CAT 2020 – How to solve Para jumbles

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CAT 2020 – How to solve Para jumbles

Importance of Para jumbles and how to solve them – CAT 2020:

The Verbal section is a difficult nut to crack when it comes to CAT. A lot of students struggle to ace this section and are always looking out for ways or tricks that can help them maximize their marks. For this purpose, it is important to understand the various elements that are asked in CAT’s verbal section, and strategically prepare for each one of them. Out of these, para jumbles are a seasonal favorite for in CAT every year. So no doubt, it is very important, and knowing how to solve them correctly can easily get you 9-12 marks in your final exam. So let’s get on with this article about how to solve para jumbles in CAT.

 

Why are Para jumbles important?

Out of the total 34 questions in Verbal Ability, 3-5 questions are expected to be from para jumbles which sum up to 15% of the CAT verbal section. Para jumbles are also referred to as sentence rearrangement questions, where you are asked to rearrange 4-5 sentences in the most logical order possible. In the end, your answer should form a logically coherent paragraph.
Para jumbled can be asked either in the MCQ format or Non-MCQ format (TITA questions). Non-MCQ questions do not have negative marking to them, so definitely attempt them. However, it becomes difficult to form sentences in this style of question, as you cannot apply the elimination rule. We shall discuss that in detail below.

Often you will find your Verbal teacher telling you to focus a lot on para jumbles and you may wonder why. The reason is simple, it is easy to score and if you can solve para jumbles quickly, it means you pretty much have a good grasp over your grammar and English. There are no rules of formulae for it, but you will easily identify a pattern if you have enough practice in solving these questions. This is coaching institutions and past toppers always tell you to keep practicing para jumbled.

Also read: Why do students score less in CAT Verbal section

Type of Para jumbles usually asked in Exams:

A great start to know how to solve para jumbles in to know about the types of para jumbles usually asked in CAT> There are four types of Para Jumble that have been asked in the previous CAT exams. In each category, the Jumbled sentences are coded with an alphabet (usually A, B, C, and D)
  • The first category, also the toughest one among all the four types is where 4/5 sentences are given in random order and the candidates are supposed to unjumble all of them. The difficulty level increases, even more, when the question is TITA type, meaning you don’t even have options to identify the possible starts and ends of the given sentences.
  • The second category consists of the opening sentence + 4/5 sentences are given and the candidates have to rearrange the group of 4/5 sentences, having been given prior knowledge of the thought that starts off the flow of the discussion.
  • The third category consists of 4/5 sentences + the closing sentence is given and the candidates need to correctly sequence 4/5 sentences so that they flow in the last sentence.
  • The fourth category is the easiest among all the categories. In this category, the Opening sentence, + 4/5 Sentences + Closing Sentence are given. Candidates know where the story starts and where it ends. They only have to figure out the screenplay in the middle.

Strategies to solve Para jumbles- How to solve para jumbles the right way:

  1. Find the purpose of the sentences/paragraph:

The primary goal of para jumbled if to form a coherent paragraph that gives a message or at least makes sense. In order for this to happen, you need to find the purpose of these sentences. What is the author trying to achieve with these sentences? Is she explaining something? Is she being sarcastic? Is she spreading awareness? Try to get the feel of the purpose first, and this will eventually help you with the formation of the paragraph.

For example; If the author is trying to explain something, there will be a general introductory line, which will be followed by reasoning and inference. If the author is raising an issue or concern, you will notice that they start out by throwing light on the issue and grabs your attention, and then moves ahead by explaining the reason behind the issue.

This is why understanding the basic tone and purpose can be a good start to solving the para jumbles.

2. Identify the start and closing sentence:

This is by far the easiest and most important step in solving your para jumbles. For most questions, you will be able to identify the opening sentence because of its general nature. Some indicators of opening sentences could be words like ‘The’ , ‘A’, ‘An’, Nowadays’. However, if you are unable to do so, you can look at the options. Scan through the options and see which alphabets are repeated or mentioned. You can then go back read those and get a better idea of which out of these would fit the most. You can read about this is detail below in the smartest approach to solving para jumbles.

