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Answers to Sample GMAT Reading Comprehension Questions

1.
This question asks you to identify the primary purpose of the passage as a whole. Choice B is the best answer. The passage gives an overview of Eisenstein’s approach to women’s history and then offers an evaluation of that approach. Choice A is not correct: while the passage mentions certain criticisms of Eisenstein’s work, it is not her underlying assumptions that are being challenged. Furthermore, the criticisms do not constitute the primary concern of the passage. Choice C is not correct: while two theories are mentioned, a passage whose primary purposes were to compare those two theories would have to discuss the second theory in greater detail. Choice D and E are incorrect because the passage does not suggest that there have been misconceptions about feminist theory, and no particular ideology is being defended.

2.
This question requires you to make an inference, based on Eisenstein’s argument, regarding her view of the attitudes of the women she studies. The best answer is D. The first paragraph of the passage notes Eisenstein’s argument that women neither wholly accepted nor rejected the dominant ideology of the time, and that they modified this and other ideologies to suit their needs. Choice A is incorrect. The dominant ideology is one among several ideologies that Eisenstein argues were adapted and modified by working women; the passage does not suggest that Eisenstein believed that working women resented that ideology or considered it degrading. Choice B is incorrect because Eisenstein’s argument is that women took aspects of several available ideologies and modified them; there is no suggestion that any one ideology was preferred over others. Choice C can be eliminated because according to the passage, it is Tentler, not Eisenstein, who argues that working conditions increased the attractiveness of the dominant ideology. Choice E is not correct. Eisenstein argues that domestic work tended to isolate women from one another; there is no indication in the passage that the women themselves believed the dominant ideology was responsible for this.

3.
This question asks you to identify the structure of the first paragraph of the passage. The best answer is C. The first paragraph presents Eisenstein’ theory, then makes note of Tentler’s opposing views, then continues with further explication of Eisenstein’s argument. Choice A can be eliminated because the paragraph discusses a certain historical development, the evolution of working women’s values, but it does not make prediction about future developments. Choice B is not correct because the paragraph is not concerned with contrasting definitions of any term. Choice D and E are not correct because the paragraph does not discuss a tentative proposal that requires evaluation or a controversy that calls for resolution.

4.
To answer this question you must decide which answer would best provide the sort of information that the author feels is lacking in Eisenstein’s study. The author’s critique of Eisenstein’s argument is found primarily in the second paragraph. Choice B is the best answer because the author points out that Eisenstein’s study is flawed in that it relies on sources that are not representative of the average female worker. An analysis of writings by typical female wage earners would help to rectify this problem. Choice A is not correct. Eisenstein’s study already focuses on labor organizers; it is unlikely that the author feels that even more attention to this group is necessary. Choice C is not correct because the passage does not suggest that three were disagreements among social and political groups as to the definition of the dominant ideology. Choices D and E are incorrect because Eisenstein’s study is not concerned with the interaction between socialism and feminism, nor with labor’s particular role in the introduction of women into the workforce.

5.
This question asks you to identify the primary purpose of the passage as a whole. The best answer is D. The passage discusses two hypothesis concerning zonation of mangrove forests. Choice A can be eliminated because the passage presents as a viable hypothesis the idea that mangrove zonation may be caused by adaptation to salinity. Choice B is incorrect because the passage is concerned with the causes of zonation patterns, not simple with a description of those patterns. Both C and E contradict information that is presented in the passage.

6.
This question asks you to identify information provided in the passage about early research on mangrove forests. That research is discussed in the first paragraph. Choice B is the best answer. Early research on mangrove forests is characterized as having produced descriptions of species distribution from shore to land. Such a distribution is described in the first sentence of the passage as “zonal.” Choice A is not correct. Early research described mangrove distribution from shore to land. This implies a regular pattern of distribution, not a random one. Choices C and D are not correct because there is no indication in the passage that early studies of mangrove forests were concerned with the plants’ chronological development or with the reclassification of species. Choice E is incorrect because the passage does not say that the research in question did anything except describe species distribution.

7.
Here you are asked to make an inference based on information that is stated in the passage. Note that the best answer will refer to a situation where Davis’s paradigm does NOT apply. Choice E is the best answer. Davis’ succession paradigm states that mangroves trap sediments over time, thus extending the shore. A shoreline where few sediments could accumulate would be unable to develop according to such a scheme. Choice A is not correct. Davis first expressed his theory of “land-building” in his study of Florida mangrove forests. Thus his paradigm presumably applies to the shoreline of those forests. Choices B and C are incorrect because the passage states that areas with weak currents and weak tidal energies are areas where land formation will progress according to Davis’ paradigm. Choice D is not correct because Davis’ paradigm describes the “land-building” process of mangroves, so a shoreline that had been extended by that process would fall within the paradigm.

8.
Here you are asked to make an inference about the likely view of the author of the passage. Note that the best answer must be a statement that the author would most likely judge to be INCORRECT. Choice C is best. The author points out that while mangroves normally thrive in highly saline regions, this is not because they require salt. That assertion contradicts the claim made in this answer, so the author would likely regard the claim made in this answer as incorrect. Choice A is incorrect because it paraphrases an assertion the author makes in the first sentence of the passage. Choice B is incorrect because it paraphrases an assertion the author makes in the last sentence of the second paragraph. Choice D is incorrect because the passage does not provide sufficient information to determine whether the author would agree with this statement. Choice E is not correct. The author notes that areas with weak currents and tides are likely to be extended through land formation. Thus the author would consider the assertion made here to be correct, not incorrect.

9.
This question asks you to identify which one of the five answer choices is NOT mentioned in the passage as a benefit associated with backward integration. The best answer is B. The passage does not indicate how backward integration affects the profit margins on sales of components by independent suppliers. Choices A, C, and E are mentioned in the passage as a benefit of backward integration. Choice D is incorrect because the passage indicates that backward integration is a way of having a reliable source of necessary components.

10.
This question asks you to identify information presented in the passage about independent suppliers of product components. Choice A is the best answer. The passage asserts that independent supplies making the same components as assemblers may not share technological innovations with assemblers. Choices B, C, D, and E can be eliminated because there is no indication in the passage as assemblers experience improved profit margins, lower their prices, suffer financial difficulties, or stop developing new versions of the component.

11.
This question asks you to choose the statement that best describes the function of the last paragraph of the passage. The best answer is B. At the end of the third paragraph, the author indicates that assemblers benefit from contracting with, rather than owning, independent suppliers. In the last paragraph, however, the author indicates that contracting with independent suppliers can itself present problems. Thus the last paragraph qualifies the viewpoint presented at the end of the third paragraph. Choice A is not the correct answer because the passage makes several points about backward integration, but does not present a central argument about this topic. Choice C is not the correct answer because the final paragraph qualifies rather than supports an argument made in the third paragraph about contracting with independent suppliers. Choices D and E are incorrect because the final paragraph does not identify questions or present a specific example.

12.
This question asks you to identify information presented in the passage about the relationship between profits and investments for producers of technologically advanced components. The best answer is D. The passage indicates that the high investments required to develop technologically advanced components. Choice A is incorrect because the passage indicates that large, not modest, investments in research and development are required. Choices B and C are incorrect because the passage indicates that profit margins for producers of technologically advanced components are low, not high as these answer choice assert. Choice E is incorrect: although the author claims that long-term contracts with suppliers are beneficial to assemblers, the passage does not indicate that long-term contracts with purchasers lead to high profits for producers of technologically advanced components.
 

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