In my previous article on RCs I discussed about How an RC Question is created. Getting an inisder’s perspective helps you understand what are the things that you should look at while solving an RC question in your CAT mocks.

Every time I see the question- ‘what is the main purpose of the passage?’ follow an RC passage, I’ve felt that there should be an option ‘to confuse the reader’! To ease out some of the confusion, and make your life easier here are 4 cardinal rules you must follow at all times.

Rule 1 : Never be a Lazy Bum

TThe most criminal thing you can do with an RC passage is to be lazy while reading it. For anything to work, you MUST understand the passage to the best of your ability. If that means reading the passage slowly, so be it! Focus on comprehension and not on reading.  If you haven’t read it properly, you might as well not read it at all and save yourself time and negative marks.

Rule 2 : Never read the answer choices before you read the passage

You might want to read the question stems before you read the passage to figure out what is it that you have to look for when you read the passage. It is not necessary and I personally do not recommend it, but many find it convenient to have a quick look at the questions before reading the passage. But please DO NOT READ THE OPTIONS before you read the passage. That would set you up for a disaster. Three options are incorrect and you do not want to load yourself with incorrect information before reading a passage.

Look at these four options. Try reading the options first and then the passage and tell me if you are not confused.

 Q. Which of the following conclusions can most properly be drawn, if the statements above are true, about a highly automated nuclear-missile defense system controlled by a complex computer program?

  1. Within a century after its construction, the system would react inappropriately and might accidentally start a nuclear war.
  2. It is not certain what the system’s response to the explosion of a large meteorite would be, if its designers did not plan for such a contingency.
  3. The system would be destroyed if an explosion of a large meteorite occurred in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  4. It would be impossible for the system to distinguish the explosion of a large meteorite from the explosion of a nuclear weapon.

PASSAGE: Meteorite explosions in the Earth’s atmosphere as large as the one that destroyed forests in Siberia, with approximately the force of a twelve-megaton nuclear blast, occur about once a century.  The response of highly automated systems controlled by complex computer programs to unexpected circumstances is unpredictable.

Ok. Now that I have made my point, let me move on.

 Rule 3: Never get stuck on a difficult word… simply move on

One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to RC is when you see an unfamiliar word. Trying to spend time on that word would only make things worse. Simply move on. Imagine watching a movie. It is not that you understand every single scene, but then you figure things out at the end.

Rule 4: Never think that the correct option would come from outside the passage

What is out of scope is never the answer. The right answer has to be completely based on the passage. If it is an inferential question, the answer is something that can be clearly inferred based on the passage. Any of the options that throw  you off track are wrong options.

More on RCs and how to apply these rules in my next posts.


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