GRE(Verbal) – Structure, Strategies, Resources

Structure of GRE Test

 

Structure of the Computer-delivered GRE General Test

For the most updated content visit the ets site

Test structure and length of the computer-delivered test
Section Number of Questions Time
Analytical Writing (One section with two separately timed tasks)
  • One “Analyze an Issue” task
  • One “Analyze an Argument” task
30 minutes per task
Verbal Reasoning (Two sections) 20 questions per section 30 minutes per section
Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections) 20 questions per section 35 minutes per section
Unscored or Research Section* Varies Varies

Skills Measured on the GRE General Test

The GRE General Test measures the test taker’s ability to do the following:

Analytical Writing

  • Articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively.
  • Examine claims and accompanying evidence.
  • Support ideas with relevant reasons and examples.
  • Sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion.
  • Control the elements of standard written English.

Verbal Reasoning

  • Analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author’s assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning such as literal, figurative and author’s intent.
  • Select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text.
  • Understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts

Quantitative Reasoning

  • Understand quantitative information.
  • Interpret and analyze quantitative information.
  • Solve problems using mathematical models.
  • Apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

GRE Verbal

Every test is unique is so is GRE. The best way to prepare for it is to first understand the key features of the test. This includes getting acquainted with the test structure, types of questions and scoring techniques. After that you can take a few mock tests.

Make sure every iteration takes you near to your destination.

Remeber – practice with purpose yields results.

GRE(Verbal) - Structure, Strategies, Resources
Scored 310 in first attempt

Structure of verbal reasoning

  • 20 questions per section
  • 2 sections

Three types of questions

–Reading Comprehension

–Text Completion

Sentence Equivalence

Reading Comprehension

  • Theme based questions
  • Logic and supporting arguments based questions
  • Vocabulary based questions

 

  • Answer choice types

–Multiple choice select one

–Multiple choice select one or more

–Select in the passage

Text Completion

  • In other words – fill up the blanks
  • Understand the context
  • Knowledge of vocabulary

–Either 3 blanks

–Or two blanks

–Or one blank

No credits for partially correct answers

Sentence Equivalence

  • Part of sentence is given
  • For second part choices are given
  • You are supposed to find the second half
  • Of course a coherent, cohesive and logical part
  • Each Sentence Equivalence question consists of:

–a single sentence

–one blank

–six answer choices

  • Two options are correct.. Select both to get credits

Scoring the test

  • It is a computer adaptive test
  • The difficulty level of next section depends upon the difficulty level of the previous one
  • Each question carries equal marks
  • But, on the basis of your previous section performance the next section might be of higher or lower credits
  • Marks you get are between 130 to 170

Resources

  • For list of free tests

http://www.studyn.us/blog/free-quizzes-and-practice-test-for-gre

GRE Verbal Study Plan

  • Reading comprehension (10 hrs)

–From easy to tough

  • Easy

–IELTS (Book 7, 8,9) – Reading exercises

  • Tough

–From Official Guide (Test 1 – 2 sections, Test 2 – 2 sections)

–ETS verbal reasoning (All tests + practice exercises)

–Test Software from ETS ( 2 question sets)

Sentence Equivalence/ Sentence Completion

  • vocabulary

–Top 1000 a collection of all types of words

–Magoosh [2 hrs]

–Magoosh App [2 hrs]

–Other sources  [Frequent word list] [2 hrs]

List of phobias [20 m]

Analytical Writing Assessment

  • Analyze an Issue: 30 mts
  • Analyze and Argument: 30 mts

Total 1 hr

Analyze an issue

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of

humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain

your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your

position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not

hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

Pool of issue topics on ets site is a good resource

For both – analyze an issue / analyze an argument..

