are fair.

(We are definitely not talking about a hypothetical society!!This cannot be the correct answer.)

(c)A society in which principles of justice are not based on the existing positions and powers of the individuals.

(d)A society in which principles of justice are fair to all.

(e)A hypothetical society in which principles of justice are not based on the existing positions and powers of the individuals. (We are definitely not talking about a hypothetical society!!This cannot be the correct answer.)

Between (c) and (d) options, (c) fits better as it gives a closer analysis of the main idea of the passage—that we are talking about a society where the initial agreement is not based on existing powers and positions of individuals. Option (d) is also correct but the question asks us to choose the option which best describes a just society. Between options (c) and (d) option (c) is obviously better.

7.The original agreement or original position in the passage has been used by the author as:

(a)A hypothetical situation conceived to derive principles of justice which are not influenced by position, status and condition of individuals in the society.

(b)A hypothetical situation in which every individual is equal and no individual enjoys any privilege based on the existing positions and powers.

(Nowhere is it mentioned that in the original position every individual is equal as we are talking about a hypothetical situation of equal liberty and not of equality).

(c)A hypothetical situation to ensure fairness of agreements among individuals in society.

(Ensure?? Does not fit)

(d)An imagined situation in which principles of justice would have to be fair.

(Irrelevant—this is not how the original position has been used by the author!)

(e)An imagined situation in which fairness is the objective of the principles of justice to ensure that no individual enjoys any privilege based on the existing positions and powers.

(Again this is not the objective—we are not trying to create a society where everyone is equal.)

Option (a) is the correct answer as the author uses the original position as a hypothetical situation which is used to derive the principles of justice which are not influenced by position, status and condition of individuals in the society.

8.Which of the following best illustrates the situation that is equivalent to choosing ‘the principles of justice’ behind a ‘veil of ignorance’?

(a)The principles of justice are chosen by businessmen, who are marooned on an uninhabited island after a shipwreck, but have some possibility of returning.

(Not the correct answer as businessmen would know what they are good at and more skilled at—so they would have their own preferences).

(b)The principles of justice are chosen by a group of school children whose capabilities are yet to develop.

(Tempting answer!! Again the school children would already have their preferences—so no veil of ignorance.)

(c)The principles of justice are chosen by businessmen, who are marooned on an uninhabited island after a shipwreck and have no possibility of returning.

(Possibility of returning makes no difference to the fact that the businessmen would know their special skills and psychological propensities—hence this situation is not akin to one where things are done behind a veil of ignorance.)

(d)The principles of justice are chosen assuming that such principles will govern the lives of the rule makers only in their next birth if the rule makers agree that they will be born again.

(e)The principles of justice are chosen by potential immigrants who are unaware of the resources necessary to succeed in a foreign country.

(Again these people would know their skills and psychological prospensities)

Option (d) is the best answer because in that case we know for sure that an individual is not going to know his position, skills and psychological inclinations in his next birth—so he would have to be fair to everyone while choosing the principle of justice.

9.Why, according to the passage, do principles of justice need to be based on an original agreement?

(a)Social institutions and laws can be considered fair only if they conform to principles of justice.

(Conformity is not talked about here—the principles of justice are likely to be too abstract to demand exact conformity with them from social institutions and laws.)

(b)Social institutions and laws can be fair only if they are consistent with the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.

(c)Social institutions and laws need to be fair in order to be just.

(Does not answer the question asked.)

(d)Social institutions and laws evolve fairly only if they are consistent with the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.

(e)Social institutions and laws conform to the principles of justice as initially agreed upon.

(Again conformity is going a tad too far here.)

Between options (b) and (d) the only difference is of the words ‘can be fair’ in option (b) and ‘evolve fairly’ option (d). Obviously the whole passage is not about fair evolution of social institutions and laws—rather they are about these being fair. Hence, option (b) is correct.

My observation is that these kind of options appear close to test takers. The only feasible reason one can pinpoint in such cases is that aspirants do not learn how to read the crucial differences between two sentences which look very similar but are drastically different in their meanings – like this case. A single word or a word relationship can drastically change the meaning of the option—something that the CAT does regularly and something that you should learn to take care of.)

10.Which of the following situations best represents the idea of justice as fairness, as argued in the passage?

(a)All individuals are paid equally for the work they do.

(Equal pay is not close to justice of fairness.)

(b)Everyone is assigned some work for his or her livelihood.

(Again not something that is necessarily required as a conception of justice—although someone with a socialist mindset might like this option!!)

(c)All acts of theft are penalized equally.

(d)All children are provided free education in similar schools.

(Very clearly the best option here—as in a just society one would want to reduce all differentiation between children at the school level and give all children an equal chance to mould themselves and their lives.)

(e)All individuals are provided a fixed sum of money to take care of their health.

Passage III

 

Directions for Questions 11 to 15: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Our propensity to look out for regularities, and to impose laws upon nature, leads to the psychological phenomenon of dogmatic thinking or, more generally, dogmatic behaviour: we expect regularities everywhere and attempt to find them even where there are none; events which do not yield to these attempts we are inclined to treat as a kind of ‘background noise’; and we stick to our expectations even when they are inadequate and we ought to accept defeat: This dogmatism is to some extent necessary. It is demanded by a situation which can only be dealt with by forcing our conjectures upon the world. Moreover, this dogmatism allows us to approach a good theory in stages, by way of approximations: if we accept defeat too easily, we may prevent ourselves from finding that we were very nearly right.

It is clear that this dogmatic attitude; which makes us stick to our first impressions, is indicative of a strong belief; while a critical attitude, which is ready to modify its tenets, which admits doubt and demands tests, is indicative of a weaker belief. Now according to Hume’s theory, and to the popular theory, the strength of a belief should be a product of repetition; thus it should always grow with experience, and always be greater in less primitive persons. But dogmatic thinking, an uncontrolled wish to impose regularities, a manifest pleasure in rites and in repetition as such, is characteristic of primitives and children; and increasing experience and maturity sometimes create an attitude of caution and criticism rather than of dogmatism.

My logical criticism of Hume’s psychological theory, and the considerations connected with it, may seem a little removed from the field of the philosophy of science. But the distinction between dogmatic and critical thinking, or the dogmatic and the critical attitude, brings us right back to our central problem. For the dogmatic attitude is clearly related to the tendency to verify our laws and schemata by seeking to apply them—and to confirm them, even to the point of neglecting refutations, whereas the critical attitude is one of readiness to change them - to test them; to refute them; to falsify them, if possible. This suggests that we may identify the critical attitude with the scientific attitude, and the dogmatic attitude with the one which we have described as pseudo-scientific. It further suggests that genetically speaking the pseudo-scientific attitude is more primitive than, and prior to, the scientific attitude: that it is a pre-scientific attitude. And this primitivity or priority also has its logical aspect. For the critical attitude is not so much opposed to the dogmatic attitude as super-imposed upon it: criticism must be directed against existing and influential beliefs in need of critical revision - in other words, dogmatic beliefs. A critical attitude needs for its raw material, as it were, theories or beliefs which are held more or less dogmatically.

Thus, science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths; neither with the collection of observations, nor with the invention of experiments, but with the critical discussion of myths, and of magical techniques and practices. The scientific tradition is distinguished from the pre-scientific tradition in having two layers. Like the latter, it passes on its theories; but it also passes on a critical attitude towards them. The theories are passed on, not as dogmas, but rather with the challenge to discuss them and improve upon them.

The critical attitude, the tradition of free discussion of theories with the aim of discovering their weak spots so that they may be improved upon, is the attitude of reasonableness, of rationality. From the point of view here developed, all laws, all theories, remain essentially tentative, or conjectural, or hypothetical, even when we feel unable to doubt them any longer. Before a theory has been refuted we can never know in what way it may have to be modified.

11.In the context of science, according to the passage, the interaction of dogmatic beliefs and critical attitude can be best described as:

(a)A duel between two warriors in which one has to die.

(b)The effect of a chisel on a marble stone while making a sculpture.

(c)The feedstock (natural gas) in fertilizer industry being transformed into fertilizers.

(d)A predator killing its prey.

(e)The effect of fertilizers on a sapling.

12.According to the passage, the role of a dogmatic attitude and of dogmatic behaviour in the development of science is

(a)critical and important, as, without it, initial hypotheses or conjectures can never be made.

(b)positive, as conjectures arising out of our dogmatic attitude become science.

(c)negative, as it leads to pseudo-science.

(d)neutral, as the development of science is essentially because of our critical attitude.

(e)inferior to critical attitude, as a critical attitude leads to the attitude of reasonableness and rationality.

13.Dogmatic behaviour, in this passage, has been associated with primitives and children. Which of the following best describes the reason why the author compares primitives with children?

(a)Primitives are people who are not educated, and hence can be compared with children, who have not yet been through school.

(b)Primitives are people who, though not modern, are as innocent as children.

(c)Primitives are people without a critical attitude, just as children are.

(d)Primitives are people in the early stages of human evolution; similarly, children are in the early stages of their lives.

(e)Primitives are people who are not civilized enough, just as children are not.

14.Which of the following statements best supports the argument in the passage that a critical attitude leads to a weaker belief than a dogmatic attitude does?

(a)A critical attitude implies endless questioning, and, therefore, it cannot lead to strong beliefs.

(b)A critical attitude, by definition, is centered on an analysis of anomalies and “noise”.

(c)A critical attitude leads to questioning everything, and in the process generates “noise” without any conviction.

(d)A critical attitude is antithetical to conviction, which is required for strong beliefs.

(e)A critical attitude leads to questioning and to tentative hypotheses.

15.According to the passage, which of the following statements best describes the difference between science and pseudo-science?

(a)Scientific theories or hypothesis are tentatively true whereas pseudo-sciences are always true.

(b)Scientific laws and theories are permanent and immutable whereas pseudo-sciences are contingent on the prevalent mode of thinking in a society.

(c)Science always allows the possibility of rejecting a theory or hypothesis, whereas pseudo-sciences seek to validate their ideas or theories.

(d)Science focuses on anomalies and exceptions so that fundamental truths can be uncovered, whereas pseudo-sciences focus mainly on general truths.

(e)Science progresses by collection of observations or by experimentation, whereas pseudo-sciences do not worry about observations and experiments.

 

Detailed Explanation

Have you read and solved this passage. Now go through it again with our comments. “Check your answers with those given below along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read. The passage in italics is the reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanation or author’s interpretation of the same.”

 

Directions for Questions 11 to 15: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.

Our propensity to look out for regularities, and to impose laws upon nature, leads to the psychological phenomenon of dogmatic thinking or, more generally, dogmatic 'margin-top:3.0pt;margin-right:0cm;margin-bottom:3.0pt; margin-left:0cm;text-align:justify;line-height:normal'>(The author is directly starting off with an idea heavy sentence—catch this and in case you do not understand what dogmatic means then understand the meaning of that from the next part of the sentence—the author is almost obligated to define that more clearly as general writing styles always use idea-elaboration or idea- explanation structures of writing.)

we expect regularities everywhere and attempt to find them even where there are none;

(Here he has defined dogmatic for you!! You can try to move ahead faster from here);

events which do not yield to these attempts we are inclined to treat as a kind of ‘background noise’; and we stick to our expectations even when they are inadequate and we ought to accept defeat: This dogmatism is to some extent necessary. It is demanded by a situation which can only be dealt with by forcing our conjectures upon the world. Moreover, this dogmatism allows us to approach a good theory in stages, by way of approximations: if we accept defeat too easily, we may prevent ourselves from finding that we were very nearly right.

(New Paragraph—look for a shift of the idea. Slowdown!!)

It is clear that this dogmatic attitude; which makes us stick to our first impressions, is indicative of a strong belief; while a critical attitude, which is ready to modify its tenets, which admits doubt and demands tests, is indicative of a weaker belief.

(Key idea introduced—the difference between strong and weaker beliefs)

Now according to Hume’s theory, and to the popular theory, the strength of a belief should be a product of repetition; thus it should always grow with experience, and always be greater in less primitive persons. But dogmatic thinking, an uncontrolled wish to impose regularities, a manifest pleasure in rites and in repetition as such, is characteristic of primitives and children; and increasing experience and maturity sometimes create an attitude of caution and criticism rather than of dogmatism.

(A dichotomy is pointed out here—the author is saying that stronger beliefs should come to less primitive and more mature people as strength of belief is a function of repetition. However, in truth, dogmatism and rigid beliefs are more characteristic of children and primitives and maturity and experience make people more cautious about being dogmatic in their beliefs.)

My logical criticism of Hume’s psychological theory,

(whew…a totally different direction…look out…caution advocated!!)

and the considerations connected with it, may seem a little removed from the field of the philosophy of science. But the distinction between dogmatic and critical thinking,

(recognize that dogmatism and critical attitude are being used as opposites by the author here. If you do so then the next part of the paragraph is likely to be easier for you.)

or the dogmatic and the critical attitude, brings us right back to our central problem. For the dogmatic attitude is clearly related to the tendency to verify our laws and schemata by seeking to apply themand to confirm them, even to the point of neglecting refutations, whereas the critical attitude is one of readiness to change them - to test them; to refute them; to falsify them, if possible.

(This is almost predictable if you have caught the idea that the author is using—distinction between dogmatic attitude and critical attitude.)

This suggests that we may identify the critical attitude with the scientific attitude, and the dogmatic attitude with the one which we have described as pseudo-scientific. It further suggests that genetically speaking the pseudo-scientific attitude is more primitive than, and prior to, the scientific attitude: that it is a pre-scientific attitude. And this primitivity or priority also has its logical aspect. For the critical attitude is not so much opposed to the dogmatic attitude as super-imposed upon it: criticism must be directed against existing and influential beliefs in need of critical revision - in other words, dogmatic beliefs. A critical attitude needs for its raw material, as it were, theories or beliefs which are held more or less dogmatically.:

Thus, science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths; neither with the collection of observations, nor with the invention of experiments, but with the critical discussion of myths, and of magical techniques and practices. The scientific tradition is distinguished from the pre-scientific tradition in having two layers. Like the latter, it passes on its theories; but it also passes on a critical attitude towards them. The theories are passed on, not as dogmas, but rather with the challenge to discuss them and improve upon them.

The critical attitude, the tradition of free discussion of theories with the aim of discovering their weak spots so that they may be improved upon, is the attitude of reasonableness, of rationality. From the point of view here developed, all laws, all theories, remain essentially tentative, or conjectural, or hypothetical, even when we feel unable to doubt them any longer. Before a theory has been refuted we can never know in what way it may have to be modified.

11.In the context of science, according to the passage, the interaction of dogmatic beliefs and critical attitude can be best described as:

(a)A duel between two warriors in which one has to die.

(Both survive—so one does not need to die.)

(b)The effect of a chisel on a marble stone while making a sculpture.

(The passage talks about co-existence and continuous to and fro iterations between the dogmatic beliefs and critical attitude. Critcal attitude acts like a chisel on a marble stone—this is something that can be inferred. Hence, this is the correct answer.)

(c)The feedstock (natural gas) in fertilizer industry being transformed into fertilizers.

(Although dogmatic beliefs have been talked about as the raw material for a critical attitude—this is not the central relationship between the two. Hence, in this question this answer will not fit as the question asks for the best description of the relationship—so between option (b) and (c) we would always take (b).

(d)A predator killing its prey.

(Too drastic. Both coexist infinitely.)

