Tips to solve Para Jumbles

A Mind Bogglers Guide to Para Jumbles..

‘What a show off – huh!!!!’..Is that what comes to your mind??

My apologies for such a pompous start to a Question Type that has already caused so much pain to you while preparing for CAT,MAT,XAT,IIFT..and other MBA/IIM entrance examinations.

Worry not friends !!! Help is at hand and the Paragraph Jumble which is so jumbling your mind is actually a cake walk…let us see how….!!!

The myths associated with Para Jumbles :

1. This question cannot be solved without the help of options- Well the answer is NO!!. These questions can be very easily solved without options.

2. You have to give a lot of time to solve them- The answer is again NO!!. Each question needs a certain time to be solved and PJ’s are no different.

3. Para jumbles are the most difficult type of VA questions : Huh!!!…who said that??

4. You don’t need to be good in vocabulary to solve PJ :Hmmm, I beg to differ. You need to be good in vocabulary to solve any question type in English and PJ is no different.

So let us now see what it takes to be a good PJ solver :

1. You need to understand the idea behind the paragraph. If you can understand the idea/theme of the paragraph it is easy to put the sentences in order then.

2. You should look out for the starting or the concluding sentences in the question. Sometimes they are clearly visible and can help you immensely in identifying the correct sequence.

3. You need to know the relationships between different sentences to put them in the right sequence. The relationships are given in my book Verbal Ability and Reading comprehension for CAT. You can revise them from there. Some examples could be parallel and contrasting idea relations.

4. You should 1st fix the relationships of sentences, put them in order and then check the options.

5. Transition words and contrasting words also help in finding clean relationships between sentences of the jumbled paragraph.

6. Do not over depend on options, they only confuse you if you keep looking at them, use them as facilitators not as crutches.

7. The whole paragraph should have a coherent idea and flow when arranged in the correct order.

Let us look at this example from CAT to understand the above mentioned points further :

A. But in the industrial era destroying the enemy’s productive capacity means bombing the factories which are located in the cities.

B. So in the agrarian era, if you need to destroy the enemy’s productive capacity, what you want to do is bum his fields, or if you’re really vicious, salt them.

C. Now in the information era, destroying the enemy’s productive capacity means destroying the information infrastructure.

D. How do you do battle with your enemy?

E. The idea is to destroy the enemy’s productive capacity, and depending upon the economic foundation, that productive capacity is different in each case

F. With regard to defence, the purpose of the military is to defend the nation and be prepared to do battle with its enemy.


Solution : If you look at the CAT question above , you see clear links in transition being mentioned in the three eras in the statements B,A &C.; Thus BAC have to be together. Statement F talks about ‘battle with the enemy’ and statement D talks about ‘ how do you battle with your enemy’, which is answered by statement E. Thus the correct sequence is FDEBAC, which is option 1. Hence proved by the above example that the dependence on the options can be minimized if you are able to find the relation between the sentences, keeping the central idea in mind.

Hope this was helpful for you. Keep solving and don’t let your mind be boggled by these questions. Keep calm and solve correctly!!!!

Bogglingly yours ,

Meenakshi Upadhyay ?

(The author is an IIM Bangalore Alumnus, the author of a series of best selling books on CAT from Tata McGraw Hill as well as the Verbal Ability Trainer at Mindworkzz- the online CAT training venture of Arun Sharma.)

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