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CAT Questions | Reading Comprehension on Current Events

Introduction on Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is one of the most important and crucial elements of any management exam. This is the part of the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section of the exam. 4-5 questions need to be solved at the end of  the passage. There are different genres in RCs, such as sciencehistory, geographycurrent affairseconomicshumanities, etc. In this section, we focus on Reading comprehensions based on current events.

Importance of Reading Comprehension

All the entrance exams i.e. CATXATNMATSNAPIIFTCMAT, etc. consist of RC passages in the VARC section. These RCs comprise a high percentage of this VARC section. For example, regarding VARC for CAT, there are 24 questions of RCs out of 34 questions in VARC i.e. having 70% weightage. Hence, the aspirants need to prepare well for this section as it takes time and constant practice to develop speed reading, understanding the context, and then correctly answer questions in the CAT reading comprehension section.

Let’s see some more details in the table given below:

 

ExamYearNo. of RCsNo. of Rc
Questions
Current Events
based RCs
No. of Questions
 in Current
Events based RCs
Level of Difficulty
CAT201952414Moderate
CAT201852400
CAT201752415Moderate
XAT202041200
XAT201941200
XAT201841300
IIFT201941600
IIFT201851600
IIFT201741600
SNAP201821015Moderate

List of Concepts in Reading Comprehension

There are no specific concepts or written rules to answer the questions correctly for an RC CAT passage. The most important is your reading speed and understanding of the content. But still, we can use different strategies while practicing and check which one is working for us while solving CAT RCs.

Active Reading: As listening means hearing with concentration, the same context can be applied to active reading i.e. reading with concentration to engage with the content in the reading comprehension passages and understand it

Speed of reading: We all read at our own pace. But in competitive exams, time is one of the factors we need to beat. So, read more which will eventually help you in increasing your reading speed i.e. the number of words you read per minute. This can only be done by proper reading comprehension practice

Skimming: This is a reading technique that may or may not work for every passage you read. It means to read rapidly to get a general idea of the passage

Scanning: It is similar to skimming but in this, a reader looks for specific facts

Elimination method: Once you are done reading the passage, it’s time to deal with the questions. The questions can have 4 or 5 options depending upon the exam. You can eliminate options if those are too narrow, too broad, factually incorrect (as per the passage), or are not at all related to the idea of the passage 

Some RC for CAT in Previous Year Papers

Below we have mentioned some reading comprehension passages with questions and answers:

Question: 

CAT RC (2019)

Scientists recently discovered that Emperor Penguins—one of Antarctica’s most celebrated species—employ a particularly unusual technique for surviving the daily chill. As detailed in an article published today in the journal Biology Letters, the birds minimize heat loss by keeping the outer surface of their plumage below the temperature of the surrounding air. At the same time, the penguins’ thick plumage insulates their body and keeps them toasty.

The researchers analyzed thermographic images taken over roughly a month during June 2008. During that period, the average air temperature was 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the majority of the plumage covering the penguins’ bodies was even colder: the surface of their warmest body part, their feet, was an average 1.76 degrees Fahrenheit, but the plumage on their heads, chests, and backs were -1.84, -7.24 and -9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Overall, nearly the entire outer surface of the penguins’ bodies was below freezing at all times, except for their eyes and beaks. The scientists also used a computer simulation to determine how much heat was lost or gained from each part of the body—and discovered that by keeping their outer surface below the air temperature, the birds might paradoxically be able to draw very slight amounts of heat from the air around them. The key to their trick is the difference between two different types of heat transfer: radiation and convection.

The penguins do lose internal body heat to the surrounding air through thermal radiation, just as our bodies do on a cold day. Because their bodies (but not surface plumage) are warmer than the surrounding air, heat gradually radiates outward over time, moving from a warmer material to a colder one. To maintain body temperature while losing heat, penguins, like all warm-blooded animals, rely on the metabolism of food. The Penguins, though, have an additional strategy. Since their outer plumage is even colder than the air, the simulation showed that they might gain back a little of this heat through thermal convection—the transfer of heat via the movement of a fluid (in this case, the air). As the cold Antarctic air cycles around their bodies, slightly warmer air comes into contact with the plumage and donates minute amounts of heat back to the penguins, then cycles away at a slightly colder temperature. 

Most of this heat, the researchers note, probably doesn’t make it all the way through the plumage and back to the penguins’ bodies, but it could make a slight difference. At the very least, the method by which a penguin’s plumage wicks heat from the bitterly cold air that surrounds it helps to cancel out some of the heat that’s radiating from its interior. And given the Emperors’ unusually demanding breeding cycle, every bit of warmth counts…….Since [penguins trek as far as 75 miles to the coast to breed and male penguins] don’t eat anything during [the incubation period of 64 days], conserving calories by giving up as little heat as possible is crucial. 

