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Para-Jumbles: Tips, Tricks, and Strategies

What are Parajumbles?

  • Para-Jumble refers to a paragraph wherein the sentences forming it are jumbled. So, what are we supposed to do here? We are required to arrange the sentences in a proper manner such that they link and form a coherent paragraph.
  • The name of the topic is in a way misleading, because we are not jumbling paragraphs here but we are actually straightening out jumbled sentences in a paragraph. This type of question is actually pretty common in various competitive exams and in recent years.

Some words as indicators:

  • Introduction – A, An, Nowadays, Beginning.
  • Conclusion – Clearly, Thus, Therefore, Eventually, Finally.
  • Comparison Indicators – Similarly, Likewise.
  • Contrast Indicators – On the one hand, But, Yet, However, Nevertheless, Although.
  • Additional Information Indicators – Also, Additionally.
  • Sequence Indicators – Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, Lastly.
  • Cause and Effect – Due to, as, since.

To revise, a broad approach in solving Parajumble Questions would be:

  • Read the sentences and try to understand the message of the paragraph.
  • Identify the topic and theme. Eg. Topic – Inflation (general); Theme –Congress responsible for Inflation (Specific)
  • Quickly identify the tone (emotional aspect of the paragraph) and style (manner of writing)
  • Look for crucial clues or linking words, mandatory pairs, Introductory statement or Conclusion statement as discussed earlier.
  • Take the help of the options to solve the question.

Basic Strategies for solving Para-jumble Questions:

  • Try to locate the introductory sentence: While you go through the labelled sentences, try to look for one that makes a fresh beginning. It should not be a sentence that is extending previous ideas.
  • Check for Conclusive Last Sentences: Test setters are smart. They would typically not let you get away so easily. There are multiple options beginning with the introductory sentence. So you will need more than one clue. The last sentence in the paragraph is one that summarizes and has links to previous sentences.
  • Anticipate the order of the sentences: Knowing that going through each choice is cumbersome, you must clearly work towards generating some kind of order in your mind, before you look at the options. This tactic will help save the precious time.
  • See if there are any logical sequences among sentence pairs: Very often a pair of sentences can be chronologically arranged because of clues in one of the sentences. Standard clues include reference to a person or a thing. The first time such a reference is made, a noun form is used. The second reference will be pronoun or a preposition.
  • Understanding the topic of the paragraph: One should be able to discern what is being talked about, because the subject of individual sentences forms the most important clue for establishing links between various sentences.

Examples 1:

  1. People can get infected by handling reptiles and then touching their mouths or an open cut.
  2. At first, they look the perfect pets: exotic, quiet and tidy.
  3. A study estimates that in 1995, there were as many as 6,700 reptile-caused salmonella infections.
  4. But lizards and other pets can harbour a salmonella bacterium that makes people sick.
  5. A) BCAD B) BCDA C) ACDB                     D) BDCA

Answer: Read sentences C and D carefully. Sentence D contains the noun phrase “a salmonella bacterium” and Sentence C contains the noun phrase “salmonella infections”. What is the relationship between the two? Since the phrase “a salmonella bacterium” introduces the bacterium, it should logically precede the phrase “salmonella infections”. Therefore, the sentence that contains the phrase “a salmonella bacterium” should come before the sentence that contains the phrase “salmonella infections”. So, Sentence D should precede Sentence C! Once you have a link between two sentences, look at the answer choices to see if you are on the right track. If you are, then you have the right answer [(Option (d) BDCA)].

Example 2:

  1. One example is El Nino, the periodic catastrophe that plagues the West Coast of America.
  2. It is rich in life.
  3. This coast is normally caressed by the cold, rich Humboldt Current.
  4. Usually, the Humboldt hugs the shore and extends 200 to 300 miles out to sea.
  5. It fosters the largest commercial fishery in the world and is the home of one of the mightiest game fish on record, the black marlin.

A) ABCD B) DCAB C) ACDB D) CBAD

Answer: Read sentences A and C carefully. Notice the noun/ pronoun relationship between the two. Sentence A refers to “the West Coast of America” and Sentence C talks about “this coast”. Which coast? Obviously “the West Coast of America”! Therefore, Sentences A and C are related and Sentence A must come before Sentence C. Now look again. Sentence C talks about “the cold, rich Humboldt Current” and Sentence D refers to “the Humboldt” obviously these two sentences are also related. Which one should come first? Once you have decided, check the answer choices to see if you are correct. [(Option (c) ACDB)].

Key Learning:

  • Practice without options.
  • Try to form a general to specific structure. Most paragraphs will start with a broader theme and then dive into the specifics.
  • Pay special attention to Pronouns and Conjunctions. They will help you in forming connections and making mandatory pairs.
  • Once you are done with the question, take out the time to read the ordered Para again and see if it makes sense. This will help you in improving your accuracy.