English Reading Comprehension with Detailed Explanation – IBPS, SSC Exam (Day-13)

English Reading Comprehension with Detailed Explanation – IBPS, SSC Exams (Day-13):

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Direction (1-10): Read the passage below and answer the following questions.

The most difficult thing for all of us is to look at anything with a genuinely open mind. That’s because all of us compare anything we see with something we know, or are familiar with. Very often we also come to conclusions based on our past knowledge or experience. But that need not always work. Edward De Bono narrated a very interesting story when he was here in India. Apparently in Australia, the one-dollar coin is bigger than the two-dollar coin.The story goes thus. There were a bunch of older kids playing with a younger kid and having fun at his cost. They would call the younger kid, place before him one A$1 coin (which was bigger) and one A$2 coin (which was smaller). They would ask the kid to choose and the young kid would choose the bigger coin. This amused the older kids who were laughing at the young boy’s expense. They repeated the game often and would make fun of the small boy. An old man was watching this for a while. He called the young kid and explained hoe the small coin actually bought twice as much. Therefore, next time the young kid should choose the small coin. Next day again, the older boys called the young kid and placed the two coins. As the old man watched, the young kid reached out for the bigger coin. The old man called him in exasperation and asked him why he did what he did. The kid’s answer was a classic. ‘The day I choose the two-dollar coin, the game will be over. Let them have the laughs, I prefer the dollars!’  This is a fascinating story in many ways. The older kids were obviously operating under the assumption that the younger child was making a mistake. They expected him to pick up the bigger coin and he did. He was making a dollar every time they played the game. This is the same with ideas. When you apply an old framework to a new idea, chances are you will not see the full potential of what is possible.

Let me give you another example, this time from real life. One of my friends went for an alumni meeting that was held at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai. He was looking for a parking place and found none. Being a creative person, he came up with as interesting solution, which was characteristic of him. He observed that there were several cars with chauffeurs. So, he noted the registration number of one of those cars and went to the porch. He made an announcement for that car. Obviously, the chauffeur responded and moved out. My friend quickly parked his car in the now vacant space and went for his alumni meeting. I wondered as to what most of us would have done. We would have looked for a vacant parking space. And driven around till we found one. Our perception is that you can’t park your car in a space already occupied.  Interestingly in both cases, people benefited when they did not operate from standard perceptions. For instance, in the case of the kids, the older kids were playing the game of right and wrong. The younger one did not play the game. His game was to get a dollar every time! In my friend’s case, he did not look for a vacant parking space. He created one! What colours of perceptions? Our knowledge, our experience, our education, our upbringing, our culture, our beliefs, our assumptions- everything colours our perceptions. These are the bars of our mental cage. Because of this we face two problems. We are not able to break away from the cage and think differently. We are not able to look at new ideas differently because our view is obstructed by the bars of our mental cage.

Perceptions affect both the way we tend to define a problem, as well as the way we see solutions. I see this every time I am working with a client who wants to get help. For instance, clients come with preconceived notions about the root cause of a problem. On probing, we find that the real reasons are different. Similarly, our perceptions about the consequences of certain solutions could be very misleading too. The first step in handling perceptions is to acknowledge them. And convert that to an advantage. For example, the same issue being seen by people from a group of people with different perceptions could throw up a range of possibilities we could never have thought of. The trick lies in activating these perceptions and listening for value. That’s when the best mentors, coaches and facilitators too.


1)What is the moral of the passage?

  1. We need to change our rigid perceptions in order to be able to think differently and creatively.
  2. Only if we give up thinking in ways that other people expect us to think, will we be able to succeed in thinking differently.
  3. To think differently is to allow ourselves to be undermined by our predetermined perceptions.
  4. We must listen to what other people have to say as they could probably look at a problem from a fresh angle and add a new perception to it.
  5. None of these

2)The idea that each one of us lives in mental cages of our own making is:

  1. Taken for granted in this passage.
  2. An erroneous assumption, according to the author.
  3. A presumptuous belief on the part of the author.
  4. Proved beyond a shadow of doubt in the course of the passage.
  5. None of these

3)Which of the following best sums up the author’s thesis in this passage?

  1. Only if we acknowledge that there could be a different way of approaching a problem can we succeed in solving it.
  2. Our inability to look at things differently stems from our inadequacy in looking at things with a genuinely open mind.
  3. The best mentors, facilitators and coaches are able to successfully listen for value, and there contribute more positively.
  1. All of the above.
  2. I and II.
  3. Only III.
  4. Only I.
  5. None of these

4)The reason why the Australian boy persisted in picking up the A$1 coin is that:

  1. He was sure that the big size implied greater value.
  2. He knew he was being outwitted but didn’t want the game to end.
  3. He wanted to prove that the size did not matter to him.
  4. He was making a profit by pretending to be dim-witted and suited his perception.
  5. None of these

5)Through the first illustration, the author wats to prove that:

  1. We need to recognize a problem for what it is to begin to solve it.
  2. Old solutions are ineffective in solving new problems.
  3. The moment you apply an old framework to a new idea you are limiting its potentialities and possibilities.
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.

6)The second example is:

  1. A counter-point to the first one.
  2. Used to reinforce the idea that in both cases the protagonists benefited because they chose not to operate from set perceptions.
  3. Used to prove that we ought to be aggressive in our thinking and actively participate to find creative solutions to our problems.
  4. Used to show that children are more prone to thinking creatively as they are not yet bound by set perceptions.
  5. None of these

7)The title that best captures the essence of this article is:

  1. Caged Ideas and Captured Solutions.
  2. Innovative Thinking- The Only Way to Success.
  3. Breaking the Old Framework.
  4. Making It New.
  5. None of these
  1. Which of the following is the most opposite in meaning to the word ‘perceptions’ as used in the context of the passage?
  1. Illusion
  2. Thoughts
  3. Recognition
  4. Idea
  5. Belief
  1. Which of the following can replace the word ‘fascinating’ as used in the context of the passage?
  1. Shocked
  2. Startled
  3. Flabbergasted
  4. Amusing
  5. None of these
  1. Which of the following can replace the word ‘exasperation’ as used in the context of the passage?
  1. Delightful
  2. Happy
  3. Overwhelming
  4. Pleasure
  5. Annoyed


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