Tips To Crack VA-RC In CAT 2019 – Parajumbles

In my previous post on cracking Reading Comprehension of VA-RC section, I had mentioned that all three sections of CAT check your application of logic.
From VA-RC to QA, every single question requires you to carefully deliberate on what is being asked in the question and what approach it requires.

In this article, we will focus on how you can attempt questions on Parajumbles.

A brief background of what Parajumbles are:
Parajumbles are an opportunity for you to get a very high score in the VA-RC section of CAT. This is simply because these are Non-MCQ questions and carry no negative marks (unless the CAT gods decide to change the scoring system and ruin our lives). So a wrong attempt won’t exactly ruin your dreams of a 99+.
These are basically re-arranged sentences taken out of a paragraph which, in turn, has been taken out from the middle of passages on reputed e-magazines. All you need to do is make a coherent guess of how the article must have originally been before it was fragmented into a confusing question.

So how can you approach these questions?

Prepare yourself:
These are tips to help you identify the context of a jumbled paragraph.

  • Read good quality articles: You can read some great articles in the Atlantic Magazine and if you have around Rs. 1500 to spare for a subscription, The Economist. Articles on these will give you a good perspective of the kind of paragraphs that can come in the exam.
  • Read articles from the middle: Before you go through the entire article, just focus on the 3rd or the 4th paragraph and start reading from there. Are you able to get some context? Are you able to (even partially) understand the subject of the paragraph? If no, train yourself.
    P.S. – The Hindu editorials can also help you get some great knowledge and also practice Parajumbles.

Attempt the questions: 
An important tip here is: Always look for context. 

  • Go through the question once. It will usually be a combination of 4-5 jumbled sentences. Try and identify if the arrangement in its current form makes sense to you. Not quite? Move on to the next step.
  • Identify the introductory sentence. This is easy to identify generally. But if it isn’t, just ask yourself: “If I had to start writing an essay, which of these sentences would I use as an introductory and eye-catching sentence?” You’ll have your answer.
  • Identify 2-3 sentences which go along with each other. Look for repeated keywords (usually the main subject(s)) in sentences and see if they can be combined in some way. For example:
  1. The 2 nation leaders have met at various events, with Obama visiting India in March 2016.
  2. Over the years, President Barack Obama has maintained cordial relations with PM Modi.
  3. On his visit in March, he was received by PM Modi at IGI Airport, New Delhi.
  4. Obama discussed foreign policies with Modi, before departing to Australia to meet PM Turnbull.
  5. The PM greeted President Obama with a hug and a traditional welcome.

Now here, the introductory statement is one from which no context can be drawn, but it is a sufficient base for you to make sense of the rest of the paragraph.
Statement (2) does this.
Now, the key words here seem to be PM Modi and Obama, and have been repeated quite often. So how do they connect?
Statements (1), (5), (3) and (4) seem connected. You now have to re-arrange them to make it coherent.
So let us approach this logically.
One of these sentences gives some background on Obama’s visit to India. The other two sentences talk about when he actually did visit India and what happened. Sentences (1) (5) and (3) explain this. Sentence (4) completely skips any context and seems to be conclusive in nature. So that must be the last statement.

So we can conclude that the arrangement would be:

This is the only logical sequence that can be formed.

Additional Tips:

The above tips can also be used to identify the odd sentence in a paragraph.
Remember: Always look for context.

Practice Parajumbles through Mock Tests. The example I gave was of an easy level, while TIME, CL and IMS are quite ruthless when it comes to testing you.
Assess your performance and understand if there is a quicker way to approach these questions.

In Mock Tests, attempt these questions in the very beginning and then move on to RC.
Try not to spend more than 20 minutes on these type of questions.

These are my tips, and this approach works for me. If you have any other approaches that you would like to share, please let me know in the comments below!

Chirag Shukla

Aspirant. Writer.