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Different Question Types in CAT Reading Comprehension Section

Reading comprehension is one of the most time-taking sections of the CAT exam. In CAT 2021, 16 RC-based questions were included in the VARC section. Every year, 16-17 RC-based questions are asked in the CAT VARC section. The reading comprehension questions require the candidates to have proper reading and comprehension skills to solve the related questions quickly and accurately. Please refer BYJU’S CAT College Predictor tool.

In this article,

There are different types of questions that one encounter while solving the CAT Reading Comprehension section. Details about the different types of RC questions are explained below to help the CAT aspirants get acquainted with the question variations and prepare more effectively.

Watch BYJU’S experts solve the questions mentioned above easily. Through the videos, you’ll be able to grasp the effective method to reach the solutions:

CAT Reading Comprehension Question Types:

Main Idea Based Questions

These questions ask the candidates to identify the main theme or idea of the passage. Some of the questions from this topic include the following:

  • What is the central idea of the passage?
  • What is the main purpose of the given passage?
  • The main point that the passage implies is _______.
  • Which of the options properly implies the gist of the passage?
  • The structure of the passage can be best described by ________.

In these types of questions, the candidates need to identify the subject of the passage correctly. Sometimes, it is easy to check the answer choices and identify the correct option. In the answer choices, be wary of the scope trap and ignore the choices which are too general or are less specific. Then choose the option which best describes the content and idea of the passage.

Title Based Questions

In title based questions in CAT RC, the candidates are required to identify the appropriate title from the answer choices. Given below are a few examples of title based questions.

  • Which of the following is the most suitable title for the passage?
  • The most apt title for the passage is ______.
  • The title of the passage can be perfectly represented by _______.

In the title based questions, candidates need to understand the context of the passage and identify the subject accurately. Often, answer options can be tricky and might include idioms to represent the subject. It is suggested to be careful with the answer options while attempting these questions.

Inference Based Questions

These are tricky questions and require the candidates to understand the passage carefully to answer them. In such questions, a logical conclusion has to be made and choose the option which perfectly fits that context and represents a particular fact aptly. Questions based on inference reasoning can be as follows:

  • What can be inferred from the sentence- “____”?
  • What does the sentence “____” imply?
  • It can be inferred from the passage that _____.
  • What does the author mean by the line “____”?

In inference questions, candidates need to identify inference sources and understand the context thoroughly. If a particular sentence is given, read the entire paragraph and check for particular clues. Answering these questions can be easy if the context and idea of the entire passage are properly understood.

Fact Based Questions

There are certain questions in the RC section that require the candidates to identify correct and incorrect facts from the passage. Some examples include the following:

  • According to the passage, what is “___”?
  • Which of the following sentences include incorrect facts?
  • According to the passage, which of the following statements is correct?
  • According to the author, what does the sentence “___” mean?

To solve these questions, it is important to read the entire passage properly and keep the key facts in mind. This way, one can easily relate a particular question to the passage and answer it easily. Sometimes, logical or inferential facts are also asked in this type.

Tone Based Questions

In such questions, the candidates are required to identify the tone of the author in the passage. In these questions, the sentiments of the author are given as options, and one needs to identify which one of the options best represents the sentiments. These questions are less frequent in the exam and can be tricky at times. Examples include the following:

  • The tone of the author is best described by ______.
  • What attitude of the author can be inferred from the following sentence?

In these questions, it is important to understand the nature first, i.e. whether the passage is positive, neutral or negative. After identifying the nature, co-relate that with the answer options and choose the one that best describes it. Avoiding the most extreme answer choices can also be a good idea.

Paragraph and Structure Based Questions

In the RC section, questions might also be asked related to a particular paragraph or structure of the passage. These questions test the candidates’ intuitive and logical sense. Some examples include the following:

  • The organisation of the passage can be best described as _____.
  • The second paragraph criticises ______.
  • The third paragraph describes _______.

To solve these questions, candidates are required to comprehend each passage properly and keep the key ideas in mind. It is suggested to pay attention to certain definite words like “ironically”, “although”, “but”, etc. These shape the idea of the passage and are extremely crucial to represent a particular passage.

Vocabulary Based Questions

These are the most repeated questions in the RC section. Almost every year, vocabulary questions are included in the test. These questions are mostly based on synonyms and antonyms. Some example questions include the following:

  • Which word means the same as “___”?
  • What does the word “___” mean?
  • The antonym of the word “___” is?

