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Free Online Preparation for CAT with Minglebox e-CAT Prep. Cover basic concepts of Reading Comprehension under Verbal Ability for MBA Entrance Exam Preparation with Study material, solved examples and tests prepared by CAT coaching experts.

 

Reading comprehension (RC) is one of the most regular sections in English section of CAT. Reading comprehension solving is an art as well as science. One is required to have good reading habits, ability to read anything and everything, decent level of vocabulary, ability to analyze data and the ability to reflect. Reading comprehension takes a lion's share of marks in English section. It normally accounts for 40-50% of the marks of the whole section.

 

How to solve reading comprehension

 

As mentioned earlier reading comprehension is science as well as arts. There are some basic things that you need to have and rest is ability to comprehend, analyze and reflect.

To start with one should select an RC on the topic on which one is most comfortable. This helps to understand the topic as one is familiar with the subject; moreover, it also helps to analyze the data given in the passage. Confidence while reading is also very important. When one starts the passage he/she should try to gauge what is the intention of the author or what the author is willing to communicate. Now we understand that prior knowledge gives an edge while reading passage but we have to constantly understand the subject matter of the passage. In other words, we have to follow the intention of the author without getting biased by our own knowledge. Neutrality towards the topic one is reading is very important. Your knowledge is as deep as one offered in the passage. One should see the passage from the eyes of examiner.

To make it simple, following are the main things one should focus while attempting a reading comprehension.

  • Understand the main idea of the passage.

  • Organize the ideas while one is going through the passage.

  • Tone of the passage.

  • Lookout for structural words.

 

By structural words we mean words that continue the idea e.g., similarly, moreover, additionally, in the same way etc. Conclusion words like therefore, thus, hence, so etc. Contrast words like nevertheless, however, but, even though etc.

Now, if one is reading something with which he is not familiar then also there is no problem. The passage is as deep as what is offered in the paragraph. Questions can only be from the passage itself. One should read carefully and try to gauge the intention of the author. Also important here is to understand that the knowledge of the RC grows from every paragraph and that is the tool for organizing the information. So, one should develop ideas with the paragraph.

One more point, many students are concerned about slow reading speed. I would like to assure them that an average reading speed of 250 wpm is more than enough. So the students should focus more on understanding the RC and to get most of the questions correct.

 

An Example

 

The painter is now free to paint anything he chooses. There are scarcely any forbidden subjects, and today everybody is prepared to admit that a painting of some fruit can be as important as a painting of a hero dying. The Impressionists did as much as anybody to win this previously unheard-of freedom for the artist. Yet, by the next generation, painters began to abandon the subject altogether, and began to paint abstract pictures. Today the majority of pictures painted are abstract.

Is there a connection between these two developments? Has art gone abstract because the artist is embarrassed by his freedom? Is it that, because he is free to paint anything, he doesn't know what to paint? Apologists for abstract art often talk of it as the art of maximum freedom. But could this be the freedom of the desert island? It would take too long to answer these questions properly. I believe there is a connection. Many things have encouraged the development of abstract art. Among them has been the artists' wish to avoid the difficulties of finding subjects when all subjects are equally possible.

I raise the matter now because I want to draw attention to the fact that the painter's choice of a subject is a far more complicated question than it would at first seem. A subject does not start with what is put in front of the easel or with something which the painter happens to remember. A subject starts with the painter deciding he would like to paint such-and-such because for some reason or other he finds it meaningful. A subject begins when the artist selects something for special mention. (What makes it special or meaningful may seem to the artist to be purely visual-its colours or its form.) When the subject has been selected, the function of the painting itself is to communicate and justify the significance of that selection.

It is often said today that subject matter is unimportant. But this is only a reaction against the excessively literary and moralistic interpretation of subject matter in the nineteenth century. In truth the subject is literally the beginning and end of a painting. The painting begins with a selection (1 will paint this and not everything else in the world); it is finished when that selection is justified (now you can see that entire 1 saw and felt in this and how it is more than merely itself).

Thus, for a painting to succeed it is essential that the painter and his public agree about what is significant. The subject may have a personal meaning for the painter or individual spectator; but there must also be the possibility of their agreement on its general meaning. It is at this point that the culture of the society and period in question precedes the artist and his art. Renaissance art would have meant nothing to the Aztecs-and vice verse. If, to some extent, a few intellectuals can appreciate them both today it is because their culture is an historical one: its inspiration is history and therefore it can include within itself, in principle if not in every particular, all known developments to date.