Analyze and Argument

  • Identify assumptions
  • Identify solutions
  • Identify flaws in assumptions
  • Identify disconnects in assumptions and solutions
  • Build your case based on what further information is required

Sample analyze an argument

In surveys Mason City residents rank water sports (swimming, boating, and fish -ing) among their favorite recreational activities. The Mason River flowing through the city is rarely used for these pursuits, however, and the city park department devotes little of its budget to maintaining riverside recreational facilities. For years there have been complaints from residents about the quality of the river’s water and the river’s smell. In response, the state has recently announced plans to clean up Mason River. Use of the river for water sports is, therefore, sure to increase. The city government should for that reason devote more money in this year’s budget to riverside recreational facilities.Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on the assumptions and what the implications are if the assumptions prove unwarranted.

and Reader Commentaries
SECTION 1
Analytical Writing
ANALYZE AN ISSUE
The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the
recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and
supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the
recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples
shape your position.
Score 6 Response*
The recommendation presents a view that I would agree is successful most of the
time, but one that I cannot fully support due to the “all or nothing” impression it gives.
Certainly as an educator I agree fully that the best way to elicit positive response
from students is to make use of students’ positive energy and then encourage actions
that you would like to see repeated. It is human nature that we all want to be accepted
and achieve on some level, and when people in authority provide feedback that we
have done something well, the drive to repeat the action that was praised is bound to
be particularly strong.
This blanket statement would obviously pay dividends in situations in which a
teacher desires to have students repeat particular behaviors. For example, if an
educator is attempting to teach students proper classroom etiquette, it would be
appropriate to openly praise a student who raises his or her hand when wishing to
speak or address the class. In such cases, the teacher may also help shape positive
behaviors by ignoring a student who is trying to interject without approval from the
teacher. In fact, the decision to ignore students who are exhibiting inappropriate
behaviors of this type could work very well in this situation, as the stakes are not very
high and the intended outcome can likely be achieved by such a method. However, it
is important to note here that this tactic would only be effective in such a “low-stakes”
situation, as when a student speaks without raising her hand first. As we will discuss
below, ignoring a student who hits another student, or engages in more serious
misbehaviors, would not be effective or prudent.
To expand on this point, it is important for teachers to be careful when working with
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
* NOTE: All responses are reproduced exactly as written, including errors, misspellings, etc., if
any.
the second half of this statement, only ignoring negative actions that are not serious.
Take for instance a student who is misbehaving just by chatting with a fellow class –
mate. This student might not be presenting much of a problem and may be simply
seeking attention. Ignoring the student might, in fact, be the best solution. Now
assume the negative action is the improper administering of chemicals in a science
experiment or the bullying of a fellow student. To ignore these negative actions would
be absurd and negligent. Now you are allowing a problem to persist, one that could
potentially lead to much bigger and more dangerous issues. In a more serious
situation, addressing the negative actions quickly and properly could stop the problem
it in its tracks. It is for reasons like this that I do not advocate the idea that a teacher can
be successful by simply ignoring negative actions.
I do, however, greatly support the idea that the central focus of teaching should be
to build on and encourage positive actions. However, the author’s all-encompasing
statement leaves too many negative possibilities for the classroom. Perhaps a better
way to phrase this statement would be to say, “The best way to teach is to praise
positive actions and ignore negative ones that are not debilitating to class efficiency
or the safety of any individual”.
Thus, in the original statement, there are indeed some good intentions, and there
could be a lot of merit in adopting its basic principles. Data proves that positive support
can substantially increase motivation and desire in students and contribute to positive
achievements. In fact, most studies of teaching efficacy indicate that praising positive
actions and ignoring negative ones can create a more stable and efficient classroom.
It needs to be stressed, however, that this tool is only effective at certain levels of
misbehavior. As mentioned above, when the behavior is precipitated by feelings of
revenge, power or total self-worthlessness, this methodology will likely not work. It is
likely to be very successful, however, when the drive behind the misbehavior is simple
