Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages

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Updated on
September 15, 2023

Reading Comprehension passages in all the MBA entrance exams-CAT, XAT, CMAT, NMAT, SNAP and others play very important role in getting high scores. The largest MBA entrance test of India –IIM CAT awards 70% sectional weightage to the questions based on 4-5 RC Passages. Besides, the RC Passage section in all the class-1 and class-2 officers’ grade competitive exams also consists of unseen passages or English Reading Comprehension questions based on RC Passages. To get expertise in it, one needs to attempt as many English Reading Comprehension passages of different difficulty level, with questions and answers so that a clear understanding is built up on how to approach the questions and answer them for different types of English RC Passages.


Arun Sharma, the well known CAT mentor and founder of CAT Coaching Institute Mindworkzz, has recommended to work on building your skills to be able to understand complex Reading Comprehension (RC) passages, complex articles on complex topics and must learn how to catch hold of the idea in RC passage even if it's slightly above the level. 

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Each RC passage is followed by at least 3-4 objective type questions with 4-5 answer options. There are 4-5 RC passages of Long or short sizes in the range of 400 to 800 words in every exam like IIM-CAT, XLRI-XAT, NMAT, Symbiosis-SNAP, among others. Overall weightage of RC section in the exam is 20 to 30 percent which is more than the weightage given to any other section. Due to their high weightage of 70% in the English Language (Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension) section, you need to focus on improving your RC based question solving skills. In this article below you can attempt and solve more than 10 Reading Comprehension passages based on CAT, XAT and MAT exam pattern and assess your skills in attempting RC passages.   


Common Admission Test (CAT): 70% Weightage to RC Passages in VARC Section
The questions based on Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages in CAT exam occupy 70% share in Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) Section and 24% share in overall CAT exam. As such a high score in the RC based questions can get you through the CAT 2023 exam with a high percentile.


Sample RC Passages for CAT
Below are the five English Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages with Questions & Answers for CAT exam:

  • Sample RC Passage-1 with Answers
  • Sample RC Passage-2 with Answers
  • Sample RC Passage-3 with Answers
  • Sample RC Passage-4 with Answers
  • Sample RC Passage-5 with Answers 
  • Sample RC Passage-6 with Answers 
  • Sample RC Passage-7 with Answers 

RC Passages in CAT: High Score is Must 

One of the key tips to crack CAT 2023 is how to crack English Reading comprehension questions in CAT? Since there are only English Reading Comprehension passages or RC passages with questions in CAT, many students who have not well practiced variety of English Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers find it difficult to infer the correct answers to RC based questions. These English Reading Comprehension Passages command 24% share in overall CAT exam and 70% share in VARC section. 

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CAT Toppers’ Tips to Solve RC Passages

Your mission to crack CAT 2023 should be to focus more on RC Passages in CAT. Past CAT toppers with 100 and 99 percentile share following tips to accomplish your Mission CAT 2023:

  • Read English Newspaper Editorials and Articles. It will help you get clarity on English Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers that you should give to the questions. 
  • Choose an English RC passage book like that of Arun Sharma that contains variety of English Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers and practice on variety of questions.
  • After going through the English Reading Comprehension passage with questions visualize the answers.
  • Make a summary of the English RC Passage with questions and answer them deploying your best efforts. Check your answers and match them with model answers. Please note that your RC Passage summary should be one third of the passage size
  • Check that all the key points are covered in the summary of RC passage
  • Frame on your own the English RC passage based questions and answer them
  • Improve your reading speed for English Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers also
  • Since 2017, IIMs have started releasing CAT exam papers with answer keys. Below are the RC passages from actual CAT test papers, you should read and answer questions on each of them as all the RC Passages of different difficulty level
  • Monitor your time to attempt the CAT RC passages. One RC passage followed by 5-6 questions should not take more than 15 minutes to answer 


Type of Questions on English RC Passages
Different MBA entrance exams or other competitive exams ask different type of questions on Reading Comprehension (RC). Besides, the size and number of questions based on RC passages in prominent exams like CAT, XAT, SNAP, IIFT, NMAT, CMAT, ATMA, MAT, IBSAT vary. The questions on RC passages may be of MCQ type or non-MCQ type; they may carry penalty of negative marking or no penalty of negative marking. 

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RC Passages in CAT
For example, the current structure of CAT exam has 5 English RC passages followed by two types of questions based on Reading Comprehension: 

Type of Questions
Total RC Based Questions
Marks for each correct answer
+ 3
+ 3
Negative Marks for wrong answer
 - 1

In contrast, there are other exams which prefer only short Reading Comprehension passages. While the RC passages are followed by most indirect questions in CAT, other exams place direct questions, the answers to which can be directly inferred from the contents of the passages.


Cracking the RC Passages require a bit of time to understand what are the skills needed to crack Reading Comprehension based questions and how can I improve my RC Reading skills.  In fact, the Reading Comprehension exercises in exams and tests depend upon the type of exam and difficulty level of it. For example, MBA Reading Comprehension Passages in CAT and XAT are considered bit more difficult than the MBA Reading Comprehension for NMAT, MAT or ATMA. 

What is the definition of Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages?
We have been comprehending the Reading right from the beginning. If we define the Reading Comprehension (RC) in simple words, it is an Unseen Passage which you should read to understand its meaning and then integrate it to what is already known.


5 basic skills required to answer questions and score high in RC passage are:

  • Good Vocabulary to know the meaning of words
  • Ability to know and understand meaning of a word relevant to the context in Reading Comprehension passage
  • Understand How the Reading Comprehension passage is organized and Identify antecedents and references in the RC Passage
  • Ability to draw inferences from the RC passage about its contents and understand and identify the Central Idea (Main Thought) of RC passage
  • Understand the Questions based on RC passage and recognize the directly or indirectly used answer in the RC Passage after identifying the Tone, situations mood, Purpose of the Reading Comprehension Passage

Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages with Q&A test not only your English Language skills but they also test your knowledge of vocabulary, accuracy and flow of thought in deriving the inferences, logical understanding of ideas and your skill of connecting the split ideas expressed in the Reading Comprehension passage while checking the Reading Comprehension Passages with Questions and Answers.     


Apart from Comprehension Passages for practice available in hard copy, free Reading Comprehension Practice Tests are available online. Comprehension Passages with solutions or Reading Comprehension exercises with Answers help you to understand how to approach the Comprehension Passages with Questions and Answers.


Since the size and difficulty level varies from easy to difficult depending upon the MBA entrance exam, Comprehension passages with solutions are a good source to understand how to improve Reading Comprehension skills. 

