Tips and Tricks to Solve Para-Jumble Questions for CAT 2017

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Para-Jumble Questions for CAT Exam

Most of us are lured to attempt Para jumble/sentence completion questions in CAT/Mock CAT. In these type of questions, we eventually, come to down to 2 confusing choices. And the sad story is, most of the time we select the wrong option.But, the irony is it’s hard to leave these type of questions as with added logic these questions can be very scoring and consume less time as compared to an RC. So let me try to spread some gyaan that might be able to help you out in these situations.

First ,try to find the purpose behind the para:

  1. When the purpose is to explain something – the author would start with a line that presents a general approach to the idea, and progresses from that to a narrower or more specific reference.
  2. When the purpose is to raise awareness – the author would first present information and detail that would then bring the issue or problem into focus.
  3. When the purpose is to raise anxiety or concern -the author would focus on the issue or problem in a manner that raises the reader’s concern, and would then present the features of the issue that are the reasons for the concern or anxiety.
  4. When the purpose is to present solutions – the author would first explain the issue or problem, and then move to the possible rectification or solutions.
  5. When the purpose is to surprise, or amaze, or cause wonder – the statement of surprise would be presented first and would be followed by the features of the idea or issue that would explain

why the surprise….and so on.

With this recognition, in the case of PJQs, identifying the opening sentence (sometimes the closing sentence, sometimes the clear link between 2 sentences) becomes possible.

Using these and a combination of recognition of thought flow, recognition of grammatical connectives used (pronouns, relative pronouns, demonstrative adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions) and simultaneous evaluation of choices for elimination,the student should be able to arrive at the correct formation of the paragraph.

The application of such recognition becomes important for paragraph completion questions too, whether one is trying to spot intermediate sentences, or last sentences. When identifying last sentences it is important to pick that line that effectively brings the thought-flow and the discussion, in the paragraph, to a close (and not a line which continues with the thought-flow but leaves the discussion incomplete).

The recognition of thought flow and context would also help them in summaries and in cloze passages.

Some words as indicators:

  1. Introduction – A, An, Nowadays, Beginning.
  2. Conclusion – Clearly, Thus, Therefore, Eventually, Finally.
  3. Comparison Indicators – Similarly, Likewise.
  4. Contrast Indicators – On the one hand, But, Yet, However, Nevertheless, Although.
  5. Additional Information Indicators – Also, Additionally.
  6. Sequence Indicators – Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, Lastly.
  7. Cause and Effect – Due to, as, since. 


To revise, a broad approach in solving Para-Jumble Questions would be:

  1. Read the sentences and try to understand the message of the paragraph.
  1. Identify the topic and theme. Eg. Topic – Inflation (general); Theme –Congress responsible for Inflation (Specific)
  1. Quickly identify the tone (emotional aspect of the paragraph) and style (manner of writing)
  1. Look for crucial clues or linking words, mandatory pairs, Introductory statement or Conclusion statement as discussed earlier.
  1. Take the help of the options to solve the question.


Guidelines for solving Para-jumbles:    

1. Forming a mandatory pair: Mandatory pair is a set of statements which seem to come one after the other. Whenever you sense a mandatory pair, just look at the choices. If only one choice has the pair, that might be the answer. But obviously if more than one choice has the same mandatory pair then we should adapt some other tactics as follow:

a.) Pronoun – antecedent method: The noun that precedes a pronoun is called antecedent to the pronoun. Let us take an example.

Sentence 1: Shahrukh khan is the best actor in India.

Sentence 2: He has amply demonstrated his versatility through the years.

Now, ‘Shahrukh khan’ is the antecedent to the pronoun ‘He’. You need to look for a male antecedent. If there is a ‘she’ then – female antecedent, they – plural antecedents and so on. The sentence with pronoun will come after the sentence containing the respective ‘noun’

b.) Linking words: Whenever two sentences come one after the other, there is usually a word which links them. If you can observe these links then you may be able to arrive at a mandatory pair easily.

c.) Chronological order: Many times it is easy to form a mandatory pair based on Chronological dates,words like “initially, then, later” etc. Most of the times these words appear at the start of the lines.

d.) Logical relationships like cause effect: Many times mandatory pair can be identified by logical flow of ideas/cause effect relationship. (Use your own examples/creativity to explain this)

2. Identifying an obvious opener or Topic sentence or introductory sentence or Lead sentence: Here we are defining an obvious opener as one which can be a good starting point for the jumble. An obvious opener could be one which seems like a relatively independent statement which introduces something. It would normally not start with the following words.

a.) Carry forward words: Words like “and, so, moreover” which carry forward a line of thought expressed in the earlier statement.

b.) Contrast words: Words like “but, however, nevertheless” which create a Contradiction with the earlier line of thought.

c.) Conclusive words: Words like finally, thus, eventually etc. which conclude. If a particular statement looks like a good starting point, then look at the choices to eliminate wrong options.

3. Obvious conclusion: If a particular statements looks like one which has to come at the end then that is called an obvious conclusion. It usually happens when one of the conclusive words comes in the sentence.

4. Logical flow: Even though 1 and 2 can provide good clues, many students are able to look at the logical flow of ideas and crack the Para-jumble. 1 and 2 are tools which can supplement logic.

5. Make use of options: In case you cannot identify the Topic or Introductory sentence for whatever reason (may be the text is difficult to comprehend or the Para-jumble is taken from the middle of the passage); look at the options. If you can see a pattern in the choices then you can sequence the statements based on the choices or see which of the choice sequence makes sense.

Above tips will suffice during CAT exam. An additional approach would be to determine the difficulty of the question. Sometime the exam setter will give a PJ question that would have been taken from an abstract topic. In this case, it would be hard to guess the opening sentence. Also, any connection between 2 sentences would be absent. These types of questions fall in Very hard category. Generally, the sensible action would be to leave and move on to next question.  You should attempt difficult questions only if you are sure to find the correct answer. Don’t waste too much time on it. Remember that CAT also tests your judgement on question selection.

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Tips and Tricks to Solve Para-Jumble Questions for CAT 2017

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3 responses to “Tips and Tricks to Solve Para-Jumble Questions for CAT 2017”

  1. JASMIN KAIR says:

    A good post to get a hang of the topic.

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