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IBPS: Comprehension

The Battle of Chancellorsville

The Battle of Chancellorsville, one of the most famous battles of the Civil War, took place in
Virginia in the spring of 1863. For months, the two armies had been staked out on opposite
banks of a narrow river. The Confederate troops were led by perhaps the most revered
military tactician in American history, General Robert E. Lee. The Union soldiers were led by
"Fighting" Joe Hooker. In appearance, personality, and lifestyle, these men were nearly
perfect opposites. Lee, an older man in poor health with a gray beard, had a somber,
measured demeanor. Hooker was a blond, strapping young man whose vanity over his
appearance was but one aspect of his egotism. Whereas Lee was devout and principled,
Hooker was known for his rollicking enjoyment of both women and whiskey. Despite the fact
that the Confederacy had won the last four major battles and the Union soldiers were
famished, exhausted, and demoralized, Hooker proclaimed, "My plans are perfect. And when
I start to carry them out, may God have mercy on Bobby Lee, for I shall have none." Why,
aside from a propensity for narcissism, was Hooker so confident? Hooker had used spies,
analysts, and even hot air balloons to compile a vast amount of intelligence about Lees
army. He had discerned, for example, that Lee had only 61,000 men to Hookers own
134,000. Buoyed by his superior numbers, Hooker covertly moved 70,000 of his men fifteen
miles up and across the river, and then ordered them to sneak back down to position
themselves behind Lees army. In effect, Hooker had cut off the Confederate soldiers in front
and behind. They were trapped. Satisfied with his advantage, Hooker became convinced
that Lees only option was to retreat to Richmond, thus assuring a Union victory. Yet Lee,
despite his disadvantages of both numbers and position, did not retreat. Instead, he moved
his troops into position to attack. Union soldiers who tried to warn Hooker that Lee was on
the offensive were dismissed as cowards. Having become convinced that Lee had no choice
but to retreat, Hooker began to ignore reality. When Lees army attacked the Union soldiers
at 5:00 p.m., they were eating supper, completely unprepared for battle. They abandoned
their rifles and fled as Lees troops came shrieking out of the brush, bayonets drawn.
Against all odds, Lee won the Battle of Chancellorsville, and Hookers forces withdrew in
1) Based on information in the passage, it can be concluded that Hooker lost the Battle of

Chancellorsville mostly because of his

A. vanity
B. ignorance
C. overconfidence
D. faulty information
E. vices

2) The contrast drawn between L

The first step is for us to realise that a city need not be a frustrater of life; it can be among
other things, a mechanism for enhancing life, for producing possibilities of living which are
not to be realized except through cities. But, for that to happen, deliberate and drastic
planning is needed. Towns as much as animals, must have their systems of organs-those for
transport and circulation are an obvious example. What we need now are organ systems for
recreation, leisure, culture, community expression. This means abundance of open space,
easy access to unspoilt Nature, beauty in parks and in fine buildings, gymnasia and
swimming baths and recreation grounds in planty, central spaces for celebrations and
demonstrations, halls for citizens' meetings, concert halls and theatres and cinemas that
belong to the city. And the buildings must not be built anyhow or dumped down anywhere;
both they and their groupings should mean something important to the people of the place.
1. Cities can be made to provide full facilities for life, only if :

these can be mechanically developed.

proper transport system is introduced.
cinemas, theatres and concert halls are established there.
these are thoughtfully and vigorously designed to serve people's needs.

Ans (d)

A suitable title for the passage would be :


Ans (b)

Towns versus Animals.

The Need for Planned Cities.
Transport and Communication System in a City.
The Need for Entertainment Centres in a City.


"A city need not be a frustrater of life" means that:


one does not expect fulfilment of all life's requirements from a city.
city life provides all the essential needs of life.
a city does not necessarily lift man's standard of living.
a city should not defeat the fulfilment of life's aspirations and aims.

Ans (b)
4. Which one of the following has the opposite meaning to the word 'frustrater' in the








Ans (a)

5. "The building must not be built anyhow or dumped down anywhere"....the statement
implies that building :

should be built with suitable material.

should be constructed, according to some suitable design, not indiscriminately.
should be scattered to provide for more of open space.
should be built to enable citizens to enjoy nature.

Ans (c)

The word 'drastic' in the passage means :









determined.Ans (b)

The author talks about 'Unspoilt Nature'. In what way can Nature remain unspoilt?

If Nature is not allowed to interfere with people's day-to-day life.

By building cities with the system of organs like those of animals.
By allowing free access to parks and open spaces.
By allowing Nature to retain its primitive, undomesticated character.

Ans (b)

According to the author, the function of a city is to :


provide adequate community expression.

make available centres of recreation and public gatherings.
facilitate traffic and communication.
raise the tone of life and make it more meaningful.

Ans (d)

The opening sentence of the passage implies that :


Ans (b)

the possibilities of living a decent life cannot be found in a city.

only a city can provide the means to lead a full life.
among other places, a city can also help man to lead a successful life.
a city provides better opportunities for good living than a village.