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Reading Comprehension in CAT, XAT, NMAT, SNAP & Other Exams
Reading Comprehension Exercises with answers to them could be inferred either direct from the RC passage or it could be indirect and difficult to be derived from the passage. To help you understand about the size, weightage and difficulty level of Reading comprehension questions in different exams, experts share below the facts on constitution of Reading Comprehension passages in important MBA entrance tests:

Entrance Exam
RC Passage Size (In words) & Difficulty Level
RC Questions Weigthage Sectional & Overall
800; Moderate to Difficult
Sectional: 70%
Overall: 24%
Reading Comprehension Passages in NMAT by GMAC
500; Moderate
Sectional: 25%
Overall: 7%
Reading Comprehension Passages in SNAP
500 to 1000; Moderate
Sectional: 20%
Reading Comprehension Passages in XAT
500; Moderate to Difficult
Sectional: 60%
Overall: 15%
Reading Comprehension Passages in IIFT
1000; Moderate to Difficult
Sectional: 100% (Separate Section)
Overall: 14%
Reading Comprehension Passages in CMAT
400; Moderate
Reading Comprehension Passages in ATMA
200-300; Easy to Moderate
Sectional: 28%
Overall: 10%
Reading Comprehension Passages in MAT
500; Easy
Sectional: 50%
Overall: 10%

All Exams Have Only English RC Passages
As regards the role of Reading Comprehension questions in all the exams, please note the following:

  • Please note that in every exam there are only English Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers to them have to be given in English only
  • None of the competitive exams give you a choice of RC passages in vernacular language
  • To prepare for RC passages, the best way is to solve as many as English Reading Comprehension passages with questions and answers to know the right approach to score high
  • All the English RC passage based exercises with answers can give you a fair idea how to attempt these unseen passages in CAT.
  • To guide you on different types of English Reading comprehension passages and question sets expected in different entrance exams, some of the Sample Reading Comprehension exercises with answers are shared below:

Sample RC Passages
Below are the English Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages followed by Questions & Answers


Sample RC Passage-1 with Answers

Directions for questions 1 to 5- Read the short passage below and answer the questions that follow:   

(You should check your answers after attempting the questions)   

A sanctuary may be defined as a place where Man is passive and the rest of  Nature active. Till quite recently Nature had her own sanctuaries, where man either did not go at all or only as a tool-using animal in comparatively small numbers. But now, in this machinery age, there is no place left where man cannot go with overwhelming forces at his command. He can strangle to death all the nobler wild life in the world to-day. To-morrow he certainly will have done so, unless he exercises due foresight and self-control in the mean time.


There is not the slightest doubt that birds and mammals are now being killed off much faster than they can breed. And it is always the largest and noblest forms of life that suffer most. The whales and elephants, lions and eagles, go. The rats and flies, and all mean parasites, remain. This is inevitable in certain cases. But it is wanton killing off that I am speaking of to-night. Civilized man begins by destroying the very forms of wild life he learns to appreciate most when

he becomes still more civilized. The obvious remedy is to begin conservation at an earlier stage, when it is easier and better in every way, by enforcing laws for close seasons, game preserves, the selective protection of certain species, and sanctuaries.


I have just defined a sanctuary as a place where man is passive and the rest of Nature active. But this general definition is too absolute for any special case. The mere fact that man has to protect a sanctuary does away with his purely passive attitude. Then, he can be beneficially active by destroying pests and parasites, like bot-flies or mosquitoes, and by finding antidotes for diseases like the epidemic which periodically kills off the rabbits and thus starves many of the carnivora to death. But, except in cases where experiment has proved his intervention to be beneficial, the less he upsets the balance of Nature the better, even when he tries to be an earthly Providence.


Q.1. The author implies that his first definition of a sanctuary is

 A. Totally wrong

 B. Somewhat idealistic

 C. unhelpful

 D. indefensible

 E. immutable


Your Answer Options:

  1. A   2.B   3.C   4.D   5.E


Q.2. The author’s argument that destroying bot-flies and mosquitoes would be a beneficial action is most weakened by all of the following except

 A. parasites have an important role to play in the regulation of populations

 B. the elimination of any species can have unpredictable effects on the balance of nature

 C. the pests themselves are part of the food chain

 D. these insects have been introduced to the area by human activities

 E. elimination of these insects would require the use of insecticides that kill a wide range of insects


Your Answer Options

1.B    2.C&D     3.A      4.D       5. E

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Q.3. It can be inferred that the passage is

A. part of an article in a scientific journal

B. extracted from the minutes of a nature club

C. part of a speech delivered to an educated audience

D. a speech delivered in a court of law

E. from a polemical article published in a magazine


Your Answer Options

  1. D&E   2.A   3.C   4. B    5.D


Q.4. What should be the most appropriate central idea of this passage

 A. Author argues that man kills big animals but saves mosquitoes & other parasites.

 B. Man is selfish by nature so he is up against the wild life which is harmful for his survival

 C. Ecological balance, if not maintained by man will be harmful in long run.

 D. Author proposes a programme for not disturbing the balance of nature as it is beneficial for mankind.

 E. In view of the author man should not intervene in natural environments.


Your Answer Options

1.A    2.D   3.C   4.E   5.B


Q.5 – Tone of the Author as expressed in the passage can be best described

A. Descriptive to analytical

B. Sarcastically humorous

C. Objective to narrative

D. Sarcastically critical to suggestive

E. Ironically sarcastic to negative


Your Answer Options

1. B&C   2.A     3.D    4.E    5.C


Check Your Answers

Ans for Q.1: 2. B. The author says in sentence two that his previous definition was “too absolute”. Yet he admits that the less man “upsets the balance of Nature” the better. Hence his definition is not entirely right (because it is too idealistic) but it is not entirely wrong either. It is now easy to eliminate answers A, C, D, and E because they are strongly negative.


Ans for Q.2: 4. D. In “except” questions find the true statements first. In this case find four statements that weaken the idea that destroying pests is beneficial. That means finding statements that show that it is not a good idea to destroy the pests. Answers A, B, C, and E give reasons why destroying these insects might be a mistake. D, however, is the right answer because it suggests that eliminating these insects might not be wrong, since they are not even natural inhabitants of the area.


Ans Q.3: 3.C. From the words “I am speaking of tonight” we can infer that the words were delivered orally, and not during the day time. The only possible answer is C.


Ans. Q.4: 3. C.  The author in his last paragraph warns the man against his attitude and suggests not to create disturbance in ecological system and should have foresight for his own benefit.


Ans Q.5: 3.D. Very first paragraph determines the tone which goes on to criticise the human activities against nature sarcastically yet issues a suggestive warning to exercise due foresight and self-control. Entire passage revolves around this tone and concludes with the suggestion not to disturb the ecological balance. 

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Sample RC Passage -2 with Answers

Direction for Questions 1 - 10: In the following passage there are blanks, each of which has been numbered. These numbers are printed below the passage and against each, five words are suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find out the appropriate word in each case.


(You should check your answers after attempting all questions)


Not a …(1)… passes without a controversy …(2)… over the national sports awards. The …(3)… that arises every year following the announcement of the Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dronacharya awards often …(4)… to accusations of bias, regionalism and …(5)… . Representations to the Sports Minister, interventions …(6)… Chief Ministers, Union Ministers and politicians have all …(7)… part of the game, though the rules stipulate that any form of “canvassing” could lead to disqualification of an …(8)… . In practice, no such disqualification takes …(69)… and aspiring candidates readily plead their cases with the Sports Minister even after the recommendations of the awards panel become public …(10).


