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May 22, 2018 @ 11:41 AM

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May 22, 2018 @ 11:41 AM

Top 10 Reading Comprehension Passages with Q&A

Reading Comprehension Passages

Reading Comprehension (RC) always remains common section in all most all exams, be it CAT / XAT / IIFT / NMAT / SNAP / CMAT / MAT.

Reading Comprehension is the one of the complex section wherein you will be tested on your vocabulary, absorption and comprehension of the language. RC is the ultimate test of your language skills.

For the benefit of focused MBA aspirant like you, MBA Rendezvous presents top 10 Reading Comprehension (RC) passages with questions and answer key.

Passage - 1

Like their ancient toga-wearing counterparts, modern philosophers continue to disagree on the nature of freewill. Do we really have any control over the choices we make and the things we desire, and if so, to what degree?

Theories of freewill vary, but the ancient words of Plato still line up with our modern perceptions of temptation and willpower. The revered Greek philosopher argued that the human experience is one of constant struggle between the intellect and the body, between rationality and desire. Along these lines, true freedom is only achievable when willpower unchains us from bodily, emotional, instinctual slavery.

You can find similar sentiments throughout world religions, most of which offer a particular and often difficult path to rise above our darker natures.

And science? Well, science mostly agrees with all of this. Willpower is all about overcoming your natural impulses to eat cupcakes, skip your morning workout, flirt with the waiter, hit the snooze alarm and check your e-mail during a funeral.

Your willpower, however, is limited. If life were a video game, you'd see a glowing "willpower" or "ego" meter at the top of the screen next to your "life" meter. Successfully resist one temptation, and the meter depletes a little. The next temptation depletes the "willpower" meter even more, until there's nothing left at all.

Our modern scientific understanding of willpower in large part stems from a 1996 research experiment involving chocolate and radishes. Psychologist Roy Baumeister led a study in which 67 test subjects were presented with tempting chocolate chip cookies and other chocolate-flavored treats before a persistence-testing puzzle. Here's the catch: The researchers asked some of the participants to abstain from sweets and snack on radishes instead.

Baumeister's results told a fascinating story. The test subjects who resisted the sweet stuff in favor of radishes performed poorly on the persistence test. They simply didn't have the willpower left to resist slacking off.

The resulting paper, "Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited Resource?" inspired more than a thousand additional studies discussing everything from the influence of positive messages to the ego-sapping power of daily decisions 

Studies also show that cognitive capacity also affects our ability to hold out against temptation. Cognitive capacity is essentially your working memory, which you employ when resisting a temptation ... or holding a string of numbers in your head. A 1999 study from the University of Iowa professor Baba Shiv found that people tasked with remembering a two-digit number held out better than people remembering a seven-digit number when tempted with chocolate cake.

Q1.What do you understand by ‘freewill’?

1)The choices we make and the things we desire

2)The choices that philosophers force us to make

3)Our perception of temptation

4)Our ego


Ans1. The first option is correct. The answer can be found in the second sentence of the first paragraph, where after stating a general observation on ‘freewill’, an attempt is made to define it.


Q2.According to Plato, when is true freedom available?

1)When there is a struggle between the intellect and the body

2)When our willpower helps us to overcome our base instincts

3)When we desire that which we cannot achieve

4)When we have no control over our ego


Ans2. The second option is correct, as is evident from the last line of the second paragraph – once our willpower becomes strong enough to overcome instant gratification, we are truly free.


Q3.In the second paragraph, what does the expression ‘line up’ signify?

1)Align with

2)disagree with

3)Differ from

4)In discussion with


Ans3. The first option is correct, as the second paragraph opens up by relating the fact that although the contemporary philosophers’ views vary, they still align with Plato’s thoughts.


Q4.What is meant by ‘cognitive capacity’?


2)Our ego

3)Our ability to overcome temptation

4)The desire to give in to temptation


Ans 4.The third option is correct, the last paragraph offers a working definition of ‘cognitive capacity’


Q5.From the RC given above, find a synonym for ‘respected’






Ans 5. The fourth option is correct, ‘revered’ also means – to hold in high esteem, to respect.