To solve these questions, one needs to have a strong vocabulary knowledge. Candidates are suggested to build their vocabulary to be able to tackle these types of questions. It is important to note that in these questions, contextual meaning is important, and questions should be answered accordingly.

Explore Different Types of Questions in the CAT RC Section

Let’s solve some of the RC’s Questions for practice. These passages appeared in CAT 2021 (Slot 3):

For Questions 1-4

Starting in 1957, [Noam Chomsky] proclaimed a new doctrine: Language, that most human of all attributes, was innate. The grammatical faculty was built into the infant brain, and your average 3-year-old was not a mere apprentice in the great enterprise of absorbing English from his or her parents, but a “linguistic genius.” Since this message was couched in terms of Chomskyan theoretical linguistics, in discourse so opaque that it was nearly incomprehensible even to some scholars, many people did not hear it. Now, in a brilliant, witty and altogether satisfying book, Mr. Chomsky’s colleague Steven Pinker . . . has brought Mr. Chomsky’s findings to everyman. In “The Language Instinct”, he has gathered persuasive data from such diverse fields as cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology and speech therapy to make his points, and when he disagrees with Mr. Chomsky, he tells you so. . . .

For Mr. Chomsky and Mr. Pinker, somewhere in the human brain, there is a complex set of neural circuits that have been programmed with “super-rules” (making up what Mr. Chomsky calls “universal grammar”), and that these rules are unconscious and instinctive. A half-century ago, this would have been pooh-poohed as a “black box” theory, since one could not actually pinpoint this grammatical faculty in a specific part of the brain or describe its functioning. But now things are different. Neurosurgeons [have now found that this] “black box” is situated in and around Broca’s area, on the left side of the forebrain. . . .

Unlike Mr. Chomsky, Mr. Pinker firmly places the wiring of the brain for language within the framework of Darwinian natural selection and evolution. He effectively disposes of all claims that intelligent nonhuman primates like chimps have any ability to learn and use language. It is not that chimps lack the vocal apparatus to speak; it is just that their brains are unable to produce or use grammar. On the other hand, the “language instinct,” when it first appeared among our most distant hominid ancestors, must have given them a selective reproductive advantage over their competitors (including the ancestral chimps). . . .

So according to Mr. Pinker, the roots of language must be in the genes, but there cannot be a “grammar gene” any more than there can be a gene for the heart or any other complex body structure. This proposition will undoubtedly raise the hackles of some behavioural psychologists and anthropologists, for it apparently contradicts the liberal idea that human behaviour may be changed for the better by improvements in culture and environment, and it might seem to invite the twin bugaboos of biological determinism and racism. Yet Mr. Pinker stresses one point that should allay such fears. Even though there are 4,000 to 6,000 languages today, they are all sufficiently alike to be considered one language by an extraterrestrial observer. In other words, most of the diversity of the world’s cultures, so beloved to anthropologists, is superficial and minor compared to the similarities. Racial differences are literally only “skin deep.” The fundamental unity of humanity is the theme of Mr. Chomsky’s universal grammar, and of this exciting book.

Q1. On the basis of the information in the passage, Pinker and Chomsky may disagree with each other on which one of the following points?

Ans. 1. The Darwinian explanatory paradigm for language.

  1. The language instinct.
  2. The possibility of a universal grammar.
  3. The inborn language acquisition skills of humans.

Q2. According to the passage, all of the following are true about the language instinct EXCEPT that:

Ans. 1. It confers an evolutionary reproductive advantage.

  1. All intelligent primates are gifted with it.
  2. Developments in neuroscience have increased its acceptance.
  3. Not all intelligent primates are gifted with it.

Q3. From the passage, it can be inferred that all of the following are true about Pinker’s book, “The Language Instinct”, EXCEPT that Pinker:

Ans. 1. Writes in a different style from Chomsky.

  1. Disagrees with Chomsky on certain grounds.
  2. Draws extensively from Chomsky’s propositions.
  3. Draws from behavioural psychology theories.

Q4. Which one of the following statements best summarises the author’s position about Pinker’s book?

Ans. 1. Culture and environment play a key role in shaping our acquisition of language.

  1. Anatomical developments like the voice box play a key role in determining language acquisition skills.
  2. The evolutionary and deterministic framework of Pinker’s book makes it racist.
  3. The universality of the “language instinct” counters claims that Pinker’s book is racist.