Similarly, sometimes the closing sentence is very easy to identify with words like ‘thus’, ‘hence’ ‘therefore’, ‘eventually’ ‘finally’. In many cases, they also end with a generalized tone. Try to identify if any of these exists and you will find it easier to solve the rest.

3. Look for transition or linking words:

This is linked to the first point, once you have identified the purpose or tone of the sentences, you will know which kind of linking words to look out for. Let’s say if the sentences will form an explanation style paragraph; in this case, you might find Linking words like ‘Firstly’, ‘secondly’, ‘likewise’. If it is contradictory in nature, you will find words like ‘on one hand’, ‘although’, ‘nevertheless’ etc. This will help you to identify the intermediate sentences, where a lot of students struggle. So try to identify such logically linking words and form a paragraph.

4. Identify mandatory pairs:

Based on the above three points, you should now be able to identify the mandatory pairs of sentences, which means sentences that compulsorily have to come together. A few easy ways in which you can identify these are:

  1. Try to see if a noun is being replaced by a pronoun in any two sentences, this means they are to be written one after the other
  2. Two statements that have the same subject usually form a pair
  3. If the sentences are time-based events, then keep a note of these sequences i.e. past-present-future
  4. Try to identify the adverbs like ‘still’, ‘however’, ‘also’, etc. They can help to identify the previously linked sentences.
  5. Identify conjunctions like ‘because’, ‘in order’, ‘unless’, ‘when’, ‘whenever’, ‘while’, etc. that are an obvious indication of linking two snetences.

 

5. Scanning through the options –Smartest Approach to Solve Para Jumbles!

Step 1-

This is the best approach if you ask me on how to solve Para Jumbles for CAT. Candidates have to develop high reading speed and scan all 4-5 sentences. This will help the candidate to get the central idea of the passage.

Step 2-

At this point, candidates need to decide whether this particular paragraph is one that he/she is comfortable with or not and if they want to attempt it.

Step 3-

If the candidate decides to go ahead, then scan the answer options. Check if they are of any help to solve the para jumble quickly.

For Example-
The options are:
a) BDAC b) BCAD c) CABD d) CBDA
When the candidate checks out the option he/she will immediately realize that the paragraph has to start either with B or C. Quick glance at B and C will tell which one looks like a better sentence and already the choices will be halved.
Similarly, with options like:
a) BDCA b) CDBA c) DCAB d) ACDB
Now it’s clear that it has to end with either B or A. So go through the sentences A and B and see if any one of them looks like a concluding sentence.
Some Pointers to look out for –
For example, if three out of the five options start with A and the other two with C/B/D there is a good probability that A is the starting sentence.
If, say, a link CB occurs in more than 2 options, then it is something worth paying attention to.

Stepwise broach approach to solving Para jumbles:

Now that you know the strategy to be followed, let’s revise the steps to be followed in general while attempting para jumbled.

  1. First, for through all the sentences, read them all at ones to get an idea of the purpose and tone of the paragraph to be formed.
  2. Search for the introductory sentence, and a closing sentence
  3. Go to the options, see what alphabets are mentioned in options as an opening or closing and identify based on that
  4. If options are not given, move ahead to identify the transition words based on the tone of the paragraph.
  5. Look out for mandatory sentences, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, etc.
  6. Make the coherent sentences and analyze with the help of options the most logical sequence of sentences.

These are the basic steps to be followed on how to solve para jumbles in CAT the right way.

Conclusion:

We have covered most of the important points and strategies required to solve para jumbles. Make use of these techniques, along with a combination of recognition of flow of sentences, grammatical logic, and simultaneous evaluation of choices for elimination, any student should get these questions right. Again, practice is the key so try to get as much practice in solving para jumbles as possible. I hope you liked this article on how to solve para jumbles and the strategies for it, helpful. All the best!

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