• Being MBAtious!

    Parajumble is a very frequent visitor in aptitude tests. You will be given a set of statements which when arranged in the correct order gives a meaningful and logically correct paragraph.

    We can solve a parajumble by eliminating options based on some conditions until we are able to uniquely identify our answer. Best way to start elimination is to find the relation between statements (like statement A should be preceded by statement E or statement D should be followed by statement C). Once we get the pair (like EA or DC), remove options that don’t satisfy the condition. Another useful elimination criteria is to check whether a statement qualify as the opening statement. An opening statement should be meaningful by itself and should not contain any ambiguous reference. Also it cannot begin with words like But, Also, Therefore, Similarly, Hence etc... as it expects a preceding statement. If elimination is not possible then we need to rely on the logical appropriateness to conclude the order of statements.

    It is more fun to learn with examples. I will try to solve the parajumbles from cat 2oo4 paper.

    Choose the most logical order of sentences from among the four given choices to construct a coherent paragraph

    A. The two neighbors never fought each other.

    B. Fights involving three male fiddler crabs have been recorded, but the status of the participants was unknown.

    C. They pushed or grappled only with the intruder.

    D. We recorded 17 cases in which a resident that was fighting an intruder was joined by an immediate neighbour, an ally.

    E. We therefore traced 268 intruder males until we saw them fighting a resident male. 

    (CAT 2004)

    (1) BEDAC (2) DEBAC (3) BDCAE   (4) BCEDA

    We need to eliminate some options. Best way to start with is to identify statement pairs. Read each statement independently and see whether it is complete by its own. If not then find out which statement can be used to make the statement in consideration a meaningful one (pairing). Option A and B are complete sentences.  But C is not complete by its own as we don’t know who ‘they’ is referring to. Try reading each statement as the preceding statement of C and check which combination makes more sense. We can see that A and C together brings more sense and logical continuation. So A should appear before C. Now we will go for elimination phase. If pair AC is not there in an option, that option can be eliminated. We can remove option 3 and 4. We have to choose between option 1 and 2. Opening statements are different for each option. An opening statement should be meaningful by its own as it cannot be preceded by any statement. Statement D cannot be the first statement because it needs a preceding statement to justify the usage of ‘therefore’.  Option B can be the opening statement as it is complete by its own. So Option 1 is the answer.

    A. He felt justified in bypassing Congress altogether on a variety of moves.

    B. At times he was fighting the entire Congress.

    C. Bush felt he had a mission to restore power to the presidency.

    D. Bush was not fighting just the democrats.

    E. Representative democracy is a messy business, and a CEO of the White House does not like a legislature of second guessers and time wasters.  (CAT 2004)

    (1) CAEDB (2) DBAEC (3) CEADB (4) ECDBA

    We will try to find the pairs by spotting the incomplete sentences. We can easily connect D and B together. Ouch! All options have DB in it… we cannot eliminate any option using that condition…  We will try with opening statements… All opening statements from the options (C, D and E) are valid as every one of them is a complete statement. We cannot eliminate any options using that condition too… At situation like this we can rely on checking logical continuation of the statements. We can pair BA as it gives logical continuity. B says what he did and A says how he felt about doing it. Solving using logical conclusion is risky business as it is more prone to mistakes. So to be safe we will try to get one more pair and then will check the occurrence of both pairs in the options. OK, now EC can be a pair as C says Bush felt he had a mission and E explains why he felt that way… so now we have BA and EC and both Option 2 and 4 has it. Still cannot get a unique option. Now we may have to see the logical continuity of the entire paragraph.

    The arrangement of information in the paragraph constructed in option 2 and 4 are as below
    Option 2: Bush did something  - > Bush felt justified doing so - > A situation - > Bush took it up as a mission.
    Option 4: A situation - > Bush took it up as a mission - > Bush did something - > Bush felt justified doing so.

    Option 4 sounds more logically constructed. Can you see that the question maker already knew the aspirant's thought process and he set the question to challenge each of the step…  no shortcuts or tricks worked … Do you see any other easy approach to solve this one…?  If so, please share your thoughts so that we can improve our understanding in this topic.

    A. In the west, Allied Forces had fought their way through southern Italy as far as Rome.

    B. In June 1944 Germany's military position in World War Two appeared hopeless.

    C. In Britain, the task of amassing the men and materials for the liberation of northern Europe had been completed.

    D. The Red Army was poised to drive the Nazis back through Poland.

    E. The situation on the eastern front was catastrophic.  (CAT 2004)

    (1) EDACB (2) BEDAC (3) BDECA (4) CEDAB

    Not just grammar, we need to pay attention to history lessons too… :)

    We will take a quick flash back to World War 2 to understand some terms used in the given statements.  During World War 2 countries were divided into two groups, Allied powers and Axis powers. Major members in allies were British common wealth, Soviet Union, U.S.A etc… Axis power consists of Germany, Japan, Italy etc…  Red army was the national army of the Soviet. Red army caused severe damage to German armed forces. Nazi is the common name for Germany during the period from 1933 to 1945. That’s it… back to parajumbles :)

    If we glance through the statements, Statement B gives an overall snapshot of the situation and hence more suited as an opening statement. Option 2 and 3 has B as its opening statement. Options A, C and D talks about the achievements of allied powers and hence it is better to keep them together (still not sure in which order). Only Option 2 has A, C and D kept together.

    The best way to improve our confidence and understanding on a topic is by explaining that topic to others. Do publish your Gyan notes. Gyan we share with others has more chance to stay with us for a longer time… We can still talk about our college seminar topic. right?  :)

    Happy Learning :)

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