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Para-jumbles broadly fall in three categories. In each category, the jumbled 

sentences are coded with an alphabet (usually A, B, C and D).

1. 4/5 sentences are given in a random order and you have to unjumble all of

them. Toughest of the lot!

2. The opening sentence + 4/5 sentences are given and you have to rearrange

the group of 4/5 sentences, having been given prior knowledge of the thought

that starts off the flow of the discussion.

3. 4/5 sentences + the closing sentence is given and you need to correctly

sequence 4/5 sentences so that they flow into the last sentence.

4. Opening sentence + 4/5 Sentences + Closing Sentence are given. Easiest of

the lot. You know where the story starts and where it ends. You only have to

figure out the screenplay in between!


The smartest approach

a) The best approach to solving PJ questions is the 'free fall' one. That is,

develop a high reading speed and scan all 4-5 sentences. Try to get a feel of

what the passage is about.

b) At this point you need to decide whether this particular paragraph is one which

you are comfortable with or not.
c) If you decide to go ahead, then scan the answer options. Are they of any help?

If , for example the options are,


Then you know for sure that this paragraph has to start either with B or C. A

quick look at B and C will tell you which one looks like a better opening sentence

and already your choices will be halved.

Similarly, with options,


then we know that it has to end with either B or A. So browse sentences A and B

and see if any one of them look like a concluding sentence.

There might be other indicators to keep an eye out for. For example if three of

the five options start with A and the other two with C/B/D there is a good

probability that A is the starting sentence.

If, say, a link CB occurs in more than 2 options then it is something worth paying

attention to.

PJ strategies to save time and increase accuracy

Strategy 1: Once upon a time long ago... / ...and they lived happily after: Identify

the opening/closing sentence using what we discussed above. Either the tone of

the paragraph or the option elimination method.

Strategy 2: Where's the interlock dude? Identify links between two sentences

and try to see if that link exists in multiple answer options (a sure way to know

that you are on the right track). A combination of 1 and 2 will take you home most

of the time.

Place your magnifying glass on the following,

Strategy 2a: Make it 'personal'. Look out for personal pronouns (he, she, it, him,

her, you, they). Personal pronouns always refer to a person, place or thing.

Therefore, if a sentence has a personal pronoun without mentioning the person,

place or object it is referring to, mark it in your head and scan the paragraph for

the original person, place or object that it refers to.

For example if you go back to the opening jumbled paragraph of this article, the

third sentence starts with 'it'. We now need to figure out what 'it' refers to and the

sentence containing the original 'it' will come before this sentence.

Strategy 2b: Look for 'Poriborton' (Change, in Mamata Banerjee's tongue).

Certain words called 'transition words' help the author to shift from one thought

flow to another. In other words, they usher in change. Some transition words that

appear regularly are --- hence, besides, simultaneously, in conclusion, etc. While

you practice PJs whenever you come across a transition word --- note it down.

Make a list!

Strategy 2c: Demonstrate! Look for demonstrative pronouns --- this, that, these,

those, etc. Again, if you look at our opening paragraph, the first line starts with

'for this' --- now we know that we need to figure out what 'this' refers to and the

sentence containing the original 'this' will come before this sentence.

Strategy 3: Main samay hoon! Sometimes the events mentioned in the

paragraph can be arranged in a chronological order making it easy for you to

identify the sequence. Example,

A: Alexander Bain, Scottish clockmaker, patented the electric clock.

B: The next development in accuracy occurred after 1656 with the invention of

the pendulum clock.

C: Clocks have played an important role in man's history.

D: Spring-driven clocks appeared during the 15th century, although they are

often erroneously credited to Nuremberg watchmaker Peter Henlen around 1511.

It is quite obvious by studying the chronology what the sequence should be.

Strategy 4: The Chota Rajan Approach. Sometimes you will find that for some

terms in the paragraph both the full form and the abbreviation have been used.

For Example IMF --- International Monetary Fund, Charles Dickens --- Dickens,

Dr Manmohan Singh --- Dr Singh. In these cases where both the full form as well

as the abbreviation is present in different sentences, then the sentence

containing the full form will obviously come before the sentence containing the


Strategy 5: What an Idea Sirji! If there are two sentences, one containing an

idea and another giving examples of the same idea then the sentence containing

the idea should come before the sentence containing the examples. But they

need not necessarily be exactly side by side. Example,

A: Russia possesses the largest stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in

the world.

B: 489 missiles carrying up to 1,788 warheads and 12 submarines carrying up to

609 warheads form a looming threat.

A will come before B in this case, even though there might be sentences in


Strategy 6: An article of faith. It is highly unlikely that the definite article 'the' will

be part of an opening sentence. If 'a/an' and 'the' both are used for the same

noun then the sentence containing 'the' will come after the sentence containing


Tips for beginners

Focus on improving your reading skills. Also try to improve your cognitive ability.

For example --- Go to a random website article. Go immediately to the second

paragraph and after reading it try to guess what the author could have possibly

said in the previous paragraph and the next paragraph. This will help you with a

couple of other types of questions as well which we shall discuss in later articles.

            To-do practice activity for all of you

Team up with another friend. Both of you select passages from newspaper

editorials, magazines, etc. Paste them to Microsoft Word. Break them up into

sentences. Jumble up the sentences. Exchange and solve.


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