For Questions 5-8

Keeping time accurately comes with a price. The maximum accuracy of a clock is directly related to how much disorder, or entropy, it creates every time it ticks. Natalia Ares at the University of Oxford and her colleagues made this discovery using a tiny clock with an accuracy that can be controlled. The clock consists of a 50-nanometre-thick membrane of silicon nitride, vibrated by an electric current. Each time the membrane moved up and down once and then returned to its original position, the researchers counted a tick, and the regularity of the spacing between the ticks represented the accuracy of the clock. The researchers found that as they increased the clock’s accuracy, the heat produced in the system grew, increasing the entropy of its surroundings by jostling nearby particles . . . “If a clock is more accurate, you are paying for it somehow,” says Ares. In this case, you pay for it by pouring more ordered energy into the clock, which is then converted into entropy. “By measuring time, we are increasing the entropy of the universe,” says Ares. The more entropy there is in the universe, the closer it may be to its eventual demise. “Maybe we should stop measuring time,” says Ares. The scale of the additional entropy is so small, though, that there is no need to worry about its effects, she says.

The increase in entropy in timekeeping may be related to the “arrow of time”, says Marcus Huber at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, who was part of the research team. It has been suggested that the reason that time only flows forward, not in reverse, is that the total amount of entropy in the universe is constantly increasing, creating a disorder that cannot be put in order again.

The relationship that the researchers found is a limit on the accuracy of a clock, so it doesn’t mean that a clock that creates the most possible entropy would be maximally accurate – hence a large, inefficient grandfather clock isn’t more precise than an atomic clock. “It’s a bit like fuel use in a car. Just because I’m using more fuel doesn’t mean that I’m going faster or further,” says Huber.

When the researchers compared their results with theoretical models developed for clocks that rely on quantum effects, they were surprised to find that the relationship between accuracy and entropy seemed to be the same for both. . . . We can’t be sure yet that these results are actually universal, though, because there are many types of clocks for which the relationship between accuracy and entropy haven’t been tested. “It’s still unclear how this principle plays out in real devices such as atomic clocks, which push the ultimate quantum limits of accuracy,” says Mark Mitchison at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. Understanding this relationship could be helpful for designing clocks in the future, particularly those used in quantum computers and other devices where both accuracy and temperature are crucial, says Ares. This finding could also help us understand more generally how the quantum world and the classical world are similar and different in terms of thermodynamics and the passage of time.

Q5. “It’s a bit like fuel use in a car. Just because I’m using more fuel doesn’t mean that I’m going faster or further . . .” What is the purpose of this example?


  1. If you go faster in a car, you will tend to consume more fuel, but the converse is not necessarily true. In the same way, increased entropy does not necessarily mean greater accuracy of a clock.
  2. The further you go in a car, the more fuel you use. In the same way, the faster you go in a car, the less time you use.
  3. If you measure the speed of a car with a grandfather clock, the result will be different than if you measured it with an atomic clock.
  4. The further and faster you go in a car, the greater the amount of fuel you will use, the greater the amount of heat produced and, hence, the greater the entropy.

Q6. Which one of the following sets of words and phrases serves best as keywords of the passage?

Ans. 1. Electric current; Heat; Quantum effects.

  1. Silicon Nitride; Energy; Grandfather Clock.
  2. Measuring Time; Accuracy; Entropy.
  3. Membrane; Arrow of time; Entropy.

Q7. None of the following statements can be inferred from the passage EXCEPT that:


  1. The arrow of time has not yet been tested for atomic clocks.
  2. Quantum computers are likely to produce more heat and, hence, more entropy because of the emphasis on their clocks’ accuracy.
  3. Grandfather clocks are likely to produce less heat and, hence, less entropy because they are not as accurate.
  4. A clock with a 50-nanometre-thick membrane of silicon nitride has been made to vibrate, producing electric currents.

Q8. The author makes all of the following arguments in the passage, EXCEPT that:


  1. The relationship between accuracy and entropy may not apply to all clocks.
  2. Researchers found that the heat produced in a system is the price paid for increased accuracy of measurement.
  3. There is no difference in accuracy between an inefficient grandfather clock and an atomic clock.
  4. In designing clocks for quantum computers, both precision and heat have to be taken into account.

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