(e)The effect of fertilizers on a sapling.

(Irrelevant and would be marked only by a person who has not understood the passage at all.)

12.According to the passage, the role of a dogmatic attitude and of dogmatic behaviour in the development of science is

(a)critical and important, as, without it, initial hypotheses or conjectures can never be made. 

(This is the very gist of the third last paragraph. Hence, we can choose this option to be correct.)

(b)positive, as conjectures arising out of our dogmatic attitude become science.

(c)negative, as it leads to pseudo-science.

(d)neutral, as the development of science is essentially because of our critical attitude.

(e)inferior to critical attitude, as a critical attitude leads to the attitude of reasonableness and rationality.

13.Dogmatic behaviour, in this passage, has been associated with primitives and children. Which of the following best describes the reason why the author compares primitives with children?

(a)Primitives are people who are not educated, and hence can be compared with children, who have not yet been through school.

(b)Primitives are people who, though not modern, are as innocent as children.

(Tempting option for someone who thinks emotionally)

(c)Primitives are people without a critical attitude, just as children are.

(Too drastic)

(d)Primitives are people in the early stages of human evolution; similarly, children are in the early stages of their lives.

(e)Primitives are people who are not civilized enough, just as children are not.

(Takes an irrelevant track altogether.)

Between (a) and (d), we would select option (d) because by primitives we do not refer to lack of education – rather we refer to people who have not gone through the stages of human evolution. In case the author wanted to allude to non-educated people instead of primitives he would have said so directly and not used this word.

14.Which of the following statements best supports the argument in the passage that a critical attitude leads to a weaker belief than a dogmatic attitude does?

We are looking for support to the above mentioned argument. Be clear about what the question is asking—an invaluable principle for CAT.

(a)A critical attitude implies endless questioning, and, therefore, it cannot lead to strong beliefs.

(b)A critical attitude, by definition, is centered on an analysis of anomalies and “noise”.

(Not true—a critical attitude is centered around questioning older beliefs on the basis of anomalies and noise)

(c)A critical attitude leads to questioning everything, and in the process generates “noise” without any conviction. 

(Nowhere is it mentioned that critical attitude generates noise!?!)

(d)A critical attitude is antithetical to conviction, which is required for strong beliefs. 

(Antithetical – too strong a word)

(e)A critical attitude leads to questioning and to tentative hypotheses.

Again here we are between option 1 and 5. A close analysis of the two options would help us reject the first option as it is too drastic- makes a statement like critical attitude cannot(??) lead to strong beliefs!! Hence, option 5 is correct.

15.According to the passage, which of the following statements best describes the difference between science and pseudo-science?

(a)Scientific theories or hypothesis are tentatively true whereas pseudo-sciences are always true.

(Clearly wrong)

(b)Scientific laws and theories are permanent and immutable whereas pseudo-sciences are contingent on the prevalent mode of thinking in a society.

(Clearly wrong—no way are scientific theories permanent and immutable.)

(c)Science always allows the possibility of rejecting a theory or hypothesis, whereas pseudo-sciences seek to validate their ideas or theories.

(This is the key point being made. All through the author is trying to tell us that science has a critical attitude and would always allow the possibility of rejecting a theory, whereas pseudo science would always try to prove its theory even by negating contrary information. Hence, this is the correct option.)

(d)Science focuses on anomalies and exceptions so that fundamental truths can be uncovered, whereas pseudo-sciences focus mainly on general truths.

(Clearly wrong)

(e)Science progresses by collection of observations or by experimentation, whereas pseudo-sciences do not worry about observations and experiments. (You would mark this option only due to preconceived notions about what science is.)

Fact of the Matter

1.CAT 2006 is supposed to be the toughest VA/RC paper ever.

2.6 questions out of 25 were enough to give you around 85–90 percentile.

3.At 8 questions correct you would end up with 95+ percentile in this section.

4.There you go! In a paper of 2006 that was the toughest CAT language paper ever, you had the possibility of clear thinking based undisputable answers to 20 out of the 25 question—at the very least. And all that one needed to do was 6 questions in 50 minutes for a 90 percentile score!!

Scores at various marks:

The following table would give you an analysis of the percentile obtained at various score levels:

Table 4.1 Percentile table for 2006 passages

Percentile

Percentage Marks

Number of questions to be solved correctly

99.9

60

15

99.5

40

10

99

30

7–8

95

26

6–7

90

24

6

80

18

4–5

70

16

4

60

12

3

50

8

2

40

4

1

30

0

0

20

   

CAT 2003

Passage I

 

Directions for Questions 1 to 25: Each of the five passages given below is followed by five questions. Choose the best answer to each question. Go through the following passages and answer the questions that follow:

At first sight, it looks as though panchayati raj, the lower layer of federalism in our polity, is as firmly entrenched in our system as is the older and higher layer comprising the Union Govemment and the States. Like the democratic institutions at the higher level, those at the panchayat level, the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), are written into and protected by the Constitution. All the essential features, which distinguish a unitary system from a federal one, are as much enshrined at the lower as at the upper level of our federal system. But look closely and you will discover a fatal flaw. The letter of the Constitution as well as the spirit of the present polity have exposed the intra-State level of our federal system to a dilemma of which the inter-State and Union-State layers are free. The flaw has many causes. But all of them are rooted in a historical anomaly, that while the dynamics of federalism and democracy have given added strength to the rights given to the States in the Constitution, they have worked against the rights of panchayats.

At both levels of our federal system there is the same tussle between those who have certain rights and those who try to encroach upon them if they believe they can. Thus, the Union Government was able to encroach upon certain rights given to the States by the Constitution. It got away with that because the single dominant party system, which characterised Centre–State relations for close upon two decades, gave the party in power at the Union level many extra-constitutional political levers. Firstly, the Supreme Court had not yet begun to extend the limits of its power. But all that has changed in recent times. The spurt given to a multi-party democracy by the overthrow of the Emergency in 1977 became a long-term trend later on because of the ways in which a vigorously democratic multi-party system works in a political society which is as assertively pluralistic as Indian society is. It gives political clout to all the various segments which constitute that society. Secondly, because of the linguistic reorganisation of States in the 1950s, many of the most assertive segments have found their most assertive expression as States. Thirdly, with single-party dominance becoming a thing of the past at the Union level, governments can be formed at that level only by multi-party coalitions in which State-level parties are major players. This has made it impossible for the Union Government to do much about anything unless it also carries a sufficient number of State-level parties with it. Indian federalism is now more real than it used to be, but an unfortunate side-effect is that India’s panchayati raj system, inaugurated with such fanfare in the early 1980s, has become less real.

By the time the PRIs came on the scene, most of the political space in our federal system had been occupied by the Centre in the first 30 years of Independence, and most of what was still left after that was occupied by the States in the next 20. PRIs might have hoped to wrest some space from their immediate neighbour, the States, just as the States had wrested some from the Centre. But having at last managed to checkmate the Centre’s encroachments on their rights, the States were not about to allow the PRIs to do some encroaching of their own.

By the 1980s and early 1990s, the only national party left, the Congress, had gone deeper into a siege mentality. Finding itself surrounded by State-level parties, it had built walls against them instead of winning them over. Next, the States retaliated by blocking Congress proposals for panchayati raj in Parliament, suspecting that the Centre would try to use panchayats to bypass State governments. The suspicion fed on the fact that the powers proposed by the Congress for panchayats were very similar to many of the more lucrative powers of State Governments. State-level leaders also feared, perhaps, that if panchayat-level leaders captured some of the larger PRIs, such as district-level panchayats, they would exert pressure on State-level leaders through intra-State multi-party federalism.

It soon became obvious to Congress leaders that there was no way the panchayati raj amendments they wanted to write into the Constitution would pass muster unless State-level parties were given their pound of flesh. The amendments were allowed only after it was agreed that the powers of panchayats could be listed in the Constitution. Illustratively, they would be defined and endowed on PRIs by the State Legislature acting at its discretion.

This left the door wide open for the States to exert the power of the new political fact that while the Union and State Governments could afford to ignore panchayats as long as the MLAs were happy, the Union Government had to be sensitive to the demands of State-level parties. This has given State-level actors strong beachheads on the shores of both inter-State and intra-State federalism. By using various administrative devices and non-elected parallel structures, State Governments have subordinated their PRIs to the State administration and given the upper hand to State Government officials against the elected heads of PRIs. Panchayats have become local agencies for implementing schemes drawn up in distant State capitals. And their own volition has been further circumscribed by a plethora of “Centrally-sponsored schemes”. These are drawn up by even more distant Central authorities, but at the same time tie up local staff and resources on pain of the schemes being switched off in the absence of matching local contribution. The “foreign aid” syndrome can be clearly seen at work behind this kind of “grass roots development”.

1.Which of the following best captures the current state of Indian federalism as described in the passage?

(a)The Supreme Court has not begun to extend the limits of its power.

(b)The multi-party system has replaced the single party system.

(c)The Union, state and panchayati raj levels have become real.

(d)There is real distribution of power between the Union and State level parties.

2.The central theme of the passage can be best summarized as:

(a)Our grassroots development at the panchayat level is now driven by the “foreign aid” syndrome.

(b)Panchayati raj is firmly entrenched at the lower level of our federal system of governance.

(c)A truly federal polity has not developed since PRIs have not been allowed the necessary political space.

(d)The Union government and State-level parties are engaged in a struggle for the protection of their respective rights.

3.The sentence in the last paragraph, “And their own volition has been further circumscribed. ..”, refers to:

(a)The weakening of the local institutions’ ability to plan according to their needs.

(b)The increasing demands made on elected local leaders to match central grants with local contributions.

(c)The empowering of the panchayat system as implementers of schemes from State capitals.

(d)The process by which the prescribed Central schemes are reformulated by local elected leaders.

4.What is the “dilemma” at the intra-State level mentioned in the first paragraph of the passage?

(a)Should the state governments wrest more space from the Union, before considering the panchayati system?

(b)Should rights similar to those that the States managed to get be extended to panchayats as well?

(c)Should the single party system which has withered away be brought back at the level of the States?

(d)Should the States get “their pound of flesh” before allowing the Union government to pass any more laws?

5.Which of the following most closely describes the ‘fatal flaw’ that the passage refers to?

(a)The ways in which the democratic multi-party system works in an assertively pluralistic society like India’s are flawed.

(b)The mechanisms that our federal system use at the Union government level to deal with States are imperfect.

(c)The instruments that have ensured federalism at one level, have been used to achieve the opposite at another.

(d)The Indian Constitution and the spirit of the Indian polity are fatally flawed.

 

Detailed Explanation

Have you read the above passage and solved its questions?

Then check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how it should be read).

The passage in italics is the reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanation/author’s interpretation of the same.

At first sight, it looks as though panchayati raj, the lower layer of federalism in our polity, is as firmly entrenched in our system as is the older and higher layer comprising the Union Govemment and the States.

(The above sentence is the idea sentence since it gives a very fair idea of the passage. As a reader, you can very fairly predict the next path the author will take. The author is obviously trying to compare the provisions for Panchayati Raj with the provisions for the Union Government and the States. Because of the usage of ‘At first sight’, as a reader, you should expect that the author will move into first talking about similarities to explain as to why the two look similar at first sight. The author will then have to obviously move towards why the two are different.

Sidelight: In fact, this can be held true for all phrases using the phrase ‘at first sight’. Consider the following examples:

Example 1: At first sight, we thought we had seen a tiger. It’s eyes had shone a bright red in the glare of the spotlight. But when we got closer it turned out to be just a deer.

Example 2: At first sight, the CAT paper appeared to be a simple one. It had only 90 questions spread evenly over three sections. But when the aspirants started to solve the questions, the doubts created in their mind in solving even seemingly simple questions made them review their initial estimation.

As can be seen above, all language is based on extremely structured logic. As a student of the English language, you need to get more and more familiar with the existing standard word structures of the language. The more often you will see them, the more you experience them, the more will you develop your ability to predict the future course of passages, i.e., what course the author is likely to follow in the coming sentences.

The ability to predict the next few sentences in the passage is a key skill that is common amongst all good readers. If you have developed this skill, you will read only to confirm your prediction and to spot any pattern shifts from what you expect. Once you gain such an outlook/perspective, while reading you will feel a new kind of power in your ability to understand passages better—your reading speed will automatically increase without any associated loss of comprehension.)

Now let’s read further on:

Like the democratic institutions at the higher level, those at the panchayat level, the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), are written into and protected by the Constitution. All the essential features which distinguish a unitary system from a federal one, are as much enshrined at the lower as at the upper level of our federal system.

The above are reasons why at first sight, the two look similar, as expected.

Let’s read further. But look closely and you will discover a fatal flaw.

There is a change of track as expected. Now expect the reasons for the change of track.

The letter of the Constitution as well as the spirit of the present polity have exposed the intra-State level (new word used for panchayati raj) of our federal system to a dilemma of which the inter-State and Union-State layers are free.The flaw has many causes.

Another defining sentence telling you what to expect further—something about the causes of the flaw.

But all of them (the causes) are rooted in a historical anomaly, that while the dynamics of federalism and democracy have given added strength to the rights given to the States in the Constitution, they have worked against the rights of panchayats.

This is a key idea sentence in the passage. Losing comprehension here could be dangerous. Reread if required.

At both levels of our federal system there is the same tussle between those who have certain rights and those who try to encroach upon them if they believe they can.

This is a key idea sentence.

Thus, the Union Government was able to encroach upon certain rights given to the States by the Constitution. It got away with that because the single dominant party system, which characterised Centre-State relations for close upon two decades, gave the party in power at the Union level many extra-constitutional political levers. Firstly, the Supreme Court had not yet begun to extend the limits of its power. But all that has changed in recent times. The spurt given to a multi-party democracy by the overthrow of the Emergency in 1977 became a long-term trend later on because of the ways in which a vigorously democratic multi-party system works in a political society which is as assertively pluralistic as Indian society is. It gives political clout to all the various segments which constitute that society. Secondly, because of the linguistic reorganisation of States in the 1950s, many of the most assertive segments have found their most assertive expression as States. Thirdly, with single-party dominance becoming a thing of the past at the Union level, governments can be formed at that level only by multi-party coalitions in which State-level parties are major players. This has made it impossible for the Union Government to do much about anything unless it also carries a sufficient number of State-level parties with it. Indian federalism is now more real than it used to be, but an unfortunate side-effect is that India’s panchayati raj system, inaugurated with such fanfare in the early 1980s, has become less real.

This entire paragraph is focused on explaining through various reasons, the last sentence of the previous paragraph. It explains how the dynamics of federalism and democracy have given strength to the rights given to the States in the Constitution. A good reader would be able to predict most of what was written in this paragraph on the basis of the idea sentence in the last line of the previous paragraph. If you too had understood that sentence, you must not have faced a problem with this entire paragraph and read it extremely fast. At this stage, a good reader will realize that the author still has not told us why the States getting their rights affected the Panchayati Raj Institutions negatively. Why this happened would be expected from the author.

By the time the PRIs came on the scene, most of the political space in our federal system had been occupied by the Centre in the first 30 years of Independence, and most of what was still left after that was occupied by the States in the next 20. PRIs might have hoped to wrest some space from their immediate neighbour, the States, just as the States had wrested some from the Centre. But having at last managed to checkmate the Centre’s encroachments on their rights, the States were not about to allow the PRIs to do some encroaching of their own. (Author’s Note:Answers the question outlined above.)