Passage 2
A Close look at the facts relating to political interference in administration shows that it is
not a one-way process. There is often a nexus between power hungry and corrupt politicians
and civil servants with convenient principles. Many civil servants are only too anxious to
oblige the politicians, and then cash the obligation when they need some special favour. So
the attitude of self-righteousness adopted by the civil service is sometimes only a way of
covering their own flaws by blaming others.
Every now and then some retired civil servants come out with his memoirs, painting a
glorious picture of the heights of administrative efficiency reached during his reign. There is
often the suggestion that had there not been so much political interference, things would
have been even more fantastic. It is not unusual for the self styled hero to blame not only
interfering politicians but also fellow civil servants who are idiots or crooks, for his failures.
This attitude of smug self-satisfaction is, unfortunately, developed during the years of
service. Self preservation rather than service is encouraged by our whole system of rules
and procedures.
The remedy has to be drastic and quickly effective. The over protection now granted to civil
servants must end. Today to remove an erring civil servant is just not possible. And the only
thing that the highest authority in the Government, both in the State and at the Centre, can
do is to transfer an official from one job to another. The rules for taking disciplinary action
are so complicated that, in the end, the defaulting civil servants gets away, and gets his full
emoluments even for the period of the disciplinary proceedings, thus making it a paid
holiday for him.
The result is that the administration has become rule-oriented and not result-oriented.
Action is possible against the official who takes some interest in his work, but no action is
ever taken against a person who does not deliever the goods. If the country is to adopt a
result-oriented approach, it is necessary to link job performance with job retention.

The facts relating to the problem of political interference indicate that:

(a) honest bureaucrats are always being troubled by politicians.

(b) politicians are often misled and trapped by civil servants.
(c) politicians and civil servants co-operate to gain mutual advantages.
(d) politicians and civil servants use interference as an excuse for victimising the common

Ans (c)


The attitude of self-righteousness adopted by the civil service, according to the writer:
(a) is not welcomed and supported by politicians.
(b) is dishonest and conceals the facts.
(C) is very difficult to maintain because of opposition.
(d) does not really help the public get fair treatment.

Ans (b)

Civil servants who write their memoirs after retiring:

(a) claim that they would have achieved outstanding success if interference had not come
in the way. (b) prove that constant political interference made it impossible for them to do
anything properly.
(c) complain that the credit for their achievements goes to dishonest politicians.
(d) prove that people of inferior quality in the civil service bring about interference.
Ans (a)

The existing system of administration seems to encourage civil servants:

(a) to become self-styled heroes and boss over others.
(b) to present a glorious picture of the administration.
(c) to become self-centred and concerned mainly about their own gain.
(d) to become self-righteous and fight back against corrupt politicians.

Ans (c)

The problem with the present set-up needing urgent action is:
(a) a lack of accountability on the part of civil servants.
(b) a lack of control over the power of politicians.
(c) a neglect of the ideals of self-righteousness.
(d) complicated rules and procedures that greatly reduce efficiency.

Ans (a)


The main principle of the remedy proposed by the writer is, that:
(a) the politicians should be made accountable for all their decisions.
(b) the high level of protection enjoyed by civil servants should be reduced.
(c) the common mans right to efficient and fair administration must be protected.
(d) rules should be simplified so that there is less scope for misuse.

Ans (b)
7. According to existing procedures, if a civil servant is found to be unsuitable or
(a) he can appeal to an authority like the Supreme Court.
(b) politicians with whom he has special links will interfere to help him.
(c) transfering him to another post is the usual action taken.
(d) a conflict between Central Government and State Government interests can arise.
Ans (c)

The writer refers to a paid holiday to support his argument that:

(a) civil servants get a lot of extra benefits. (b) disciplinary action is generally not quick
or effective. (c) lazy and inefficient bureaucrats seem to be on holiday even when on duty.
(d) special postings that favoured civil servants are necessary and wasteful.
Ans (b)

The expression linking job performance with job retention refers to a policy in which:

(a) selection to civil service jobs is on the basis of rigorous performance tests.
(b) selection to civil service jobs is on the basis of rigorous performance and not a
ministers opinion is the basis of transfer or promotion.
(c) retention of good government servants by discouraging their going to private
(d) continuation in service will depend on satisfactory performance.

Ans (d)

The expression deliver the goods means:

(a) show good job performance (b) accept bribes or other illegal favours.
(c) make payments of black money as bribes. (d) successfully defend oneself against a
charge, in a disciplinary inquiry.
Ans (a)

