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English: Tips in Answering Paragraph Organization Questions

The Civil Service Exam includes questions wherein you’ll be tasked to arrange a set of sentences to form a logical and coherent paragraph. This section of the CSE-PPT is actually amongst the most time-consuming ones. Reading the para jumbled sentences over and over again – and trying to figure out how they would fit in with each other will take much of your time if you do not know how most civil service exam passages are structured. That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with some of the most common types of paragraph structures used in aptitude exam questions. Here are they:

  • PROCESS: If the paragraph is showing a process, then the sentences must follow a logical sequence in explaining how something works – from the input to the expected output.
  • CAUSE AND EFFECT: Paragraphs can start with the cause and then state the effect or vice versa. The important thing here is that the paragraph must present clear relationships between events or objects so the reader can clearly identify which is the cause and which is the effect.
  • NARRATION: Some paragraphs are used to tell a story – so the ideas or events should be presented chronologically – unless it offers a flashback. In the case of non-fiction writing, the general plot structure is followed. The paragraph begins with the exposition (this is where the theme, setting, characters, and circumstances are presented). This is followed by the rising action, then the climax, and finally, a resolution.
  • DESCRIPTION: When offering a description, most paragraphs go from the general to the particular, more elaborate descriptions. Again, they can also go vice-versa. Descriptions of places are usually organized spatially – in order of appearance (from top to bottom, left to right, etc.).
  • CLASSIFICATION: In some instances, a paragraph first offers generalizations about a group. After that, the author explains details about the various parts or members of the group.
  • ARGUMENT: Paragraphs presenting an argument may begin with the conclusion first before it provides the supporting premises – or again, it can go from premises to conclusion. Sometimes, the premises are presented in order of importance. The strongest point is usually given first, followed by the supporting details.
  • PROBLEM: Paragraphs of this type almost always start with a statement about the problem. Most of these paragraphs also offer details about the problem (causes and effects) before presenting one or more solutions. This structure is usually used in paragraphs conveying topics in health, science, and technology.

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About the Author

I'm a Journalism graduate of the University of the Philippines - Diliman and I'm currently taking up units in Professional Education courses. I have written for various blogs, websites, and magazines in the past. Right now, I work as a freelance eBook writer and a mobile app developer.

While I was managing a fledgling online business and being a full-time mom to my four kids - Yana, Yshi, Yza and Vincent Jr., I took the Career Service Examination - Pencil and Paper Test - Professional Level (CSE-PPT- Prof) for the first time in December 2015. I passed and I got lucky enough to be among the Top 10 examinees in my batch, 3rd in the National Capital Region.