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CAT Exam | CAT Verbal Questions: Humanities

CAT reading comprehension: Humanities

Reading comprehension has always been considered to be one of the most important sections of the CAT exam. It is one of the key areas of CAT Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) section. 4-5 questions need to be solved at the end of the passage. There are different genres in Reading Comprehension, such as science, history, geography, current affairs, economics, humanities, etc. In this section, we focus on Reading Comprehension based on Humanities came in various examinations like XATSNAPIIFT

Below are the details about the concept for different competitive MBA exam:


RC (Humanities)
YearNo of QuestionsGood attemptDifficulty
Slot 10
Slot 251 to 2Difficult
Slot 342 to 3Moderate
Slot 153Moderate
Slot 251 to 2Difficult
Slot 153Moderate
Slot 252 to 3Moderate


RC (Humanities)
YearNumber of QuestionsGood attemptDifficulty
201964 to 5Easy to Moderate
201874 to 5Moderate
201741 to 2Difficult


RC (Humanities)
YearNumber of QuestionsGood attemptDifficulty
201931 to 2Moderate
201762 to 3Difficult

Variety of Topics in RC on Humanities

The Reading Comprehension passages in CAT question paper includes this topic as well

Humanities have a broad spectrum of topics from which one can expect the passage for CAT question paper. This may include topics from literature, philosophy, law, politics, religion, and art.

The passage from this topic usually requires thinking about what the author wants to convey. It might not be data-driven like in the case of economics or geography but requires attentiveness while reading.

It is always advisable to skim through the passage once to understand the basic story of the passage. One might skip the specifics in this chance. The next reading, when one is comfortable with the passage length and basic idea, should be in-depth.


CAT Questions & other MBA entrance exams | CAT Verbal Questions: Humanities:

Aggression is any behavior that is directed toward injuring, harming, or inflicting pain on another living being or group of beings. Generally, the victim(s) of aggression must wish to avoid such behavior in order for it to be considered true aggression. Aggression is also categorized according to its ultimate intent. Hostile aggression is an aggressive act that results from anger, and is intended to inflict pain or injury because of that anger. Instrumental aggression is an aggressive act that is regarded as a means to an end other than pain or injury. For example, an enemy combatant may be subjected to torture in order to extract useful intelligence, though those inflicting the torture may have no real feelings of anger or animosity toward their subject. The concept of aggression is very broad, and includes many categories of behavior (e.g., verbal aggression, street crime, child abuse, spouse abuse, group conflict, war, etc.). A number of theories and models of aggression have arisen to explain these diverse forms of behavior, and these theories/models tend to be categorized according to their specific focus. The most common system of categorization groups the various approaches to aggression into three separate areas, based upon the three key variables that are present whenever any aggressive act or set of acts is committed. The first variable is the aggressor him/herself. The second is the social situation or circumstance in which the aggressive act(s) occur. The third variable is the target or victim of aggression.

Regarding theories and research on the aggressor, the fundamental focus is on the factors that lead an individual (or group) to commit aggressive acts. At the most basic level, some argue that aggressive urges and actions are the result of inborn, biological factors. Sigmund Freud (1930) proposed that all individuals are born with a death instinct that predisposes us to a variety of aggressive behaviors, including suicide (self directed aggression) and mental illness (possibly due to an unhealthy or unnatural suppression of aggressive urges). Other influential perspectives supporting a biological basis for aggression conclude that humans evolved with an abnormally low neural inhibition of aggressive impulses (in comparison to other species), and that humans possess a powerful instinct for property accumulation and territorialism. It is proposed that this instinct accounts for hostile behaviors ranging from minor street crime to world wars. Hormonal factors also appear to play a significant role in fostering aggressive tendencies. For example, the hormone testosterone has been shown to increase aggressive behaviors when injected into animals. Men and women convicted of violent crimes also possess significantly higher levels of testosterone than men and women convicted of non violent crimes. Numerous studies comparing different age groups, racial/ethnic groups, and cultures also indicate that men, overall, are more likely to engage in a variety of aggressive behaviors (e.g., sexual assault, aggravated assault, etc.) than women. One explanation for higher levels of aggression in men is based on the assumption that, on average, men have higher levels of testosterone than women.

                                                                                                                                                                                [CAT 2020 Slot 2]

Q.1 “[A]n enemy combatant may be subjected to torture in order to extract useful intelligence, though those inflicting the torture may have no real feelings of anger or animosity toward their subject.” Which one of the following best explicates the larger point being made by the author here?