Passage - 2

Philosophy of Education is a label applied to the study of the purpose, process, nature and ideals of education. It can be considered a branch of both philosophy and education. Education can be defined as the teaching and learning of specific skills, and the imparting of knowledge, judgment and wisdom, and is something broader than the societal institution of education we often speak of.

Many educationalists consider it a weak and woolly field, too far removed from the practical applications of the real world to be useful. But philosophers dating back to Plato and the Ancient Greeks have given the area much thought and emphasis, and there is little doubt that their work has helped shape the practice of education over the millennia.

Plato is the earliest important educational thinker, and education is an essential element in "The Republic" (his most important work on philosophy and political theory, written around 360 B.C.). In it, he advocates some rather extreme methods: removing children from their mothers' care and raising them as wards of the state, and differentiating children suitable to the various castes, the highest receiving the most education, so that they could act as guardians of the city and care for the less able. He believed that education should be holistic, including facts, skills, physical discipline, music and art. Plato believed that talent and intelligence is not distributed genetically and thus is be found in children born to all classes, although his proposed system of selective public education for an educated minority of the population does not really follow a democratic model.

Aristotle considered human nature, habit and reason to be equally important forces to be cultivated in education, the ultimate aim of which should be to produce good and virtuous citizens. He proposed that teachers lead their students systematically, and that repetition be used as a key tool to develop good habits, unlike Socrates' emphasis on questioning his listeners to bring out their own ideas. He emphasized the balancing of the theoretical and practical aspects of subjects taught, among which he explicitly mentions reading, writing, mathematics, music, physical education, literature, history, and a wide range of sciences, as well as play, which he also considered important.

During the Medieval period, the idea of Perennialism was first formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas in his work "De Magistro". Perennialism holds that one should teach those things deemed to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere, namely principles and reasoning, not just facts (which are apt to change over time), and that one should teach first about people, not machines or techniques. It was originally religious in nature, and it was only much later that a theory of secular perennialism developed.

During the Renaissance, the French skeptic Michel de Montaigne (1533 - 1592) was one of the first to critically look at education. Unusually for his time, Montaigne was willing to question the conventional wisdom of the period, calling into question the whole edifice of the educational system, and the implicit assumption that university-educated philosophers were necessarily wiser than uneducated farm workers, for example.

Q1.What is the difference between the approaches of Socrates and Aristotle?

1)Aristotle felt the need for repetition to develop good habits in students; Socrates felt that students need to be constantly questioned

2)Aristotle felt the need for rote-learning; Socrates emphasized on dialogic learning

3)There was no difference

4)Aristotle emphasized on the importance of paying attention to human nature; Socrates emphasized upon science


Ans1. The first option is correct – their approaches were different and this difference is quite explicitly explained in the fourth paragraph


Q2.Why do educationists consider philosophy a ‘weak and woolly’ field?

1)It is not practically applicable

2)Its theoretical concepts are easily understood

3)It is irrelevant for education

4)None of the above


Ans2. The first option is correct because educationists believe that philosophical abstractions are not suitable for practical application.


Q3.What do you understand by the term ‘Perennialism’, in the context of the given comprehension passage?

1)It refers to something which is of ceaseless importance

2)It refers to something which is quite unnecessary

3)It refers to something which is abstract and theoretical

4) It refers to something which existed in the past and no longer exists now


Ans3. The first option is correct because the term comes from the root word ‘perennial’ – which means ceaseless.


Q4.Were Plato’s beliefs about education democratic?

1)He believed that only the rich have the right to acquire education


3)He believed that only a select few are meant to attend schools

4) He believed that all pupils are not talented


Ans4. The second option is correct – Plato’s beliefs were democratic but not his suggested practices


Q5.Why did Aquinas propose a model of education which did not lay much emphasis on facts?