1.    ---------- (1)?


         A)    distance

         B)    year

         C)    right

         D)    second


2.    ------------ (2) ?

         A)    harming

         B)    developing

         C)    surrounding

         D)    erupting


3.    ------------- (3) ?

         A)    debate

         B)    understanding

         C)    struggle

         D)    discussion


4.    ------------- (4) ?

         A)    permits

         B)    allows

         C)    leads

         D)    results


5.    ------------- (5) ?

         A)    honesty

         B)    complexity

         C)    encourage

         D)    manipulation


6.    ------------- (6) ?

         A)    for

         B)    by

         C)    from

         D)    with


7.    ------------- (7) ?

         A)    become

         B)    crossed

         C)    affected

         D)    lasted


8.    ------------- (8) ?

         A)    award

         B)    game

         C)    entry

         D)    theory


9.    ------------- (9) ?

         A)    part

         B)    toll

         C)    role

         D)    place


10.    ------------- (10) ?

        A)  Choice
        B)  Fury
        C)  Property
        D)  Knowledge



Check Your Answers to RC Questions    

Q No.

Sample RC Passage-3 with Answers

Directions for questions 1 to 6- Read the short passage below and answer the questions that follow:  


(You should check your answers after attempting all questions)


Marie was born in 1867 in Warsaw, Poland, where her father was a Professor of Physics. At an early age, she displayed a brilliant mind and a blithe personality. Her great exuberance for learning prompted her to continue with her studies after high school. She became disgruntled, however, when she learned that the university in Warsaw was closed to women. Determined to receive a higher education, she defiantly left Poland and in 1891 entered the Sorbonne, a French university, where she earned her master's degree and doctorate in physics.


Marie was fortunate to have studied at the Sorbonne with some of the greatest scientists of her day, one of whom was Pierre Curie. Marie and Pierre were married in 1895 and spent many productive years working together in the physics laboratory. A short time after they discovered radium, Pierre was killed by a horse-drawn wagon in 1906. Marie was stunned by this horrible misfortune and endured heartbreaking anguish. Despondently she recalled their close relationship and the joy that they had shared in scientific research. The fact that she had two young daughters to raise by herself greatly increased her distress.


Curie's feeling of desolation finally began to fade when she was asked to succeed her husband as a physics professor at the Sorbonne. She was the first woman to be given a professorship at the world-famous university. In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for isolating radium. Although Marie Curie eventually suffered a fatal illness from her long exposure to radium, she never became disillusioned about her work. Regardless of the consequences, she had dedicated herself to science and to revealing the mysteries of the physical world. 

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Q.1. Marie had a bright mind and a          personality.

(A) Strong     (B) lighthearted (C) Humorous       (D) Strange

Q.2. When she learned that she could not attend the university in Warsaw, she felt      .

(A) Hopeless  (B) Annoyed    (C) Depressed      (D) Worried

Q.3.  Marie         by leaving Poland and travelling to France to enter the Sorbonne.

(A)   Challenged authority  (B) Showed intelligence

(C)   Behaved                 (D) Was distressed

Q.4  _____she remembered their joy together.

(A)   Dejectedly       (B) Worried          (C) Tearfully          (D) Happily


Q.5  Her                   began to fade when she returned to the Sorbonne to succeed her husband.

(A) Misfortune       (B) Anger        (C) Wretchedness       (D) Disappointment

Q.6 Even though she became fatally ill from working with radium, Marie Curie was never    ___.

(A) Troubled          (B) Worried     (C) Disappointed        (D) Sorrowful



Sample RC Passage-4 with Answers

Directions for questions 1 to 4- Read the short passages below and answer the questions 


(You should check your answers after attempting all the questions)


Care should be taken when submitting manuscripts to book publishers. A suitable publisher should be chosen, by a study of his list of publications or an examination in the bookshops of the type of books in which he specializes. It is a waste of time and money to send the typescript of a novel to a publisher who publishes no fiction, or poetry to one who publishes no verse, though all too often this is done. A preliminary letter is appreciated by most publishers, and this should outline the nature and extent of the typescript and enquire whether the publisher would be prepared to read it (writers have been known to send out such letters of enquiry in duplicated form, an approach not calculated to stimulate a publisher’s interest). It is desirable to enclose the cost of return postage when submitting the typescript and finally it must be understood that although every reasonable care is taken of material in the Publishers’ possession, responsibility cannot be accepted for any loss or damage thereto.


Authors are strongly advised not to pay for the publication of their work. If a MS. Is worth publishing, a reputable publisher will undertake its publication at his own expense, except possibly for works of an academic nature. In this connection attention is called to the paragraphs on Self-publishing and vanity publishing, at the end of this section.


Q.1.  In view of the writer –

1.a)  The publisher will stick to his line of publication only.

2.b) The publisher who does not publish the other books, may not understand the ingredients and pattern of publication.

3.c) Publisher will not devote time to the Editing and reading the material which is not of its line of publication.

4.d) Any publisher, not publishing the stuff of other type will not be able to do justice with the manuscript.


Q.2.  As per the passage

1.a)  Introductory letter, as it helps in publication, must be invariably sent.

2.b) The letters must have the contents in detail, to make the publisher read the same while devoting sufficient time.

3.c) A well worded & concise letter must be sent with manuscript to enable the publisher to have a glimpse of the manuscript.

4.d) More than one copy of the Preliminary/introductory letter must be submitted.


Q.3.  According to the writer

1.a) Paying for the publication expenses will help in publication of the manuscript.

2.b) Although the publisher would pay for the return expenses, no publication expenses will be borne by the publisher.

3.c) Reputed publisher would publish the manuscript on its own expenses.

4.d) Good publishers sometimes defer the publication according to the demand.


Q.4. Give the suitable Central idea of the passage

1.a)  Manuscripts when sent for publication must have preliminary letter in more than one copy with cost of publication.

2.b) Manuscripts must be submitted to reputed publisher, who publishes the material of that kind with a brief letter and cost of return expenses.

3.c) The manuscripts before submission, must be personally discussed with the publishers, alongwith a letter and making it clear with him that only a part of publication expenses  will be borne by the writer.

4.d) While submitting the manuscripts for publication, all the details are to be made abundantly clear with the publisher in writing alongwith the share of expenses.  Any reputed publisher can be selected who may publish the manuscript.   




