Previous Year VARC Questions of 2023, 2022, and 2021: Check Answers Here!!

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Previous Year VARC Questions

Previous Year VARC Questions: VARC or Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension preparation for an MBA needs a long-term plan as it can not be learned overnight. The key to cracking the VARC section of any MBA entrance exam is long-term planning, creating English comprehension by journaling and reading books, understanding the fundamentals of English grammar and consistently practising previous year VARC sample questions. 

Also reads: CAT VARC Exam Pattern with Topics, Preparation Tips & Best Books

Previous Year VARC Questions with Solutions

The VARC section of the CAT exam is believed to be the toughest among all the MBA entrance exams in India. This is usually because the Reading Comprehension passages of the CAT exam are mainly inference, unlike MAT or CMAT whose passages are fact-based.

VARC Question 2023

Instruction: The passage below is accompanied by four questions. Based on the passage, choose the best answer for each question.

Many human phenomena and characteristics – such as behaviours, beliefs, economies, genes, incomes, life expectancies, and other things – are influenced both by geographic factors and by non-geographic factors. Geographic factors mean physical and biological factors tied to geographic location, including climate, the distributions of wild plant and animal species, soils, and topography. Non-geographic factors include those factors subsumed under the term culture, other factors subsumed under the term history, and decisions by individual people. . . .

The differences between the current economies of North and South Korea . . . cannot be attributed to the modest environmental differences between them . . . They are instead due entirely to the different [government] policies . . . At the opposite extreme, the Inuit and other traditional peoples living north of the Arctic Circle developed warm fur clothes but no agriculture, while equatorial lowland peoples around the world never developed warm fur clothes but often did develop agriculture. The explanation is straightforwardly geographic, rather than a cultural or historical quirk unrelated to geography. . . . Aboriginal Australia remained the sole continent occupied only by hunter/gatherers and with no indigenous farming or herding . . . [Here the] explanation is biogeographic: the Australian continent has no domesticable native animal species and few domesticable native plant species. Instead, the crops and domestic animals that now make Australia a food and wool exporter are all non-native (mainly Eurasian) species such as sheep, wheat, and grapes, brought to Australia by overseas colonists.

Today, no scholar would be silly enough to deny that culture, history, and individual choices play a big role in many human phenomena. Scholars don’t react to cultural, historical, and individual-agent explanations by denouncing “cultural determinism,” “historical determinism,” or “individual determinism,” and then thinking no further. But many scholars do react to any explanation invoking some geographic role, by denouncing “geographic determinism” . . .

Several reasons may underlie this widespread but nonsensical view. One reason is that some geographic explanations advanced a century ago were racist, thereby causing all geographic explanations to become tainted by racist associations in the minds of many scholars other than geographers. But many genetic, historical, psychological, and anthropological explanations advanced a century ago were also racist, yet the validity of newer non-racist genetic etc. explanations is widely accepted today.

Another reason for reflex rejection of geographic explanations is that historians have a tradition, in their discipline, of stressing the role of contingency (a favorite word among historians) based on individual decisions and chance. Often that view is warranted . . . But often, too, that view is unwarranted. The development of warm fur clothes among the Inuit living north of the Arctic Circle was not because one influential Inuit leader persuaded other Inuit in 1783 to adopt warm fur clothes, for no good environmental reason.

A third reason is that geographic explanations usually depend on detailed technical facts of geography and other fields of scholarship . . . Most historians and economists don’t acquire that detailed knowledge as part of their professional training.

All of the following can be inferred from the passage EXCEPT:

  1. agricultural practices changed drastically in the Australian continent after it was colonised.
  2. individual dictat and contingency were not the causal factors for the use of fur clothing in some very cold climates.
  3. while most human phenomena result from culture and individual choice, some have bio-geographic origins.
  4. several academic studies of human phenomena in the past involved racist interpretations.

Correct Answer: C

All of the following are advanced by the author as reasons why non-geographers disregard geographic influences on human phenomena EXCEPT their:

  1. dismissal of explanations that involve geographical causes for human behaviour.
  2. belief in the central role of humans, unrelated to physical surroundings, in influencing phenomena.
  3. lingering impressions of past geographic analyses that were politically offensive.
  4. disciplinary training which typically does not include technical knowledge of geography.

Correct Answer: A

The examples of the Inuit and Aboriginal Australians are offered in the passage to show:

  1. how environmental factors lead to comparatively divergent paths in livelihoods and development.
  2. human resourcefulness across cultures in adapting to their surroundings.
  3. how physical circumstances can dictate human behaviour and cultures?
  4. that despite geographical isolation, traditional societies were self-sufficient and adaptive.

Correct Answer: C

The author criticises scholars who are not geographers for all of the following reasons EXCEPT:

  1. their rejection of the role of biogeographic factors in social and cultural phenomena.
  2. their outdated interpretations of past cultural and historical phenomena.
  3. their labelling of geographic explanations as deterministic.
  4. the importance they place on the role of individual decisions when studying human phenomena.