By the 1980s and early 1990s, the only national party left, the Congress, had gone deeper into a siege mentality. Finding itself surrounded by State-level parties, it had built walls against them instead of winning them over. Next, the States retaliated by blocking Congress proposals for panchayati raj in Parliament, suspecting that the Centre would try to use panchayats to bypass State Governments. The suspicion fed on the fact that the powers proposed by the Congress for panchayats were very similar to many of the more lucrative powers of State Governments. State-level leaders also feared, perhaps, that if panchayat-level leaders captured some of the larger PRIs, such as district-level panchayats, they would exert pressure on State-level leaders through intra-State multi-party federalism.

Here, the author continues to answer the same question, only explains it in more detail.

It soon became obvious to Congress leaders that there was no way the panchayati raj amendments they wanted to write into the Constitution would pass muster unless State-level parties were given their pound of flesh. The amendments were allowed only after it was agreed that the powers of panchayats could be listed in the Constitution. Illustratively, they would be defined and endowed on PRIs by the State Legislature acting at its discretion.

The minor details are continued here.

This left the door wide open for the States to exert the power of the new political fact that while the Union and State governments could afford to ignore panchayats as long as the MLAs were happy, the Union Government had to be sensitive to the demands of State-level parties. This has given State-level actors strong beachheads on the shores of both inter-State and intra-State federalism. By using various administrative devices and non-elected parallel structures, State Governments have subordinated their PRIs to the State administration and given the upper hand to State government officials against the elected heads of PRIs. Panchayats have become local agencies for implementing schemes drawn up in distant State capitals. And their own volition has been further circumscribed by a plethora of “Centrally-sponsored schemes”. These are drawn up by even more distant Central authorities, but at the same time tie up local staff and resources on pain of the schemes being switched off in the absence of matching local contribution. The “foreign aid” syndrome can be clearly seen at work behind this kind of “grass roots development”.

Now let us solve the questions.

1.Which of the following best captures the current state of Indian federalism as described in the passage?

(a)The Supreme Court has not begun to extend the limits of its power.

Clearly incorrect option because the passage explicitly states that the Supreme Court has in fact, begun to exert its power. The sentence ‘But all that has changed in recent times’ in the second paragraph clearly illustrates this fact.

(b)The multi-party system has replaced the single party system.

This option seems correct but is not true since multi party system has overshadowed the single dominant party system. There is nothing called the single party system.

(c)The Union, State and panchayati raj levels have become real.

Illogical answer since the whole passage concentrates on why the PRIs never got real power. Further, what does the option mean by saying ‘have become real’? These words are irrelevant in the context of the passage.

(d)There is real distribution of power between the Union and State level parties.

This option is correct since the passage clearly talks about the balancing of powers between parties at the Centre and those at the State levels.

2.The central theme of the passage can be best summarized as:

(a)Our grassroots development at the panchayat level is now driven by the “foreign aid” syndrome.

This option uses an eyewash, since it uses words directly from the passage. However, describing this as the central theme will be incorrect because it just has a passing mention at the end of the passage—and the rest of the passage is not driving towards this.

(b)Panchayati raj is firmly entrenched at the lower level of our federal system of governance.

The whole passage is negating this option.

(c)A truly federal polity has not developed since PRIs have not been allowed the necessary political space.

This is the correct answer since this is what the whole passage concentrates on. Note that there is no explicit usage of words from the passge in this option—yet it turns out to be correct.

(d)The Union government and State-level parties are engaged in a struggle for the protection of their respective rights.

Yes definitely, but this is just a supporting detail of the entire logic of the passage.

3.The sentence in the last paragraph, “And their own volition has been further circumscribed. ..”, refers to:

(a)The weakening of the local institutions’ ability to plan according to their needs.

This is the correct option since it is essentially a restatement of the sentence above, which talks about the restriction of the self wish of the Panchayats.

(b)The increasing demands made on elected local leaders to match central grants with local contributions.

This is the next point of the author. Hence, cannot be the correct answer.

(c)The empowering of the panchayat system as implementers of schemes from State capitals.

The sentence means ‘Their own wish has been further restricted’. It definitely does not refer to the empowering of the Panchayat system.

(d)The process by which the prescribed Central schemes are reformulated by local elected leaders.

This option is out of context.

4.What is the “dilemma” at the intra-State level mentioned in the first paragraph of the passage?

(a)Should the state governments wrest more space from the Union, before considering the panchayati system?

This dilemma has not been discussed. Further, it is a Union–State dilemma

(b)Should rights similar to those that the States managed to get be extended to panchayats as well?

This is the obvious answer—since we are talking about a dilemma at the intra state level.

(c)Should the single party system which has withered away be brought back at the level of the States?

Out of context

(d)Should the States get “their pound of flesh” before allowing the Union government to pass any more laws?

Again, a Union–State dilemma, even if it exists.

5.Which of the following most closely describes the ‘fatal flaw’ that the passage refers to?

(a)The ways in which the democratic multi-party system works in an assertively pluralistic society like India’s are flawed.

There is nothing wrong in the democratic multi party system. Hence, this cannot be the fatal flaw.

(b)The mechanisms that our federal system uses at the Union government level to deal with States are imperfect.

The fatal flaw does not refer to the mechanisms that the Union uses to deal with the State.

(c)The instruments that have ensured federalism at one level, have been used to achieve the opposite at another.

This is the correct answer, since the fatal flaw is the central idea of the entire passage—and this option correctly describes what the passage describes.

(d)The Indian Constitution and the spirit of the Indian polity are fatally flawed.

This option is too drastic to be considered.

Passage II

The endless struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art. The Greek artists were unaware of it. They were spiritual materialists, never denying the importance of the body and ever seeing in the body a spiritual significance. Mysticism on the whole was alien to the Greeks, thinkers as they were. Thought and mysticism never go well together and there is little symbolism in Greek art. Athena was not a symbol of wisdom but an embodiment of it and her statues were beautiful grave women, whose seriousness might mark them as wise, but who were marked in no other way. The Apollo Belvedere is not a symbol of the sun, nor the Versailles Artemis of the moon. There could be nothing less akin to the ways of symbolism than their beautiful, normal humanity. Nor did decoration really interest the Greeks. In all their art they were preoccupied with what they wanted to express, not with ways of expressing it, and lovely expression, merely as lovely expression, did not appeal to them at all.

Greek art is intellectual art, the art of men who were clear and lucid thinkers, and it is therefore plain art. Artists than whom the world has never seen greater, men endowed with the spirit’s best gift, found their natural method of expression in the simplicity and clarity which are the endowment of the unclouded reason, “Nothing in excess,” the Greek axiom of art, is the dictum of men who would brush aside all obscuring, entangling superfluity, and see clearly, plainly, unadorned, what they wished to express. Structure belongs in an especial degree to the province of the mind in art, and architectonics were pre-eminently a mark of the Greek. The power that made a unified whole of the trilogy of a Greek tragedy, that envisioned the sure, precise, decisive scheme of the Greek statue, found its most conspicuous expression in Greek architecture. The Greek temple is the creation, par excellence, of mind and spirit in equilibrium.

A Hindoo temple is a conglomeration of adornment. The lines of the building are completely hidden by the decorations. Sculptured figures and ornaments crowd its surface, stand out from it in thick masses, break it up into a bewildering series of irregular tiers. It is not a unity but a collection, rich, confused. It looks like something not planned but built this way and that as the ornament required. The conviction underlying it can be perceived: each bit of the exquisitely wrought detail had a mystical meaning and the temple’s exterior was important only as a means for the artist to inscribe thereon the symbols of the truth. It is decoration, not architecture.

Again, the gigantic temples of Egypt, those massive immensities of granite which look as if only the power that moves in the earthquake were mighty enough to bring them into existence, are something other than the creation of geometry balanced by beauty. The science and the spirit are there, but what is there most of all is force, unhuman force, calm but tremendous, overwhelming. It reduces to nothingness all that belongs to man. He is annihilated. The Egyptian architects were possessed by the consciousness of the awful, irresistible domination of the ways of nature; they had no thought to give to the insignificant atom that was man.

Greek architecture of the great age is the expression of men who were, first of all, intellectual artists, kept firmly within the visible world by their mind, but, only second to that, lovers of the human world. The Greek temple is the perfect expression of the pure intellect illumined by the spirit. No other great buildings anywhere approach its simplicity. In the Parthenon straight columns rise to plain capitals; a pediment is sculptured in bold relief; there is nothing more. And yet—here is the Greek miracle— this absolute simplicity of structure is alone in majesty of beauty among all the temples and cathedrals and palaces of the world. Majestic but human, truly Greek. No superhuman force as in Egypt; no strange supernatural shapes as in India; the Parthenon is the home of humanity at ease, calm, ordered, sure of itself and the world. The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength. They set their temples on the summit of a hill overlooking the wide sea, outlined against the circle of the sky. They would build what was more beautiful than hill and sea and sky and greater than all these. It matters not at all if the temple is large or small; one never thinks of the size. It matters not how much it is in ruins. A few white columns dominate the lofty height at Sunion as securely as the great mass of the Parthenon dominates all the sweep of sea and land around Athens. To the Greek architect man was the master of the world. His mind could understand its laws; his spirit could discover its beauty.

6.Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of Greek architecture, according to the passage?

(a)A lack of excess.

(b)Simplicity of form.

(c)Expression of intellect.

(d)Mystic spirituality.

7.From the passage, which of the following combinations can be inferred to be correct?

(a)Hindoo temple—power of nature.

(b)Parthenon—simplicity.

(c)Egyptian temple—mysticism.

(d)Greek temple—symbolism.

8.According to the passage, what conception of man can be inferred from Egyptian architecture?

(a)Man is the centre of creation.

(b)Egyptian temples save man from unhuman forces

(c)Temples celebrate man’s victory over nature.

(d)Man is inconsequential before the tremendous force of nature.

9.According to the passage, which of the following best explains why there is little symbolism in Greek art?

(a)The Greeks focused on thought rather than mysticism.

(b)The struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art.

(c)Greek artists were spiritual materialists.

(d)Greek statues were embodiments rather than symbols of qualities.

10.“The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength.” Which of the following best captures the ‘challenge’ that is being referred to?

(a)To build a monument matching the background colours of the sky and the sea.

(b)To build a monument bigger than nature’s creations.

(c)To build monuments that were more appealing to the mind and spirit than nature’s creations.

(d)To build a small but architecturally perfect monument.

Have you read the above passage and solved it’s questions?

Then, check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how it should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanation or author’s interpretation of the same.

The endless struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art.

Idea Sentence… Gives us an inkling of the topic of the passage—the expression of the struggle between the flesh and the spirit in Greek art.)

The Greek artists were unaware of it. They were spiritual materialists

Key word to understand—a spiritualist is one who has a strong spiritually awakened mind, a materialist is one who tilts more on the side of the body, hence, a material spiritualist has to be one who gives importance to both the aspects together…what the author next says could have been predicted.

Never denying the importance of the body and ever seeing in the body a spiritual significance.

You need not have read the italicised part as you could very easily have guessed this, if you got what the author meant by spiritual materialists.

Mysticism on the whole was alien to the Greeks, thinkers as they were. Thought and mysticism never go well together and there is little symbolism in Greek art.

Key idea sentences. You need to slow down to understand this, else there is a danger of losing comprehension. The author introduces us to a duality between mysticists and thinkers. You need to understand what the author means by mysticism here in order to move further. Otherwise, you will move on with half baked comprehension. The following are the alternate meanings of the word—

1.the experience of mystical union or direct communion with the ultimate reality reported by mystics.

2.the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight).

3.(a)vague speculation: a belief without sound basis;

(b)a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power.

The sense in which mysticism is used here, is most likely that of vague speculation, since a thinker would not be expected to indulge in vague speculation. Even if you had not known the exact meaning of the word, you could have guessed it in the context of its usage as the opposite of thought. Further, how would you interpret the use of the word ‘Symbolism’? Since mysticism was alien to the Greeks, there is little symbolism in Greek art…. Obviously, symbolism here has something to do with mysticism. Further, it must also have something to do with its root word ‘symbol’. Hence, symbolism as used here, must mean the use of symbols to create vagueness in art.)

Athena was not a symbol of wisdom but an embodiment of it and her statues were beautiful grave women, whose seriousness might mark them as wise, but who were marked in no other way. The Apollo Belvedere is not a symbol of the sun, nor the Versailles Artemis of the moon. There could be nothing less akin to the ways of symbolism than their beautiful, normal humanity.

The author is using examples to illustrate his point—the lack of symbolism in Greek art. You can go through this quickly, and not worry about 100% comprehension here since these are minor details.

Nor did decoration really interest the Greeks.

A new point about what Greek artists were not interested in, apart from mysticism and symbolism. You need to add this to the idea structure formed in your mind till now.

In all their art they were preoccupied with what they wanted to express, not with ways of expressing it, and lovely expression, merely as lovely expression, did not appeal to them at all.

Reiteration of the same points. Nothing new is said here—hence, go for a quick read. Now, since there is a change of paragraph, upgrade your concentration for catching new points.)

Greek art is intellectual art, the art of men who were clear and lucid thinkers, and it is therefore plain art. Artists than whom the world has never seen greater, men endowed with the spirit’s best gift, found their natural method of expression in the simplicity and clarity which are the endowment of the unclouded reason, “Nothing in excess,” the Greek axiom of art, is the dictum of men who would brush aside all obscuring, entangling superfluity, and see clearly, plainly, unadorned, what they wished to express. Structure belongs in an especial degree to the province of the mind in art, and architectonics....

Key word signalling a shift in the focus of the paragraph and perhaps, the entire passage—from art to architecture. However, in case you do not catch this word fully, the next sentence of the paragraph should make this shift clear.

... were pre-eminently a mark of the Greek. The power that made a unified whole of the trilogy of a Greek tragedy, that envisioned the sure, precise, decisive scheme of the Greek statue, found its most conspicuous expression in Greek architecture. The Greek temple is the creation, par excellence, of mind and spirit in equilibrium.

What is said in the itailcised sentences at the start of this paragraph fits rather easily in our mind—nothing new is said as it is just carrying on from where it left off in the previous paragraphs.

A Hindoo temple is a conglomeration of adornment. The lines of the building are completely hidden by the decorations. Sculptured figures and ornaments crowd its surface, stand out from it in thick masses, break it up into a bewildering series of irregular tiers. It is not a unity but a collection, rich, confused. It looks like something not planned but built this way and that as the ornament required. The conviction underlying it can be perceived: each bit of the exquisitely wrought detail had a mystical meaning and the temple’s exterior was important only as a means for the artist to inscribe thereon the symbols of the truth. It is decoration, not architecture.

The author ended the last paragraph by introducing a comment on the Greek temple in this paragraph, he is describing a Hindoo temple. You can safely expect the author to elaborate on the Greek/other temples in the next paragraphs.

Again, the gigantic temples of Egypt, those massive immensities of granite which look as if only the power that moves in the earthquake were mighty enough to bring them into existence, are something other than the creation of geometry balanced by beauty. The science and the spirit are there, but what is there most of all is force, inhuman force, calm but tremendous, overwhelming. It reduces to nothingness all that belongs to man. He is annihilated, the Egyptian architects were possessed by the consciousness of the awful, irresistible domination of the ways of nature; they had no thought to give to the insignificant atom that was man.