Sample RC Passage-5 with Answers

Directions for questions 1 to 3- Read the short passage below and answer the questions


(You should check your answers after attempting all the questions)


The first and most important rule of legitimate or popular government, that is to say, of government whose object is the good of the people, is therefore, as I have observed, to follow in everything the general will. But to follow this will it is necessary to know it, and above all to distinguish it from the particular will, beginning with one's self: this distinction is always very difficult to make, and only the most sublime virtue can afford sufficient illumination for it. As, in order to will, it is necessary to be free, a difficulty no less great than the former arises — that of preserving at once the public liberty and the authority of government. Look into the motives which have induced men, once united by their common needs in a general society, to unite themselves still more intimately by means of civil societies: you will find no other motive than that of assuring the property, life and liberty of each member by the protection of all. But can men be forced to defend the liberty of any one among them, without trespassing on that of others? And how can they provide for the public needs, without alienating the individual property of those who are forced to contribute to them? With whatever sophistry all this may be covered over, it is certain that if any constraint can be laid on my will, I am no longer free, and that I am no longer master of my own property, if anyone else can lay a hand on it. This difficulty, which would have seemed insurmountable, has been removed, like the first, by the most sublime of all human institutions, or rather by a divine inspiration, which teaches mankind to imitate here below the  unchangeable decrees of the Deity. By what inconceivable art has a means been found of making men free by making them subject; of using in the service of the State the properties, the persons and even the lives of all its members, without constraining and without  consulting them; of confining their will by their own admission; of  overcoming their refusal by that consent, and forcing them to punish themselves, when they act against their own will? How can it be that  all should obey, yet nobody take upon him to command, and that all  should serve, and yet have no masters, but be the more free, as, in apparent subjection, each loses no part of his liberty but what might be hurtful to that of another? These wonders are the work of law. It is to law alone that men owe justice and liberty. It is this salutary organ of the will of all which establishes, in civil right, the  natural equality between men. It is this celestial voice which dictates to each citizen the precepts of public reason, and teaches him to act according to the rules of his own judgment, and not to behave inconsistently with himself. It is with this voice alone that political rulers should speak when they command; for no sooner does  one man, setting aside the law, claim to subject another to his  private will, than he departs from the state of civil society, and confronts him face to face in the pure state of nature, in which obedience is prescribed solely by necessity.


Q.1 The paradox is resolved according to the author when an individual

A. submits to the rule of law and thus is at liberty to do anything that does not harm another person 

B. behaves according to the natural rights of man and not according to imposed rules 

C. agrees to follow the rule of law even when it is against his best interests 

D. belongs to a society which guarantees individual liberty at all times 

E. follows the will of the majority


Your Answer Options

1. A     2.B    3.C    4.D    5.E


Q.2. The Author’s attitude to Law in this passage is best conveyed as

A. respect for its inalienable authority 
B. extolling its importance as a human institution 
C. resignation to the need for its imposition on the majority 
D. acceptance of its restrictions 
E. praise for its divine origin

Your Answer Options

1.A   2.B   3.C    4.D   5.E 


Q.3. The author would agree with all of the following except

  1. government must maintain its authority without unduly compromising personal liberty 
  2. individual freedom is threatened in the absence of law 
  3.  justice cannot be ensured in the absence of law 
  4. political leaders should use the law as their guide to correct leadership
  5. the law recognizes that all men are capable of recognizing what is in the general interest

Your Answer Options

1.A     2.B     3.C      4.D     5.E



Ans Q.1: 1.A. All the paradoxes in this section of the extract are resolved in the sentence, “These wonders are the work of law.” But the law is such that “each loses no part of his liberty but what might be hurtful to that of another”, making A the best answer


 Ans Q.2: 2.B. The author uses words such as sublime, and celestial which indicate his tendency to glorify the institution of law, making praise or extolling possible choices. He clearly refers to the law as a human institution.


Ans Q.3: 5. E. In “except” questions, find the four true statements first. A, B, C and D are true. Answer E is not true (and therefore the correct answer) because the author clearly states in sentence two that it is difficult to recognize the general will and to distinguish it from the personal. He states that only the “most sublime virtue” can make this distinction, and hence the word ‘all’ in answer E is sufficient to identify the answer as wrong

Sample RC Passage-6 with Answers

Directions for questions 1 to 3- Read the short passage below and answer the questions 

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(You should check your answers after attempting all the questions)


A flash of sapphire, a flutter of wings, and the tiny bird – or was it an insect? – vanishes, the briefest mirage. Moments later it reappears, this time at a better angle. It’s a bird all right, a thumb-size dervish with hyperkinetic wings that can beat 80 times a second, producing the faintest hum. Tail feathers paddle, steering gently in three dimensions. As the bird stares into the trumpet of a bright orange flower, a thread-thin tongue flickers from its needle beak. A sunbeam glances off its iridescent feathers, the reflected colour as dazzling as a gemstone hung in a sunny window. Little wonder hummingbirds inspire heartfelt affection and stuttering efforts at description. Even reserved scientists can’t resist such words as ‘beautiful’, ‘stunning’ and ‘exotic’. 


A greater wonder is that the seemingly fragile hummingbird is one of the toughest beasts in the animal kingdom. Some 330 species thrive in diverse and often brutal environments: from Alaska to Argentina; from the Arizona desert to the coast of Nova Scotia; from the lowland forests of Brazil to the 4,600-metre-plus snow line of the Andes. Mysteriously, the birds are found only in North and South America.


‘They’re living at the edge of what’s possible for vertebrates, and they’re mastering it,’ says Karl Schuchmann, a German ornithologist, who knows of a captive hummer that lived 17 years. ‘Imagine the durability of an organism of only five or six grams to live that long,’ he says. Its cranberry-size heart, which averages 500 beats a minute (while perching!), would have thumped four and a half billion times, nearly twice the total for a 70-year-old person.


Yet these little birds are durable only in life. In death their delicate, hollow bones almost never fossilize. This was one reason for the astonishment that greeted the recent discovery of a jumble of 30-million-year-old fossil bird remains that may include an ancestral hummingbird. Like modern hummers, the fossil specimens had long, slender bills and shortened upper wing bones topped by a knob that may have let them rotate in the shoulder socket for hovering flight.


The other surprise was where the fossils were found: in southern Germany, far from modern hummingbird territory. To some scientists, the discovery shows that hummingbirds once existed outside the Americas, then went extinct. Or maybe the fossils weren’t true hummingbirds. Sceptics, including Schuchmann, argue that other groups of birds evolved hummingbird-like characteristics many times through the eons. True hummingbirds, says Schuchmann, evolved in Brazil’s eastern forests, where they competed with insects for flower nectar.


 ‘They’re a bridge between the insect and bird worlds,’ says Doug Altshuler, who studies hummingbird flight. He has examined hummingbirds’ flapping motion and observes that the electrical impulses that drive their wing muscles look more like those of insects than those of birds, which may explain why hummingbirds produce so much power per stroke – more, per unit mass, than any other vertebrate. Altshuler has also analysed their neural pathways, which function with the lightning speed of the most agile birds, such as their closest cousins the swifts. ‘They’re amazing little Frankensteins,’ Altshuler says.


They are certainly fearsome – gram for gram, perhaps the most confrontational players in nature. ‘I think the hummingbird vocabulary is a hundred percent swear words,’ says Sheri Williamson, a naturalist. Their aggression stems from fierce territorial instincts shaped by their need to sip nectar as often as every few minutes. Hummingbirds compete by challenging and bullying each other. Face-to-face in midair, they post up and pirouette, dive to the grass, and paddle backwards in dances of dominance that end as suddenly as they begin.


‘You can’t learn about hummingbirds and not get sucked in,’ Sheri Williamson says. ‘They’re seductive little creatures. I resisted them, but now I’ve got hummingbird blood pumping through my veins.’