Correct Answer: B

VARC Question 2022

Instruction: The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

The Chinese have two different concepts of a copy. Fangzhipin . . . are imitations where the difference from the original is obvious. These are small models or copies that can be purchased in a museum shop, for example. The second concept for a copy is fuzhipin . . . They are exact reproductions of the original, which, for the Chinese, are of equal value to the original. It has absolutely no negative connotations. The discrepancy with regard to the understanding of what a copy is has often led to misunderstandings and arguments between China and Western museums. The Chinese often send copies abroad instead of originals, in the firm belief that they are not essentially different from the originals. The rejection that then comes from the Western museums is perceived by the Chinese as an insult. . . .

The Far Eastern notion of identity is also very confusing to the Western observer. The Ise Grand Shrine [in Japan] is 1,300 years old for the millions of Japanese people who go there on pilgrimage every year. But in reality, this temple complex is completely rebuilt from scratch every 20 years. . . .

The cathedral of Freiburg Minster in southwest Germany is covered in scaffolding almost all year round. The sandstone from which it is built is a very soft, porous material that does not withstand natural erosion by rain and wind. After a while, it crumbles. As a result, the cathedral is continually being examined for damage, and eroded stones are replaced. In the cathedral’s dedicated workshop, copies of the damaged sandstone figures are constantly being produced. Of course, attempts are made to preserve the stones from the Middle Ages for as long as possible. But at some point, they, too, are removed and replaced with new stones.

Fundamentally, this is the same operation as with the Japanese shrine, except in this case, the production of a replica takes place very slowly and over long periods. . . . In the field of art as well, the idea of an unassailable original developed historically in the Western world. Back in the 17th century [in the West], excavated artworks from antiquity were treated quite differently from today. They were not restored in a way that was faithful to the original. Instead, there was massive intervention in these works, changing their appearance. . . .

It is probably this intellectual position that explains why Asians have far fewer scruples about cloning than Europeans. The South Korean cloning researcher Hwang Woo-suk, who attracted worldwide attention with his cloning experiments in 2004, is a Buddhist. He found a great deal of support and followers among Buddhists, while Christians called for a ban on human cloning. . . . Hwang legitimised his cloning experiments with his religious affiliation: ‘I am Buddhist, and I have no philosophical problem with cloning. And as you know, the basis of Buddhism is that life is recycled through reincarnation. In some ways, I think, therapeutic cloning restarts the circle of life.’

Based on the passage, which one of the following copies would a Chinese museum be unlikely to consider as having less value than the original?

a) Pablo Picasso’s painting of Vincent van Gogh’s original painting, is identical in every respect.

b) Pablo Picasso’s photograph of Vincent van Gogh’s original painting, printed to exactly the same scale.

c) Pablo Picasso’s miniaturised, but otherwise faithful and accurate painting of Vincent van Gogh’s original painting.

d) Pablo Picasso’s painting of Vincent van Gogh’s original painting, bearing Picasso’s signature.

Correct Answer: A

Which one of the following statements does not correctly express the similarity between the Ise Grand Shrine and the cathedral of Freiburg Minster?

a) Both can be regarded as very old structures.

b) Both will one day be completely rebuilt.

c) Both were built as places of worship.

d) Both are continually undergoing restoration.

Correct Answer: D

Which one of the following scenarios is unlikely to follow from the arguments in the passage?

  1. 17th century British painters would have no problem adding personal touches when restoring an ancient Roman painting.
  1. A 20th century Japanese Buddhist monk would value a reconstructed shrine as the original.
  2. A 17th century French artist who adhered to a Christian worldview would need to be completely true to the original intent of a painting when restoring it.
  3. A 21st century Christian scientist is likely to oppose cloning because of his philosophical orientation.

Correct Answer: C

The value that the modern West assigns to “an unassailable original” has resulted in all of the following EXCEPT:

  1. it discourages them from making interventions in ancient art.
  2. it discourages them from carrying out human cloning.
  3. it discourages them from simultaneous displays of multiple copies of a painting.
  4. it allows regular employment for certain craftsmen.

Correct Answer: D

VARC Question 2021

Instruction: The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

The sleights of hand that conflate consumption with virtue are a central theme in A Thirst for Empire, a sweeping and richly detailed history of tea by the historian Erika Rappaport. How did tea evolve from an obscure “China drink” to a universal beverage imbued with civilising properties? The answer, in brief, revolves around this conflation, not only by profit-motivated marketers but by a wide variety of interest groups. While abundant historical records have allowed the study of how tea itself moved from east to west, Rappaport is focused on the movement of the idea of tea to suit particular purposes.

