Para Jumble questions have been consistently coming in CAT and are usually non-MCQ type questions without any negative marking. Thus, you must attempt all these questions and you must try to get them right. These question usually have 2 variants. One is para jumble, where you have to identify the sequence of the given 4 or 5 sentences to form a coherent paragraph. The other one is odd one out where you have to select the sentence that is not the part of the paragraph that can be formed by arranging the rest of the sentences in order. There’s a very simple technique to approach these type of questions:
- Identify the opening sentence for the paragraph. The opening sentence will be the one which introduces the topic of the paragraph. Look for the words “A, An, Nowadays, Beginning” in a sentence.
- Identify the obvious concluding sentence of the paragraph if possible. Lookout for concluding words like “Clearly, Thus, Therefore, Eventually, Finally” in the sentence. The conclusion always comes at the end of the passage.
- Next step is to identify the mandatory pairs. Mandatory pair is a set of statements which seem to come one after the other. They comprise of linking words or they might have a cause-effect relationship. You can also identify the order by identifying the antecedent to the pronoun. A sentence containing a pronoun can be linked to a sentence having its original name. For example, ‘He’ or ‘She’ can refer to the person whose name is mentioned in the previous sentence.
- Look out for
1) Sequence Indicators like Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, Lastly
2) Contrast Indicators like On the one hand, But, Yet, However, Nevertheless, Although
3) Comparison Indicators like Similarly, Likewise, etc.
- Many times, it is easy to form a mandatory pair based on Chronological dates, words like “initially, then, later” etc.
- The sentence showing full forms will come first and the sentence providing their abbreviations will come later in the paragraph. For example W.H.O.-World Health Organization.
- An idea will always come first and then its examples. Suppose, there is a sentence providing an idea (either general or abstract) and there are two or more sentences that provide examples. Then, Idea will be first in the sequence and then we will place the examples.
- Once you have decided on the sequence, read the paragraph as per your answer and try to determine whether it’s grammatically correct and you can understand the logic flow.
Above all, it is important to remember that sometimes the para jumbles can come from an abstract topic with no clear connectives or mandatory pairs. Solving these para jumbles can take a lot of time and you still might not get them correct. Time management in CAT is paramount and one should never dedicate more than 3 minutes on any question whatsoever. So, even after dedicating a lot of time on a question, if you are unable to determine the logical sequence, it is better to move onto to the next question. If the question is of non-MCQ type and doesn’t have negative marking, you can make a logical guess and visit the question later if time permits.
In other MBA entrance exams like NMAT, SNAP, etc. you may encounter these question with options. It makes them easier as you can assess the correct sequence using the options.
Example : Options are DACB, BADC, DBCA, BDAC.
- It can be inferred from the above-mentioned options that the introductory sentence of the paragraph can start from either B or D. Read the sentences B & D and choose the most appropriate opening sentence. This will help you to eliminate the rest of the options.
- You can also try to spot the two or more ‘linked-meaning’ sentences and also see if the link exists in more than one option.
You can also watch this video to see how can we put all the above tips into practice. We have taken an interesting para jumble example which talks about the Game of Thrones TV series.
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