Q 1.     All of the following statements about hummingbirds are true according to this passage, EXCEPT:

1] Hummingbirds are found only in the Americas.

2] Hummingbirds’ hearts weigh only five to six grams.

3] Hummingbirds need to feed almost constantly.

4] Hummingbirds can survive in a vast variety of environments.



Q 2. Why does Doug Altshuler call hummingbirds ‘a bridge between the insect and bird worlds’?

1] The way hummingbirds’ wing muscles are powered resembles those of insects, rather than those of birds.

2] Hummingbirds’ wingstrokes are much more powerful than those of other birds, and much more like those of insects.

3] The neural pathways of hummingbirds function as fast as those of only the fastest birds, and more like those of insects.

4] Hummingbirds share many characteristics with insects: their tiny size, the humming sound produced by their wings, and their diet of flower nectar.


Q 3.  “They’re amazing little Frankensteins” – Which of the following most likely prompted Altshuler to describe hummingbirds as ‘little Frankensteins”?

1] Enigmatic nature of their evolution which left hardly any fossil remains behind.

2] Their seductive nature which draws one in as soon as one starts studying about them.

3] Their monstrous energy levels in spite of their insignificant size.

4] Their fierce territorial instincts which makes them aggressive.


Answer Key

1 (2)



Sample RC Passage-7 with Answers

Directions for questions 1 to 6: The passage given below is followed by a set of questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.


 (You should check your answers after attempting all the questions)


 Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: ‘Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.’ Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveller in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun, and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. This traveller was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine, idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following, the leaders of the Y.M.C.A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.


But in all seriousness, I truly believe that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.


First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising.


From the beginning of civilization until the Industrial Revolution, a man could, as a rule, produce by hard work little more than was required for the subsistence of himself and his family. The small surplus above bare necessities was not left to those who produced it, but was appropriated by warriors and priests. Much that we take for granted about the desirability of work is derived from this system, and, being pre-industrial, is not adapted to the modern world. Modern technology has made it possible for leisure, within limits, to be not the prerogative of small privileged classes, but a right evenly distributed throughout the community. The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.


It is obvious that, in primitive communities, peasants, left to themselves, would not have parted with the slender surplus upon which the warriors and priests subsisted, but would have either produced less or consumed more. At first, sheer force compelled them to produce and part with the surplus. Gradually, however, it was found possible to induce many of them to accept an ethic according to which it was their duty to work hard, although part of their work went to support others in idleness. The conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of their masters rather than for their own. Of course, the holders of power conceal this fact from themselves by managing to believe that their interests are identical with the larger interests of humanity. Sometimes this is true; ancient Athenian slave-owners, for instance, employed part of their leisure in making a permanent contribution to civilization which would have been impossible under a just economic system. Leisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the few was only rendered possible by the labours of the many. But those labours were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is good. And with modern technology, it would be possible to distribute leisure justly without injury to civilization.


Q1.  Which of the following best describes the relation between work, leisure, and civilization?

1] Leisure is what makes work valuable and equitable distribution of leisure is vital to civilization.     

2] Leisure is important for civilization, but not as important as work, and the latter is what makes the former possible.

3] Leisure is vital to civilization, while work, as the product of an outdated social order, is irrelevant to modern civilization.

4] Though leisure is important for civilization, it is not possible for all members of society to enjoy it, as some must do productive work.


Q2.  Which of the following correctly states the gist of this passage?

1] Historically, leisure has been the privilege of only a few people. But this will soon change as modern technology changes contemporary civilization.

2] Historically, leisure has been the privilege of only a few people. But this is a relic of a pre-industrial society, and should have no place in modern civilization.

3] Historically, work has been unfairly emphasized over leisure. But this is a relic of a pre-industrial society, and should have no place in modern civilization.

4] Historically, work has been unfairly emphasized over leisure. But this will soon change as modern technology changes contemporary civilization.


Q3.  What is the point of the anecdote of the twelve beggars?

1] The laziest beggar was so lazy that he wasn’t even interested in making money.

2] Though the laziest beggar was not actually very lazy, he got the reward because he did not attempt to claim it.

3] The laziest beggar was so lazy that he did not even make an effort to prove that he was lazy.

4] The laziest beggar, unlike the others, did not care about material rewards, so he did not attempt to claim the lira.


Q4.  What is the relation of the first paragraph to the rest of the passage?

1] It provides a rather roundabout way of getting to the main point of the passage.

2] It provides a slightly tongue-in-cheek introduction to the serious topic of the passage.

3] It introduces the topic of the passage by using a proverb and anecdote that state the opposite.

4] It introduces in brief all the main points that the author goes on to discuss in the rest of the passage.


Q5.  The example of the ancient Athenian slave-owners in the last paragraph shows that ….

1] An unjust economic system deliberately cultivated by holders of power, sometimes affords them the leisure to make permanent contributions to civilization.

2] A just and equal society is not always a desirable thing, as the ancient Athenians, who had unjust practices like slavery, made permanent contributions to civilization.

3] Though the ancient Athenians had unjust practices like slavery, the slaves were treated so well that they even had leisure to make permanent contributions to civilization.

4] A just and equal society is not always a desirable thing, as the slaves of the ancient Athenians, in spite of the injustice meted out to them, made permanent contributions to civilization. 

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Q6.  The author is likely to disapprove of which of the following?

1] A rich politician who works long hours

2] A poor labourer who refuses to do any work

3] A philosopher who does not do any work

4] An artist who works only in intervals


Answer Key

1 (1)






Sample RC Passages for MAT

Below are the five English Reading Comprehension (RC) Passages with Questions & Answers for MAT exam:

Sample RC Passage-1 with Answers

Directions: Refer to the following passage and answer the questions

The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa has developed a real­-time reporting and Internet­-accessible coastal sea-­level monitoring system and it has been operational at Verem jetty in the Mandovi estuary in Goa since September 24, 2005. The gauge uses a cellular modem to put on the Internet real-­time  sea-­level data, which can be accessed by authorised  personnel. By using a cellular phone network, coastal sea-­level changes are continuously updated on to a web­-server. The sea-level gauge website can be made available to television channels to broadcast real-­time visualisation of the coastal sea level, particularly during oceanogenic hazards such as storm surges or a tsunami. A network of such gauges along the coast and the islands that lie on either side of the mainland would provide data to disaster management agencies to disseminate warnings to coastal communities and beach tourism centres.


