CAT Verbal ability and reading comprehension

Cat verbal section
Reading comprehension

Consider a Sample Question and its Options,
The question was based on a passage in Reading Comprehension (which obviously cannot be reproduced here due to space constraints, but we want you to just focus on reading the options well. Very often one sees that aspirants make an error in an answer simply because they have not understood what the question is asking and what the options are saying,
So read the options carefully and try to slot them into clear-cut compartments.

The question was:
What is the thematic highlight of the passage?

  • 1. In the absence of strong biological linkages, reciprocal roles provide the mechanism for coordinating human behaviour.
  • 2. In the absence of reciprocal roles, biological linkages provide the mechanism for coordinating human behaviour.
  • 3. Human behaviour is independent of biological linkages and reciprocal roles.
  • 4. Human behaviour depends on biological linkages and reciprocal roles.
  • 5. Reciprocal roles determine normative human behaviour society
  • If you were to observe the options carefully you would realise that all the options are talking about the interrelationship between three concepts viz:
  • A. Biological Linkages
  • B. Reciprocal Roles
  • C. Human Behaviour
  • With this understanding if you were to look at the options they can be rewritten as:
  • 1. In the absence of strong A, B provides the mechanism to coordinate C.
  • 2. In the absence of B, A provides the mechanism to coordinate C.
  • 3. C is independent of A and B.
  • 4. C depends on A and B
  • 5. B determines C.
  • Once you have this kind of clarity in your mind about what each of these options is saying all you need to do is to understand the purpose of what the author is saying in the passage. Now if you were read the following random extracts from the passage, what do you conclude is the author saying?
  • Statements from the First Paragraph
  • Human Biology does nothing to structure human society.
  • Giving birth is certainly not sufficient to be a mother but, as adoption and fostering show, it is not even necessary!
  • Statements from the Second Paragraph
  • The fine detail of what is expected of a mother or a father or a dutiful son differs from culture to culture, but everywhere behaviour is coordinated by the reciprocal nature of roles. Husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, waiters and customers, teachers and pupils, warlords and followers-each makes sense only in its relation to the other.
  • Statements from the Fourth Paragraph
  • The American sociologist Erving Goffman built an influential body of social analysis on elaborations of the metaphor of social life as drama. Perhaps his most telling point was that it is only through acting out a part that we express character.
  • Correct Option
  • It is clear that the author is indeed talking about a relationship between B (reciprocal roles) and (human behaviour). So, clearly 2 and 3 are rejected. Option 4 can be rejected on the basis of the fact that the author is saying the opposite of the dependence of C on A. In fact he is saying that does not depend on A. So we are in between options 1 and 5.In order to choose the correct option from these, you need to read the options clearly and take a call.
  • Option 1 is talking about the absence of strong biological linkages” in a society. Hence, all you need to do to eliminate this option is to ask yourself the question—”Can biological linkages ever be absent in a society?” Your mind would tell you clearly that this cannot happen. Hence, we are only left with option 1 which indeed is the key argument that the author is taking.