1)Facts are not important

2)Facts do not lead to holistic education

3)Facts change with the changing times

4)Facts are frozen in time


Ans5. The third option is correct – facts do change with the changing times, hence, they are not of the utmost importance when aiming for holistic education.

Passage – 3

The issue of road rage requires serious attention. Day by day, it is becoming a great concern. Call it the negligence of the government or the rashness of the drivers, the underlying fact is that at the end of the day, the common man is the one who suffers the most. The commoner driving a two-wheeler who is hit by a speeding SUV, even though the former was following the traffic rules, has nowhere to go in order to seek redressal for his grievances or his injury. A recent case in point is the accident caused by the speeding luxury car owned by Hema Malini. A family of four driving a modest Alto was hit by the overspeeding car driven by the actress’s driver. It resulted in the death of the youngest child of the family and several injuries to the other family members. To add insult to injury, Malini posted negative comments on a famous social networking website.

Part of the problem lies with the attitude and mentality of the driver behind the steering wheel. The car is a personal vehicle and one possesses the freedom to drive it independently and at one’s own will. But one must understand that the road on which one drives is open to the public. This blurring of the dichotomy between the public and the private leads to reckless behaviour on the roads. Respect for the elderly and pedestrians, so common in countries abroad, is a thing of rarity to be found in our land. A little consideration to road rules and adoption of simple safety measures such as fastening of the seat belt, can go a long way in reducing this menace.


Q 1 Suggest a suitable title to the passage.

Q 2 Why does the common man suffer grievously in instances of road rage?

Q 3 What should the driver understand?

Q 4 What is the solution to this problem of road rage?

Click Here to Unlock Below Questions & SolutionsClick Here to Unlock Below Questions & Solutions


Answer key:

A 1. "Road Rage", “Menace on Indian Roads”

A 2. Due to the absence of immediate grievance redressal mechanisms

A 3. The driver should not overstep the line which separates the public and the private, by respecting others on the road and not blindly giving in to speeding etc.

A 4. Inculcating a sense of respect for the elderly and the pedestrians, adopting simple safety measures such as utilising the seat belt.

Passage - 4

The art of academic writing is not easy to master. It is a formal skill, which requires precision and accuracy, and is perfected by continuous and dedicated practice. Academic writing is the skilful exposition and explanation of an argument, which the writer has carefully researched and developed over a sustained period of time. It is a time-consuming activity and demands patience and perseverance. But the joy of reading and sharing with others, one’s succinctly composed piece of argument, is incomparable.

Before beginning to write, the writer must ask himself a few questions – Why am I writing? What is it that I intend to share with others? What purpose will my writing serve? Have I read enough about the topic or theme about which I am going to write? If one is hesitant to answer even one of the aforementioned questions, one better not write at all! Because academic writing is a serious activity – it makes one part of a shared community of readers and writers who wish to disseminate and learn from well-argued pieces of writing.

The structure of an argumentative essay should take the form of – Introduction (which should be around ten percent of the entire essay), Body (it should constitute eighty percent of the piece) and the Conclusion (again, ten per cent of the essay). The introduction should function as the hook which draws the reader in and holds his attention, the body should include cogent and coherently linked paragraphs and the conclusion should re-state the argument and offer a substantial ending to the piece.


Q 1 What is academic writing?

Q 2 Why is reading an important part of writing?

Q 3 Why should one ask oneself the questions mentioned in the second passage?

Q 4 What are the components of the structure of an argumentative essay?

Answer key:

A 1. Academic writing is the skilful exposition and explanation of an argument, which the writer has carefully researched and developed over a sustained period of time

A 2. Reading about one’s chosen topic or theme is important since it tells the reader about what has already been argued. It depicts the awareness of other arguments.

A 3. One must ask oneself certain questions before writing in order to get a sense of clarity about one’s purpose behind writing.