The gauge incorporates a bottom pressure transducer as the sensing element. The sea unit of the gauge, which houses  the  pressure  transducer, is mounted  within a  cylindrical protective housing, which in turn is rigidly held within a mechanical structure. This structure is secured to a jetty. The gauge is powered by a battery, which is charged by solar panels. Battery, electronics, solar panels, and cellular modems are mounted on the top portion of this structure. The pressure sensor and the logger are continuously powered on, and their electrical current Consumption is 30 mA and 15 mA respectively. The cellular modem consumes  15 mA and 250 mA during standby and data transmission modes, respectively. The  pressure  sensor  located  below  the  low-­tide level measures  the  hydrostatic pressure  of  the  overlying water  layer. An indigenously designed and developed microprocessor  based  data logger interrogates  the pressure  transducer and acquires the pressure  data at the rate of two samples a second. The acquired pressure data is averaged over an interval of five minutes to remove high­-frequency wind­-waves that are superimposed on the lower frequency tidal cycle. This averaged  data  is  recorded  in a multimedia card. The measured water pressure  is converted to water level using sea water density and acceleration owing to the earth's gravity. The  water  level so estimated is  then referenced to chart datum (CD), which is  the  internationally accepted reference level below which the sea-­level will not, fall. The data received at the Internet server is presented in graphical format together with the predicted sea-­level and the residual. The  residual sea level (that is, the measured minus the predicted sea level) provides a clear indication of  sea-­level oscillation and a quantitative estimate of  the anomalous behavior, the driving force for which could be atmospheric forcing (storm) or physical (tsunami).


A network of  sea-­level gauges  along the Indian coastline and islands would also provide  useful information to mariners for safe navigation in shallow coastal waters and contribute to various engineering projects associated with coastal zone management, besides dredging operations, port operations and manwater treaties with greater transparency. Among the various  communication technologies used for real-­time transmission of sea­-level data are the wired telephone connections, VHF/UHF  transceivers, satellite transmit terminals and cellular connectivity. Wired telephone connections are  severely susceptible to loss of connectivity during natural disasters  such as  storm surges, primarily because of telephone line breakage. Communication via VHF/UHF transceivers is  limited by line­-of­ sight distance between transceivers and normally offer only point-­to-­point data  transfer. Satellite  communication via  platform transmit terminals (PTTs) has wide coverages and, therefore, allows data reception from offshore platforms. However, data transfer speeds are limited. Further many satellites (for example, GOES, INSAT)  permit data transfer only predefined time­-slots, thereby inhibiting continuous data access. Technologies of  data reporting via  satellites have undergone a sea change recently in terms of frequency of reportage, data size, recurring costs  and so forth. Broadband technology has been identified as one that can be used optimally for real-time reporting of data because of its inherent advantages such as a continuous two-­day connection that allows high­-speed data transfer and near real-­time data reporting. While satellite communication is  expensive, wireless communication infrastructure and the ubiquity of cellular phones have made  cellular communication affordable. Low initial and recurring costs are an important advantage of cellular communication. A simple and cost-­effective methodology for real-time reporting of data is the cellular­-based GPRS technology, with has been recently implemented at the NIO for real-time reporting of coastal sea level data.


1. According to the passage, which of the following statements is not true?

a) Network of gauges along the coast and the islands would help disaster management agencies to disseminate warnings.
b) Cellular­-based GPRS technology is not a simple and cost effective method for real-­time reporting of data.
c) Disadvantage of wired telephone connection is the loss of connectivity during disasters due to line breakages.
d) Data reporting via satellites has undergone changes in terms of frequency, data size, recurring cost, etc.


2. What is the outermost part of the sea unit of the gauge?

a) Pressure transducer
b) Mechanical structure
c) Cylindrical protective housing
d) Sensing element


3. What is the limitation of satellite communication via platform transmit terminals?

a) Coverage
b) Offshore platforms
c) Data transfer speed
d) None of these


4. Which one of the following relationships is correct as per the passage?

a) Predicted sea level is a product of measured sea level and residual sea level.
b) Predicted sea level is the sum of measured sea level and residual sea level.
c) Predicted sea level is the sum of predicted sea level and measured sea level.
d) Predicted sea level is obtained by dividing measured sea level and residual sea level.







Sample RC Passage-2 with Answers

Directions (Q. 2- 5): Refer to the following passage to answer these questions.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference, which commenced in Hong Kong on December 13, 2005 adopted a declaration on December 18, 2005 after six days of acrimonious negotiations between developed and developing countries. Although initially there was a show of unity among developing countries especially on the issue of agriculture, which was reflected in the formation of the G­-110, the final outcome of the Ministerial Declaration has been thoroughly anti-development. The Ministerial Declaration has not only failed to address substantially the concerns of  developing countries but has actually paved  the way for an eventual trade deal by the end of 2006, which is going to be severely detrimental to their interests. It is clear by now that the so-­called “Development Round” launched in Doha in 2001 has been manipulated by developed countries, especially the United States  and the members of  the European Union, to push for further trade liberalisation in developing countries while they continue to protect their economies through high subsidies and non­-tariff barriers. Far from redressing the asymmetries of the global trading system, the Doha round seems to be heading for  another catastrophe for the developing world. The EU stuck to its intransigent position on the deadline of 2013 for the elimination of export subsidies and developing countries gave up their  demand for an earlier end date despite the initial collective efforts of the G­-110. The gross inadequacy of  this so-­called “concession” can be understood from the fact that export subsidies comprise less than 2 per  cent of  the total farm subsidies in the developed world. There has been no concrete commitment on the reduction of domestic support other than export subsidies. The EU can continue to subsidise agriculture to the tune of 55 billion euros a year. The EU budget adopted recently ensures that nothing can be touched in the agriculture budget till at least 2013. The US budget reconciliation process and the final vote in the Congress are set to extend domestic support to agriculture and counter­-cyclical support to commodities up to around 2011. Even in the case of cotton, the agreement to eliminate subsidies by 2006 is restricted  to export subsidies only and does not include other forms of domestic support. The US refused to give duty­-free access to exports from Least-­Developed Countries (LDCs) for 99.9 per cent of product lines and the final agreement was on 97 per cent of them, which would enable the US and Japan to deny market access to LDCs in product lines such as rice and textiles. Much of the Aid for Trade for LDCs, which is  being showcased by developed  countries as a “development package”, is disguised in conditional loan packages that are contingent upon further opening up of their markets. India’s prime interest in agriculture was  to ensure  the  protection of its small and marginal farmers  from the onslaught of artificially low­-priced imports or threats thereof. The proposals for agricultural tariff cuts, which are already on the table, are quite ambitious and the G-20 has already committed itself to undertake cuts to the extent of two­-thirds of the level applicable to developed countries. Moreover, India has 100 per cent tariff lines bound in agriculture with the difference in the applied level and the bound level not very marked in many lines. In this context, the systemic problem face by India's small and marginal farmers practising subsistence agriculture will only get aggravated as a result of  the impending tariff cuts that have been agreed upon. The government claims that the right to designate a number of agricultural product lines as special products  based  upon the consideration of  food and livelihood security and to establish a  special safeguard mechanism based on import quantity and price triggers, which have been mentioned in the Ministerial Text, adequately addresses the concerns of Indian farmers. The claim is questionable since the nature as well as the extent of protection under the category of special products remains restricted and the special safeguard mechanism, admittedly, is a measure to deal with an emergency and is of “a temporary nature”. Therefore, seen in the  light of the insignificant reductions in domestic farm  subsidies by developed countries, tariff  reduction commitments by developing countries seem to be totally unjustifiable. Developing countries have also agreed  on the Swiss formula for tariff cuts under Non-­Agricultural Market Access (NAMA). Although the coefficients will be negotiated later, it is unlikely that developed countries will agree upon sufficiently large coefficients for the formula  that would ensure adequate policy space for developing countries in future to facilitate development of different sectors of their industries. The Ministerial Text’s ritual references to “less than full reciprocity” and “special and differential treatment” fails to conceal the fact that the flexibilities provided by the July framework regarding the nature of the tariff reduction formula, product coverage, the extent of binding and the depth of cuts have been done away with. Moreover, no concrete commitment has been obtained in the Ministerial Text for the removal of the Non­-Tariff barriers by developed countries, which is their principal mode of protection, despite developing countries making such major concessions on industrial tariff cuts. The fact of the matter is that developing countries have committed themselves to cuts in both agricultural and industrial tariffs, without getting anything substantial in return from developed  countries. And India has facilitated the adoption of this bad deal in the backdrop of  an acute crisis faced by Indian agriculture. Unfortunately, developing countries have lost the opportunity to rework fundamentally the iniquitous Agreement on Agriculture and protect the domestic policy space vis­-à­-vis industrial protection by developing countries, which could have been achieved by galvanising the unity of the G-­110.


