CAT Questions | Para Jumbles

Para jumbles are jumbled sentences that are to be rearranged to form a meaningful paragraph. There can be 4-5 sentences that you need to read, understand the logic, and finally form a paragraph to get marks. Depending on the management exam, options may or may not be available i.e. such questions can be of MCQ or non-MCQ types. With good reading speed and correct approach, one can solve the questions and can achieve 100% accuracy.

Importance

No matter which exam you are appearing for, whether it is CAT, XAT, IIFT, SNAP, NMAT, or other MBA entrance exams, you find para jumble questions in the verbal ability and reading comprehension (VARC) section. For example, In verbal ability in CAT, there is a total of 10 questions. Out of these, 4-5 questions are of para jumbles, 2-3 odd one out, and 4-2 summary type questions. 

Odd one out questions can also be perceived as para jumbles’ type. In those questions, as in the case of the CAT exam, 5 sentences are given. Out of these 5, 4 sentences form a coherent paragraph and you need to choose the fifth, unrelated sentence which is the odd one out.

There is another variety to para jumbles. In some of the exams, you are given a total of 6 sentences. The first and the last sentences are fixed i.e. you are given the start and end of the paragraph. Now you just need to arrange the remaining 4 sentences to complete the sequence.

In the CAT exam, the para jumble and odd one out questions come as TITA (Type in the answer) questions. Hence it becomes a little bit more tricky whereas options are given in other exams so you can look at the options to arrange the jumbled sentences.

The below table gives more details about the number of such questions in different exams.

Exam

Year

No. of Para jumble 
questions

No. of the odd one out 
questions

Level of Difficulty

CAT

2019

4

3

Moderate

CAT

2018

4

3

Easy – Moderate

CAT

2017

4

3

Moderate

XAT

2020

2

0

Easy – Moderate

XAT

2019

2

0

Moderate – Difficult

XAT

2018

2

0

Moderate

IIFT

2019

3

0

Easy – Moderate

IIFT

2018

2

0

Easy

IIFT

2017

0

0

List of concepts

Active reading habits and retaining ability of what you have read are the key factors in performing well in the VARC section of any exam. Apart from these two, there are some other elements/ concepts that can help you to perform better in the para jumble questions.

  • Skimming/ scanning: Read the sentences to get a general idea of the overall passage i.e. what is it about, which can be the first statement, or at which sentence, the paragraph should end. If options are given, use them to identify the same
  • Mandatory pairs: While reading, try to connect at least two sentences such that one sentence surely follows the other. This can be done by identifying a particular keyword that appears in both the statements or there is a cause-effect relation between the statements. If options are given, you can choose the option which has the mandatory pair or eliminate those which don’t have the mandatory pair. There can be more than one mandatory pair in the given jumbled sentences
  • Chronology: Check if there are words like initially, then, later, or any date/ year given. This will help a lot to crack the logic
  • Nouns/ Pronouns: Look for noun and pronoun usage in the sentences. Nouns are used to introduce the place, person, or topic so the sentence with a noun in it will appear first in the sequence. This also helps in forming a mandatory pair
  • Elimination Method: This can’t be used in CAT as options are not given. But in other exams, keep eliminating options based on the above techniques
 

Some Questions from Previous Papers

CAT 2019 Slot 1

Q. The four sentences (labeled 1, 2, 3, 4) given below, when properly sequenced would yield a coherent paragraph. Decide on the proper sequence of the order of the sentences and key in the sequence of the four numbers as your answer. 

1. If you’ve seen a little line of text on websites that says something like “customers who bought this also enjoyed that” you have experienced this collaborative filtering firsthand. 

2. The problem with these algorithms is that they don’t take into account a host of nuances and circumstances that might interfere with their accuracy. 

3. If you just bought a gardening book for your cousin, you might get a flurry of links to books about gardening, recommended just for you! – the algorithm has no way of knowing you hate gardening and only bought the book as a gift. 

4. Collaborative filtering is a mathematical algorithm by which correlations and co-occurrences of behaviors are tracked and then used to make recommendations.

It is clear that the paragraph is about “Collaborative filtering.” 

Sentence 4 defines collaborative filtering and is our introductory sentence. 

Sentence 1 follows by giving an example of collaborative filtering that occurs on websites. 

Sentence 2 highlights a flaw in the process of collaborative filtering and sentence 3 gives an example of this type of flaw. Sentence 2 mentions how collaborative filtering algorithms do not take into account the nuances that might interfere with their accuracy while sentence 3 follows this with a suitable example, which is, If you just bought a gardening book for your cousin, you might get a flurry of links to books about gardening, recommended just for you! – the algorithm has no way of knowing you hate gardening and only bought the book as a gift. 