A 4. The parts – Introduction, Body, Conclusion

Passage – 5

Today’s world can truly be called a “society of the spectacle”, a phrase that the French sociologist and thinker Guy de Bord used decades earlier. Every act of lived experience has today become a spectacle. It would be a little incorrect to say that this craze for spectacle-izing everything that occurs around us is a recent phenomenon. If one had watched The Pirates of The Caribbean movies, one would realise that even in the late eighteenth century, executions were public events - a large portion of the populace would gather around the site of the hanging in the city square in order to see justice being meted out in front of their very own eyes. It was also a form of popular entertainment. It was a sort of a collective public blood-letting.

The spectacle that the contemporary society has become is an overwhelming experience. One enters into a restaurant, orders an exotic dish – but the proof of having eaten it doesn’t exist until tons of photographs are clicked from varied angles and shared on social networking sites, one goes for a holiday to a calm and serene location, but is all the while busy telling the world about it. It as if one has to document every moment of one’s existence. When does one live that moment then? Perhaps it is in the documentation that one survives these days!


Q 1 What is the “Society of the spectacle”?

Q 2 Is it a recent occurrence?

Q 3 Do we really ‘live’ moments now?

Q 4 Besides documentation, what is the other function of the spectacle?

Answer key:
A 1 Every act of lived experience has today become a spectacle

A 2 No, as the example states, it is not a recent phenomenon

A 3 No, we only document moments now

A 4 The spectacle is also a form of popular entertainment

Passage – 6

Surveillance has increased manifold since the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre in the U.S. This increase in surveillance today shapes the relationship between the state and the individual. The state keeps an eye on its citizens, thereby positing each and every citizen as a potential wrong-doer. For instance, the proliferation of the CCTV cameras in streets, restaurants and in every imaginable public space. Infact, the camera need not even be functional in order to make the citizens behave themselves – its mere presence is enough to scare the citizens into submission. Such is the power of the mere potential of surveillance.

Surveillance studies have shown that these techniques might not be too effective at all times,citizens might feign decent behaviour in order to avoid themselves from getting into a tussle with the law of the land. But it does not assure the state of the reformation in the attitude of the citizens. It is a mere eye-wash. It works only when the citizen truly desires to transform his or her attitude and adopt decency in all walks of life.

The act of constant surveillance makes the state a voyeur – a person who derives pleasure from watching events unfold in a secretive manner. A recent case in point would be the raid on a hotel in the so-called cosmopolitan city of Mumbai where young couples were consensually residing. The state has today entered the bed-room. And this is an unhealthy proposition!


Q 1 What is the effect of the state’s surveillance on the individual?

Q 2 Does the CCTV need to be functional all the time?

Q 3 Why is surveillance not effective always?

Q 4 When is surveillance really effective?


Answer key:

A 1 It views each individual as a potential wrong-does

A 2 No, the mere presence is enough

A 3 Because citizens might adopt a fake decent attitude

A 4 When citizens really wish to conform to the rules

Passage – 7

India is a secular, democratic nation. This implies that every religion is treated equally and at par with every other religion. No religion is accorded any preferential treatment of any kind. All citizens are also free to practice, preach or profess any religion of their choosing. The state does not have a unified or homogeneous religious following

This unique characteristic of India ensures its unity in diversity. India has been the birthplace of several religions and is the land where all these religions - such as Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism and so on exist simultaneously, peacefully and harmoniously.

But, some anti-social elements have interpreted the sanctity of religions in a twisted way. No religion preaches violence or rioting. All the religions are but various ways to reach the Supreme Being, they are paths which lead to the ultimate truth and salvation, though we refer to the destination by various names such as Jesus, Krishna, Buddha. Allah and so on. It is important to realize that in order to ensure a peaceful mosaic of cultural distinctness, the path of non-violence or ahimsa, as given by the Father of the nation, must be followed unwaveringly.

God created man in his own image. Hence, it follows naturally that there is some divinity within all human beings. Thus, to kill and murder in the name of religion is blasphemy. Only once the religious fanatics understand this, will there be perpetual peace in the land.


Q 1 What is meant by the term "Secular"?