2. What was/were the flexibility/flexibilitiesenvisaged by the July framework?

a) Depth of cuts
b) Product coverage
c) Tariff reduction formula
d) All of the above


3. Which one of the following statements is not correct as per the passage?

a) Aid which is given for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by the developed countries in the form of ‘developed package’ is conditioned upon further opening of their market.
b) Reduction in the domestic farm subsidies by the developed countries is insignificant and the commitment made by the developing countries for tariff reduction is unjustifiable.
c) India's main interest in agriculture is to protect its small and marginal farmers from the onslaught of artificially low­-priced imports or threats of such nature.
d) Developed countries have given commitment to the Ministerial Text on the removal of Non-Tariff barriers.


4. Which claim of the Indian Government is questionable?

a) Right to designate agriculture product lines as special products considering food and livelihood security.
b) India has facilitated the adoption of a beneficial deal for agriculture at WTO.
c) Formation of G­-110 proves unity among developing countries.
d) Developing countries can negotiate large coefficient on the Swiss formula for tariff cuts.


5. Why is it that the imbalances of the global trading system appear to be catastrophic?

a) EU has not moved away from its declared position
b) US refused to give duty free access to exports from LDCs
c) The collective efforts of G-­110 failed
d) All of the above




Sample RC Passage-3 with Answers 

Directions: Refer to the following passage and answer the questions.

It is easy to accept Freud as an applied scientist, and, indeed he is widely regarded as the twentieth century's  master  clinician. However, in viewing Marx  as  an applied social scientist, the stance  needed is that of a Machiavellian operationalism. The objective is neither to bury nor to praise him. The  assumption is  simply that he is better understood for being understood as an applied sociologist. This is in part the clear implication of Marx's Theses on Feurbach, which culminate in the resounding 11th thesis: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways; the point, however, is to change it”. This would seem to be the tacit creed of applied scientists every-where. Marx was no Faustian, concerned solely with understanding society, but a Promethean who sought to understand it well enough to influence and to change it. He was centrally concerned with the social problems of a lay  group, the proletariat, and there can be little doubt that his work is motivated by an effort to reduce, their suffering, as he saw it. His diagnosis was that their increasing misery and alienation engendered  endemic class struggle; his prognosis claimed that this would culminate in revolution; his therapeutic prescription was  class consciousness and active struggle. Here, as in assessing Durkheim or Freud, the issue is not whether this analysis is empirically correct or scientifically adequate. Furthermore, whether or not this formulation seems to eviscerate Marx's revolutionary core, as critics on the left may charge, or whether the formulation provides Marx with a new veneer of academic respectability, as critics on the right may allege, is entirely irrelevant from the present standpoint. Insofar as Marx's or  any other social scientist’s work conforms to a generalised model of applied social science, insofar as it is professionally oriented to the values and social problems of laymen in his society, he may be  treated as an applied social scientist. Despite Durkheim’s intellectualistic proclivities and rationalistic pathos, he was too much the product of European turbulence to turn his  back on the travail of  his culture. “Why strive for knowledge of  reality, if this knowledge cannot aid us in life”, he asked. “Social science”, he said, “can provide us with rules of action for the future”. Durkheim, like Marx, conceived of science as an agency of social action, and like him was professionally oriented to the values and problems of laymen in his society. Unless one sees that Durkheim was in some part an applied social scientist, it is impossible to understand why he concludes his monumental study of Suicide with a chapter on “Practical Consequences”, and why, in the  Division of Labour, he proposes a  specific remedy for anomie. Durkheim is today widely regarded as a model of theoretic and methodologic sophistication, and is thus usually seen only in his capacity as a pure social scientist. Surely this is an incomplete view of the man who regarded the practical effectiveness of a science as  its  principal justification. To be more fully understood, Durkheim also needs to be seen as  an applied  sociologist. His interest in religious beliefs and organisation, in crime and penology, in educational methods and organisation, in suicide and anomie, are not casually chosen problem areas. Nor did he select them only because they provided occasions for the development of his theoretical orientation. These areas were in his time, as they are today, problems of indigenous interest to applied sociologist in Western Society, precisely because of their practical significance.


1. Which of the following best describes the author's conception of an applied social scientist?

a) A professional who listens to people's problems
b) A student of society
c) A professional who seeks social action and change
d) A proponent of class struggle


2. According to the author, which of the following did Marx and Durkheim have in common?

a) A belief in the importance of class struggle
b) An interest in penology
c) A desire to create a system of social organization
d) Regard for the practical application of science


3. It may be inferred from the passage that the applied social scientist might be interested in all of  the following subjects except

a) The theory of mechanism
b) Rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents
c) How to make workers more efficient
d) Reduction of social tensions


4. Which of the following best summarises the author's main point?

a) Marx and Durkheim were similar in their ideas.
b) Philosophers, among others, who are regarded as theoreticians can also be regarded as  empiricists.

c) Freud, Marx and Durkheim were all social scientists.
d) Marx and Durkheim were applied social scientists because they were concerned with the solution of social problems.

1 (a)

2 (d)

3 (b)

4 (d)

Sample RC Passage-4 with Answers 

Directions : Refer to the following passage and answer the questions.

Unemployment is an important index of economic slack and lost output, but it is muchmore than that. For the unemployed person, it is often a damaging affront to human dignity and sometimes a  catastrophic blow to family life. Nor is this cost distributed in proportion to ability to bear it. It falls most heavily on the young, the semiskilled and unskilled, the black person, the older worker, and the underemployed peeson in a low income rural area who is denied the option of securing more  rewarding urban employment.