When a culture is secure and certain of its values, it presents its artists with subjects. The general agreement about what is significant is so well established that the significance of a particular subject accrues and becomes traditional. This is true, for instance, of reeds and water in China, of the nude body in Renaissance, of the animal in Africa. Furthermore, in such cultures the artist is unlikely to be a free agent: he will be employed for the sake of particular Subjects, and the problem, as we have just described it, will not occur to him.

When a culture is in a state of disintegration or transition the freedom of the artist increases-but the question of subject matter becomes problematic for him: he, himself, has to choose for society. This was at the basis of all the increasing crises in European art during the nineteenth century. It is too often forgotten how many of the art scandals of that time were provoked by the choice of subject (Gericault, Courbet, Daumier, Degas, Lautrec, Van Gogh, etc.). By the end of the nineteenth century there were, roughly speaking, two ways in which the painter could meet this challenge of deciding what to paint and so choosing for society. Either he identified himself with the people and so allowed their lives to dictate his subjects to him; or he had to find his subjects within himself as painter. By people I mean everybody except the bourgeoisie. Many painters did of course work for the bourgeoisie according to their copy-book of approved subjects, but all of them, filling the Salon and the Royal Academy year after year, are now forgotten, buried under the hypocrisy of those they served so sincerely.

 

Question

 

 In the sentence, "I believe there is a connection" (second paragraph), what two developments is the author referring to?

1. Painters using a dying hero and using a fruit as a subject of painting.

2. Growing success of painters and an increase in abstract forms.

3. Artists gaining freedom to choose subjects and abandoning subjects altogether.

4. Rise of Impressionists and an increase in abstract forms.

Solution

 

The answer is (3). The answer can be inferred from the 1st paragraph. The 1st line says "the painter is now free to paint anything he chooses and then the 3rd line says  "yet, by the next generation, painters began to abandon the subject altogether and began to paint abstract pictures."

 

Question

 

When a culture is insecure, the painter chooses his subject on the basis of:

1. The prevalent style in the society of his time.

2. Its meaningfulness to the painter.

3. What is put in front of the easel.

4. Past experience and memory of the painter.

Solution

 

The answer is (2). The answer can be inferred from the 7th paragraph  "when a culture is in a state of disintegration or transition the freedom of the artist increases.he, himself, has to choose for society."

 

Question

 

Which of the following views is taken by the author?

1. The more insecure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.

2. The more secure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.

3. The more secure a culture, more difficult the choice of subject.

4. The more insecure a culture, the less significant the choice of the subject.

Solution

 

The answer is (1). The answer can be inferred from the 7th paragraph, 1 st line  "when a culture is in a state of disintegration or transition the freedom of artist increases."

 

Question

 

Which of the following is NOT necessarily among the attributes needed for a painter to succeed:

1. The painter and his public agree on what is significant.

2. The painting is able to communicate and justify the significance of its subject selection.

3. The subject has a personal meaning for the painter.

4. The painting of subjects is inspired by historical developments.

Solution

 

The answer is (4). All except option 4 are attributes needed for a painter to succeed as mentioned in the passage. Option 1 is mentioned in the 5 th paragraph 1st line  "painter and his public agree about what is significant", option 2 can be inferred from the 3rd paragraph, last line â "the function of the painting significance of that selection" and option 3 is mentioned in the 3rd paragraph 3rd line "a subject starts without which he finds it meaningful."

 

Question

 

In the context of the passage, which of the following statements would NOT be true?

1. Painters decided subjects based on what they remembered from their own lives.

2. Painters of reeds and water in China faced no serious problem of choosing a subject.

3. The choice of subject was a source of scandals in nineteenth century European art.

4. Agreement on the general meaning of a painting is influenced by culture and historical context.

Solution

 

The answer is (1). All except option 1 is true. Option 2 can be inferred from 6th paragraph  "when a culture is secure and certain.reeds and water in China", option 3 is mentioned in the 7th paragraph 3rd line  "it is too often forgotten..choice of subject," and option 4 can be inferred from 5 th paragraph.

 

 

 

 

Refresher Test - Reading Comprehension Launch Test Discuss

Pratice Test - Reading Comprehension Launch Test Discuss

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