Strategies to ace Para Completion

Para completion is a favored topic for various entrance exams, which makes it an important topic from the students' perspective.

What is Para completion?

As the name suggests, Para-completion requires you to complete the paragraph in a way that it is coherent and complete. It tests your comprehension skills. All it asks of you is to complete a missing line from a paragraph, and this line is generally the last line of the paragraph. It is a pretty simple thing to do, isn't it? Well, not quite. Let's understand the concept with help of an example.

Example:
The audiences for crosswords and Sudoku, understandably, overlap greatly, but there are differences, too. A crossword attracts a more literary person, while Sudoku appeals to a keenly logical mind. Some crossword enthusiasts turn up their noses at Sudoku because they feel it lacks depth. A good crossword requires vocabulary, knowledge, mental flexibility and sometimes even a sense of humor to complete. It touches numerous areas of life and provides an "Aha!" or two along the way. (_____________)
  • Sudoku, on the other hand, is just a logical exercise, each one similar to the last.
  • Sudoku, incidentally, is growing faster in popularity than crosswords, even among the literati.
  • Sudoku, on the other hand, can be attempted and enjoyed even by children.
  • Sudoku, however, is not exciting in any sense of the term.
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Can you spot the answer here?
The answer is option 1. The paragraph's central idea is the comparison between crosswords and Sudoku. It first talks about crosswords and then points out how Sudoku is different. In the last two sentences crossword is discussed, hence the next sentence would be how Sudoku is different on the same lines.
Strategy for Para-completion Questions
Let's take another example to understand the strategy part for these questions:
Most firms consider expert individuals to be too elitist, temperamental, egocentric, and difficult to work with. Force such people to collaborate on a high- stakes project and they just might come to fisticuffs. Even the very notion of managing such a group seems unimaginable. So, most organizations fall into the default mode, setting up project teams of people who get along nicely.
  • The result, however, is disastrous.
  • The result is mediocrity.
  • The result is creation of experts who then become elitists.
  • Naturally, they drive innovations.
Stepwise approach for Para-Completion questions:
  • Identify the gist of the paragraph: This paragraph is about negative character traits of expert individuals and how they are avoided by firms.
  • Identify the continuing thread of thought : The author leaves us at a peculiar place: how companies choose employees that get along well. These cannot be experts because it is not in their nature to get along well. So it has to be people who are not experts. A simple inference we draw.
  • Continue the thread of thought keep in mind the 'first thing' : We continue the inference we have drawn above. People who are not experts are not in a position to drive innovation or become experts. But we cannot say their results will be disastrous as the passage mentions how well they get along. So, we adopt a middle path and the choice that represents this balanced approach, option 2.

Approach to finding the last line of the passage:

When we are looking for the last line of the passage we have to keep in mind that the last line can be either of the two things.

  • The conclusion of the given passage.
  • Logical extension of the second last line.

And in order to find, if any of the given option is a conclusion or logical extension, we can use some tricks.

Tips & Tricks for solving Para completion
  • Tone of the passage: When a passage is written it follows a certain tone. This tone will never be changed abruptly. In case there is an option in which the tone of the passage changes bluntly and suddenly, we can easily eliminate the option. In case of change of tone the author will provide certain hints like the usage of words such as - but, however, although, though etc.
  • Style of the author: Every author has different style of writing, for example some authors use a lot of metaphors, simile etc. While other authors use a very simple language. While solving the question make sure that the option matches with the style of the author.
  • Key words: In every paragraph there are certain key words that can be easily identified. If you are able to identify these key words they will help in solving the questions and reaching the appropriate conclusion. Now that we have identified the tricks to solve, let us also look at the tricks for eliminating the options.
  • Do not get stuck on words.
  • Do not get stuck on the last line. The last line is vastly different from the last thought. Para-completion in a way is thought completion.
  • Last but not the least, avoid extreme answer choices.

What cannot be the answer?

  • Restatement of one of the lines given in the passage..
  • Inference based on one of lines from the passage.
  • Inference is the conclusion drawn on the basis of the given facts. We don't have to draw the conclusion but identify it
Take Test :
Assess your understanding of Para Completion by taking this test now.
 
Sample Para completion question:

They are the most terrible of punctuation marks in an otherwise optimistic story. Every few months a bombing somewhere in India claims dozens of ordinary lives, killing random unfortunates going about their daily business. The attacks are usually blamed on militant groups fighting Indian rule in parts of divided Kashmir, and on elements of the Pakistani intelligence services that allegedly help them.

  • The mighty Indian nation cannot do a thing against these irritant attacks.
  • It is an obstacle to ending the rancorous, bloody feud that has scarred the 60 years since independence and partition.
  • Blaming Pakistan is the standard response of India's old politicians who cannot think of anything new.
  • Each murderous onslaught sets back the painstaking progress India and Pakistan are making.
  • India has to be more responsible rather than blaming Pakistan for everything that goes wrong on its soil.

Explanation:

In order to solve this question let us first identify the key words: (The words that are in bold are the required key words).

They are the most terrible of punctuation marks in an otherwise optimistic story. Every few months a bombing somewhere in India claims dozens of ordinary lives, killing random unfortunates going about their daily business. The attacks are usually blamed on militant groups fighting Indian rule in parts of divided Kashmir, and on elements of the Pakistani intelligence services that allegedly help them.
  • *By identifying the key words we can see that they refer to the bombings, which are like punctuation marks (those are the pauses that we take), as they kill random people.
  • *It is clearly mentioned in the passage that it is the Pakistani militants who help in the killings thereby creating the punctuation marks.

Once the key words have been identified and understood, scan the options.

Resolve the paradox:

Scanning the options
  • Option 1: There is no mention of any action that may or may not be taken by India, and hence can be eliminated.
  • Option 2: The second statement is a restatement, and hence is eliminated.
  • Option 3: and Option 5: These are clubbed together as they are very similar and both talk of India blaming Pakistan, inspite of India being at fault. This has not been mentioned and thus cannot be derived from the passage.
  • Option 4: Thus this is the only option left, and by method of elimination, this is the answer.
Key Learning
  • *The example in this article showcases the approach you need to adopt for Para completion. Follow the given tricks and learn to solve the questions on Para completion.
  • *As the saying goes, Practice makes a man perfect, so is the case with this exercise.
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