attention seeking. In many of these instances, if the teacher demonstrates clearly that
inappropriate behavior does not result in the gaining of attention, students are more
likely to seek attention by behaving properly. Should the student choose this path, then
the ignoring has worked and when the positive behavior is exhibited, then the teacher
can utilize the first part of the theory and support or praise this behavior. Now it is
much more likely to be repeated. If the student does not choose this path and instead
elects to raise the actions to a higher level that presents a more serious issue, then
ignorance alone cannot work and other methods must be employed.
In conclusion, one can appreciate the credo expressed in this instance, but surely
we all can see the potential error of following it through to the extreme.
Reader Commentary
This response receives a 6 for its well-articulated, insightful analysis of the issue.
Rather than simply rejecting or accepting the prompt, the writer argues that the recommendation
made by the prompt can often be true but is too “all or nothing” to be
endorsed without qualification. The writer turns this idea into an insightful position by
providing examples and evidence to fully and persuasively support its nuanced argument.
The response offers nicely detailed situations that provide compelling support
for a claim that the recommendation can, in fact, work. At the same time, it also highlights
the recommendation’s limits using additional specific, detailed examples. Particularly
persuasive is the fourth paragraph, in which the writer compares the impact of
ignoring minor behavioral problems like talking in class to the potential costs of ignoring
more serious issues like bullying. Thus, the writer recognizes that the prompt’s
claim, as well as his/her own, is inevitably dependent on the specific context for its suc-
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GRE Practice Test 1
cess or failure. Throughout the response, the writer demonstrates the ability to convey
ideas fluently and precisely, using effective vocabulary and sentence variety. This sentence
demonstrates the level of language facility seen throughout the response: “It is
human nature that we all want to be accepted and achieve on some level, and when
people in authority provide feedback that we have done something well, the drive to
repeat the action that was praised is bound to be particularly strong.”
Score 5 Response
I partially agree with the statement “The best way to teach is to praise positive actions
and ignore negative ones”. Children should be rewarded when they perform well;
however, they should not be ignored for performing sub-optimally. For purposes of
this essay, the term “actions” is defined as behaviors within the classroom.
Utilizing positive reinforcements, such as tangible rewards, can be a good method
to teach children. If the teacher praises children for actions that are desirable, then the
children are more likely to repeat those actions. For example, a student who completes
an assignment on time and does a good job is likely to want to do a good job on the
next assignment if he gets positive feedback. Likewise, the children who are not
currently engaging in the desirable actions may be more inclined to do so in order to
recieve the positive reinforcement.
Conversely, children should not be ignored for negative actions. If a child is not
exhibiting appropriate behavior in the classroom, then it is the teacher’s responsibility
to encourage the child to perform optimally. Ignoring something doesn’t make it go
away, actions and consequences do. A student who is being disruptive in class will
continue to be disruptive unless the teacher does something about it. However, the
teacher’s actions need be appropriate.
Before the teacher attempts to modify a child’s behavior, the teacher needs to try
and identify the reason behind the behavior. For instance, children who leave their
seat often, stare in to space, or call out of turn may be initially viewed as having poor
behavior. However, the teacher may suspect that the child has an attentional problem,
and request that the child be tested. If the child does have an attentional problem, then
the teacher can work with a related service, such as occupational therapy, to alter the
classroom environment in order to cater to the needs of the child. For instance, the
teacher could remove some of the stimulating bulliten board displays to make the
room more calming to the child. If the child becomes more attentive in class then the
teacher was able to assist the child without scorning them or ignoring them. The
teacher met the needs of the child and created an enviornment to enable the child to
optimally perform in the educational setting.
On the other hand, if the child is tested, and does not have any areas of concern
that may be impacting the educational performance in the classroom, then the
negative behavior may strictly be due to defiance. In such a case, the teacher still
should not ignore the child, because the negative actions may hinder the learning
opportunity for the remaining children in the class. As a result, a child who is being
disruptive to the learning process of the class should be set apart from the class so
that they do not receive the positive reinforcement of peer attention.
The teacher should not ignore the student who is misbehaving, but that does not
