How to Solve Inference Based Questions in Reading Comprehension for CAT?

Monday, June 26th, 2017


How to solve inference based questions in Reading Comprehension for CAT?


During discussion of a current affair issue with a friend, I found the below couple of excerpts that instigated to think what I understood from the complete issue and how it can be fit on logical ground from the selection itself are though similar but cannot be handled in the same way. It is applicable for all types of reading. And when logic comes into the picture then with it, it brings premise, conclusion, assumption and argument as a whole.

Example-1

“US and Pakistan continue to partner on a range of national security issues. President Donald Trump’s administration appears ready to toughen its approach towards Pakistan to crack down on militants launching attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan. Experts have said that Militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents to plot deadly strikes in Afghanistan and regroup after ground offensives. They have also said that Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan was also driven in part by fears that India would gain influence in Afghanistan. Nuclear-armed Pakistan won status as a major non-Nato ally in 2004 and it allowed benefits such as giving Pakistan faster access to surplus US military hardware. Snatching the title would be seen by Pakistan as a major blow and Pakistan will take that very seriously.”

Here,

Summary-Pakistan has a strong military tie up with US however due to its militancy attack on Afghanistan, US has restricted its working method.

Inference/deduction from the passage:

Premise- US and Pakistan are partnered for a series of national security issues

Conclusion- Pakistan’s reputation will be hampered by the virtue of which its access to US military hardware will be under question.

Assumption – Pakistan won’t get a first hand from US for all security related issues from US

Reading has no meaning when it can not be comprehended. To get this habit exact in place needs a lot of attentive and religious practice.

When we are reading a passage, we are understanding the passage, the main theme, the argument or the view point the author tries to put across and the hidden message underneath the sentences to give the reading fulfil its very purpose.

Let us differentiate between summary and inference questions with adequate examples.

Summary question talks about or presented as the central idea of the passage/ the author’s primary purpose/main idea of the passage. Here to give the answer for this we need to read the passage enthusiastically and make sure that we understood the passage thoroughly and the underlying subject that the author is trying to give. Figuring out the summary by yourself beforehand that is after completing the passage and before seeing the answer options gives the confidence and sets the impression right.

While reading the passage, we will come across demanding words/ terms that will create interruption to understand when it comes selecting answer choice. Such words can be handled through regular reading, its contextual usage and conscious practice.

Now let us move to the inference based questions. The dictionary meaning of inference is “ derivation or deduction from the given evidences”

Inference question is about “have we understood the passage logically well?

They come in the form:- which of the following can be deduced from the passage?

-What is author most likely to agree/ disagree?

-Which among the options are logically consistent with the idea of the passage?

Inferential questions and critical reasoning questions are quite identical in approach and concept wise where we need to see the argument underneath.

To be good in inferential based questions, one has to be good in critical reasoning. To be good in CR, one has to be good in basic logic.

We read the passage, understand it, make note of the key words (some, all, every, but, most etc.) which has a direct impact in understanding the logical angle, at the same time watch out of the extreme words used like only, never, best or any strong word for that matter. Inference question is something that we get hardly straight out of the passage rather it is based on the concept/logic the author puts forth in the passage and we take a decision based on that finding. The finest answer that we select is solely from the given contents of the passage and no biased opinion from prior knowledge.

First thing first, comprehend the passage, what the passage’s central point.

Here we will try to understand these through current affairs.

Example-2

Many titles bestowed on Donald Trump- from president to commander-in-chief- are hard for non-supporters to digest. But the honorific that most puzzles the world , perhaps, is that bestowed by American conservatives who praise the swaggering, thrice-married tycoon as a man of God.

Sceptics remember that candidate Trump stoking sectarian rage on the campaign trail. They remember a man who proposed a complete ban on Muslim arrivals and scorned Pope Francis as a Mexican “pawn” for questioning his immigration plans. Still now White House aides call President Trump a leader bent on uniting the great faiths, who will bring “a message of tolerance and of hope to billions” during stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Rome.

Sceptics have long suspected that conservative Christians and above all white evangelical Protestants, who are among his most loyal backers are embracing the president for a mix of reasons, including worldly politics and tribal loyalties. Opponents assume, that is why pious followers overlook such Trumpian sins as pride, wrath and bearing false witness. Some political scientists sound more like anthropologists than theologians when they dissect Mr Trump’s success with whites who call themselves evangelical Protestants and attend church regularly-fully 80% of whom told a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre that they approve of his job performance.