The concentrated incidence of unemployment among specific groups in the population means far greater costs  to society that can be measured simply in hours of involuntary idleness of dollars of  income lost. The extra costs include disruption of the careers of young people, increased juvenile  delinquency, and perpetuation of conditions which breed racial discrimination in employment and otherwise  deny equality of opportunity. There is another and more subtle cost. The  social and economic strains of prolonged underutilisation create strong pressures for cost­-increasing solutions. On the  side of labour, prolonged high unemployment leads to “share-­the­-work” pressures  for shorter  hours, intensifies resistance to technological change and to rationalisation of work rules, and, in general, increases incentives for restrictive and inefficient measures to protect existing jobs. On the side of  business, the weakness of markets leads to attempts to raise  prices to cover  high average overhead costs and to pressures  for protection against foreign and domestic competition. On the side of agriculture, higher prices are necessary to achieve income objectives when urban and industrial demand for  foods and fibers is depressed and lack of opportunities for jobs and higher incomes in industry keep people on the farm. In all these cases, the problems are real and the claims understandable. But the solutions suggested raise costs and promote inefficiency. By no means the  least of the advantages of  full utilisation will be a diminution of these pressures. They will be weaker, and they can be more firmly resisted in good conscience, when markets are generally strong and job opportunities are plentiful. The demand for labour is derived from the demand for the goods and services which labour participates in producing. Thus, unemployment will be reduced to 4 per cent of  the labour force only when the demand for the myriad of goods and services―automobiles, clothing, food, haircuts, electric generators, highways, and so on––is sufficiently great in total to require the productive efforts of 96 per cent of the civilian labour force. Although, many goods are initially produced as materials or components to meet demands related to the further production of other goods, all goods (and services) are ultimately destined to satisfy demands that can, for convenience, be classified into four categories; consumer demand, business demand for new plants  and machinery and for additions to inventories, net export demand of foreign buyers, and demand of  government units, federal, state and local. Thus gross national product (GNP), our  total output, is  the  sum  of four major components of expenditure; personnel consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment,net exports and government purchases of goods and services. The primary line of attack on the problem of unemployment must be  through measures which will expand one  or  more  of  these components of  demand. Once  a satisfactory level of employment has  been achieved in a  growing economy, economic stability requires  the maintenance of  a  continuing balance between growing productive capacity and growing demand. Action to expand demand is called  for not only when demand actually declines and recession appears but even when the rate of growth of demand falls short of the rate of growth of capacity.


1. According to the passage, unemployment is an index of

a) Over­utilisation of capacity
b) Diminished resources
c) Economic slack and lost output
d) The employment rate


2. Serious unemployment leads labour groups to demand

a) More jobs by having everyone work shorter hours
b) “No fire” policies
c) Higher wages to those employed
d) Cost­-cutting solutions


3. According to the passage, a typical business reaction to a recession is to press for

a) Higher unemployment in­-surance
b) Government action
c) Protection against imports
d) Restrictive business practices


4. The demand for labour is

a) A derived demand
b) About 4 per cent of the total work force
c) Declining
d) Dependent upon technology



1 (c)
2 (a)
3 (d)
4 (a)

Sample RC Passage-5 with Answers 

Directions : Refer to the following passage and answer the questions.


“Since wars begin in the minds of men,” So runs the historic UNESCO Preamble, “It is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” Wars erupt out when the minds of men are inflamed, when the human mind is blinded and wounded, succumbs to frustration and self-negation. War is the transference of this self-negation into the other-negation. The three Indo-Pak wars and the persisting will to terrorise have emanated from this savage instinct of other-negation that is the legacy of the partition carnage and its still-bleeding and unhealed wound. Truncated from its eastern wing in 1971, Pakistan ever since has suffered from a sense of total existential self-negation. Plus the scars left the two previously lost wars to India and Kargil fill the Army and the Pakistan psyche with a seething urge to revenge: that India has to be negated, destroyed – in a deep psychological sense, another Hiroshima in the subcontinent is imaginable and possible. Terrorism in Kashmir springs from such deep negating existential grounds. Like the former Soviet Union, Pakistan came into being as a result of a grand delusion and massive perversion of reality - the so called two-nation theory. Like the former Soviet Union, it stands in danger of crumbling unless it modifies its reality perception and comes to terms with its post-Bangladesh identity within the prevailing subcontinental equation. Failing this, Pakistan is bound to break up, nudging the region to a nuclear nightmare, including possible South Asian Hiroshimas. With ‘hot pursuits’ and ‘surgical operations’ freely making rounds among the policy elite and the public at large, the national atmosphere looks ominously charged. “On the brink,” headlines The week adding, “As men and machines are quickly positioned by India and Pakistan, the threat of war looms real”. To which Gen. Musharraf counters, “If any war is thrust on Pakistan, Pakistan’s armed forces and the 140 million people of Pakistan are fully prepared to face all consequences with all their might.” According to Indian Express, “Pakistan has deployed medium range ballistic missile batteries (MRBBs) along the line of Control (LOC) near Jammu and Poonch sectors in an action that will further escalate the tension between the two countries.” And India’s Defence Minister ups the ante, “We could take a (nuclear) strike, survive and then hit back, Pakistan would be finished.” (Hindustan Times, December 30, 2001) Mr. Fernandes’s formulation is certainly a tactical super shot, even a strategical super hit in as much as this is the very logic of India’s ‘No- first-strike’ doctrine. The Defence Minister obviously has no idea of the ethical, phenomenological implications of abandoning chunks of the Indian population to ransom for potential Hiroshimas and then ‘finishing’ the neighbouring country of 140 million in what could be nothing short of an Armageddon. Forget these horrendous scenarios. But does this not repudiate the grain of truth for which India’s civilisation stood for and vindicated across the untold millennia of its history? Yet, Mr. Fernandes, the pacifist and Gandhian, is no warmonger. As Defence Minister he had to react at a level with the Pakistanis, with their proclivity to drop the nuclear speak when ever that suited them, could have registered the message.


1. According to the passage, Pakistan is bound to disintegrate

I. and it will throw the subcontinent into a nuclear backlash.
II. if it refuses to accept its present identity.
III. if it does not stop fuelling terrorism in Kashmir.

a) II and III are correct
b) I, II and III are correct
c) I and II are correct
d) I and III are correct


2. It can be inferred from the passage that

a) Soviet Union crumbled as a result of the grand delusion of the two nation theory.
b) Soviet Union also came into being as a result of thetwo nation theory.
c) Soviet Union’s disintegration was due to her failure to accept the reality.
d) The ideological basis of creation of Soviet Union and Pakistan was the same.


3. According to the passage, the reason for terrorism in Kashmir is

a) Pakistan’s perception of two-nation theory.
b) Pakistan’s blind faith in terrorism.
c) Pakistan’s sense of self-negation.
d) Both (b) and (c)


4. According to the passage, all of the following about the defence minister are not true, except

a) He is not a Gandhian.
b) He is not logical.
c) He is a pacifist
d) He is not a warmonger.



1 (d)

2 (a)

3 (a)

4 (d)


How to approach Reading Comprehension (RC) Questions

Whether you are weak or strong in Reading Comprehension, there is one common thing required to approach the Reading comprehension questions sets and that is to plan and execute the RC preparation strategy. To get guidance on how to approach and crack Reading Comprehension questions, read How to Prepare for Reading Comprehension ;Which are the Best Books to Prepare for RC  

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