 

Q. In the last sentence of paragraph 3, “slightly warmer air” and“at a slightly colder temperature” refer to AND respectively: 

1. the cold Antarctic air which becomes warmer because of the heat radiated out from penguins’ bodies AND the fall in temperature of the surrounding air after thermal convection 

2. the cold Antarctic air whose temperature is higher than that of the plumage AND the fall in temperature of the Antarctic air after it has transmitted some heat to the plumage. 

3. the air trapped in the plumage which is warmer than the Antarctic air AND the fall in temperature of the trapped plumage air after it radiates out some heat. 

4. the air inside penguins’ bodies kept warm because of the metabolism of food AND the fall in temperature of the body air after it transfers some heat to the plumage.

 

Carefully read paragraph 3 which will lead us to the fact that the “slightly warmer air” refers to the cold Antarctic air whose temperature is higher than that of the plumage and “at a slightly colder temperature” refers to the fall in temperature of the Antarctic air after it has transferred some heat to the plumage of the emperor penguins. Hence, option 2 is the correct answer.

Q. Which of the following best explains the purpose of the word “paradoxically” as used by the author? 1. Keeping their body colder helps penguins keep their plumage warmer. 

2. Heat loss through radiation happens despite the heat gain through convection. 

3. Keeping a part of their body colder helps penguins keep their bodies warmer. 

4. Heat gain through radiation happens despite the heat loss through convection 

 

A paradoxical statement is one in which the statement is seemingly contradictory. Option 3 is the correct answer (refer to paragraph 3). Emperor penguins keep their outer plumage colder than the surrounding air to keep their bodies warmer. The heat that they lose through thermal radiation is more than made up slightly through convection.

Q. Which of the following can be responsible for Emperor Penguins losing body heat? 

1. Thermal convection

2. Plumage

3. Reproduction process

4. Food metabolism 

Paragraph 4, “And given the Emperors’ unusually demanding breeding cycle, every bit of warmth counts. . . . Since [penguins trek as far as 75 miles to the coast to breed and male penguins] don’t eat anything during [the incubation period of 64 days], conserving calories by giving up as little heat as possible is crucial” clearly shows that emperor penguins lose heat during the reproduction process. Therefore, option 3 is the correct answer.

Q. All of the following, if true, would negate the findings of the study reported in the passage EXCEPT: 

1. the penguins’ plumage were made of a material that did not allow any heat transfer through convection or radiation. 

2. the temperature of the plumage on the penguins’ heads, chests, and backs were found to be 1.84, 7.24, and 9.76 degrees Fahrenheit respectively 

3. the average temperature of the feet of penguins in June 2008 was found to be 2.76 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. the average air temperature recorded during June 2008 in the area of study was –10 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

The question asks to choose the option that is true according to the passage. The double negatives: negate and EXCEPT cancel themselves out.  Read paragraph 2 and you will find that Option 3 is the correct answer.

Topic preparation for Reading Comprehension

Level 1

• The most basic step is to work toward the first word in the Reading Comprehension i.e. reading. So, start reading. Read what you like the most. It can be a newspaper, novel, book, magazine, etc.

• Check your retaining power. After reading, write a summary of what you have read and check whether are you able to get the idea of the passage correct or not

• Repeat the above exercises twice or thrice per day

• Try to solve as many CAT RC Questions as possible

• To score well in these questions, it is important to first understand the basics. For this, we recommend using the MBAP CAT E-Book (Concept Theory) study material. If you find difficulty understanding the concepts, use the MBAP Live Lecture Recording (Basic) on Basic Concepts

• To get better clarity on Reading Comprehension, use MBAP CAT E-Book (Practice Questions) and solve all the relevant practice questions. Also, solve the MBAP lecture assignment to complete the basics. These books and assignments have reading comprehension exercises for CAT

Level 2

• Start shifting towards specific topics. Here, since we are discussing current affairs, read more newspaper articles, especially the editorials. The whole idea is to familiarize yourself with all the possible current affairs as this will help you to understand the passage in the exam with ease

• Time yourself. While reading, check how many words are you able to read per minute. Remember, it should be active reading

• Try to achieve a speed of 250-300 words per minute

• Start solving questions. You can also enroll for the MBAP question sets which are available as levels 1, 2, and 3. Start with level 1 and slightly shift to moderate and then difficult level

• It will be way easier for you to attempt the questions by solving previous year papers. They are all readily available if you use MBAP Topic Wise Previous Year CAT Questions

Level 3

• Master the elimination method as it is a very good strategy to find the correct answer in less time

• Solve questions from previous year papers

• For further advancement on this topic, use MBAP CAT Advance E-Books and solve the MBAP Previous Year CAT paper

• You can also refer to the book, “How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT” by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

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