How to deal with ‘EXCEPT’ questions in Reading Comprehension for CAT

Friday, September 11th, 2020


EXCEPT questions in Reading Comprehension

During CAT prep while training for Reading Comprehension you will often come across many different types of questions. One such question type we shall classify as the EXCEPT question. In this question type the question stem might contain qualifiers like “EXCEPT,” “LEAST,” or “NOT” in them.

For example, let us say the question asks, “All of the following are true EXCEPT…”

If you are not careful and If you give them an answer that IS TRUE, it is wrong!

The question is really looking for what is NOT true.

Be careful to note these qualifiers or you may identify the “right” answer and then pick it instantly without realizing that you should be looking for the “incorrect” one!

So be extra careful with questions that contain EXCEPT and NOT.

So – how should we tackle this question type within the CAT?

Try out this 4-step plan for greater accuracy on this question-type!

1. PARAPHRASE THE QUESTION

Simplify these elaborate questions using simpler words. This will help you process what the paper setter expects of you and identify the right option

2. ASSIGN YOURSELF A TASK

Once you have understood the question, write down your task. Say, a question asks, “Which of the following does NOT match the tone of the passage?” your job might be to “eliminate choices that fit the tone.” This will give you a clear idea of how to attack the answer options.

3. ANTICIPATE, where POSSIBLE

Even though these questions are mostly open-ended, return to the passage and make a prediction if possible. Even for a question like, “All of the following is true about Romeo except:” you can still refer to the passage and find out the paragraph that provides information about Romeo.

4. PROCESS of ELIMINATION (POE)

Critically examine each option eliminate as per the information provided in the passage. DO NOT SETTLE ON AN ANSWER CHOICE UNTIL YOU HAVE CHECKED OUT ALL THE OPTIONS!

Let us look at some examples to see how we can put this strategy into action

SAMPLE QUESTION 1

Animals have demonstrated long ago that

they not only have as many talents as human

beings but that, under the influence of the same

environment, they form the same kinds of

combinations to defend themselves against

enemies, to shelter themselves against heat and

cold, to build homes, to lay up a supply of food

for the hard seasons. In fact, all through the

ages man has been imitating the animals in

burrowing through the earth, penetrating the

waters, and now, at last, flying through the air.

There are also numerous signs, sounds and

motions by which animals communicate with

each other, though to man these symbols of

language may not always be understandable.

Dogs give barks indicating surprise, pleasure

and all other emotions. Cows will bellow for

days when mourning for their dead.

 

Which of the following does the author NOT mention as an example of animal intelligence?

A. The construction of shelter against the environment.

B. The storing of food for the winter.

C. The communication of emotions.

D. The mimicking of the environment for protection.

 

Paraphrase : What example is NOT given by the author?

Task: Eliminate examples that ARE mentioned in the passage.

Anticipation : Let’s list the signs of intelligence given in the passage:

1. Defense against enemies

2. Protection from heat/cold

3. Constructing homes

4.Storing food supply

5. Communication (signs, sounds, motions)

Now, POE becomes easy! A, B, and C clearly match our predictions, so we can drop them.

The right option is D.

 

SAMPLE QUESTION 2

Gopal was put into a home that already had two other boys from foster care. The Guptas lived in a small wooden bungalow right on the edge of Malabar Hills. And Mrs. Gupta insisted that they tell any-body who asked that they actually lived in Malabar Hills, a more prestigious address than Deodhar Place. It was a home that was kept immaculate.

Q. The paragraph establishes all the following EXCEPT

1) Gopal had foster brothers

2) that the Guptas maintained a clean house

3) how Mrs. Gupta felt about the location of the house.

4) what Gopal remembered most about his years with the Guptas

 

Paraphrase : What information is NOT given by the author?

Task: Eliminate information that IS mentioned in the passage

Anticipation : Let’s list the information given in the passage:

1.Gopal was put into a home that already had two other boys from foster care

2.The Guptas lived in a small wooden bungalow right on the edge of MalabarHills

3.And Mrs. Gupta insisted that they tell any- body who asked that they actually lived in Malabar Hills, a more prestigious address than Deodhar Place

4. It was as a home that was kept immaculate.

Now, POE becomes easy!

1, 2, and 3 clearly match our predictions, so we can eliminate them.

The correct option is 4

 

SAMPLE: 3

Which of the following would the author of the passage be LEAST likely to recommend as a way to strengthen the synapses of a baby’s brain?

1.Reading to a baby

2. Playing peekaboo with a baby

3Teaching a baby with flashcards

4 Showing a baby how to distinguish red socks from blue blocks

Here we are trying to identify an activity not recommended by the author.

So quickly scan the passage for each of the activities mentioned in the passage.

So quickly scan the passage for Reading, peekaboo, flashcards, and socks

The option that is not mentioned in the passage will be the correct answer

Also – keep in mind that the activity should be mentioned in the context of a way to strengthen the synapses of a baby’s brain.

Hopefully, you should now be ready to tackle this type of questions in RC!

All the Best for CAT 2020!

This article was contributed by Tanvir Ahmed from Kolkata.

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