How to increase your accuracy on RC–2 In the previous post, we discussed a strategy to approach RCs and solved an actual passage from CAT 2017 Slot 2. In this post, we will take up a few more passages from the same slot and execute the strategy.
During the frigid season it’s often necessary to nestle under a blanket to try to stay warm. The temperature difference between the blanket and the air outside is so palpable that we often have trouble leaving our warm refuge. How to increase your accuracy on RC–2 Many plants and animals similarly hunker down, relying on snow cover for safety from winter’s harsh conditions.
The small area between the snowpack and the ground, called the subnivium might be the most important ecosystem that you have never heard of. The subnivium is so well-insulated and stable that its temperature holds steady at around 32 degree Fahrenheit. Although that might still sound cold, a constant temperature of 32 degree Fahrenheit can often be 30 to 40 degrees warmer than the air temperature during the peak of winter.
How to increase your accuracy on RC–2 Because of this large temperature difference, a wide variety of species depend on the subnivium for winter protection. For many organisms living in temperate and Arctic regions, the difference between being under the snow or outside it is a matter of life and death. Consequently, disruptions to the subnivium brought about by climate change will affect everything from population dynamics to nutrient cycling through the ecosystem.
The formation and stability of the subnivium requires more than a few flurries. Winter ecologists have suggested that eight inches of snow is necessary to develop a stable layer of insulation. Depth is not the only factor, however. More accurately, the stability of the subnivium depends on the interaction between snow depth and snow density.
Imagine being under a stack of blankets that are all flattened and pressed together. When compressed, the blankets essentially form one compacted layer. In contrast, when they are lightly placed on top of one another, their insulative capacity increases because the air pockets between them trap heat. Greater depths of low-density snow are therefore better at insulating the ground. Both depth and density of snow are sensitive to temperature. How to increase your accuracy on RC–2 Scientists are now beginning to explore how climate change will affect the subnivium, as well as the species that depend on it.
At first glance, warmer winters seem beneficial for species have difficulty surviving subzero temperatures; however, as with most ecological phenomena, the consequences are not so straightforward. Research has shown that the snow season (the period when snow is more likely than rain) has become shorter since 1970. How to increase your accuracy on RC–2 When rain falls on snow, it increases the density of the snow and reduces its insulative capacity.
Therefore, even though winters are expected to become warmer overall from future climate change, the subnivium will tend to become colder and more variable with less protection from the above-ground temperatures. The effects of a colder subnivium are complex. For example, shrubs such as crowberry and alpine azalea that grow along the forest floor tend to block the wind and so retain higher depths of snow around them.
This captured snow helps to keep soils insulated and in turn increases plant decomposition and nutrient release. In field experiments, researchers removed a portion of the snow cover to investigate the importance of the subnivium’s insulation. They found that soil frost in the snow-free area resulted in damage to plant roots and sometimes even the death of the plant.
7. The purpose of this passage is to
a. introduce readers to a relatively unknown ecosystem: the subnivium
b. explain how the subnivium works to provide shelter and food to several species.
c. outline the effects of climate change on the subnivium.
d. draw an analogy between the effect of blankets on humans and of snow cover on species living in the subnivium.
The correct answer is option c.
8. All of the following statements are true EXCEPT
a. Snow depth and snow density both influence the stability of the subnivium.
b. Climate change has some positive effects on the subnivium.
c. The subnivium maintains a steady temperature that can be 30 to 40 degrees warmer than the winter air temperature.
d. Researchers have established the adverse effects of dwindling snow cover on the subnivium.
The correct answer is option b.
9. Based on this extract, the author would support which one of the following actions?
a. The use of snow machines in winter to ensure snow cover of at least eight inches.
b. Government action to curb climate change.
c. Adding nutrients to the soil in winter.
d. Planting more shrubs in areas of the short snow season.
The correct answer is option b.
10. In paragraph 6, the author provides examples of crowberry and alpine azalea to demonstrate that
a. Despite frigid temperatures, several species survive in temperate and Arctic regions.
b. Due to frigid temperatures in the temperate and Arctic regions, plant species that survive tend to be shrubs rather than trees.
c. The crowberry and alpine azalea are abundant in temperate and Arctic regions.
d. The stability of the subnivium depends on several interrelated factors, including shrubs on the forest floor.
The correct answer is option d.
11. Which one of the following statements can be inferred from the passage?
a. In an ecosystem, altering any one element has a ripple effect on all others.
b. Climate change affects temperate and Arctic regions more than equatorial or arid ones.
c. A compact layer of wool is warmer than a similarly compact layer of goose down.
d. The loss of the subnivium, while tragic, will affect only temperate and Arctic regions.
The correct answer is option a.
12. In paragraph 1, the author uses blankets as a device to
a. evoke the bitter cold of winter in the minds of readers.
b. explain how blankets work to keep us warm.
c. draw an analogy between blankets and the snowpack.
d. alert readers to the fatal effects of excessive exposure to the cold.
The correct answer is option c.
If necessary, be ready to change track Paragraph 1
As outlined in the previous post, the best approach is to go from paragraph to questions. So what do you see as soon as you move to the questions after reading the first paragraph? The first three questions are not related to the first paragraph and also not related to any specific paragraph. Does this is mean that you will abandon the whole approach just because it does not apply to one passage? Absolutely not.
Go ahead and look at the rest of the questions. The last question is related to Paragraph 1 and is a free gift. Why does the author give the example of blankets? To show that snowpack does for animals what blankets for human beings. The only option that has both subnivium and snowpack is option C! Going through the questions you would have seen that the only other specific question is related to para 6, all the rest are based on the whole passage.
The purpose of this passage is to All of the following statements are true EXCEPT Based on this extract, the author would support which one of the following actions? In paragraph 6, the author provides examples of crowberry and alpine azalea to demonstrate that
Which one of the following statements can be inferred from the passage?
So you can drop going from para to question until you reach para 6, which anyway is the last paragraph. Since are no questions pertaining to a single paragraph, you are left with no option but to read the whole passage before moving to the questions. It does make sense to write short one-liners for each para — para content outline — as you move ahead just to keep track.
To answer primary purpose questions it is always useful to look at the para content outline we made above and analyze the same — four paras about subnivium and two about the climate change and subnivium. So the two protagonists of this passage are subnivium and climate change. The primary purpose thus must have both of these protagonists. Options A, B, and D are ruled out, leaving us with only C.
This is a detail question and it makes sense to check the relevant para to verify the information. Everything EXCEPT B is stated. Another way to eliminate — can climate change ever have any positive effect in general? Hence, B!
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