Passage 3

Mr. Harding was not a happy man as he walked down the palace pathway, and stepped out
into the lose. His position and pleasant house were a second time gone from him; but that
he could endure. He had been schooled and insulted by a man young enough to be his son;
but that he could put up with. He could even draw from the very injuries which had been
inflicted on him some of that consolation which, we may believe, martyrs always receive
from the injustice of their own sufferings. He had admitted to his daughter that he wanted
the comfort of his old home, and yet he could have returned to his lodgings in the High
Street, if not with exultation, at least with satisfaction, had that been all. But the venom of
the chaplain's harangue had worked into his blood, and sapped the life of his sweet
contentment. 'New men are carrying out new measures, and are carting away the useless
rubbish of past centuries!' What cruel words these had been- and how often are they now
used with all the heartless cruelty of a Slope! A man is sufficiently condemned if it can only
be shown that either in politics or religion he does not belong to some new school
established within the last score of years. He may then regard himself as rubbish and
expect to be carted away. A man is nothing now unless he has within him a full appreciation
of the new era; an era in which it would seem that neither honesty nor truth is very
desirable, but in which success is the only touchstone of merit. We must laugh at
everything that is established. Let the joke be ever so bad, ever so untrue to the real
principles of
joking; nevertheless we must laugh - or else beware the cart. We must talk, think, and
live up to the spirit of the times, or else we are nought. New men and new measures, long
credit and few scruples, great success or wonderful ruin, such are now the tastes of
Englishmen who know how to live! Alas, alas! Under such circumstances Mr. Harding could
not but feel that he was an Englishman who did not know how to live. This new doctrine of
Mr. Slope and the rubbish cart sadly disturbed his equanimity.
'The same thing is going on throughout the whole country!' 'Work is now required from
man who receives wages!' And had he been living all his life receiving wages, and doing
no work? Had he in truth so lived as to be now in his old age justly reckoned as rubbish fit
only to be hidden away in
some huge dust-hole? The school of men to whom he professes to belong, the Grantlys,

the Gwynnes, are afflicted with no such self-accusations as these which troubled Mr.
Harding. They, as a rule, are as satisfied with the wisdom and propriety of their own
conduct as can be any Mr. Slope, or any Bishop with his own. But, unfortunately for
himself, Mr. Harding had little of this self-reliance. When he heard himself designated as
rubbish by the Slopes of the world, he had no other resource than to make inquiry within his
own bosom as to the truth of the designation. Alas, alas! the evidence seemed generally to
go against him.

Class Revision

A. Error identification
1. Each of the hotels 150 roomswere equipped with central air conditioning and
colour television
No Error
2. Every man, woman and child are now aware of the dangerous consequences of
(d) no error

3. A great many teachers firmly believe that English is one of the poorest taught
subjects in schools



d no error

4. Neither the salesman nor the marketing manager of the system

a. Is favouring b. is in favour c. are in favour

d. are for favour

5. Please vote for the member .has done the most for our village
a. Whom you believe
c. that you believe
b. Who you believed
d. who you believe
B. Sentence improvement
1. She never has and she never will keep her promise
a. she never has and she never will
b. she has not ever and she will
c. she never has kept and she never will
d. She can never and she never do so
2. You must explain as to why you were late
a. About why
b. on why

c. why
d. no improvement

3. The workers are hell bent at getting what is due to them

a. Hell bent on getting
b. Hell bent for getting
c. Hell bent upon getting
d. No improvement
4. You delay in taking a decision conveys a negative message
a. you delay to take
b. If you delay taking
c. Your delay in taking
d. To delay by taking
5. The rise in unemployment is parallel by an increase in petty crime
a. Was parallel by
b. Will be parallel by
c. Is paralleled by
d. Is paralleled with

C. Parajumbles
1. We should have a
p. To life, centred on man
q. More comprehensive approach
r. But as an individual with
s. Not as a statistic
6. Many sides to his personality






There was
Needed for its everyday life
A time when each family
For itself most of the things it
Actually produced





3. When the sun rose


as his objective was to reach his destination

the traveller resumed his journey in time


D. Sentence completion
1. Gandhiji was a humble man known for his
a. Modesty
b. Sweetness
c. Kindness d. Pleasantness
2. The book will be .by every western student in Russia and it will be a
thrilling adventure for any reader.
a. Skimmed
b. perused c. rejected d. borrowed
3. His ..income does not allow him to buy a TV
a. Meager
b. small
c. spare

d. scarce

4. When you are living with your values and principles, you can be
straightforward, honest and ..
a. Core, upfront
b. inherited, distinct
c. innate, durable d.
cultural, perceptive

5. If a junior executive neglects his professional development and education , he

can easily and quickly become obsolete in a world changing at .rates
a. Management, voluminous
b. Higher, vulnerable
c. Better, supreme
d. Continuing, dizzying

Cloze test

Jill was walking to her class slowly. She was worried ___1___ the History test she would have
to ___2___ that morning. As she was reaching the classroom, a piece of paper suddenly
fluttered down and ___3___ near her feet. As Jill glanced down at the paper, her heart nearly
___4___ a beat. It was the History test paper complete ___5___ answers !
Jill's very first thought was not to ___6___ anyone about what she had found. She would
memorize ___7___ the answers and do extremely ___8___ in the test. After some hard
thinking, however, she knew that it would be a very ___9___ thing to do. Besides, it would not
be ___10___ to her classmates. In the ___11___ , Jill returned the paper to her History teacher,
Miss James.

Conduit: Water

Pump: oil
Behavior : liquid
Artery : blood
Wire: sound

Aviary: birds
a. Zoo: tigers
b. Bank: money
c. Post office: letters

d. Arboretum: plants