Q 2 What is special about India's association with religion?

Q 3 Why are human beings divine?

Q 4 How can all religions co-exist peacefully?


Answer key:

A 1 Secular - there is no state religion, all religions enjoy an equal importance

A 2 India has been the birthplace of several religions and here, all of them co-exist harmoniously

A 3 Because God created man in his own image

A 4 By adopting the path of non-violence or ahimsa

Passage - 8

The Mona Lisa was one of Leonardo da Vinci'sfavourite paintings, and he carried it around with him until he died. Today it is regarded as the most famous painting in the world, and is viewed by thousands of people annually. Who is this painted figure? Many suggestions have been made, and the most likely candidate is Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant.

Another more likely, but popular theory, is that the painting was a self-portrait. There are certainly similarities between the facial features of the Mona Lisa and the artist's self-portrait painted many years later. Could this be the reason for Vinci giving the portrait such an enigmatic smile?

Today, the Mona Lisa looks rather sombre, in dull shades of brown and yellow. This is due to layer of varnish covering the paint, which has yellowed over the years. It is possible that the painting was once brighter and more colourful than it is now.

The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911, by a former employee who believed that the painting belonged in Italy. The thief walked out of the gallery with the picture underneath his painter's smock. He was apprehended by the police two years later and the painting was returned to the Louvre, where it is placed even today.

State whether the following are true or false:
Q 1 The Mona Lisa is actually sombre-hued.
Q 2 Vinci's self-portrait has an enigmatic smile
Q 3 The varnish has yellowed the painting
Q 4 The painting is still placed in the Louvre, in Italy.

Answers -
A 1 False (A layer of varnish, which has now become dull, has given it that appearance)
A 2 False (The Mona Lisa has an enigmatic smile)
A 3 True (The varnish has become dull, yellow. Since it covers the painitng, it has made its appearance yellow)
A 4 False. (it is in the Louvre in France)

Passage - 9

In the Middle Ages, the Roman Church burned books that dared present contradictory view-points. Authors who failed to heed this warning risked being burned at stake.

Though we no longer live in the Dark Ages, we are naturally disturbed by the burning of ArunShourie's book - Worshipping False Gods - by some members of parliament recently. They claimed that Shourie had twisted facts, misquoted Dr.Ambedkar, to make him appear anti-national, instigated prejudice and violence against the Dalits. And so they demanded a ban.

The reasons given by the Roman Church for burning books and authors too, were disturbingly similar. The Church too professed to be a guardian of morality and order, and accused liberals from Galileo to Voltaire of twisting facts, hurting the sentiments of people, proclaiming untruths, sowing seeds of conflict and encouraging violence. Our book-burning members of parliament may feel outraged by Shourie's book, but should remember that the Roman Church felt no less outraged in its time.

The progress of civilisation lies in rising above such narrow outlook and honoring dissent. Voltaire once said - "I might disagree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it"

Questions- True or false:
Q 1 We live in the Middle Ages.
Q 2 Shourie had actually twisted facts
Q 3 Voltaire twisted facts
Q 1 4 Civilisation can progress by misquoting authors.

Answers -
A 1 False (The act of burning of Shourie's book is similar to such practices in the Middle Ages)
A 2 False (It was Claimed that he had done so)
A 3 False (The Roman Church accused him of doing so)
A 4 False (Progress can be made by allowing dissent)

Passage - 10

Indians as a community have always been known to be resourceful and hard-working, and it is clearly demonstrated by the students heading abroad for undergraduate or higher studies.

More than ever before, the youth are switching over from a bank-loan to self-financing of their studies almost invariably from the second year if not within the first six months of joining a foreign university.

Part-time jobs at gas stations, restaurants, kitchens, baby-sitting, car-cleaning, fruit-picking during the harvest season - nothing seems difficult to the able-bodies youth.