mean that the teacher just needs to punish. It is better to address the child privately
and make sure the child is aware of the negative actions. Once the child is aware, then
the teacher should once again try to determine the reason why the child is behaving in
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
a negative manner. Perhaps the child’s parents are in the middle of a divorce and the
child is outwardly expressing his frustration in the classroom. Or the academic content
of the class may not be challenging enough for the child and so he is misbehaving out
of boredom. Whatever the reason behind the behavior, the key factor is that the teacher
works with the child to try and identify it. Simply punnishing or ignoring the child
would not solve the problem, whereas working to create a plan for success in the
classroom would. Likewise, rather than punnishing and defeating the child, the teacher
is working with and empowering the child; a much more positive outcome to the
situation.
Reader Commentary
This strong response presents a thoughtful and well-developed analysis of the issue. In
this case the writer argues that teachers need to modify their approach based on context
and observation, meaning that a blanket approach cannot be successful. The writer
supports this position with relevant reasons and examples that present logically sound
support. Note that the task instructions ask writers to discuss circumstances in which
adopting the recommendation might or might not prove advantageous, and this
response does that quite clearly. In the second paragraph, the writer gives an example
of a student who completes an assignment on time and receives positive feedback,
showing how the recommendation could prove advantageous. Other examples show
circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would not be a good idea, and
these various points are brought together to support the writer’s position that teachers
have to look at the context of the situation and cannot rely on simply ignoring negative
actions. This response also demonstrates facility with language, using appropriate
vocabulary and sentence variety. Sentences like this one demonstrate the writer’s command
of the conventions of standard written English: “If the child does have an attentional
problem, then the teacher can work with a related service, such as occupational
therapy, to alter the classroom environment in order to cater to the needs of the child.”
There are some minor errors, but overall the response demonstrates strong control of
language. Although the response is clearly stronger than a 4, which would simply pre –
sent a clear position on the issue according to the task instructions, it does not reach
the level of a 6 because it does not develop its points in a way that creates a cogent and
insightful position. It does, however, present a generally thoughtful and well-developed
analysis of the issue, leading to a score of 5.
Score 4 Response
I absolutely agree with the first section of the statement above, but find fault with the
latter half.
There is no doubt that praising positive actions is an excellent way to teach, and this
method is most clearly exemplified when dealing with much younger children. When
a young child is learning basic social behavior, it is imperative that he is encouraged
to repeat positive actions. For example, when a child voluntarily shares his toys with
another, if a teacher rewards that behavior, the child will understand that this is a good
practice, and likely share again in the future.
In contrast, if a child displays negative behavior by stealing a toy away from his
playmate, it would be very dangerous for the teacher to ignore this action, for then the
child may never recognize that this is unacceptable. In this instance, the child has not
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learned from the situation at all. So what should a teacher do when faced with such
a situation? Punishment is not necessarily the optimal choice, either. Rather than
scolding a child for mistreating his playmates and sending him off to a corner, a
teacher would be wise to demonstrate the positive alternative: to share his toys
instead. In this case, rather than ignoring or punishing negative actions, the teacher
could seize the opportunity to reinforce positive behavior, and further extend the child’s
learning experience.
In summary, positive reinforcement is certainly an excellent method for teaching
new methods or behaviors, and encouraging a student to learn more. However to
ignore, rather than recognize and correct negative actions, would be a disservice to
the student, for he would not know what conclusion to draw from his action.
Reader Commentary
This adequate response follows the task directions and presents a clear position on the
issue, supporting its main points with examples that are relevant, if only adequately
developed. For instance, the discussion in the second paragraph of a teacher who reinforces
the positive behavior of sharing a toy is certainly relevant and on-task (i.e., it
describes a situation in which adopting the recommendation would be advantageous).
However, the development of this idea does not lead to generally thoughtful or insightful
analysis. Instead, it is simply presented as an example. In addition to its adequate
development, this response also demonstrates sufficient control of the conventions of
