Tackling The Para Jumble Monster - Rahul Das, IIM Calcutta

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    Rahul Das is pursuing his MBA from IIM Calcutta and holds his BE in Electronics & Telecommunication from Jadavpur University. He aced CAT 2015 with a score of 99.94 percentile and scored 99.25 percentile in IIFT and converted IIM C, L, K, FMS, and IIFT. Rahul take interest in sports, theatre and dramatics.

    Para jumbles and sentence completion are topics which are widely viewed as two of the most difficult topics in the CAT, GMAT, IBPS, SSC, RRB and similar competitive examinations. And with para-jumbles being type-in questions instead of multiple choice, the situation gets even more complicated. So, this article is intended to impart a few tips and tricks to tackle the monsters known as of para-jumbles and sentence completion.

    Example 1: Arrange in proper order to form a coherent paragraph:

    A) Given the range of potential post-Brexit circumstances there is a broad range of estimates.

    B ) Others say freedom from the rules, as well as the costs, that come with EU membership would make Britain more prosperous.

    C) There have been a few attempts to quantify what an exit from the EU would do to the size of the UK economy, despite the obvious pitfalls of trying to put a figure on a hypothetical situation that has a number of variables – such as what sort of trade deals are negotiated post Brexit.

    D) Some argue the economy will suffer permanent losses on the back of weaker trade and investment.

    First of all, we must understand, Para-jumbles are all about relation of one sentence with another one. We just need to find out the relative positioning. Let’s take a look at sentence A- the way it says “Given the range….”, it is likely that some information will preceed it. Now look at B- it states what “others say”, but what does that represent? Obviously, the “estimates” that A talked about. So, we now know, that B comes after A(not necessarily immediately after A).

    So, we have


    Now, sentence C in this sequence is a no-brainer. It is evident that C has to be starting sentence.

    So, we have, C…A…B…

    D says, “some argue”. And just a moment back we saw sentence B say “others say”. So, they must be a mandatory pair, with B following D.

    So, the final sequence is CADB.

    (Article Courtesy: https://www.theguardian.com)

    Now, let’s look at another example:

    Example 2:

    A) Children need so much support to be able to recover from that, but the odds are against them.

    B ) “It’s heartbreaking,” says Wynn Flaten, director of World Vision’s Syria Crisis Regional Response, covering northern Syria, the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI), Jordan, and Lebanon.

    C) They need to get into schools.

    D) These children have come from one of the world’s most dangerous places.

    E) Children need safe shelter, but that is only the beginning.

    F) They need special protection.  (Courtesy: https://magazine.worldvision.org)

    So, this one might look challenging, with no less than 6 sentences to arrange. But let’s approach it in a systematic manner. See, the A can never be the starting sentence of a new paragraph. So, let’s keep it aside for the time being. See one thing, the mandatory pair concept that I emphasized upon. Here, you get a similar thing, but a mandatory trio . Look at sentences C,E,F, a closer look would make it clear that E initiates the topic of what the children need, with F&C taking it forward. So, EFC makes a sequence. Now, let’s find the relative position of the trio with respect to the other sentences. Again, D& A form a mandatory pair. D talks about the children coming from the world’s most dangerous places, and sentence A talks about their recovery from “that”, so DA is a pair. Finally , it is evident that B should start para as it states the topic. So, the correct order is BDAEFC.

    Okay, that was para jumbles for you, now let’s go through a simple sentence completion question, from past CAT paper(2008 ). Given is a paragraph with its last sentence deleted, you need to figure out which of the given options conclude the paragraph.

    Given the cultural and intellectual interconnections, the question of what is ‘Western’ and what is ‘Eastern’ (or’ Indian) is often hard to decide, and the issue can be discussed only in more dialectical terms. The diagnosis of a thought as ‘purely Western’ or ‘purely Indian’ can be very illusory.

    (1) Thoughts are not the kind of things that can be easily categorized.

    (2) Thought ‘occidentalism’ and ‘orientalism’ as dichotomous concepts have found many adherents.

    (3) ‘East is East and West is West’ has been a discredited notion for a long time now.

    (4) Compartmentalizing thoughts is often desirable.

    (5) The origin of a thought is not the kind of thing to which ‘purity’ happens easily.

    Let’s first understand what is the subject matter being conveyed. The author talks about the lack of distinction between what can be considered as “western” and “eastern”.

    Always remember, in such cases, elimination is a far surer test than selection. SO let’s go by options. Option A speaks about “thoughts”, which is totally irrelevant in the context. So, we can easily discard it. Now, option 2 states about a dichotomy, but that is exactly the opposite of what the author has said. Option 3 is somewhat in line with the given passage, but the problem is , it is just a paraphrasing what has already been said. Option 4 is hardly connected to the passage. Option 5 says that purity of thought doesn’t occur easily, i.e. there is always ambiguity between what can be construed as “Eastern” or “Western”. That is exactly the point being conveyed in the passage, and dovetails perfectly as a closing sentence. So, option 5 it is.

    Through these questions, I intended to give aspirants an idea on how to approach a para-jumble or sentence completion questions. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the myriad of information in the question, it’s always advisable to follow a “Divide and Rule” policy(remember the British?) , because that enables you to segment the information into parts and process accordingly. So, now go on, solve a few such questions, and see if such an approach makes a difference.

    Thank You!

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