In the context of the paragraph, these are minor details. The concentration is on describing the temples of Egypt. There is no significant shift in the direction of the passage. Hence, you can afford to skim this passage at a fast rate—even to the point of losing some comprehension. The emboldened sentence is the topic sentence.

Greek architecture of the great age is the expression of men who were, first of all, intellectual artists, kept firmly within the visible world by their mind, but, only second to that, lovers of the human world. The Greek temple is the perfect expression of the pure intellect illumined by the spirit. No other great buildings anywhere approach its simplicity.

The author is explaining the intellectualism and simplicity of the Greek architecture.

In the Parthenon straight columns rise to plain capitals; a pediment is sculptured in bold relief; there is nothing more. And yet—here is the Greek miracle—this absolute simplicity of structure is alone in majesty of beauty among all the temples and cathedrals and palaces of the world. Majestic but human, truly Greek. No superhuman force as in Egypt; no strange supernatural shapes as in India; the Parthenon is the home of humanity at ease, calm, ordered, sure of itself and the world.

The italicised sentences just follow the script of what has been said before—It is just that the repetition is using new words.

The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength.

A new sub idea is introduced…

They set their temples on the summit of a hill overlooking the wide sea, outlined against the circle of the sky. They would build what was more beautiful than hill and sea and sky and greater than all these. It matters not at all if the temple is large or small; one never thinks of the size. It matters not how much it is in ruins. A few white columns dominate the lofty height at Sunion as securely as the great mass of the Parthenon dominates all the sweep of sea and land around Athens.

….and illustrated through examples.

To the Greek architect man was the master of the world. His mind could understand its laws; his spirit could discover its beauty.

This is the author’s concluding note about Greek architects, where he says how they put man over nature.

6.Which of the following is Not a characteristic of Greek architecture, according to the passage?

(a)A lack of excess. (Author’s Note: Definitely a characteristic of Greek architecture as explained in the passage.)

(b)Simplicity of form. (Author’s Note: Another definite characteristic.)

(c)Expression of intellect. (Author’s Note: Another definite characteristic)

(d)Mystic spirituality. (Author’s Note: This is the obvious answer. It is specifically mentioned in the passage that the Greeks were intellectuals and did not believe in mysticism. Do not confuse with the term ‘spiritual materialists’)

7.From the passage, which of the following combinations can be inferred to be correct?

(a)Hindoo temple—power of nature.

The Hindoo temple was not connected to the power of nature, this is a characteristic of the Egyptian temple.

(b)Parthenon – simplicity

Simplicity is definitely a characteristic of Greek architecture, since the Greeks believed in a ‘lack of excess’. Hence (b) is correct

(c)Egyptian temple—mysticism.

No mention about mysticism is made with respect to the Egyptian temples. As a matter of fact, mysticism was more connected to the Hindoo temple.

(d)Greek temple—symbolism.

The Greeks did not believe in symbolism. Hence, this cannot be the answer.

The options for the above questions are confusing. This is an implicit question. You have to understand the components of the passage correctly.

8.According to the passage, what conception of man can be inferred from Egyptian architecture?

(a)Man is the centre of creation.

The Egyptians believed the opposite of this, hence this cannot be correct.

(b)Egyptian temples save man from unhuman forces.

Nowhere is this mentioned. Hence, you can safely reject this option.

(c)Temples celebrate man’s victory over nature.

Quite the contrary.

(d)Man is inconsequential before the tremendous force of nature.

This is the obvious answer. This comes out clearly from the interpretation of the paragraph on Egyptian temples.

9.According to the passage, which of the following best explains why there is little symbolism in Greek art?

(a)The Greeks focused on thought rather than mysticism.

This is the immediate reason for the lack of symbolism in Greek art.

(b)The struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art.

Although this is explicitly stated, this is not the reason for the lack of symbolism in Greek art.

(c)Greek artists were spiritual materialists.

Again, though this is also explicitly stated, this is not the reason for the lack of symbolism in Greek art.

(d)Greek statues were embodiments rather than symbols of qualities.

This point is mentioned about one particular statue and cannot be generalised.

Options confuse you by using words from the passage. However, the answer to this question is in the line: ‘Thought and mysticism never go well together and there is little symbolism in Greek art.’ Hence, the first option is correct.

10.“The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength.” Which of the following best captures the ‘challenge’ that is being referred to?

(a)To build a monument matching the background colours of the sky and the sea.

This option is irrelevant.

(b)To build a monument bigger than nature’s creations.

Size of the monument did not matter.

(c)To build monuments that were more appealing to the mind and spirit than nature’s creations.

Not stated expilicitly, but this is what is implied.

(d)To build a small but architecturally perfect monument.

This choice is irrelevant.

Passage III

While I was in class at Columbia, struggling with the esoterica du jour, my father was on a bricklayer’s scaffold not far up the street, working on a campus building. Once we met up on the subway going home—he was with his tools, I with my books. My father wasn’t interested in Thucydides, and I wasn’t up on arches. My dad has built lots of places; in New York City he can’t get into: colleges, condos, office towers. He made his living on the outside. Once the walls were up, a place took on a different feel for him, as though he wasn’t welcome anymore. Related by blood, we’re separated by class, my father and I. Being the white-collar child of a blue-collar parent means being the hinge on the door between two ways of life. With one foot in the working-class, the other in the middle class, people like me are Straddlers, at home in neither world, living a limbo life.

What drove me to leave what I knew? Born blue-collar, I still never felt completely at home among the tough guys and anti-intellectual crowd of my neighbourhood in deepest Brooklyn. I never did completely fit in among the preppies and suburban royalty of Columbia, either. It’s like that for Straddlers. It was not so smooth jumping from Italian old-world style to US professional in a single generation. Others who were the first in their families to go to college, will tell you the same thing: the academy can render you unrecognisable to the very people who launched you into the world. The ideas and values absorbed in college challenge the mom-and-pop orthodoxy that passed for truth for 18 years. Limbo folk may eschew polyester blends for sea-isle cotton, prefer Brie to Kraft slices. They marry outside the neighbourhood and raise their kids differently. They might not be in church on Sunday.

When they pick careers (not jobs), it’s often a kind of work their parents never heard of or can’t understand. But for the white-collar kids of blue-collar parents, the office is not necessarily a sanctuary. In Corporate America, where the rules are based on notions foreign to working-class people, a Straddler can get lost. Social class counts at the office, even though nobody likes to admit it. Ultimately, corporate norms are based on middle-class values, business types say. From an early age, middle-class people learn how to get along, using diplomacy, nuance, and politics to grab what they need. It is as though they are following a set of rules laid out in a manual that blue-collar families never have the chance to read.

People born into the middle class to parents with college degrees have lived lives filled with what French sociologist PierreBourdieu calls ‘cultural capital’. Growing up in an educated environment, they learn about Picasso and Mozart, stock portfolios and creme brulee. In a home with cultural capital, there are networks: someone always has an aunt or golfing buddy with the inside track for an internship or some entry-level job. Dinner-table talk could involve what happened that day to mom and dad at the law firm, the doctor’s office, or the executive suite. Middle-class kids can grow up with a sense of entitlement that will carry them through their lives. This ‘belongingness’ is not just related to having material means, it also has to do with learning and possessing confidence in your place in the world. Such early access and direct exposure to culture in the home is the more organic, ‘legitimate’ means of appropriating cultural capital, Bourdieu tells us. Those of us possessing ‘ill-gotten Culture’ can learn it, but never as well. Something is always a little off about us, like an engine with imprecise timing. There’s a greater match between middle-class lives and the institutions in which the middle class works and operates—universities or corporations. Children of the middle and upper classes have been speaking the language of the bosses and supervisors forever.

Blue-collar kids are taught by their parents and communities to work hard to achieve, and that merit is rewarded. But no blue-collar parent knows whether such things are true in the middle-class world. Many professionals born to the working-class report feeling out of place and outmanoeuvred in the office. Soon enough, Straddlers learn that straight talk won’t always cut. Resolving conflicts head-on and speaking your mind doesn’t always work, no matter how educated the Straddler is.

In the working-class, people perform jobs in which they are closely supervised and are required to follow orders and instructions. That, in turn, affects how they socialise their children. Children of the working-class are brought up in a home in which conformity, obedience and intolerance for back talk are the norm—the same characteristics that make a good factory worker.

11.According to the passage, which of the following statements about ‘cultural capital’ is NOT true?

(a)It socializes children early into the norms of middle class institutions.

(b)It helps them learn the language of universities and corporations.

(c)It creates a sense of enlightenment in middle-class children.

(d)It develops bright kids into Straddlers.

12.According to the passage, the patterns of socialization of working-class children make them most suited for jobs that require

(a)diplomacy.

(b)compliance with orders.

(c)enterprise and initiative.

(d)high risk taking.

13.When Straddlers enter white collar jobs, they get lost because:

(a)they are thrown into an alien value system.

(b)their families have not read the rules in corporate manuals.

(c)they have no one to guide them through the corporate maze.

(d)they miss the ‘mom and pop orthodoxy’.

14.What does the author’s statement, “My father wasn’t interested in Thucydides, and I wasn’t up on arches”, illustrate?

(a)Organic cultural capital.

(b)Professional arrogance and social distance.

(c)Evolving social transformation.

(d)Breakdown of family relationships.

15.Which of the following statements about Straddlers does the passage NOT support explicitly?

(a)Their food preferences may not match those of their parents.

(b)They may not keep up some central religious practices of their parents.

(c)They are at home neither in the middle class nor in the working-class.

(d)Their political ideologies may differ from those of their parents.

Have you read the above passage and solved its questions?

Then check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how it should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanatory note or interpretation on the same.

While I was in class at Columbia, struggling with the esoterica du jour, my father was on a bricklayer’s scaffold not far up the street, working on a campus building.

This sentence gives us an idea of what the author is going to talk about— the contrast between a son studying in a college and his father who is a building worker.

Once we met up on the subway going home—he was with his tools, I with my books. My father wasn’t interested in Thucydides, and I wasn’t up on arches. My dad has built lots of places; in New York City he can’t get into: colleges, condos, office towers. He made his living on the outside. Once the walls were up, a place took on a different feel for him, as though he wasn’t welcome anymore.

Quick reading as these are minor details in the context of the passage.

Related by blood, we’re separated by class, my father and I. Being the white-collar child of a blue-collar parent means being the hinge on the door between two ways of life. With one foot in the working-class, the other in the middle class, people like me are Straddlers, at home in neither world, living a limbo life

These are Idea sentences.

What drove me to leave what I knew?

Shift of emphasis. Expect an answer to this question in the remaining part of the paragraph.

Born blue-collar, I still never felt completely at home among the tough guys and anti-intellectual crowd of my neighbourhood in deepest Brooklyn. I never did completely fit in among the preppies and suburban royalty of Columbia, either. It’s like that for Straddlers.

The author has earlier described himself as a straddler. He is putting forward an opinion that straddlers like him never fit in completely in either the blue collar surroundings that they were born into, or the academic world, which he has described as suburban royalty.

It was not so smooth jumping from Italian old-world style to US professional in a single generation. Others who were the first in their families to go to college, will tell you the same thing: the academy can render you umecognisable to the very people who launched you into the world.

Read Parents.

The ideas and values absorbed in college challenge the mom-and-pop orthodoxy that passed for truth for 18 years. Limbo folk may eschew polyester blends for sea-isle cotton, prefer Brie to Kraft slices. They marry outside the neighbourhood and raise their kids differently. They might not be in church on Sunday.

Minor details, hence skim while reading.

When they pick careers (not jobs), it’s often a kind of work their parents never heard of or can’t understand. But for the white-collar kids of blue-collar parents, the office is not necessarily a sanctuary.

A new shift of direction, as the author moves into talking about the experience of people like him in modern offices.

In Corporate America, where the rules are based on notions foreign to working-class people, a Straddler can get lost. Social class counts at the office, even though nobody likes to admit it.

This is an Idea sentence.

Ultimately, corporate norms are based on middle-class values, business types say. From an early age, middle-class people learn how to get along, using diplomacy, nuance, and politics to grab what they need. It is as though they are following a set of rules laid out in a manual that blue-collar families never have the chance to read.

Minor details. Skim.

People born into the middle class to parents with college degrees have lived lives filled with what French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu calls ‘cultural capital’. Growing up in an educated environment, they learn about Picasso and Mozart, stock portfolios and creme brulee. In a home with cultural capital, there are networks: someone always has an aunt or golfing buddy with the inside track for an internship or some entry-level job. Dinner-table talk could involve what happened that day to mom and dad at the law firm, the doctor’s office, or the executive suite. Middle-class kids can grow up with a sense of entitlement that will carry them through their lives. This ‘belongingness’ is not just related to having material means, it also has to do with learning and possessing confidence in your place in the world. Such early access and direct exposure to culture in the home is the more organic, ‘legitimate’ means of appropriating cultural capital, Bourdieu tells us. Those of us possessing ‘ill-gotten Culture’ can learn it, but never as well. Something is always a little off about us, like an engine with imprecise timing. There’s a greater match between middle-class lives and the institutions in which the middle class works and operates—universities or corporations. Children of the middle and upper classes have been speaking the language of the bosses and supervisors forever.

The author continues to contrast the middle class upbringing with the lower class upbringing. He is just continuing from the last idea introduced in the previous paragraph, i.e., ‘Social class counts at the office.’

Blue-collar kids are taught by their parents and communities to work hard to achieve, and that merit is rewarded. But no blue-collar parent knows whether such things are true in the middle-class world. Many professionals born to the working-class report feeling out of place and outmanoeuvred in the office. Soon enough, Straddlers learn that straight talk won’t always cut. Resolving conflicts head-on and speaking your mind doesn’t always work, no matter how educated the Straddler is.

In the working-class, people perform jobs in which they are closely supervised and are required to follow orders and instructions. That, in turn, affects how they socialise their children. Children of the working-class are brought up in a home in which conformity, obedience and intolerance for back talk are the norm—the same characteristics that make a good factory worker.

11.According to the passage, which of the following statements about ‘cultural capital’ is Not true?

(a)It socialises children early into the norms of middle class institutions.

Cultural capital does this. Hence, this cannot be the answer.

(b)It helps them learn the language of universities and corporations.

Explicitly mentioned about the effects of cultural capital. Hence, this cannot be the answer.

(c)It creates a sense of enlightenment in middle-class children.

This can be inferred from the third last paragraph.

(d)It develops bright kids into Straddlers.

This is the appropriate answer, since this clearly is not an effect of cultural capital.

12.According to the passage, the patterns of socialization of working-class children make them most suited for jobs that require

(a)diplomacy.

(b)compliance with orders.

This is the obvious choice. It is clear from the last sentence of the passage.

(c)enterprise and initiative.

(d)high risk taking.

13.When Straddlers enter white collar jobs, they get lost because:

(a)they are thrown into an alien value system.

This is the main idea the author is trying to convey in the last three paragraphs.

(b)their families have not read the rules in corporate manuals.

Irrelevant. An eye wash which can be easily caught.

(c)they have no one to guide them through the corporate maze.

This is not necessarily true.

(d)they miss the ‘mom and pop orthodoxy’.

This can confuse you, but option (a) is superior.

14.What does the author’s statement, “My father wasn’t interested in Thucydides, and I wasn’t up on arches”, illustrate?