Hence, the correct sequence is 4123.

 

CAT 2019 Slot 2

Q. Five sentences related to a topic are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a meaningful and coherent short paragraph. Identify the odd one out. Choose its number as your answer and key it in. 

1. Ocean plastic is problematic for a number of reasons, but primarily because marine animals eat it. 

2. The largest numerical proportion of ocean plastic falls in small size fractions. 

3. Aside from clogging up the digestive tracts of marine life, plastic also tends to adsorb pollutants from the water column. 

4. Plastic in the oceans is arguably one of the most important and pervasive environmental problems today. 

5. Eating plastic has a number of negative consequences such as the retention of plastic particles in the gut for longer periods than normal food particles. 

Sentence 1 is about the problems of ocean plastic – marine animals eat it. 

Sentence 2 is about the largest numerical proportion of ocean plastic. 

Sentence 3 mentions another negative impact of ocean plastic on marine life. 

Sentence 4 mentions that plastic in the oceans is a pervasive environmental problem.

Sentence 5 mentions another negative effect of eating plastic – retention of plastic particles in the gut for longer periods than normal food particles. 

Sentences 1, 3, 4, and 5 are about the negative impact of plastic in the oceans – particularly on marine life while sentence 2 is about the largest numerical proportion of ocean plastic which falls in small size fractions. Therefore, sentence 2 is the odd sentence out of the paragraph. 

 

Hence, the correct answer is option 2.

 

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CAT 2018 Slot 1

Q. The four sentences (labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4) given in this question, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Decide on the proper order for the sentences and key in this sequence of four numbers as your answer. 

1. The woodland’s canopy receives most of the sunlight that falls on the trees.

2. Swifts do not confine themselves to woodlands but hunt wherever there are insects in the air. 

3. With their streamlined bodies, swifts are agile flyers, ideally adapted to twisting and turning through the air as they chase flying insects – the creatures that form their staple diet. 

4. Hundreds of thousands of insects fly in the sunshine up above the canopy, some falling prey to swifts and swallows. 

This is a difficult question as there very little to choose from two sequences 1423 and 1432. Both the sequences are plausible, though 1 and 4 will come before 2 and 3. ‘the canopy’ in statement 4 refers to the woodland’s canopy in statement 1. Thus 1 and 4 form a pair. The hunting process of the swifts is described in statement 3, and this hunting is not just confined to woodlands is what statement 2 says. Thus 3 and 2 form a pair. The right sequence is 1432.

CAT 2018 Slot 2

Q. The four sentences (labeled 1,2,3,4) given in this question, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labeled with a number. Decide on the proper sequence of order of the sentences and key in this sequence of four numbers as your answer:

1. They would rather do virtuous side projects assiduously as long as these would not compel them into doing their day jobs more honorably or reduce the profit margins. 

2. They would fund a million of the buzzwordy programs rather than fundamentally question the rules of their game or alter their behavior to reduce the harm of the existing distorted, inefficient, and unfair rules. 

3. Like the dieter who would rather do anything to lose weight than eating less, the business elite would save the world through social-impact-investing and philanthrocapitalism. 

4. Doing the right thing — and moving away from their win-win mentality — would involve real sacrifice; instead, it’s easier to focus on their pet projects and initiatives.

Statements 1 and 2 have the pronoun ‘they’, which is likely to refer to a noun. That noun is ‘business elite’ in statement 3. Thus statement 3 would come before statements 1 and 2. Statement 3 opens the paragraph by comparing a dieter with the business elite. The idea of social-impact-investing and philanthrocapitalism in statement 3 connects with ‘they would fund a million of the buzzwordy programs…’ in statement 2. Thus 32 form a pair. 4 and 1 form a pair because in statement 4 ‘doing the right thing would demand real sacrifice’ and ‘they would rather do virtuous side project assiduously’. The ideas connect. Thus 3241 form a coherent paragraph.

How to deal with that topic preparation

Level 1

  • Let’s start with the basics. Read every day. It helps you in enhancing your reading speed. But remember, it’s active reading
  • Write down short summaries after reading every article. It helps you in increasing your retaining power

Level 2

  • Practicing the para jumble questions for which options are given. Begin with solved examples and understand how to eliminate the options
  • 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
  • You can also refer to the book, “How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT” by Arun Sharma and Meenakshi Upadhyay

Level 3

  • Practice TITA type questions
  • Start timing yourself as these competitive exams are time-based
  • Slightly move to level 3 questions of the MBAP practice sets
  • Solve previous year questions
  • Keep practicing