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Solving the Para Completion Questions


Quickly but carefully read the passage at least twice and figure out the scope, theme, tone and logical flow of the passage; and you are ready to eliminate the choices to figure out the best choice at hand!

Let’s take a look at these individual elements in detail, and you shall find this section a cake walk for sure. Para Completion questions can help you to boost your sectional and overall test score.

Scope of the Passage


Try to figure out what the paragraph is all about. What is the topic or subject area of the passage, and what are its limits. So, anything that strays out of the boundaries cannot be a part of the passage. Any answer choice that talks about something outside the scope of the passage is a pariah, and hence, should be eliminated in the first go. Read the following lines carefully, and decide what the scope of the passage is?

In my own constituency, in April, which is a hot month, 
we had hailstorms of the size of a tennis ball, which destroyed the entire wheat crop in the Tarai. We had
snow in places where snow had never been. We had
snow late, we had flowering late and we lost large number of crops due to flooding. This is going to increase year after year

Here the scope of the passage would be the changing weather conditions within a particular area, however it cannot be generalized.

Theme or Gist of the Passage


You have to think like the author of the passage. If you are able to put yourself into the shoes of the author, it should not be difficult to figure out what does not fit into the passage. Focus on the key words and try to figure out the essence of the passage. Try to rephrase the passage in your mind in simpler words, and ask yourself what the author is trying to convey. Read the following lines and try to guess the theme of the passage.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

Here, the last line makes the theme amply clear; the author wants the people to uphold their sense of righteousness and integrity even in the midst of bitter struggle.

Tone of the Passage


Tone represents the predominant emotion or mood of the author towards the topic. Tone can be guessed by paying attention to the adjectives used in the passage. Passages are normally the author’s reaction to some issue. So, gauging the tone can help you to narrow down to the right choice. If the passage is eulogistic in tone, you do not expect the answer choice to be sarcastic or sardonic. Can you identify the tone of the passage?

AMERICAN students are enrolling in college in record numbers, but they’re also dropping out in droves. Barely half of those who start four-year colleges, and only a third of community college students, graduate. That’s one of the worst records among developed nations, and it’s a substantial drain on the economy. The American Institutes for Research estimates the cost of those dropouts, measured in lost earnings and taxes, at $4.5 billion. Incalculable are the lost opportunities for social mobility and the stillborn professional careers.

Clearly, the passage bears a negative tone. The author uses expressions like ‘dropping in droves’, ‘drain on the economy’ and finally ‘incalculable are the lost opportunities’, which clearly shows that the author displays a strong sense of disapproval for the flip side of the American education system.

Logical Flow of the Passage


You should read the passages like a detective, keeping an eye on the chain of event, and their logical sequence. If you mess up, you may make a blunder. Therefore, it is important to focus on key ideas and transition phrases used in the passage. One must be able to identify the thread of thought running through the paragraph. The flow of ideas in the passage should be maintained. Never pick an option which breaks or suddenly changes the flow to some other direction.

Remember, the last thought or idea in the paragraph has to be taken forward. Therefore, continuity is an important thing to be kept in mind in the process of arriving at the right answer.

Master the Art of Eliminating the Choices


It is important to master the art of eliminating the choices, especially in the verbal section. Any option that is out of scope of the argument or contradictory to the theme can be straightaway eliminated. 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.

Beware of the choices that rephrase and repeat the topic. And avoid extreme choices.

Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets: a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone, and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe—the only lady private detective in Botswana—brewed redbush tea. And three mugs—one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need? Detective agencies rely on human intuition and intelligence, both of which Mma Ramotswe had in abundance.


  1. But there was also the view, which again would appear on no inventory.
  2. No inventory would ever include those, of course.
  3. She had an intelligent secretary too.
  4. She was a good detective and a good woman.
  5. What she lacked in possessions was more than made up by a natural shrewdness.

Needless to say, the passage revolves around Mma Ramotswe and the minimal assets of her little detective agency. The first choice is off the mark as it takes the topic away from the main character, Mma Ramotswe or her possessions. The third choice fails to sum up the theme of the passage, and digresses from it. The fourth one also fails to connect the possessions of her agency and her unique abilities. The second last sentence asks a question, and the last sentence tries to justify the case in a positive light, so the last choice does not fit. It’s only the first choice, which suitably wraps up the discussion raised by the question in the second last line.

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