(a)Organic cultural capital.

This statement is not at all connected to organic cultural capital.

(b)Professional arrogance and social distance.

There is no arrogance involved here.

(c)Evolving social transformation.

The statement is used to illustrate the social transformation brought about by education within one generation in a family. Hence, this is the correct option.

(d)Breakdown of family relationships.

There is no breakdown of family relationships involved.

15.Which of the following statements about Straddlers does the passage Not support explicitly?

(a)Their food preferences may not match those of their parents.

Explicitly mentioned in the words ‘prefer Brie to Kraft slices’.

(b)They may not keep up some central religious practices of their parents.

Can be inferred from the last sentence of the second paragraph ‘They might not be in church on Sunday.’

(c)They are at home neither in the middle class nor in the working-class.

Clearly mentioned in the second and third sentences of the second paragraph ‘Born blue-collar, I still never felt completely at home among the tough guys and anti-intellectual crowd of my neighbourhood in deepest Brooklyn. I never did completely fit in among the preppies and suburban royalty of Columbia, either. It’s like that for Straddlers’

(d)Their political ideologies may differ from those of their parents.

There is no explicit mention about differing political ideologies anywhere in the passage. Hence, this is the correct option.

Passage IV

Pure love of learning, of course, was a less compelling motive for those who became educated for careers other than teaching. Students of law in particular had a reputation for being materialistic careerists in an age when law was becoming known as “the lucrative science” and its successful practice the best means for rapid advancement in the government of both church and state. Medicine too had its profit-making attractions. Those who did not go on to law or medicine could, if they had been well trained in the arts, gain positions at royal courts or rise in the clergy. Eloquent testimony to the profit motive behind much of twelfth-century education was the lament of a student of Abelard around 1150 that “Christians educate their sons. ..for gain, in order that the one brother, if he be a clerk, may help his father and mother and his other brothers, saying that a clerk will have no heir and whatever he has will be ours and the other brothers.” With the opening of positions in law, government, and the church, education became a means for advancement not only in income but also in status. Most who were educated were wealthy, but in the twelfth century, more often than before, many were not and were able to rise through the ranks by means of their education. The most familiar examples are Thomas Becket, who rose from a humble background to become chancellor of England and then archbishop of Canterbury, and John of Salisbury, who was born a “plebeian” but because of his reputation for learning died as bishop of Chartres.

The instances of Becket and John of Salisbury bring us to the most difficult question concerning twelfth-century education: To what degree was it still a clerical preserve? Despite the fact that throughout the twelfth century the clergy had a monopoly of instruction, one of the outstanding medievalists of our day, R. W. Southern, refers with good reason to the institutions staffed by the clergy as “secular schools”. How can we make sense out of the paradox that twelfth-century schools were clerical and yet “secular”?

Let us look at the clerical side first. Not only were all twelfth-century teachers except professionals and craftsmen in church orders, but in northern Europe students in schools had clerical status and looked like priests. Not that all really were priests, but by virtue of being students all were awarded the legal privileges accorded to the clergy. Furthermore, the large majority of twelfth-century students, outside of the possible exception of Italy, if not already priests became so after their studies were finished. For these reasons, the term “cleric” was often used to denote a man who was literate and the term “layman” one who was illiterate. The English word for cleric, clerk, continued for a long time to be a synonym for student or for a man who could write, while the French word clerc even today has the connotation of intellectual.

Despite all this, twelfth-century education was taking on many secular qualities in its environment, goals, and curriculum. Student life obviously became more secular when it moved out from the monasteries into the bustling towns. Most students wandered from town to town in search not only of good masters but also of worldly excitement, and as the twelfth century progressed they found the best of each in Paris. More important than environment was the fact that most students, even though they entered the clergy, had secular goals. Theology was recognized as the “queen of the sciences,” but very few went on to it. Instead they used their study of the liberal arts as a preparation for law, medicine, government service, or advancement in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

This being so, the curriculum of the liberal arts became more sophisticated and more divorced from religion. Teaching was still almost exclusively in Latin, and the first book most often read was the Psalter, but further education was no longer similar to that of a choir school. In particular, the discipline of rhetoric was transformed from a linguistic study into instruction in how to compose letters and documents; there was a new stress on logic; and in all the liberal arts and philosophy texts, more advanced than those known in the early Middle Ages were introduced.

Along with the rise of logic came the translation of Greek and Arabic philosophical and scientific works. Most important was the translation of almost all the writings of Aristotle, as well as his sophisticated Arabic commentators, which helped to bring about an intellectual revolution based on Greek rationalism. On a more prosaic level, contact with Arabs resulted in the introduction in the twelfth century of the Arabic numeral system and the concept of zero. Though most westerners first resisted this and made crude jokes about the zero as an ambitious number “that counts for nothing and yet wants to be counted,” the system steadily made its inroads first in Italy and then throughout Europe, thereby vastly simplifying the arts of computation and record keeping.

16.According to the passage, which of the following is the most noteworthy trend in education in twelfth-century Europe?

(a)Secularization of education.

(b)Flowering of theology as the queen of the sciences.

(c)Wealthy people increasingly turning to education.

(d)Rise of the clergy’s influence on the curriculum.

17.What does the sentence “Christians educate their sons... will be ours and the other brothers” imply?

(a)The Christian family was a close-knit unit in the twelfth century.

(b)Christians educated their sons not so much for the love of learning as for material gain.

(c)Christians believed very strongly in educating their sons in the Church.

(d)The relationship between Christian parents and their sons was exploitative in the twelfth century.

18.According to the passage, twelfth century schools were clerical and yet secular because:

(a)many teachers were craftsmen and professionals who did not form part of the church.

(b)while the students had the legal privileges accorded to the clergy and looked like priests, not all were really priests.

(c)the term ‘cleric’ denoted a literate individual rather than a strict association with the church.

(d)though the clergy had a monopoly in education, the environment, objectives and curriculum in the schools were becoming secular.

19.According to the author, in the twelfth century, individuals were motivated to get higher education because it:

(a)was a means for material advancement and higher status.

(b)gave people wealth with an opportunity to learn.

(c)offered a coveted place for those with a love of learning.

(d)directly added to the income levels of people.

20.According to the passage, what led to the secularization of the curriculum of the liberal arts in the twelfth century?

(a)It was divorced from religion and its influences.

(b)Students used it mainly as a base for studying law and medicine.

(c)Teaching could no longer be conducted exclusively in Latin.

(d)Arabic was introduced into the curriculum.

Have you read the above passage and solved it’s questions?

Then, check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanatory note or interpretation on the same.

Pure love of learning, of course, was a less compelling motive for those who became educated for careers other than teaching.

Idea Sentence. You need to grasp this well and if you do so, the next few sentences become easy minor details, reading.

Students of law in particular had a reputation for being materialistic careerists in an age when law was becoming known as “the lucrative science” and its successful practice the best means for rapid advancement in the government of both church and state. Medicine too had its profit-making attractions. Those who did not go on to law or medicine could, if they had been well trained in the arts, gain positions at royal courts or rise in the clergy. Eloquent testimony to the profit motive behind much of twelfth-century education was the lament of a student of Abelard around 1150 that “Christians educate their sons... for gain, in order that the one brother, if he be a clerk, may help his father and mother and his other brothers, saying that a clerk will have no heir and whatever he has will be ours and the other brothers.” With the opening of positions in law, government, and the church, education became a means for advancement not only in income but also in status.

Minor idea.

Most who were educated were wealthy, but in the twelfth century, more often than before, many were not and were able to rise through the ranks by means of their education. The most familiar examples are Thomas Becket, who rose from a humble background to become chancellor of England and then archbishop of Canterbury, and John of Salisbury, who was born a “plebeian” but because of his reputation for learning died as bishop of Chartres.

The italicised part of the above paragraph can be skimmed at a rapid pace if you have understood the first idea sentence, where the author is just talking about the fact that getting educated had a motive other than the pure love of learning.

The instances of Becket and John of Salisbury bring us to the most difficult question concerning twelfth-century education: To what degree was it still a clerical preserve?

Here, we can witness a shift of emphasis.

Despite the fact that throughout the twelfth century the clergy had a monopoly of instruction, one of the outstanding medievalists of our day, R. W. Southern, refers with good reason to the institutions staffed by the clergy as “secular schools.” How can we make sense out of the paradox that twelfth-century schools were clerical and yet “secular”?

The shift of emphasis continues by ending the paragraph with another question, the answer to which we need to find in the next paragraph.

Please take note that from this paragraph, you get to understand that by the words ‘clerk’ in the first paragraph and ‘clerical’ in this paragraph, the author is referring to the Christian clergy and not the clerk we understand in our normal day to day life. Further, since the paragraph ends with a question, you can expect an answer to the question in the next paragraphs.

Let us look at the clerical side first.

A list word is used signifying an upcoming list. This sentence has introduced a first dimension to the answer to the question. You can expect at least a second dimension or perhaps more.

Not only were all twelfth-century teachers except professionals and craftsmen in church orders, but in northern Europe students in schools had clerical status and looked like priests. Not that all really were priests, but by virtue of being students all were awarded the legal privileges accorded to the clergy. Furthermore, the large majority of twelfth-century students, outside of the possible exception of Italy, if not already priests became so after their studies were finished. For these reasons, the term “cleric” was often used to denote a man who was literate and the term “layman” one who was illiterate. The English word for cleric, clerk, continued for a long time to be a synonym for student or for a man who could write, while the French word clerc even today has the connotation of intellectual.

Details which can be read fast.

Despite all this

Signals a contrast point coming up

Twelfth-century education was taking on many secular qualities in its environment, goals, and curriculum. Student life obviously became more secular when it moved out from the monasteries into the bustling towns. Most students wandered from town to town in search not only of good masters but also of worldly excitement, and as the twelfth century progressed they found the best of each in Paris. More important than environment was the fact that most students, even though they entered the clergy, had secular goals. Theology was recognized as the “queen of the sciences,” but very few went on to it. Instead they used their study of the liberal arts as a preparation for law, medicine, government service, or advancement in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Details, what you need to do is understand the point and skim while reading.

This being so,

Another use of transition, suggesting an upcoming effect of the previous paragraph, something that can be predicted.

the curriculum of the liberal arts became more sophisticated and more divorced from religion. Teaching was still almost exclusively in Latin, and the first book most often read was the Psalter, but further education was no longer similar to that of a choir school. In particular, the discipline of rhetoric was transformed from a linguistic study into instruction in how to compose letters and documents; there was a new stress on logic; and in all the liberal arts and philosophy, texts more advanced than those known in the early Middle Ages were introduced.

Identify the shift of the author to the sub topic of ‘how liberal arts went away from religion’ in this paragraph.

Along with the rise of logic came the translation of Greek and Arabic philosophical and scientific works. Most important was the translation of almost all the writings of Aristotle, as well as his sophisticated Arabic commentators, which helped to bring about an intellectual revolution based on Greek rationalism. On a more prosaic level, contact with Arabs resulted in the introduction in the twelfth century of the Arabic numeral system and the concept of zero. Though most westerners first resisted this and made crude jokes about the zero as an ambitious number “that counts for nothing and yet wants to be counted” the system steadily made its inroads first in Italy and then throughout Europe, thereby vastly simplifying the arts of computation and record keeping.

16.According to the passage, which of the following is the most noteworthy trend in education in twelfth-century Europe?

(a)Secularisation of education

This is obviously the correct answer. The entire passage is based on this issue.

(b)Flowering of theology as the queen of the sciences.

Irrelevant detail

(c)Wealthy people increasingly turning to education.

Irrelevant detail.

(d)Rise of the clergy’s influence on the curriculum.

This cannot be the answer, as it is talking of the opposite.

17.What does the sentence “Christians educate their sons. ..will be ours and the other brothers” imply?

(a)The Christian family was a close-knit unit in the twelfth century.

(b)Christians educated their sons not so much for the love of learning as for material gain.

This point is explicitly made prior to the statement. Hence, this has to be correct.

(c)Christians believed very strongly in educating their sons in the Church.

Irrelevant option.

(d)The relationship between Christian parents and their sons was exploitative in the twelfth century.

Irrelevant option

18.According to the passage, twelfth century schools were clerical and yet secular because:

(a)many teachers were craftsmen and professionals who did not form part of the church.

Irrelevant point.

(b)while the students had the legal privileges accorded to the clergy and looked like priests, not all were really priests.

Although this is stated, it is not the cause of the clerical, yet secular nature.

(c)the term ‘cleric’ denoted a literate individual rather than a strict association with the church.

Might confuse some students, but is not accurate enough to be the answer.

(d)though the clergy had a monopoly in education, the environment, objectives and curriculum in the schools were becoming secular.

This option is the most accurate and consistent with the idea expressed in the third and fourth passages.

19.According to the author, in the twelfth century, individuals were motivated to get higher education because it:

(a)was a means for material advancement and higher status.

This is the correct answer since this idea is expressed explicitly in the sentence: “With the opening of positions in law, government, and the church, education became a means for advancement not only in income but also in status.”

(b)gave people wealth with an opportunity to learn.

This option is inconsistent with the sense of the passage as expressed in the first paragraph.

(c)offered a coveted place for those with a love of learning.

Incorrect, since it contradicts the idea expressed in the first paragraph.

(d)directly added to the income levels of people.

Income was one of the factors. Status was also a factor. Also, this option is structured too drastically to be the correct answer.

20.According to the passage, what led to the secularization of the curriculum of the liberal arts in the twelfth century?

(a)It was divorced from religion and its influences.

This is just a restatement of ‘secularization of the curriculum.’ Hence, this cannot be the cause of the same.

(b)Students used it mainly as a base for studying law and medicine.

The second last paragraph talks about the secularization of education. However, it starts with the transitory— “This Being so…” which indicates that we are reading a cause and its effect. Hence, as a student, you should look for the cause in the in the prelude to the second last paragraph. The idea of this option is expressed in the last sentence of the third last paragraph. Hence, this option is correct.)

(c)Teaching could no longer be conducted exclusively in Latin.

The second last paragraph discusses the opposite of this option.

(d)Arabic was introduced into the curriculum.

Irrelevant point.

Passage V

The invention of the gas turbine by Frank Whittle in England and Hans von Ohain in Germany in 1939, signalled the beginning of jet transport. Although the French engineer Lorin had visualized the concept of jet propulsion more than 25 years earlier, it took improved materials and the genius of Whittle and von Ohain to recognise the advantages that a gas turbine offered over a piston engine, including speeds in excess of 350 miles per hour. The progress from the first flights of liquid propellant rocket and jet-propelled aircraft in 1939 to the first faster-than-sound (supersonic) manned airplane (the Bell X-I) in 1947 happened in less than a decade. This then led very rapidly to a series of supersonic fighters and bombers, the first of which became operational in the 1950s. World War II technology foundations and emerging Cold War imperatives then led us into space with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the placing of the first man on the moon only 12 years later—a mere 24 years after the end of World War II.

Now, a hypersonic flight can take you anywhere in the planet in less than four hours. British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the air forces of several other countries are going to use a single-engine cousin to the F/A-22 called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. These planes exhibit stealthy angles and coatings that make it difficult for radar to detect them, among aviation’s most cutting-edge advances in design. The V-22, known as tilt-rotor, part helicopter, part airplane, takes off vertically, then tilts its engine forward for winged flight. It provides speed, three times the payload, five times the range of the helicopters it’s meant to replace. The new fighter, F/A-22 Raptor, with more than a million parts, shows a perfect amalgamation of stealth, speed, avionics and agility.