standard written English, and its main points are made with reasonable clarity. Some
of the sentences demonstrate the syntactical variety normally seen in responses that
receive higher scores (e.g., “Rather than scolding a child for mistreating his playmates
and sending him off to a corner, a teacher would be wise to demonstrate the positive
alternative: to share his toys instead”). However, the overall use of language in this
response is merely adequate.
Score 3 Response
Praising postive actions and ignoring negative ones may be a good way to teach but
not the best way. Ignoring negative actions could negate all the postive praises given
to an individual, having negative actions go unchecked will lead to habits formed that
would overwhelm any positive actions that are complementary to an individuals
learning process.
For instance, in a classroom full of eight-year old kids; if during a lesson they are
making alot of noise, having this ignored would tell the kids that it is okay to be
disruptive in class. The individuals in that class would develop the habit of being
distruptive hence hindering their learning process. However if the eight-year old kids
were immediately told to stop the distruption then it will never become a habit.
Every action needs to have a related consequence follow in a learning environment.
In the early years of education, the way they are taught becomes a lifelong habit which
is hard to change in later years. If negative actions are not assigned a related
consequences then teaching becomes ineffective because the students negative
actions soon diminish the ability to do well in school. The way postive actions are dealt
with should also be done with negative actions rather than being ignored which in turn
enhance the learning environment.
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
Reader Commentary
Although this response has minor errors in its use of language, it receives a 3 primarily
for insufficient overall clarity and for the limited development of its claims. The writer
does make an attempt to follow the specific task instructions, and the response has a
clear position on the issue, arguing that it is not acceptable practice to ignore negative
behaviors. However, the development provided in support of that position is limited.
The example of “eight-year old kids” making noise during class can be seen as a situation
in which following the recommendation is not advantageous. Instead of developing
that point in a logically persuasive way, however, the writer proceeds to make an
unsupported assertion about the consequences of following the recommendation (“The
individuals in that class would develop the habit of being distruptive hence hindering
their learning process”). Another issue that keeps this response at the 3 level is a lack of
clarity, particularly in the final paragraph. The final sentence demonstrates this problem
with clarity: “The way postive actions are dealt with should also be done with negative
actions rather than being ignored which in turn enhance the learning
en vironment.” Problems with the structure of this sentence make it difficult to determine
the writer’s intended meaning.
Score 2 Response
I don’t agree with this afirmation, because I think is very important to praise positive
actions but also is important to sign the negative ones, in some situations acording to
the students level, grade, etc., could be better to put more emphasis in the positive
things and if not ignore all the negative ones, do not give so much importance to them,
this is particulary important in the lowest levels of education.
But in another situations you must sign the negative things, trying to avoid that the
students can repeat them in the future, because I think you can also learn from the
negative situations.
For this reason I believe that is important to praise positive actions but is also
important no to ignore the negative ones, because in a given situation the student can
have troubles recongnising what is right and what is wrong. And finally as a conclusion
I think that the best way to teach is combination of praise positive things but also to
sign the negative ones.
Reader Commentary
This response clearly fits several characteristics of a 2, as defined by the scoring guide.
It is seriously limited in its development, organization, and focus. The response repeats
itself rather than developing any of its statements, pointing to an inability to organize
a response capable of supporting any specific claims with relevant reasons or examples.
Additionally, serious language control problems frequently interfere with meaning.
Thus, even though the writer does seem to be making an attempt to respond to the
specific task instructions, the response merits a score of 2.
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GRE Practice Test 1
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
Score 1 Response
Write a response in which you disuss the extent to which you agree or disagree
with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In
developing and supporting position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting
the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these
examples shape your position.
Author says that The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore
negative ones. I agree to this recommendation. Explaining, I strongly believe that the