Still, it is a mistake to seek purely secular explanation for Mr Trump’s bond with religious conservatives. Mr Trump’s language is filled with echoes of a much-mocked but potent American religious movement with millions of followers, known by such labels as “positive thinking” or the “prosperity gospel”. He went beyond to give credit and ascribed both happy observations to “major help from God”.

Approach:

– Shall we summarise it and understand by ourself in our mind of the central idea

“Mr Trump’s bonding with religious Christians and his faith in divinity”

-Then see the baffling words-stoking, evangelical

From the sentence where stoking has been used, it looks like something strengthening.

And evangelical can be understood as “loyal and enthusiast to one religion” from its usage.

-And then the typically asked question in the exam “it can be inferred from the passage that..” / the argument that strengthens author’s

Here we will see each paragraph’s central conveying message and their linkage with each other to form the premise and conclusion respectively.

Para-1: Trump’s personal marital ground (polygamy)

Para-2: Even after his prohibition of Muslim countries and Pope Francis, his administration have a firm believe on him as a leader towards uniting faiths

Para-3: The true supporters of Trump are the conventional Christians

Para-4: Trump’s attribution of success to God

The link/ Inference: Trump is a vivid religious follower even though some of his actions demonstrate contradictory to it.

Example-3

“Manifestos play an important role though most voters have their pre conceived notions in their minds. In the course of Britain’s election, three parties Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative manifestos is of clear blue water.

Labour is proposing big spending increases, financed mainly by sharp rises in taxes on companies and the rich. The Tories are more frugal, though they are dumping income tax and their commitment not to raise national insurance contributions, they are also alone in not guaranteeing the “triple lock” for state pensions. The Lib Dems are in the middle: more spending than Tories, less than labour. Policy differences exist also over education, health, and social care as well as Britain’s exit from the Europe Union. Here Labour makes its priority the economy and jobs. The Tories’ emphasis is on controlling immigration and escaping the European Court of Justice. And the central plank of the Lib Dem manifesto is a second referendum on a Brexit deal, with continuing membership as a clear alternative.

Apart from the headlines, there are some common themes which emerged more strikingly. One is the absence of much mention of the budget deficit. Torsen Bell of the resolution Foundation, a think-tank, points out that in 2010 and 2015, this was the central issue, as the deficit has fallen, so has its political salience. Yet given the risks associated with Brexit and fears of a possible future recession or another market crash, a continuing large deficit and a public debt of 90% of GDP ought to be of greater concern than they are. Second is how little appetite there is for cutting taxes, rolling back regulation and lightening burdens on business. All three parties, instead, want to increase the state’s role in the economy.

Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto does not just propose a lot more spending, but also an extensive programme of renationalisation, including Royal Mail, the railways and the water companies. Labour also proposes new rights for workers and trade unions and measures to curb top salaries, including an “excessive pay levy” on companies that have very highly paid staff.

It is Theresa May’s manifesto that is more interesting, and not just because she was on course of victory on 8th June. For it reveals a Tory leader whose instincts are more interventionist than any predecessor. Mrs May not just promises to retain all EU rights for workers post Brexit, but to add to them. Her manifesto includes several digits at business, including demands for more transparency on executive pay and some form of worker representation on hoards.”

Summary: The three major parties Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative during Europe’s election had their distinct manifestos with some of them common amongst them. Theresa May, a tory leader, whose victory was expected on a higher note, was distinguished from the other two parties in terms of hard Brexit from Europe union.

Paragraph-1: Necessity of manifesto when it comes to election.

Baffling words: Manifesto, from the entire passage and its frequent usage makes it very clear that it stands for policy framework.

Paragraph-2: The manifestos of the three parties in terms of expense and policy have been segregated. Labour party being the highest and the Conservatives (tories) being the lowest

Paragraph-3: Economical lacks like budget deficits and public debt play equal role with that of political

Paragraph-4: Labour party’s policy in terms of various expenditure for socio-economic cause in a positive way

Paragraph-5: Theresa May’s differential approach not just only Brexit also keeping European rights.

The link/ Inference: Theresa May’s intelligent manifesto has occupied its own special place among the other

In all types of readings there are some parts which are derived on the context of the given passage. All it takes is to get the essence of the passage, the logic behind any assumption and finding the connection between them.

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How to Solve Inference Based Questions in Reading Comprehension for CAT?
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