It seems conventional forms, like the Predator and Global Hawk are passe, the stealthier unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are in. They are shaped like kites, bats and boomerang, all but invisible to the enemy radar and able to remain over hostile territory without any fear of getting grilled if shot down. Will the UAVs take away pilots’ jobs permanently? Can a computer-operated machine take a smarter and faster decision in a war-like situation? The new free-flight concept will probably supplement the existing air traffic control system by computers on each plane to map the altitude, route, weather and other planes; and a decade from now, there will be no use of radar any more.

How much bigger can the airplanes get? In the 1950s they got speed, in the 1980s they became stealthy. Now, they are getting smarter thanks to computer automation. The change is quite huge: from the four-seater to the A380 airplane. It seems we are now trading speed for size as we build a new superjumbo jet, the 555 seater A380, which will fly at almost the same speed of the Boeing 707, introduced half a century ago, but with an improved capacity, range, greater fuel economy. A few years down the line will come the truly larger model, to be known as 747X. In the beginning of 2005, the A380, the world’s first fully double-decked superjumbo passenger jet, weighing 1.2 million pounds, may carry a load of about 840 passengers.

Barring the early phase, civil aviation has always lagged behind the military technologies (of jet engines, lightweight composite materials, etc.). There are two fundamental factors behind the decline in commercial aeronautics in comparison to military aeronautics. There is no collective vision of our future such as the one that drove us in the past. There is also a need for a more aggressive pool of airplane design talents to maintain an industry that continues to find a multibillion dollar-a-year market for its product.

Can the history of aviation technology tell us something about the future of aeronautics? Have we reached a final state in our evolution to a mature technology in aeronautics? Are the challenges of coming out with the ‘better, cheaper, faster’ designs somehow inferior to those that are suited for ‘faster, higher, further’? Safety should improve greatly as a result of the forthcoming improvements in airframes, engines, and avionics. Sixty years from now, aircraft will recover on their own if the pilot loses control. Satellites are the key not only to GPS (global positioning system) navigation but also to in-flight communications, uplinked weather, and even in-flight e-mail. Although there is some debate about what type of engines will power future airplanes—lightweight turbines, turbocharged diesels, or both—there is little debate about how these power plants will be controlled. Pilots of the future can look forward to more and better on-board safety equipment.

21.According to the first paragraph of the passage, which of the following statements is NOT false?

(a)Prank Whittle and Hans von Ohain were the first to conceive of jet propulsion.

(b)Supersonic fighter planes were first used in the Second World War.

(c)No man had traveled faster than sound until the 1950s.

(d)The exploitation of jet propulsion for supersonic aviation has been remarkably fast.

22.What is the fourth paragraph of the passage about?

(a)Stealth, speed, avionics, and agility of new aircraft.

(b)The way aircraft size has been growing.

(c)Use of computer automation in aircraft.

(d)Super-jumbo jets that can take more than 500 passengers.

23.What is the most noteworthy difference between V-22 and a standard airplane? The V-22

(a)can take off vertically.

(b)has winged flight.

(c)has excellent payload.

(d)has a very high range.

24.Why might radars not be used a decade from now?

(a)Stealth technology will advance so much that it would because pointless to use radar to detect aircraft.

(b)UAVs can remain over hostile territory without any danger of being detected.

(c)Computers on board may enable aircraft to manage safe navigation on their own.

(d)It is not feasible to increase the range of radars.

25.According to the author, commercial aeronautics, in contrast to military aeronautics, has declined because, among other things,

(a)speed and technology barriers are more easily overcome in military aeronautics.

(b)the collective vision of the past continues to drive civil and commercial aeronautics.

(c)though the industry has a huge market, it has not attracted the right kind of aircraft designers.

(d)there is a shortage of materials, like light weight composites, used in commercial aeronautics.

Have you read the above passage and solved its questions?

Then, check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanatory note or interpretation on the same.

The invention of the gas turbine by Frank Whittle in England and Hans von Ohain in Germany in 1939, signalled the beginning of jet transport. Although the French engineer Lorin had visualized the concept of jet propulsion more than 25 years earlier, it took improved materials and the genius of Whittle and von Ohain to recognize the advantages that a gas turbine offered over a piston engine, including speeds in excess of 350 miles per hour. The progress from the first flights of liquid propellant rocket and jet-propelled aircraft in 1939 to the first faster-than-sound (supersonic) manned airplane (the Bell X-I) in 1947 happened in less than a decade. This then led very rapidly to a series of supersonic fighters and bombers, the first of which became operational in the 1950s. World War II technology foundations and emerging Cold War imperatives then led us into space with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the placing of the first man on the moon only 12 years later—a mere 24 years after the end of World War II.

This defines the topic as ‘air transport’. Note that the above paragraph is structured on the basis of time-based technological advances in flight technology. There might be some confusion in your mind in case you do not understand the technologies mentioned. But such confusion is totally avoidable since there is no need to understand these in order to comprehend the paragraph. All you need to do is to catch the chronology defined. Then, you will broadly understand that the author is talking about advances in technology from the 1910s to the 1950s.

Now, a hypersonic flight can take you anywhere in the planet in less than four hours.

The author is continuing in the direction of further improvements in aeronautics. You should expect that the author will continue in this direction by giving us more examples of the trend.

British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the air forces of several other countries are going to use a single-engine cousin to the F/A-22 called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. These planes exhibit stealthy angles and coatings that make it difficult for radar to detect them, among aviation’s most cutting-edge advances in design. The V-22, known as tilt-rotor, part helicopter, part airplane, takes off vertically, then tilts its engine forward for winged flight. It provides speed, three times the payload, five times the range of the helicopters it’s meant to replace. The new fighter, F/A-22 Raptor, with more than a million parts, shows a perfect amalgamation of stealth, speed, avionics and agility.

As expected, two specific examples of the trend.

It seems conventional forms, like the Predator and Global Hawk are passe, the stealthier unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are in.

A new direction in the development of aeronautics is introduced here. Details about UAVs are bound to follow.

They are shaped like kites, bats and boomerang, all but invisible to the enemy radar and able to remain over hostile territory without any fear of getting grilled if shot down. Will the UAV s take away pilots’ jobs permanently? Can a computer-operated machine take a smarter and faster decision in a war-like situation? The new free-flight concept will probably supplement the existing air traffic control system by computers on each plane to map the altitude, route, weather and other planes; and a decade from now, there will be no use of radar any more. (Author’s Note: As expected.)

How much bigger can the airplanes get?

Notice the shift in the direction and expect details to follow.

In the 1950s they got speed, in the 1980s they became stealthy. Now, they are getting smarter thanks to computer automation. The change is quite huge: from the four-seater to the A380 airplane. It seems we are now trading speed for size as we build a new superjumbo jet, the 555 seater A380, which will fly at almost the same speed of the Boeing 707, introduced half a century ago, but with an improved capacity, range, greater fuel economy. A few years down the line will come the truly larger model, to be known as 747X. In the beginning of 2005, the A380, the world’s first fully double-decked superjumbo passenger jet, weighing 1.2 million pounds, may carry a load of about 840 passengers.

Barring the early phase, civil aviation has always lagged behind the military technologies (of jet engines, lightweight composite materials, etc.)

New dimension of the idea.

There are two fundamental factors

List words—look for the two factors.

behind the decline in commercial aeronautics in comparison to military aeronautics. There is no collective vision of our future such as the one that drove us in the past. There is also a need for a more aggressive pool of airplane design talents to maintain an industry that continues to find a multibillion dollar-a-year market for its product.

Can the history of aviation technology tell us something about the future of aeronautics? Have we reached a final state in our evolution to a mature technology in aeronautics? Are the challenges of coming out with the ‘better, cheaper, faster’ designs somehow inferior to those that are suited for ‘faster, higher, further’? Safety should improve greatly as a result of the forthcoming improvements in airframes, engines, and avionics. Sixty years from now, aircraft will recover on their own if the pilot loses control. Satellites are the key not only to GPS (global positioning system) navigation but also to in-flight communications, uplinked weather, and even in-flight e-mail. Although there is some debate about what type of engines will power future airplanes-lightweight turbines, turbocharged diesels, or both— there is little debate about how these power plants will be controlled. Pilots of the future can look forward to more and better on-board safety equipment.

21.According to the first paragraph of the passage, which of the following statements is Not false?

(a)Prank Whittle and Hans von Ohain were the first to conceive of jet propulsion.

False statement, they just used the concept formulated by Lorin.

(b)Supersonic fighter planes were first used in the Second World War.

False, they were used first in the 1950s.

(c)No man had traveled faster than sound until the 1950s.

It happened in 1947.

(d)The exploitation of jet propulsion for supersonic aviation has been remarkably fast.

This is true, hence, not false. Therefore, this is the correct answer.

22.What is the fourth paragraph of the passage about?

(a)Stealth, speed, avionics, and agility of new aircraft.

(b)The way aircraft size has been growing.

It is obviously the correct option, since the paragraph tries to answer the question ‘How much bigger can airplanes get?’

(c)Use of computer automation in aircraft.

(d)Super-jumbo jets that can take more than 500 passengers.

23.What is the most noteworthy difference between V-22 and a standard airplane? The V-22

(a)can take off vertically.

This is the correct option. Although each of the other options is mentioned specifically in the context of the V-22, the question is specific about the difference between the V-22 and a standard airplane.

(b)has winged flight.

(c)has excellent payload.

(d)has a very high range.

The options (b), (c) and (d) do not mention the feature that is different from what a standard airplane would have.

24.Why might radars not be used a decade from now?

A cause and effect question. The question is asking you to identify the cause for the effect mentioned.

(a)Stealth technology will advance so much that it would become pointless to use radar to detect aircraft.

(b)UAV s can remain over hostile territory without any danger of being detected.

(c)Computers on board may enable aircraft to manage safe navigation on their own.

The third paragraph clearly mentions this cause for the non use of radars a decade from now.

(d)It is not feasible to increase the range of radars.

25.According to the author, commercial aeronautics, in contrast to military aeronautics, has declined because among other things,

(a)speed and technology barriers are more easily overcome in military aeronautics.

(b)the collective vision of the past continues to drive civil and commercial aeronautics.

(c)though the industry has a huge market, it has not attracted the right kind of aircraft designers.

This is obviously the correct answer, and this must have been be clear to you if you had interpreted the final sentence of the passage correctly.

(d)there is a shortage of materials, like light weight composites, used in commercial aeronautics.

Irrelevant option.

Passage VI*

A game of strategy, as currently conceived in game theory, is a situation in which two or more “players” make choices among available alternatives (moves). The totality of choices determines the outcomes of the game, and it is assumed that the rank order of preferences for the outcomes is different for different players. Thus the “interests” of the players are generally in conflict. Whether these interests are diametrically opposed or only partially opposed depends on the type of game.

Psychologically, most interesting situations arise when the interests of the players are partly coincident and partly opposed, because then one can postulate not only a conflict among the players but also inner conflicts within the players. Each is torn between a tendency to cooperate, so as to promote the common interests, and a tendency to compete, so as to enhance his own individual interests.

Internal conflicts are always psychologically interesting. What we vaguely call “interesting” psychology is in very great measure the psychology of inner conflict. Inner conflict is also held to be an important component of serious literature as distinguished from less serious genres. The classical tragedy, as well as the serious novel, reveals the inner conflict of central figures. The superficial adventure story, on the other hand, depicts only external conflict; that is, the threats to the person with whom the reader (or viewer) identifies them in these stories exclusively from external obstacles and from the adversaries who create them. On the most primitive level this sort of external conflict is psychologically empty. In the fisticuffs between the protagonists of good and evil, no psychological problems are involved or, at any rate, none are depicted in juvenile representations of conflict.

The detective story, the ‘adult’ analogue of a juvenile adventure tale, has at times been described as a glorification of intellectualized conflict. However, a great deal of the interest in the plots of these stories is sustained by withholding the unraveling of a solution to a problem. The effect of solving the problem is in itself not a conflict if the adversary (the unknown criminal) remains passive, like Nature, whose secrets the scientist supposedly unravels by deduction. If the adversary actively puts obstacles in the detective’s path toward the solution, there is genuine conflict. But the conflict is psychologically interesting only to the extent that it contains irrational components such as tactical error on the criminal’s part or the detective’s insight into some psychological quirk of the criminal or something of this sort. Conflict conducted in a perfectly rational manner is psychologically no more interesting than a standard Western. For example, Tic-tac-toe, played perfectly by both players, is completely devoid of psychological interest. Chess may be psychologically interesting but only to the extent that it is played not quite rationally. Played completely rationally, chess would not be different from Tic-tac-toe.

In short, a pure conflict of interest (what is called a zero-sum game) although it offers a wealth of interesting conceptual problems, is not interesting psychologically, except to the extent that its conduct departs from rational norms.

1.According to the passage, which of the following options about the application of game theory to a conflict-of-interest situation is true?

(a)Assuming that the rank order of preferences for options is different for different players.

(b)Accepting that the interests of different players are often in conflict.

(c)Not assuming that the interests are in complete disagreement.

(d)All of the above.

2.The problem solving process of a scientist is different from that of a detective because

(a)scientists study inanimate objects, while detectives deal with living criminals or law offenders.

(b)scientists study known objects, while detectives have to deal with unknown criminals or law offenders.

(c)scientists study phenomena that are not actively altered, while detectives deal with phenomena that have been deliberately influenced to mislead.

(d)scientists study psychologically interesting phenomena, while detectives deal with “adult analogues of juvenile adventure tales.”

3.According to the passage, internal conflicts are psychologically more interesting than external conflicts because

(a)internal conflicts, rather than external conflicts, form an important component of serious literature as distinguished from less serious genres.

(b)only juveniles or very few “adults” actually experience external conflict, while internal conflict is more widely prevalent in society.

(c)in situations of internal conflict, individuals experience a dilemma in resolving their own preferences for different outcomes.

(d)there are no threats to the reader (or viewer) in case of external conflicts.

4.Which, according to the author, would qualify as interesting psychology?

(a)A statistician’s dilemma over choosing the best method to solve an optimisation problem.

(b)A chess player’s predicament over adopting a defensive strategy against an aggrcssive opponent.

(c)A mountaineer’s choice of the best path to Mt. Everest from the base camp.

(c)A finance manager’s quandary over the best way of raising money from the market.

Have you read the above passage and solved its questions?

Then, check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanatory note or interpretation on the same.

A game of strategy, as currently conceived in game theory, is a situation in which two or more “players” make choices among available alternatives (moves).

Introduces the topic and straightaway starts with an idea.

The totality of choices determines the outcomes of the game, and it is assumed that the rank order of preferences for the outcomes is different for different players. Thus the “interests” of the players are generally in conflict.

Continues to go deeper into the idea.

Whether these interests are diametrically opposed or only partially opposed depends on the type of game. Psychologically, most interesting situations arise when the interests of the players are partly coincident and partly opposed, because then one can postulate not only a conflict among the players but also inner conflicts within the players.

The idea transits into a new direction, through the introduction of the ‘psychologically interesting situation.’

Each is torn between a tendency to cooperate, so as to promote the common interests, and a tendency to compete, so as to enhance his own individual interests.