Beginning in the 1700s, the temperance movement advocated for tea as a pleasure that cheered but did not inebriate, and industrialists soon borrowed this moral argument in advancing their case for free trade in tea (and hence more open markets for their textiles). Factory owners joined in, compelled by the cause of a sober workforce, while Christian missionaries discovered that tea “would soothe any colonial encounter”. During the Second World War, tea service was presented as a social and patriotic activity that uplifted soldiers and calmed refugees.

But it was tea’s consumer-directed marketing by importers and retailers “ and later by brands “ that most closely portends current trade debates. An early version of the “farm to table” movement was sparked by anti-Chinese sentiment and concerns over trade deficits, as well as by the reality and threat of adulterated tea containing dirt and hedge clippings. Lipton was soon advertising “from the Garden to Tea Cup” supply chains originating in British India and supervised by “educated Englishmen”. While tea marketing always presented direct consumer benefits (health, energy, relaxation), tea drinkers were also assured that they were participating in a larger noble project that advanced the causes of family, nation and civilization. . . .

Rappaport’s treatment of her subject is refreshingly apolitical. Indeed, it is a virtue that readers will be unable to guess her political orientation: both the miracle of markets and capitalism’s dark underbelly are evident in tea’s complex story, as are the complicated effects of British colonialism. . . . Commodity histories are now themselves commodities: recent works investigate cotton, salt, cod, sugar, chocolate, paper and milk. And morality marketing is now a commodity as well, applied to food, “fair trade” apparel and eco-tourism. Yet tea is, Rappaport makes clear, a world apart “ an astonishing success story in which tea marketers not only succeeded in conveying a sense of moral elevation to the consumer but also arguably did advance the cause of civilisation and community.

I have been offered tea at a British garden party, a Bedouin campfire, a Turkish carpet shop and a Japanese chashitsu, to name a few settings. In each case the offering was more an idea “ friendship, community, respect “ than a drink, and in each case the idea then created a reality. It is not a stretch to say that tea marketers have advanced the particularly noble cause of human dialogue and friendship.

  1. The author of this book review is LEAST likely to support the view that:
  1. tea drinking was sometimes promoted as a patriotic duty.
  2. the ritual of drinking tea promotes congeniality and camaraderie.
  3. tea drinking has become a social ritual worldwide.
  4. tea became the leading drink in Britain in the nineteenth century.

Correct Answer: D

      2. This book review argues that, according to Rappaport, tea is unlike other “morality” products because it:

  1. appealed to a universal group and not just to a niche section of people.
  2. had an actual beneficial effect on social interaction and society in general.
  3. was actively encouraged by interest groups in the government.
  4. was marketed by a wide range of interest groups.

Correct Answer: B

      3.  According to this book review, A Thirst for Empire says that, in addition to “profit-motivated marketers”, tea drinking was promoted in Britain by all of the following

  1. factories to instill sobriety in their labour.
  2. tea drinkers lobbying for product diversity.
  3. manufacturers who were pressing for duty-free imports.
  4. the anti-alcohol lobby as a substitute for the consumption of liquor. 

Correct Answer: B

      4. Today, “conflat[ing] consumption with virtue” can be seen in the marketing of:

  1. sustainably farmed foods.
  2. ergonomically designed products.
  3. travel to pristine destinations.
  4. natural health supplements.

Correct Answer: A

List of CAT Books to Solve Previous Year VARC Questions

Check out the table below for a list of CAT books 2024 to assist students in solving Previous Year VARC Questions.

Name of the CAT VARC BooksAuthor’s Name/Publishers
PSC for VA for CATNishit Sinha
Word Power Made EasyNorman Lewis
How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CATArun Sharma
30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary Mass Market PaperbackWilfred Funk & Norman Lewis
A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal ReasoningR.S. Agarwal 
Source: Cracku- MBA CAT Preparation
CAT VARC Syllabus: Preparation Tips, Previous Year Question Papers & MoreList of Best VARC Books for CAT
CAT ArchivesCAT Preparation in 6 Months: Preparation Tips, Best Books
VARC Topics for CAT: Important Topics, Syllabus, Tips to PrepareImportant Topics in DILR for CAT with Preparation Tips


What do you understand by Varc in CAT?

VARC or Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension, is one of the most significant sections in the CAT Exam. This section tests the knowledge and ability of the English language, including grammar, comprehension or vocabulary.

What do you understand by a good VARC score?

Yet, to ensure admission to top IIMs or other premier management institutes, a candidate should desire for a VARC score beyond 90 percentile or around 50 marks out of 102. A score above the 95 percentile or around 60 marks out of 102 is supposed to be an excellent score.

Which IIM is considered to have the lowest cutoff?

IIM Ahmedabad is considered to be the lowest sectional cutoff in CAT requirement which is 70 percentile or above for each section.

This was all about the previous year’s VARC questions. For more informative blogs, check out our Management Exams Section, or you can learn more about us by visiting our  Indian exams page of Leverage Edu.

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