Para Jumbles are one of the most important topics in CAT. Its questions appear in the VARC (Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension) Section of the CAT Exam. Para jumbles, as the name hints, refers to paragraphs in which the words, sentences, or phrases are jumbled.
Lo and Behold! Although it is named as Para Jumbles, it doesn’t mean “jumbled paragraphs”. But, many students mistake the name of the concept with the actual implementation of the concept. Para Jumbles consists of jumbled sentences which are a part of the paragraph given in the VARC section. These jumbled sentences need to be “unjumbled” by choosing the options given to be replaced with that sentence.
However, “unjumbling” the sentences doesn’t mean only that the sentences should be grammatically sound. It also means that the sentences should link to other areas of the paragraph in a way that it is cohesive with the rest of the paragraph.
Yes, we get that at first it will all seem the same. But, with a keen eye and consistent discipline, you will start differentiating the correct answer amongst the options given in the test.
Try to figure out the correct answer to the example given below. If you find it too difficult, scroll down to see how we did it and how you should too!
Q. In the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes has been the most important scholar working in the tradition of the classical political economists.
A. But his interest, like theirs, was in the analysis of the great issues of his day, the greatest of which in the inter-war period was not growth but unemployment, a problem so acute at the time that in desperation, the Germans turned to Hitler and to Fascism.
B. The very future of Western democracies was placed at risk.
C. Keynes was concerned not just to understand unemployment intellectually, but to put forward practical suggestions as to how the problem could be solved.
D. This does not mean that he agreed with everything they wrote.
In the given paragraph, the sentence at the start is already well-defined. The sentence sequence 1DA is using a ‘double contrast approach’ — a kind of flip-flop argument. Therefore, Statement D contrasts the idea presented in the given paragraph (1). However, the Statement A again contradicts the opposition of Statement D. Consequently, in this question, understanding this structure suffices to differentiate the correct sequence order in the given options. The correct sequence order for this question is (4).
Types of Para Jumbles
1. Non-fixed Sentences
In this type, the question gives you 4 or 5 sentences which you need to arrange into a paragraph diligently.
Q. A. A transplant from my younger brother, Philip, effectively gave me a second life.
B. Feeling that whatever years I now had ahead of me were a bonus, I initiated the exploration of the western shore of Lake Turkana.
C. I was lucky.
D. Following our first tentative prospecting came remarkable finds, some of them technically stunning, some emotionally thrilling.
E. The discoveries were worth waiting for, as I shall recount.
2. Fixed Sentences
In these type of questions, usually the opening and closing sentence are all ready fixed.
Q. 1. For centuries, philosophers have dealt with aspects of humanness, of humanity. But, surprisingly, there is no agreed-upon definition of the quality of humanness.
A. It is my conviction that we are beginning to identify these components, that we can see the gradual emergence of humanness in our evolutionary history.
B. But if this sense of humanity came into being in the course of evolutionary history, then it must have component parts, and they, in turn, must be identifiable.
C. Those who tried to define humanness found themselves moulding Jell-O: it kept slipping through the fingers.
D. It hardly seemed necessary, partly because it appeared so obvious: humanness is what we feel about ourselves.
6. I am therefore perplexed by, and impatient with, a popular alternative view that is championed by several scholars.
Strategies to Solve Para Jumbles
1. For non-fixed sentences, try to look for a sentence in the given sentences that doesn’t link to other sentences consequently, but rather, initiates the ideas presented in other sentences.
2. For non-fixed sentences, try to find a sentence that gives a final say to the topic that the paragraph is speaking about. This sentence will be the last sentence of the order.
3. For fixed sentences, look for a sentence that continues the ideas presented in the first sentence given. This sentence must not be conclusive but should rather form a flow of ideas using the rest of the sentences given.
4. Look for little clues of continuity in the sentences. These clues can be a person or place referred to in the previous sentence. You can look for usage of pronouns in follow-up sentences which when read along with the initial sentences sounds rational and coherent.
5. With practice, you’ll certainly start seeing pattern in the questions given in the exam. Therefore, keeping these patterns in mind is essential to anticipating the order of the sentences.
6. If everything fails, take each order given and read them out loud to yourself and understand if they seem rational. Check for coherence and continuity of ideas when you read them aloud.