Internal conflicts are always psychologically interesting. What we vaguely call “interesting” psychology is in very great measure the psychology of inner conflict. Inner conflict is also held to be an important component of serious literature as distinguished from less serious genres. The classical tragedy, as well as the serious novel, reveals the inner conflict of central figures. The superficial adventure story, on the other hand, depicts only external conflict; that is, the threats to the person with whom the reader (or viewer) identifies stem in these stories exclusively from external obstacles and from the adversaries who create them. On the most primitive level this sort of external conflict is psychologically empty. In the fisticuffs between the protagonists of good and evil, no psychological problems are involved or, at any rate, none are depicted in juvenile representations of conflict.

A whole paragraph of details where no new idea is introduced. Should be quickly read.

The detective story, the ‘adult’ analogue of a juvenile adventure tale, has at times been described as a glorification of intellectualized conflict. However, a great deal of the interest in the plots of these stories is sustained by withholding the unraveling of a solution to a problem. The effect of solving the problem is in itself not a conflict if the adversary (the unknown criminal) remains passive, like Nature, whose secrets the scientist supposedly unravels by deduction. If the adversary actively puts obstacles in the detective’s path toward the solution, there is genuine conflict. But the conflict is psychologically interesting only to the extent that it contains irrational components such as tactical error on the criminal’s part or the detective’s insight into some psychological quirk of the criminal or something of this sort. Conflict conducted in a perfectly rational manner is psychologically no more interesting than a standard Western. For example, Tic-tac-toe, played perfectly by both players, is completely devoid of psychological interest. Chess may be psychologically interesting but only to the extent that it is played not quite rationally. Played completely rationally, chess would not be different from Tic-tac-toe.

Again, a full paragraph of details illustrating what the author refers to or does not refer to while talking about psychologically interesting situations.

In short, a pure conflict of interest (what is called a zero-sum game) although it offers a wealth of interesting conceptual problems, is not interesting psychologically, except to the extent that its conduct departs from rational norms.

Restatement of an idea already mentioned earlier in the passage. Hence, quick reading.

1.According to the passage, which of the following options about the application of game theory to a conflict-of-interest situation is true?

This question tests your understanding of the ideas mentioned in the passage.

(a)Assuming that the rank order of preferences for options is different for different players.

(b)Accepting that the interests of different players are often in conflict.

(c)Not assuming that the interests are in complete disagreement.

(d)All of the above.

All the above options are true about the application of game theory to a conflict of interest situation.

2.The problem solving process of a scientist is different from that of a detective because:

This question is about a specific detail mentioned by the author in the second to last paragraph. In order to be able to solve such questions, one needs to understand the exact flow of ideas through the passage—leading upto and following the specific point where this particular detail is given. In fact, this is true for solving all details based questions.

(a)scientists study inanimate objects, while detectives deal with living criminals or law offenders.

(b)scientists study known objects, while detectives have to deal with unknown criminals or law offenders.

(c)scientists study phenomena that are not actively altered, while detectives deal with phenomena that have been deliberately influenced to mislead.

This is what the author mentions while comparing scientists and detectives.

(d)scientists study psychologically interesting phenomena, while detectives deal with “adult analogues of juvenile adventure tales.”

3.According to the passage, internal conflicts are psychologically more interesting than external conflicts because

This question is asking about the cause behind why internal conflict situations are more interesting than situations where the conflicts are external.

(a)internal conflicts, rather than external conflicts, form an important component of serious literature as distinguished from less serious genres.

The detail being referred to is too narrow to connect as the reason asked for.

(b)only juveniles or very few “adults” actually experience external conflict, while internal conflict is more widely prevalent in society.

Irrelevant idea.

(c)in situations of internal conflict, individuals experience a dilemma in resolving their own preferences for different outcomes.

This is the main idea the author is trying to convey throughout the passage. There should be no ambiguity in choosing this option as the correct one.

(d)there are no threats to the reader (or viewer) in case of external conflicts.

Irrelevant idea

4.Which, according to the author, would qualify as interesting psychology?

(a)A statistician’s dilemma over choosing the best method to solve an optimisation problem.

This is the only option that has an inherently built inner conflict. A statistician trying to solve an optimisation problem has an internal conflict, since he has to first decide for himself as to what objectives he should set for the optimisation problem.

(b)A chess player’s predicament over adopting a defensive strategy against an aggressive opponent.

(c)A mountaineer’s choice of the best path to Mt. Everest from the base camp.

(d)A finance manager’s quandary over the best way of raising money from the market.

Passage VII

While complex in the extreme, Derrida’s work has proven to be a particularly influential approach to the analysis of the ways in which language structures our understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit, an approach he termed deconstruction. In its simplest formulation, deconstruction can be taken to refer to a methodological strategy which seeks to uncover layers of hidden meaning, in a text that have been denied or suppressed. The term ‘text’, in this respect, does not refer simply, to a written form of communication, however. Rather, texts are something we all produce and reproduce constantly in our everyday social relations, be they spoken, written or embedded in the construction of material artifacts. At the heart of Derrida’s deconstructive approach is his critique of what he perceives to be the totalitarian impulse of the Enlightenment pursuit to bring all that exists in the world under the domain of a representative language, a pursuit he refers to as logocentrism. Logocentrism is the search for a rational language that is able to know and represent the world and all its aspects perfectly and accurately. Its totalitarian dimension for Derrida at least, lies primarily in its tendency to marginalize or dismiss all that does not neatly comply with its particular linguistic representations, a tendency that, throughout history, has all too frequently been manifested in the form of authoritarian institutions. Thus logocentrism has, in its search for the truth of absolute representation, subsumed difference and oppressed that which it designates as its alien ‘other’. For Derrida, western civilisation has been built upon such a systematic assault on alien cultures and ways of life, typically in the name of reason and progress.

In response to logocentrism, deconstruction posits the idea that the mechanism by which this process of marginalization and the ordering of truth occurs is through establishing systems of binary opposition. Oppositional linguistic dualisms, such as rational/irrational, culture/nature and good/bad are not, however, construed as equal partners as they are in, say, the semiological structuralism of Saussure. Rather, they exist, for Derrida, in a series of hierarchical relationships with the first term normally occupying a superior position. Derrida defines the relationship between such oppositional terms using the neologism difference. This refers to the realization that in any statement, oppositional terms differ from each other (for instance, the difference between rationality and irrationality is constructed through oppositional usage), and at the same time, a hierarchical relationship is maintained by the deference of one term to the other (in the positing of rationality over irrationality, for instance). It is this latter point which is perhaps the key to understanding Derrida’s approach to deconstruction.

For the fact that at any given time one term must defer to its oppositional ‘other’, means that the two terms are constantly in a state of interdependence. The presence of one is dependent upon the absence or ‘absent-presence’ of the ‘other’, such as in the case of good and evil, whereby to understand the nature of one, we must constantly relate it to the absent term in order to grasp its meaning. That is, to do good, we must understand that our act is not evil, for without that comparison the term becomes meaningless. Put simply, deconstruction represents an attempt to demonstrate the absent-presence of this oppositional ‘other’, to show that what we say or write is in itself not expressive simply of what is present, but also of what is absent. Thus, deconstruction seeks to reveal the interdependence of apparently dichotomous terms and their meanings relative to their textual context; that is, within the linguistic power relations which structure dichotomous terms hierarchically. In Derrida’s own words, a deconstructive reading “must always aim at a certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he does not command of the patterns of a language that he uses... [It] attempts to make the not-seen accessible to sight.”

Meaning, then, is never fixed or stable, whatever the intention of the author of a text. For Derrida, language is a system of relations that are dynamic, in that all meanings we ascribe to the world are dependent not only on what we believe to be present but also on what is absent. Thus, any act of interpretation must refer not only to what the author of a text intends, but also to what is absent from his or her intention. This insight leads, once again, to Derrida’s further rejection of the idea of the definitive authority of the intentional agent or subject. The subject is decentred; it is conceived as the outcome of relations of difference. As author of its own biography, the subject thus becomes the ideological fiction of modernity and its logocentric philosophy, one that depends upon the formation of hierarchical dualisms, which repress and deny the presence of the absent ‘other’. No meaning can, therefore, ever be definitive, but is merely an outcome of a particular interpretation.

5.According to the passage, Derrida believes that the system of binary opposition

(a)represents a prioritization or hierarchy.

(b)reconciles contradictions and dualities.

(c)weakens the process of marginalization and ordering of truth.

(d)deconstructs reality.

6.According to the passage, Derrida believes that:

(a)Reality can be construed only through the use of rational analysis.

(b)Language limits our construction of reality.

(c)A universal language will facilitate a common understanding of reality.

(d)We need to uncover the hidden meaning in a system of relations expressed by language.

7.Derrida rejects the idea of ‘definitive authority of the subject’ because

(a)interpretation of the text may not make the unseen visible.

(b)the meaning of the text is based on binary opposites.

(c)the implicit power relationship is often ignored.

(d)any act of interpretation must refer to what the author intends.

8.To Derrida, logocentrism does not imply:

(a)a totalitarian impulse.

(b)a domain of representative language.

(c)interdependence of the meanings of dichotomous terms.

(d)a strategy that seeks to suppress hidden meanings in a text.

Have you read the above passage and solved its questions?

Then, check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanatory note or interpretation on the same.

While complex in the extreme, Derrida’s work has proven to be a particularly influential approach to the analysis of the ways in which language structures our understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit, an approach he termed deconstruction.

A very idea heavy sentence. The author is introducing the topic and starting off with an idea straightaway. Make sure that you do not go further unless you understand this sentence—otherwise you might end up finding yourself in choppy waters. Ask yourself the question: Who or What is the author talking about—the answer ‘Derrida’s work’ gives you the topic of the passage. Then ask yourself the question: What is the author’s idea about the topic? The answer that ‘his work has thrown light on the ways in which language structures our understanding of ourselves—called ‘deconstruction’—gives you the idea conveyed.

In its simplest formulation, deconstruction can be taken to refer to a methodological strategy which seeks to uncover layers of hidden meaning, in a text that have been denied or suppressed.

Deconstruction is further defined, throwing more light on the idea the author is trying to convey.

The term ‘text’, in this respect, does not refer simply, to a written form of communication, however. Rather, texts are something we all produce and reproduce constantly in our everyday social relations, be they spoken, written or embedded in the construction of material artifacts.

This sentence is about details and should be read much faster than the first two sentences.

At the heart of Derrida’s deconstructive approach is his critique of what he perceives to be: the totalitarian impulse of the Enlightenment pursuit to bring all that exists in the world under the domain of a representative language, a pursuit he refers to as logocentrism. Logocentrism is the search for a rational language that is able to know and represent the world and all its aspects perfectly and accurately.

Another idea is defined – that of logocentrism. You need to slow down to take in what the author is trying to say in this sentence and connect it to the previous ideas in the paragraph.

Its totalitarian dimension for Derrida at least, lies primarily in its tendency to marginalize or dismiss all that does not neatly comply with its particular linguistic representations, a tendency that, throughout history, has all too frequently been manifested in the form of authoritarian institutions. Thus logocentrism has, in its search for the truth of absolute representation, subsumed difference and oppressed that which it designates as its alien ‘other’. For Derrida, western civilization has been built upon such a systematic assault on alien cultures and ways of life, typically in the name of reason and progress.

Details and opinions being mentioned here. No significant new idea emerges in the above sentences. You should be able to read this extremely rapidly.

In response to logocentrism, deconstruction posits the idea that the mechanism by which this process of marginalization and the ordering of truth occurs is through establishing systems of binary opposition.

The author is connecting the two ideas of deconstruction and logocentrism mentioned in the previous paragraph by showing the principal difference between the two approaches. You need to grasp this here or if not here, in the next two to three sentences, which are likely to be details explaining the idea expressed in the first sentence of this paragraph. 

Oppositional linguistic dualisms, such as rational/irrational, culture/nature and good/bad are not, however, construed as equal partners as they are in, say, the semiological structuralism of Saussure. Rather, they exist, for Derrida, in a series of hierarchical relationships with the first term normally occupying a superior position. Derrida defines the relationship between such oppositional terms using the neologism difference. This refers to the realization that in any statement, oppositional terms differ from each other (for instance, the difference between rationality and irrationality is constructed through oppositional usage), and at the same time, a hierarchical relationship is maintained by the deference of one term to the other (in the positing of rationality over irrationality, for instance). It is this latter point which is perhaps the key to understanding Derrida’s approach to deconstruction.

The author continues to construct on the idea he has introduced at the start of the paragraph. He has introduced a new idea—that of differance between the two terms in a linguistic dualism.

For the fact that at any given time one term must defer to its oppositional ‘other’, means that the two terms are constantly in a state of interdependence. The presence of one is dependent upon the absence or ‘absent-presence’ of the ‘other’, such as in the case of good and evil, whereby to understand the nature of one, we must constantly relate it to the absent term in order to grasp its meaning.

Extends the idea introduced towards the end of the previous paragraph.

That is, to do good, we must understand that our act is not evil, for without that comparison the term becomes meaningless. Put simply, deconstruction represents an attempt to demonstrate the absent-presence of this oppositional ‘other’, to show that what we say or write is in itself not expressive simply of what is present, but also of what is absent. Thus, deconstruction seeks to reveal the interdependence of apparently dichotomous terms and their meanings relative to their textual context; that is, within the linguistic power relations which structure dichotomous terms hierarchically. In Derrida’ s own words, a deconstructive reading “must always aim at a certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he does not command of the patterns of a language that he uses ... [It] attempts to make the not-seen accessible to sight.”

Explanatory details that need to be read fast. However, these can be read fast only if you have connected with the author’s idea structure throughout.

Meaning, then, is never fixed or stable, whatever the intention of the author of a text. For Derrida, language is a system of relations that are dynamic, in that all meanings we ascribe to the world are dependent not only on what we believe to be present but also on what is absent. Thus, any act of interpretation must refer not only to what the author of a text intends, but also to what is absent from his or her intention. This insight leads, once again, to Derrida’ s further rejection of the idea of the definitive authority of the intentional agent or subject. The subject is decentred; it is conceived as the outcome of relations of difference. As author of its own biography, the subject thus becomes the ideological fiction of modernity and its logocentric philosophy, one that depends upon the formation of hierarchical dualisms, which repress and deny the presence of the absent ‘other’. No meaning can, therefore, ever be definitive, but is merely an outcome of a particular interpretation.

This is the concluding idea in the passage. You need to grasp this paragraph well to complete your interpretation of the author’s idea structure. Take your time to understand clearly what it says—It is extremely heavy in its ideas.

5.According to the passage, Derrida believes that the system of binary opposition

(a)represents a prioritization or hierarchy.

This is not the correct option, since the system contains a hierarchy, but is not a representation of it.

(b)reconciles contradictions and dualities.

Irrelevant as compared to the idea structure of the author.

(c)weakens the process of marginalization and ordering of truth.

(d)deconstructs reality.

This is the central idea of the passage. Hence, this has to be correct.

6.According to the passage, Derrida believes that:

(a)Reality can be construed only through the use of rational analysis.

This option goes against what the passage is talking about—that reality can be better understood by deconstructing it through language.

(b)Language limits our construction of reality.

Language helps us deconstruct reality. Constructing reality is an irrelevant concept.

(c)A universal language will facilitate a common understanding of reality.