In the recent years, along with fees, the quantum of loans has gone up. Some banks have seen nearly 50% of their clients (mostly students) becoming self-sufficient after the first tranche of the loan allocated to them. Even the number of undergraduate students who reduce their dependence on institutional support is estimated to have grown by 20-25%

Estimates have also revealed that while students do seek a loan for the entire spell of two to five years, depending on the programme that they have enrolled in, smarter children have invariably succeeded in bagging an assistantship or a part-time job which helps them to fund either completely or partially the remaining spell of their studies.

Questions True or false:
Q 1 This passage discusses about all students studying abroad
Q 2 As soon as students join the university, funding no longer remains a problem
Q 3 The youth prefer jobs which can be easily done
Q 4 All students become self-sufficient after getting the loans

Answers -
A 1 False (It discusses only Indians students)
A 2 False (Funding problems are solved within 6 months to two years)
A 3 False (The able-bodied youth can take up any jobs)
A 4 False (Only 50% students become self-sufficient)

Passage - 11

As we look forward to the bright future awaiting us, we must determine where our strengths lie. Much of the conventional analyses of India's position in the world relies on the all-too familiar indices of GDP, impressive economic growth rates and our military prowess. But if there is one attribute of independent India to which we have not yet paid much attention is its 'soft power'

The notion of soft-power is relatively new. It was coined by Harvard's Joseph Nye to describe the extraordinary strengths of the United States that went well beyond the American military and economic dominance. The fact is that the U.S. is home to Boeing, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, MTV, Hollywood, Disneyland, Kodak and so on - in short, most of the major products that dominate daily life around the globe. This has ensured the maximisation of the soft power of the US - that is, the ability to attract and persuade others to adopt America's agenda, rather than relying purely on the coercive hard power of military force. Thus, this soft power is undoubtedly more important than the hard power.

For India, it means paying attention to the aspects and products of our society that the world would find attractive - not in order to directly persuade others to support us but to enhance our country's standing in their eyes. Bollywood is doing a great deal in this direction by bringing entertainment home to people (the diaspora) in the U.S. and elsewhere. Indian classical music and dance have the same effect. So does the work of our fashion designers, chefs and cricketers.

Questions - mark true or false
Q 1 Soft power has been in use in international discourse since a long time
Q 2 Soft power will ensure direct support to India
Q 3 Soft power is less effective in making the world accept America's agenda
Q 4 Bollywood is enhancing India's soft power

Answers -
A 1 False (It is a relatively new concept)
A 2 False (It will ensure indirect support)
A 3 False (Hard power,not soft power, is coercive, hence less effective)
A 4 True (by reaching Indians in others parts of the world)

Passage - 12

People do not always do the things we want them to do. No matter how reasonable or minimal our expectations may be, there are times when we are let down. Naturally, we feel upset and hurt when our expectations are not met. We dread confrontations because they are unpleasant and can damage relationships. Yet not confronting a person does not solve the problem because unresolved issues also affect relationships in an adverse way. Actually, the real problem lies in our style of confrontation, not in the issue. Typically, we use character-based confrontations. They help in venting our anger and hurt, but that is the only thing they do. They lead to angry show-downs and bring all discussions to a grinding halt.

It is important to remember that self-image is the most important possession of all human beings. It is the way we view and regard ourselves in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. As self-conscious beings, we are acutely aware of our image and constantly work towards protecting it from any damage.We also seek approval from others about our own self-image. We feel distraught if we sense that there is even a slight threat to our self image, because our character is the essence of our lives.

To ensure a rational dialogue over dashed expectations, we need to deploy issue based confrontations. They involve an explanation of which actions have bothered us, in what manner and what changes we would like from the other person.

Questions - true or false
Q 1 Confrontations damage our self-image
Q 2 Not confronting an issue helps in solving the problem
Q 2 Approval from others for our own self-image is not necessary
Q 4 Issue - based confrontations are an easier way out

Answers -
A 1 True- confrontations tarnish our self image.
A 2 False - Confrontations are important, they help in resolving issues
A 3 False - We seek self-approval for our own self-image
A 4 True- such confrontations ensure rational discussion

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