 A. In certain kinds of aggression, inflicting pain is not the objective, and is no more than a utilitarian means to achieve another end.

 B. When an enemy combatant refuses to reveal information, the use of torture can sometimes involve real feelings of hostility.

 C. Information revealed by subjecting an enemy combatant to torture is not always reliable because of the animosity involved.

 D. The use of torture to extract information is most effective when the torturer is not emotionally involved in the torture.


1. Option A

A rather easy question. As the line indicates, torturing an enemy combatant for intelligence may be just a means to an end.

Q.2 All of the following statements can be seen as logically implied by the arguments of the passage EXCEPT:

 A. Freud’s theory of aggression proposes that aggression results from the suppression of aggressive urges.

 B. the Freudian theory of suicide as self-inflicted aggression implies that an aggressive act need not be sought to be avoided in order for it to be considered aggression.

 C. a common theory of aggression is that it is the result of an abnormally low neural regulation of testosterone.

 D. if the alleged aggressive act is not sought to be avoided, it cannot really be considered aggression.

2. Option C

The passage states that an abnormally low neural regulation of aggressive impulses (not testosterone) in humans accounts for hostile behaviours. Other statements are implied from the line “Sigmund Freud (1930) proposed that all individuals are born with a death instinct that predisposes us to a variety of aggressive behaviors, including suicide (self directed aggression)…”


3. Option C

Q.3 The author identifies three essential factors according to which theories of aggression are most commonly categorized. Which of the following options is closest to the factors identified by the author?

 A. Extreme – Moderate – Mild.

 B. Hostile – Instrumental – Hormonal.

 C. Aggressor – Circumstances of aggression – Victim.

 D. Psychologically – Sociologically – Medically.

3. Option C

The last few lines of the first paragraph have the answer: “The first variable is the aggressor him/herself. The second is the social situation or circumstance in which the aggressive act(s) occur. The third variable is the target or victim of aggression.”


Q.4 The author discusses all of the following arguments in the passage EXCEPT that:

 A. aggression in most societies is kept under control through moderating the death instinct identified by Freud.

 B. the nature of aggression can vary depending on several factors, including intent.

 C. men in general are believed to be more hormonally driven to exhibit violence than women.

 D. several studies indicate that aggression may have roots in the biological condition of humanity.

4. Option A

Only the idea in option A is not mentioned in the passage. From the first few lines of the passage we know option B is true and from the last few lines line, we know options C and D are true.

Preparation Phase for RC on Humanities:

For the understanding of the candidate, preparation has been divided into 3 levels:

Level 1:

  • The basic step towards understanding reading comprehension for CAT and solving them is through developing a reading habit. An avid reader always has a lesser difficulty of navigating through the whole passage without losing concentration. The candidate can read anything they like: Novel, newspaper, course books, movie reviews etc.
  • Start forming a summary of what you read and try understanding the idea behind what you have read. Try and analyse the mindset of the author and the inferences that he is aiming to make in the passage. Use MBAP CAT E-book (Concept theory) study material for practicing RCs on Humanities.
  • At least read three to four articles per week so that you are comfortable with reading complex and lengthy paragraphs as well. This exercise will also cause you to develop the ability to skim through the article and find relevant facts easily.

Level 2:

  • Once the reading habit is developed, start reading topics specific to the ones that could be asked in the CAT paper. Watch MBAP live lecture Recording (Basic). Candidates can also find some examples in MBAP Previous year CAT question paper.
  • Reading the editorials of the newspapers and business magazines can help the student to familiarize with the concepts on which the passages could be based.
  • Students should also keep time to check the reading speed. A score of 300 words per minute is good but understanding while reading is also of prime importance and should not be neglected.

Level 3:

  • Once the students cross above two levels, they are ready to solve the CAT question papers from the previous years along with other exam papers like XAT, IIFT etc.
  • Also, it is very important to solve a variety of questions from various topics. Some passages would be of moderate difficulty and others might be extremely difficult. Hence, the more a student practices, the more will be his chances of scoring high. They can find out tough reading comprehension passages for CAT in the verbal ability and reading comprehension practice section from MBAP CAT E-book (Practice Questions).
  • Try using the elimination strategy as explained above to solve the question effectively.

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