How to tackle “Odd one Out questions” in CAT?

Hello readers!

There is nothing surprising in the topic, “Odd one out” – It actually means finding out the odd statement out of a set of 4 or 5 given statements!

For the past few years, the CAT  Verbal Ability section has around 2-3 odd one out questions.This topic is very similar to “Para Jumbles” with a slight difference: Here you do not have to arrange sentences to form a paragraph; rather you have to find out those sentences which form a paragraph and eliminate the one which does not fall in place given the context. Hence the meaning of “odd one out” is – odd one in paragraph formation from amongst given sentences!

So, let’s say the question has 5 sentences: A, B, C, D, E. You need to find the odd one out. Now, if you feel that A,B,D and E form a paragraph in some order (let’s say BADE or ABDE whatever), then you know that C is the odd one out. This is the exercise.

The key is to approach these questions is to keep 2 strategies in mind: strategies that work in combination here! The first is to evaluate the question structure-wise and the second is to evaluate it connector-wise. This twin approach is based on identifying the central idea of the paragraph(main theme) and backing it with mandatory sentence pairs(link formation) to identify which sentences join together to form the paragraph. Following this approach, one can run through the sentences and find out the one which goes out.

Let me elaborate!

Step 1: Identify the central idea: Central idea is the main theme or the exact core around which the paragraph is built. It is the most precise answer to the question, “What is the paragraph about?”. On should first identify the central idea and then it becomes very easy to find out the glue which binds all sentences and leaves out one.

Step 2: Look for connectors: Look for sentences which are compulsory in the para construct. Different logic can work in constructing a paragraph. Giving some examples here:

2.1) Introductory sentence: If a sentence acts as the beginning of the things described or a macro description of things to follow; usually it is the introductory sentence. Such sentence usually introduces the subject or theme etc., has full names not titles etc, follows noun before pronoun logic etc. and so on. If you find this sentence, 1. it comes in the selected lot for the paragraph 2. you can find the next linking sentences and identify the odd one out in the end.

2.2) Connecting links: Sometimes you can be sure that two sentences will always come together in terms of sub group formation in logic or in terms of order in which they come. Things like chronology, noun-pronoun, statement-example, set-subset, cause-effect etc. i.e the concepts used for linking in para jumbles get applied here too. So, if two sentences form a mandatory link, they both cannot be eliminated as the odd one. There has to be a single odd one out. Hence connecting links also helps us in reaching to the odd sentence.

So, all this for logic! Never forget, basically you have to find the odd one out! The thought is simple; look at the diagram below!

Find the odd one out!

Let me begin the real game with a child’s play! A simple common sense non CAT question:

Question number 0: Three out of these Four sentences form a logical paragraph. Find the odd one out:

(a) Kamlesh is always disciplined.

(b) Kamlesh goes to school every day.

(c) Raunak is Kamlesh’s neighbour.

(d) Kamlesh listens to all what his teachers say.


Structure first: What is the main theme? Something like, “Good boy Master Kamlesh” – right?

Connection now: (b) => (d) => (a) seem connected logically. (c) is about Kamlesh but not about his obedience or discipline – not about him being a good boy! Hence statement (c) is the odd one out.

Time now to take some real questions down!

Question number 1: Four out of these Five sentences form a logical paragraph. Find the odd one out:

(a) Political careers shape only in times of adversity.

(b) But the party denied the Tories control of Trafford, took Plymouth, and – according to the BBC – would be the largest party in the House of Commons if the results were replicated in a general election.

(c)  Yes, Labour failed to take Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster in last week’s local contests, and should be concerned about its failure to make much progress outside London.

(d)  The oscillation is bewildering, the runes unreadable.

(e)  The only certainty in contemporary politics is volatility.


There are 2 independent statements-(a) and (e)

Start with structure in mind: What is the main theme?: State of contemporary politics. Now, look for connections:

Once we identify the main theme of the passage,(e)is the correct one to introduce the state of contemporary politics.(d)elaborates on the ‘volatility’factor,followed by (c).(b)concludes the paragraph.

(a) is logically not connected to the flow,as it talks of political careers.

Hence, statement (a) is the odd one out. 

Question number 2: Five sentences related to a topic are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a meaningful and coherent short paragraph. Identify the odd one out.

  1. Much has been recently discovered about the development of songs in birds.
  2. Some species are restricted to a single song learned by all individuals, others have a range of songs.
  3. The most important auditory stimuli for the birds are the sounds of other birds.
  4. For all bird species there is a prescribed path to development of the final song
  5. A bird begins with the subsong, passes through plastic song, until it achieves the species song.


Structure: The main theme here is development of songs in birds.

Connection: See, 1 and 4 talk about development of songs. 5 and 2 talk about “in species”

3 becomes the isolated one as it talks about “auditory stimuli” for birds – which is not related to the main theme.

Answer is statement 3.

Hope the concept is clear. Hope you had fun reading 🙂

Thanking You

Rita mam and Rahul Sir

Team Bfactory

Rita mam(2nd from left), Rahul Sir(4th from left)

<Editorial team image for the RC book: >

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