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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).

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