best way to teach is not to praise positive action and ignore negative ones but is
makeing everyone to be a good ones. Specific crimstances lead me which adopting
the recommendation as the following:
First, we will lost the good children who have negative maner if we ignore them.
Children are future, not all. Praise in negative should not be, teaching to children to
best way. I strongly believe adopting this recommeindation would be not advantages.
second, negative ones in today may be a great people in the future. Not only ones
behave do worse they are teenage. Teenage in today is not easy for all! Negative ones
can not better, if only prainse positive actions, ignore negativeone. Negative ones may
not positive be having, but if we praise them only, they not think they should be
positive person later.
conclusion, specific circumstances are which adopting the recommendation would
not be advantage, I am not agree to the the recommendation. Ignore negative manor
when they will not be positive behavrio in futre. But they can, if do not ignore them. we
should not ignor negative person but should make them think that they can be a good
man future like positive person.
Reader Commentary
This response has severe and pervasive problems in language and sentence structure
that, as stated in the scoring guide, consistently interfere with meaning and result in
incoherence. The response begins by repeating the prompt, but then the severe problems
with language control and organization undermine any evidence of the ability to
understand the prompt or to present and develop a clear position. For example, it is
not clear what the writer means by the claim that the best way to teach is “makeing
everyone to be a good ones.” Severe problems with language control in that sentence
and throughout the response prevent it from developing a coherent position on the
issue or responding to the specific task instructions. Although the writer makes an
attempt at organization, with points marked as first, second, and conclusion, the
response actually exhibits little or no evidence of the ability to develop any potential
understanding of the prompt into a logical position on the issue.
SECTION 2
Analytical Writing
ANALYZE AN ARGUMENT
The following appeared in an article written by Dr. Karp, an anthropologist.
“Twenty years ago, Dr. Field, a noted anthropologist, visited the island of Tertia and
concluded from his observations that children in Tertia were reared by an entire village
rather than by their own biological parents. However, my recent interviews with children
living in the group of islands that includes Tertia show that these children spend much more
time talking about their biological parents than about other adults in the village. This
research of mine proves that Dr. Field’s conclusion about Tertian village culture is invalid
and thus that the observation-centered approach to studying cultures is invalid as well. The
interview-centered method that my team of graduate students is currently using in Tertia will
establish a much more accurate understanding of child-rearing traditions there and in other
island cultures.”
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the
argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
Score 6 Response
It might seem logical, at first glance, to agree with the argument in Dr. Karp’s article
that children in Tertia actually are raised by their biological parents (and perhaps even,
by implication, that an observation-centered approach to anthropological study is
not as valid as an interview-centered one). However, in order to fully evaluate this
argument, we need to have a significant amount of additional evidence. The argument
could end up being much weaker than it seems, or it might actually be quite valid. In
order to make that determination, we need to know more then analyze what we learn.
The first piece of evidence that we would need in order to evaluate Dr. Karp’s claims
is information about whether or not Tertia and the surrounding island group have
changed significantly in the past 20 years. Dr. Field conducted his observational study
20 years ago, and it is possible that Tertia has changed significantly since then. For
example, if we had evidence that in teh intervening years Westerners had settled on
the island and they introduced a more typical Western-style family structure, it would
certainly weaken Dr. Karp’s argument. In that case, the original study could have been
accurate, and Dr. Karp’s study could be correct, as well, though his conclusion that Dr.
Field’s method is ineffective would be seriously weakened.
Another piece of evidence that might help us evaluate this claim involves the exact
locations where Dr. Karp’s interviews took place. According to this article, Dr. Karp and
his graduate students conducted interviews of “children living in the group of islands
that includes Tertia.” If we were to learn that they never interviewed a single Tertian
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GRE Practice Test 1
child, it would significantly weaken the conclusion. It could turn out to be the case, for
example, that children on Tertia are raised communally, whereas children on other
islands nearby are raised by their biological parents.
In order to fully evaluate this article, we would also need to learn more about the
interview questions that Dr. Karp’s team used. What exactly did they ask? We don’t
know, nor do we know what the children’s responses actually were. What did they say
