Answers to Sample GRE Reading Comprehension Questions
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1. This question asks you to identify the answer that most clearly
describes the content of the passage as a whole. Choice D is the best
answer. The passage is mainly concerned with arguing that the
information contained in maps of Native American lands reflects certain
important aspects of the map’s original production. While certain
mapping techniques are mentioned in the passage, the passage is not
concerned with tracing the development of those techniques as indicated
in choice A. choice B can be eliminated because the passage focuses on
non-Native Americans’ mapping techniques with Native Americans’
techniques. Choice C is not correct because the argument in the passage
concerns the origins of the information in certain historical maps, not
any specific present-day uses of those maps. Choice E is incorrect
because the passage does not offer any proposal to amend the accuracy of
the maps being discussed.
2. To answer this question correctly you must locate certain pieces
of information that are presented explicitly in the passage. Note that
the correct answer will be the only answer choice that describes
information that is not provided in the passage. The best answer is D.
While it is possible that changes in tribal land usage could be
reflected in historical maps of Native American lands, the passage does
not specifically mention this as a factor affecting the maps in
question. Choices A, B, C, and E are incorrect. Each of these describes
a factor mentioned in the final sentence of the passage.
3. This question requires you to use the information provided in the
passage to draw an inference about existing Native American land maps.
Choice E is the best answer. The passage points out that most existing
maps are based on second-hand information and that their accuracy is
largely dependent on the map-makers’ ability to interpret that
information. Thus it can be inferred that most of these maps are not
based on firsthand observations by the mapmakers. Choice A is not
correct because the passage mentions the “current cartographic record
relating to Native American tribes and their migrations,” indicating
that migrations are at least in part recorded on existing maps. Choice B
is not correct: while the passage mentions that some maps were produced
in connection with treaties involving land transfers, there is no
indication in the passage that this connection was the primary impetus
for preservation of the maps. Choice C is incorrect because the passages
mentions that some maps are based on archaeological findings, but does
not provide information that would support a claim that the
archaeological evidence reflected in the maps has become outdated. While
the statement in choice D could be true, the passage does not provide
information to support such an inference.
4. To answer this question correctly you must consider the types of
evidence that are listed in the passage and determine whether or not
each answer choice would represent one of those types of evidence. Note
that the correct answer will be the only choice that describes a type of
evidence that does not represent one of the types mentioned in the
passage. The best answer is C because aerial photographs of geological
features do not provide an example of a type of evidence mentioned in
the passage. Evidence in choice A is an example of an “official report”
(line 10-11). Evidence in choice B is an example of an “oral report”
(line 9). Evidence in choice D is an example of “archaeology” (line 9).
Evidence in choice E is an example of a “diary” (line 10).