All you need to know about Paragraph Completion

Paragraph Completion has been an important component of the verbal section of CAT for many years now. It is an area from which questions have been asked in CAT papers on a regular basis since 2000. It is, therefore, a very important sub-section of CAT’s VA section and one can ignore this section at one’s own peril.

In this article,I will try to give you an extensive coverage on this topic. After going through this article carefully, I am sure you would not shy away from a paragraph completion  question the next time you see one. Read on people!!!

Paragraph Completion: What on Earth is this all about?

For those who have not had any encounter with paragraph completion in the past (we,like everyone else, will refer to it as PC  from now), it refers to the question type where a paragraph is given and a sentence from the given paragraph is removed (In most of the cases, the last sentence is removed).

All you have to do is to complete the paragraph i.e. you have to choose the option which completes the given paragraph in the best manner from the given options. An example of one question with detailed solution is given below.

How can we solve such questions easily?

Solving PC questions is all about how much one can comprehend the given paragraph. The more you understand the paragraph, the easier it becomes for you to solve the question. I personally feel that it becomes easier for you to solve these type of questions if you are a good reader. If one is good in RC’s, then chances are that he/she will do good in PC questions too (in most cases).

Go through the paragraph and try to catch the essence of the paragraph. Figure out what the paragraph is all about. Try to understand the keywords used in the passage.

Let us solve a question now. Here is one question. Try to solve it without seeing the solution. Note your answer. Then, go with the solution and see how you should go about with such questions.

Most people at their first consultation take a furtive look at the surgeon’s hands in the hope of reassurance. Prospective patients look for delicacy, sensitivity, steadiness, perhaps unblemished pallor. On this basis, Henry Perowne loses a number of cases each year. Generally, he knows it’s about to happen before the patient does: the downward glance repeated, the prepared questions beginning to falter, the overemphatic thanks during the retreat to the door.

(1) Other people do not communicate due to their poor observation.
(2) Other patients don’t like what they see but are ignorant of their right to go elsewhere.
(3) But Perowne himself is not concerned.
(4) But others will take their place, he thought.
(5) These hands are steady enough, but they are large.

Solution- This question is from CAT 2008 paper.

Let us try to find out the essence of the paragraph. The paragraph deals with Henry Perowe and the issue of him losing on a number of cases (we are not concerned about the reason,are we?).

Now let us analyze each option one by one.

Option 1 talks about the communication of other people. This is deviating from the core idea of the passage. Hence the option is rejected.

Option 2 says that other patients too are affected by Henry’s problem. It means that the whole bunch of Henry’s patients are affected by it!!! But that is not the central idea of the passage. So option 2 is rejected.

Option 4 can be rejected simply for the fact the it talks in past, whereas the paragraph is in present tense.

Option 5 is not complete. It just says that the hands are large. This option could be considered had there been something more to it.

Hence, option 3 is the answer.

So what we learn from the example above is that the paragraph should be our only centre of attraction.We have to think within the boundaries of the paragraph.

Some Important Pointers to keep in mind while solving a PC question.

There are no pre-defined formulaes to solve PC type questions.But there are some important points we need to remember while solving them.

1) Find the essence of the passage.

Once you are able to find it,PC would become an easy affair.

2) Notice the tone of the passage.

Think about it. If an author is being sarcastic in his writing, wouldn’t it be logical to choose the option which has sarcasm in it? Remember however that there might be multiple options that comply with the author’s tone.

Hence, always keep in mind that Tone is Important but not the only criteria.

3) Do not pick an option that brings an external idea.

Never pick an option which talks about things that are not mentioned in the paragraph. The correct option will be the one which relates itself to the core information mentioned in the paragraph.

4) Reject the options that are contradictory.

Whenever you see an option which contradicts the idea of passage, eliminate it.

5) Maintain the flow of the paragraph.

Always make sure you are maintaining the flow of ideas in the passage. Never pick an option which breaks or suddenly changes the flow to some other direction.

6) Pay Special Attention to the line before the blank.

The line before the blank pays an important role in PC.Sometimes,the correct option is the one which is in agreement with that line.So it would be wise if one also pays close attention to what that line is talking about.

This sums up the topic of Paragraph completion. I hope the article helps you solve PC questions from now on. Feel free to ask anything, anytime.

And before I leave,I am posting some questions for you all to attempt. Do post your replies/suggestions/feedback.

All the best!!!

Q1)
To accept anything as true means to incur the risk of error. If I limit myself to knowledge that I consider true beyond doubt, I minimize the risk of error, but at the same time I maximise the risk of missing out on what may be the subtlest, most important and most rewarding things in life. Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that the slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things. “Slender” knowledge is here put in opposition to ‘certain’ knowledge, and indicates uncertainty. May be it is necessarily so that the higher things cannot be known with the same degree of certainty as the lesser things. __________

(1) But the gaining of even the slenderest knowledge about the higher things should not be given up.
(2) In such a case it would be a very great loss indeed if knowledge were limited to things beyond the possibility of
doubt.
(3) After all, matters that are beyond doubt are in a sense dead, they constitute no challenge to the living.
(4) Even then it is irrational to doubt the existence of higher things, which have no physical proof of existence.
(5) And this uncertainty is mainly because of our inability to prove the existence of the higher things.

Q2)
The Indian toy industry has never been in a state of good health, but the past two decades have been particularly bad. What little drive there was to invent and innovate got washed away by the flood of Chinese toys. They came in millions. They were colourful and diverse, loud and crude, but their greatest
attraction was their low price. __________

(1) Even in the International Trade Fair, the presence of Chinese toys has grown to overwhelming proportions.
(2) The public will soon realise, however, that they are not built to last.
(3) But some still feel that the wooden toys of Saharanpur and the musical string toys of Delhi are immeasurably
superior to the cacophonic, garish electronic toys imported from China.
(4) The heavy import of Chinese toys had always been hurting the Indian toy manufacturing trade.
(5) But now the Indian government has decided to encourage indigenous production of toys and has imposed a ban on the import of Chinese toys.

Q3)
Elliot, a photographer, surveyor and developer, had been looking for an unusual site to work on for some time. When he viewed a plot in Highgate, complete with a 70s building in blue aluminium, Elliot was certain he had found what he was looking for. His surveyor advised against buying such a steep bit of land;
his mother thought he was crazy. __________

(1) But the first time she visited the site, she understood him completely.
(2) But Elliot was fascinated with the history of the place.
(3) It was just 45 mts from the historic Highgate cemetery in North London.
(4) But he felt he belonged to the place.
(5) To him it was a peaceful place away from the noise of the city.

Q4)
Kiton – which employs 330 tailors who create its garments by hand – produces only a few thousand pieces a year. It takes 25 hours to make a jacket. Fans of Kiton clothes, and it is a devoted cult, say the garments are soft, light and exquisitely made. __________

(1) Small and fine details of sartorial workmanship mark this brand.
(2) They are absolutely wrinkle-free and can be crushed into the crevice of an airline seat.
(3) They are said to fit like a second skin.
(4) Once you start wearing it you won’t feel like switching over to anything else.
(5) Customers searching for value end up buying Kiton clothes.