CAT Paragraph Summary Questions with Answers and Explanations

In addition to Reading Comprehension passages similar to those found on other standardized tests, the CAT also challenges students in the Verbal section through a mixture of more unusual question types. One of these is the paragraph summary. In this question type, students read a paragraph and then select one of four possible summary sentences that best encapsulate what they read. While the problem type may seem intimidating at first, practice will help assuage your anxieties! With that in mind, here is our series of CAT paragraph summary questions, with answers and explanations.

CAT Paragraph Summary Questions: Passages

I. The passage given below is followed by four alternative summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage. Key in the number of the option you chose as your answer.

Orchids can be so difficult to grow that even professional horticulturalists have trouble keeping them alive. And yet orchids are the largest family of flowering plants in existence, comprising 30,000 different species and more than 200,000 hybrid varieties. Much of this presence has to do with the orchid’s ability to thrive in different environments, particularly in the tropics. Nevertheless, orchid-lovers who live in colder climates shouldn’t be discouraged. With proper equipment and care, many species of orchids can thrive in home environments.

  1. Horticulturists who wish to grow orchids will have greater success doing so in tropical environments rather than in cold climates.
  2. Despite the difficulty in cultivating them, orchids can flourish when grown by horticulturists who have the correct equipment.
  3. Despite the difficulty in cultivating them, orchids belong to a large family, of which some species can grow well in various locations when cared for correctly.
  4. While there are numerous types of orchids, they cannot be grown outside of homes in the tropics, though many horticulturists attempt to do so.

II. The passage given below is followed by four alternative summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage. Key in the number of the option you chose as your answer.

While many students of history associate trench warfare with the First World War, its history actually goes back to the 1600s. At that point, French strategist and engineer Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban invented and used an early version of the system to attack fortresses. The increasing power of guns and cannons made development of the trench system more viable by the 18th century, when soldiers in the American Civil War increasingly relied on it. Trench warfare did reach its maximum utilization during the First World War, when trenches shielding millions of soldiers ran along the border of France, from Belgium to Switzerland. The introduction of the military tank in 1918, which did not break down in the face of gunfire, effectively put an end to the viability of this strategy.

  1. The invention of tanks in 1918 effectively put a stop to trench warfare, which had been going on for more than 300 years in Europe.
  2. Trench warfare was more common than often thought between 1600 and 1900, as technologies improved and then ended its effectiveness.
  3. Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban showed a lack of forethought when planning and designing the trench system.
  4. Trench warfare took place not only in Europe, but also in the United States, which most people do not realize.

III. The passage given below is followed by four alternative summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage. Key in the number of the option you chose as your answer.

While many national fables’ origins are shrouded in myth, Great Britain’s King Arthur appears to have been a real historical figure at one point, although the legends surrounding him may be more fantasy than fact. Even today, King Arthur provides for his country through a booming tourist industry. Dozens of attractions claim to be the site of the “real” Camelot, round table, or grave of Arthur and/or his wife Guinevere. Perhaps most famous among these is Glastonbury Abbey, in Western England, where Arthur is supposed to be buried between two stone pyramids, supposedly having died at the hand of his illegitimate son Mordred in the battle of Camlann. Aside from issues of DNA verification with no known living ancestors, many would consider digging in this sacred site a sacrilege, leaving visitors to wonder eternally whether the “Once and Future King” actually rests there.

  1. Though King Arthur may have been a real person, it has been difficult to substantiate these claims due to lack of evidence.
  2. Although most people do not believe it, King Arthur was a real person who probably lived near Glastonbury Abbey.
  3. Mythical figures should not be conflated with mythical figures unless those making the claim can offer evidence.
  4. Glastonbury Abbey may be the site of King Arthur’s court, but there are many other places in Great Britain that could also be the location.

CAT Paragraph Summary Questions: Answers and Explanations

I. Answer: 3. This answer takes into account all three main points of the passage: orchids are difficult to grow, there are numerous orchid species, and orchids can grow in different environments, even cold climates, when cared for properly.

1 makes an assumption about orchid environments that the passage does not support (they may grow well in tropical climates, but we also know that horticulturists in cold climates can raise orchids). Furthermore, this statement does not account for the discussion of the many types of orchids, or standards for home care, in the passage. 2 is true, according to the passage—but it is not the best summary, as it does not account for the explanation of orchid species given in the passage. 4 makes a similar omission; the passage also contradicts this statement in the final sentence.

II. Answer: 2. This statement correctly summarizes the passage by restating its main claim (that trench warfare was more common than most people think), then summarizing the details provided in the passage, which concern the invention and improvement of the trench system.

1 is factually correct, but only summarizes the end of the passage. 3 is not supported by the passage, which does not state an opinion about de Vauban’s work; it also does not summarize more than that sentence. 4 is partially correct, but does not summarize the entire passage, nor is the statement that most people do not realize that trench warfare also took place in the United States supported by the passage.

III. Answer: 1. The passage as a whole describes why it is difficult to prove that King Arthur was real (lots of different sites claiming to have been his home, the impossibility of digging at Glastonbury Abbey).

2 is unsubstantiated by the passage, which does not tell us with certainty that King Arthur was real or that he was buried (let alone lived) near Glastonbury Abbey. Statement 3 takes the passage’s subject too far, as the author does not express an opinion about mythical figures in general. 4 may be true, but is not the main focus of the passage, which concentrates primarily on the reality of King Arthur, not the location of his court.

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