Derrida believes the opposite.

(d)We need to uncover the hidden meaning in a system of relations expressed by language.

This is one of the main ideas conveyed by the author in the last two paragraphs.

7.Derrida rejects the idea of ‘definitive authority of the subject’ because

(a)interpretation of the text may not make the unseen visible.

(b)the meaning of the text is based on binary opposites.

(c)the implicit power relationship is often ignored.

(d)any act of interpretation must refer to what the author intends.

This is against what the author is trying to say. He is saying the opposite—that interpretation should not be limited to what the author intends.

8.To Derrida, logocentrism does not imply:

(a) A totalitarian impulse.

It does imply a totalitarian impulse. Hence, this is not the answer.

(b)A domain of representative language.

Logocentrism has a tendency to try to define one representative language. Hence, this cannot be the answer.

(c)Interdependence of the meanings of dichotomous terms.

This is what is implied by deconstruction—which differs from logocentrism. Hence, this is the answer.

(d)A strategy that seeks to suppress hidden meanings in a text.

Passage VIII

Crinoline and croquet are out. As yet, no political activists have thrown themselves in front of the royal horse on Derby Day. Even so, some historians can spot the parallels. It is a time of rapid technological change. It is a period when the dominance of the world’s superpower is coming under threat. It is an epoch when prosperity masks underlying economic strain. And, crucially, it is a time when policy-makers are confident that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Welcome to the Edwardian Summer of the second age of globalisation.

Spare a moment to take stock of what’s been happening in the past few months. Let’s start with the oil price, which has rocketed to more than $65 a barrel, more than double its level 18 months ago. The accepted wisdom is that we shouldn’t worry our little heads about that, because the incentives are there for business to build new production and refining capacity, which will effortlessly bring demand and supply back into balance and bring crude prices back to $25 a barrel. As Tommy Cooper used to say, ‘just like that’.

Then there is the result of the French referendum on the European Constitution, seen as thick-headed luddites railing vainly against the modern world. What the French needed to realise, the argument went, was that there was no alternative to the reforms that would make the country more flexible, more competitive, more dynamic. Just the sort of reforms that allowed Gate Gourmet to sack hundreds of its staff at Heathrow after the sort of ultimatum that used to be handed out by Victorian mill owners. An alternative way of looking at the French “non” is that our neighbours translate “flexibility” as “you’re fired”.

Finally, take a squint at the United States. Just like Britain a century ago, a period of unquestioned superiority is drawing to a close. China is still a long way from matching America’s wealth, but it is growing at a stupendous rate and economic strength brings geo-political clout. Already, there is evidence of a new scramble for Africa as Washington and Beijing compete for oil stocks. Moreover, beneath the surface of the US economy, all is not well. Growth looks healthy enough, but the competition from China and elsewhere has meant the world’s biggest economy now imports far more than it exports. The US is living beyond its means, but in this time of studied complacency, a current account deficit worth 6 percent of gross domestic product is seen as a sign of strength, not weakness.

In this new Edwardian summer, comfort is taken from the fact that dearer oil has not had the savage inflationary consequences of 1973–74, when a fourfold increase in the cost of crude brought an abrupt end to a postwar boom that had gone on uninterrupted for a quarter of a century. True, the cost of living has been affected by higher transport costs, but we are talking of inflation at 2.3 per cent and not 27 per cent. Yet, the idea that higher oil prices are of little consequence is fanciful. If people are paying more to fill up their cars, it leaves them with less to spend on everything else, but there is a reluctance to consume less. In the 1970s unions were strong and able to negotiate large, compensatory pay deals that served to intensify inflationary pressure. In 2005, that avenue is pretty much closed off, but the abolition of all the controls on credit that existed in the 1970s means that households are invited to borrow more rather than consume less. The knock-on effects of higher oil prices are thus felt in different ways—through high levels of indebtedness, in inflated asset prices, and in balance of payments deficits.

There are those who point out, rightly, that modern industrial capitalism has proved mightily resilient these past 250 years, and that a sign of the enduring strength of the system has been the way it apparently shrugged off everything—a stock market crash, 9/11, rising oil prices—that have been thrown at it in the half decade since the millennium. Even so, there are at least three reasons for concern. First, we have been here before. In terms of political economy, the first era of globalisation mirrored our own. There was a belief in unfettered capital flows, in free trade, and in the power of the market. It was a time of massive income inequality and unprecedented migration. Eventually, though, there was a backlash, manifested in a struggle between free traders and protectionists, and in rising labour militancy.

Second, the world is traditionally at its most fragile at times when the global balance of power is in flux. By the end of the nineteenth century, Britain’s role as the hegemonic power was being challenged by the rise of the United States, Germany, and Japan, while the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires were clearly in rapid decline. Looking ahead from 2005, it is clear that over the next two or three decades, both China and India—which together account for half the world’s population—will flex their muscles.

Finally, there is the question of what rising oil prices tell us. The emergence of China and India means global demand for crude is likely to remain high at a time when experts say production is about to top out. If supply constraints start to bite, any declines in the price are likely to be short-term cyclical affairs, punctuating a long upward trend.

9.Which of the following best represents the key argument made by the author?

(a)The rise in oil prices, the flux in the global balance of power and historical precedents should make us question our belief that the global economic prosperity would continue.

(b)The belief that modern industrial capitalism is highly resilient and capable of overcoming shocks will be belied soon.

(c)Widespread prosperity leads to neglect of early signs of underlying economic weakness, manifested in higher oil prices and a flux in the global balance of power.

(d)A crisis is imminent in the West given the growth of countries like China and India and the increase in oil prices.

10.What can be inferred about the author’s view when he states, ‘As Tommy Cooper used to say “just like that”’?

(a)Industry has incentive to build new production and refining capacity and therefore, oil prices would reduce.

(b)There would be a correction in the price levels of oil once new production capacity is added.

(c)The decline in oil prices is likely to be short-term in nature.

(d)It is not necessary that oil prices would go down to earlier levels.

11.What, according to the author, has resulted in a widespread belief in the resilience of modern capitalism?

(a)Growth in the economies of Western countries despite shocks in the form of increase in levels of indebtedness and inflated asset prices.

(b)Increase in the prosperity of Western countries and China despite rising oil prices.

(c)Continued growth of Western economies despite a rise in terrorism, an increase in oil prices and other similar shocks.

(d)The success of continued reforms aimed at making Western economies more dynamic, competitive arid efficient.

12.By the expression ‘Edwardian Summer’, the author refers to a period in which there is

(a)unparalleled luxury and opulence.

(b)a sense of complacency among people because of all-round prosperity.

(c)a culmination of all-round economic prosperity.

(d)an imminent danger lurking behind economic prosperity.

Have you read the above passage and solved its questions?

Then, check your answers with those given below (along with their explanatory notes or author’s advice on how they should be read). The passage in italics is a reproduction of relevant section from the original passage, and this will be followed by an explanatory note or interpretation on the same.

Crinoline and croquet are out. As yet, no political activists have thrown themselves in front of the royal horse on Derby Day. Even so, some historians can spot the parallels.

There is an idea here somewhere, which you can expect to be unravelled later. There is obviously a talk about some sort of parallel between two time periods.

It is a time of rapid technological change. It is a period when the dominance of the world’s superpower is coming under threat. It is an epoch when prosperity masks underlying economic strain. And, crucially, it is a time when policy-makers are confident that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

The author is defining the time in terms of different characteristics that must have been common between the two periods.

Welcome to the Edwardian Summer of the second age of globalisation.

The author can be understood to be talking about two ages of globalisation—the current one and one that could have been described as an Edwardian summer obviously something to do with King Edward’s reign.

Spare a moment to take stock of what’s been happening in the past few months. Let’s start with the oil price, which has rocketed to more than $65 a barrel, more than double its level 18 months ago. The accepted wisdom is that we shouldn’t worry our little heads about that, because the incentives are there for business to build new production and refining capacity, which will effortlessly bring demand and supply back into balance and bring crude prices back to $25 a barrel. As Tommy Cooper used to say, ‘just like that’.

Then there is the result of the French referendum on the European Constitution, seen as thick-headed luddites railing vainly against the modern world. What the French needed to realise, the argument went, was that there was no alternative to the reforms that would make the country more flexible, more competitive, more dynamic. Just the sort of reforms that allowed Gate Gourmet to sack hundreds of its staff at Heathrow after the sort of ultimatum that used to be handed out by Victorian mill owners. An alternative way of looking at the French “non” is that our neighbours translate “flexibility” as “you’re fired”.

Finally, take a squint at the United States. Just like Britain a century ago, a period of unquestioned superiority is drawing to a close. China is still a long way from matching America’s wealth, but it is growing at a stupendous rate and economic strength brings geo-political clout. Already, there is evidence of a new scramble for Africa as Washington and Beijing compete for oil stocks. Moreover, beneath the surface of the US economy, all is not well. Growth looks healthy enough, but the competition from China and elsewhere has meant the world’s biggest economy now imports far more than it exports. The US is living beyond its means, but in this time of studied complacency, a current account deficit worth 6 percent of gross domestic product is seen as a sign of strength, not weakness.

The author has used these three examples—of oil Prices, the French referendum and the United States—in order to lead up to his point which you can anticipate will come in the last two paragraphs.

In this new Edwardian summer, comfort is taken from the fact that dearer oil has not had the savage inflationary consequences of 1973–74, when a fourfold increase in the cost of crude brought an abrupt end to a postwar boom that had gone on uninterrupted for a quarter of a century. True, the cost of living has been affected by higher transport costs, but we are talking of inflation at 2.3 per cent and not 27 per cent. Yet, the idea that higher oil prices are of little consequence is fanciful. If people are paying more to fill up their cars, it leaves them with less to spend on everything else, but there is a reluctance to consume less. In the 1970s unions were strong and able to negotiate large, compensatory pay deals that served to intensify inflationary pressure. In 2005, that avenue is pretty much closed off, but the abolition of all the controls on credit that existed in the 1970s means that households are invited to borrow more rather than consume less. The knock-on effects of higher oil prices are thus felt in different ways— through high levels of indebtedness, in inflated asset prices, and in balance of payments deficits.

There is clearly a negative point of view about the casualness exhibited by the world that the author is trying to convey. Notice that in each of the points above, the author gives his opinion by negating the reasons the world is using for being relaxed about its current problems. The author’s opinion clearly is that the false security we are living under is not real.)

There are those who point out, rightly, that modern industrial capitalism has proved mightily resilient these past 250 years, and that a sign of the enduring strength of the system has been the way it apparently shrugged off everything—a stock market crash, 9/11, rising oil prices—that have been thrown at it in the half decade since the millennium. Even so, there are at least three reasons for concern.

This sentence signals three upcoming reasons for concern. It is clearly an opinion based sentence. Up until this point, he has not explicitly stated his opinion/s, only hinting at them through his three examples in the last three paragraphs. We will get to finally see the author’s opinion in these reasons.

First, we have been here before. In terms of political economy, the first era of globalisation mirrored our own. There was a belief in unfettered capital flows, in free trade, and in the power of the market. It was a time of massive income inequality and unprecedented migration. Eventually, though, there was a backlash, manifested in a struggle between free traders and protectionists, and in rising labour militancy.

Second, the world is traditionally at its most fragile at times when the global balance of power is in flux. By the end of the nineteenth century, Britain’s role as the hegemonic power was being challenged by the rise of the United States, Germany, and Japan, while the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires were clearly in rapid decline. Looking ahead from 2005, it is clear that over the next two or three decades, both China and India—which together account for half the world’s population—will flex their muscles.

Finally, there is the question of what rising oil prices tell us. The emergence of China and India means global demand for crude is likely to remain high at a time when experts say production is about to top out. If supply constraints start to bite, any declines in the price are likely to be short-term cyclical affairs, punctuating a long upward trend.

These last three passages give the heart of the author’s opinion. He has drawn up parallels between the Edwardian era—which he refers to as the first era of globalisation—and the current era of globalisation. He has clearly enumerated three reasons which should cause concern.

9.Which of the following best represents the key argument made by the author?

(a)The rise in oil prices, the flux in the global balance of power and historical precedents should make us question our belief that the global economic prosperity would continue.

This is indeed the key argument that the author is making.

(b)The belief that modern industrial capitalism is highly resilient and capable of overcoming shocks will be belied soon.

This option is extremely close and confusing. However, what you should realise is that the option goes further than what the author is saying. The author has just mentioned that we should be concerned—he does not go on to predict that our beliefs will be belied. Hence, this cannot be the answer.

(c)Widespread prosperity leads to neglect of early signs of underlying economic weakness, manifested in higher oil prices and a flux in the global balance of power.

This is the premise, not the argument.

(d)A crisis is imminent in the West given the growth of countries like China and India and the increase in oil prices.

Irrelevant answer.

10.What can be inferred about the author’s view when he states, ‘As Tommy Cooper used to say “just like that”’?

This question is clearly asking about an inference, hence, you need to understand the author’s unstated opinion behind using this phrase.

(a)Industry has incentive to build new production and refining capacity and therefore oil prices would reduce.

This is a clearly stated cause and effect fact. Hence, cannot be an inference about the author’s opinion. Thus, this is not the correct answer.

(b)There would be a correction in the price levels of oil once new production capacity is added.

(c)The decline in oil prices is likely to be short-term in nature.

This is indeed the author’s opinion. This can be deduced from: firstly, the author’s writing style: Throughout the passage, he has adopted a strategy of stating the reasons for being complacent with respect to some facts and then he goes on to ask us not to be so complacent. Further, the opinion the author holds about the oil prices, is clearly stated in the last paragraph’s last sentence. The sentence ‘If supply constraints start to bite, any declines in the price are likely to be short-term cyclical affairs, punctuating a long upward trend’ clearly shows his opinion about what he expects to happen to oil prices.

(d)It is not necessary that oil prices would go down to earlier levels.

11.What, according to the author, has resulted in a widespread belief in the resilience of modern capitalism?

(a)Growth in the economies of Western countries despite shocks in the form of increase in levels of indebtedness and inflated asset prices.

This option uses a connection between ‘growth in western economies’ and ‘shocks of increased indebtedness and inflated asset prices’. There is no logical connection defined in the passage between these two factors.

(b)Increase in the prosperity of Western countries and China despite rising oil prices.

Irrelevant choice.

(c)Continued growth of Western economies despite a rise in terrorism, an increase in oil prices and other similar shocks.

This is the correct choice, since this according to the author, is what has led to the belief. Clearly stated in the fourth last paragraph.

(d)The success of continued reforms aimed at making Western economies more dynamic, competitive arid efficient.

Irrelevant option.

12.By the expression ‘Edwardian Summer’, the author refers to a period in which there is

(a)unparalleled luxury and opulence.

The author has never referred to unparalleled luxury and opulence.

(b)a sense of complacency among people because of all-round prosperity.

Throughout the passage, the author has explained the term ‘Edwardian Summer’ explaining the complacency that has set into the people due to all round prosperity. Perhaps, you also need to understand that the author is British – since he calls the French his neighbours, refers to Derby day etc., and summer to the British is a time of brightness, happiness and joy, before the onset of the dull, dreary and depressing winter.

(c)a culmination of all-round economic prosperity.

culmination? improbable option.

(d)an imminent danger lurking behind economic prosperity.

Does not fit in with the term Edwardian.

*This question appeared in CAT 2005 paper