about their biological parents? The mere fact that they speak more frequently about
their biological parents than they do about other adults does not meant hat they are
raised by their biological parents. It would significantly undermine Dr. Karp’s argument
if it turned out that the children said things like how much they missed their parents or
how their parents had left them in a communal environment. Without knowing WHAT
the children said, it is hard to accept Dr. Karp’s conclusion.
It is slightly more difficult to discuss teh evidence we might need in order to
evaluate the more interesting claims in Dr. Karp’s article, namely his extension of the
results of his study to a conclusion that interview-centered methods are inherently
more valid than observational-centered approaches. In order to fully evaluate this
claim, in fact, we would need to look at many more examples of interview-based and
observation-based anthropological studies and we would also need to look into
different study designs. Perhaps Dr. Field did not conduct an effective observational
study, but other observational approaches could be effective. In order to make such
grandiose claims, Dr. Karp really needs a lot of additional evidence (ideally a meta –
analysis of hundreds of anthropological studies).
Clearly, then, we need to have additional evidence in order to get a more complete
understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Dr. Karp’s article. We need to know
about Tertia and the surrounding islands, whether or not they have changed over the
past 20 years. We also need to know about study design (Dr. Karp’s and Dr. Field’s).
And we really need a lot more information if we want to extend the results of a study
about one island culture to all anthropological fieldwork.
Reader Commentary
This outstanding response clearly addresses the specific task directions and presents a
cogent, insightful analysis by specifically detailing the impact that different pieces of
evidence would have on the argument. The introductory paragraph sets up the organization
of the response, and each body paragraph provides the sort of compelling development
typical in responses that receive a score of 6. For example, after the writer
discusses possible evidence that Tertian child-rearing practices have changed over the
past 20 years, he or she clearly explains the impact information about those changes
might have on the argument, saying, “In that case, the original study could have been
accurate, and Dr. Karp’s study could be correct, as well, though his conclusion that Dr.
Field’s method is ineffective would be seriously weakened.” Not only is this argument
compelling, but it also demonstrates sophisticated syntax and facility with language.
There is more insightful development in the fifth paragraph, in which the writer examines
Dr. Karp’s claims about interview-based studies. Although there are a few typos
and minor errors here, nothing in the response distracts from the overall fluency of the
writing. Sentences like this one demonstrate the fluent and precise diction and varied
syntax that are evident throughout the response: “It could turn out to be the case, for
example, that children on Tertia are raised communally, whereas children on other
islands nearby are raised by their biological parents.” Because of its compelling and
insightful development and fluent and precise language, this response fits all of the bullet
points for a 6.
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
Score 5 Response
There seems to be an abundance of evidence that, if we were to examine it closely,
might make us reconsider Dr. Karp’s argument here. If we look first at the evidence
that might weaken this argument, we can see a lot of the problems with Dr. Karp’s
article. It would certainly weaken the argument if we were to discover that Dr. Karp
and his students did not actually conduct any of their interviews on the island of Tertia
itself. Looking closely at the article, we see that Dr. Karp claims the interviews were
conducted with children from the island group that includes Tertia. There is no
evidence that they interviewed Tertian children. It would definitely weaken the
argument if we were to learn that they interviewed children only on islands close
to Tertia. Those islands may or may not have similar child-rearing traditions, and
geographic proximity does not guarantee societal similarity.
Another piece of evidence that would weaken the argument could come from
transcripts of the interviews themselves. Dr. Karp’s article makes the claim that the
children “spend much more time talking about their biological parents than about
other adults,” but he gives no indication of what exactly they say about their biological
parents. After all, the children may be talking about how they never see their parents.
One more important piece of evidence that might undermine the argument Dr. Karp
is making in this article. He admits that twenty years have passed since Dr. Field’s study
was conducted, but he does not provide evidence that proves child-rearing techniques
have not changed significantly in that time. Any number of factors could have led to a
significant shift in how children are raised. Influences from other cultures, significant
catastrophic events, or a change in government structures could have led to a change
in family dynamics. Any evidence of such changes would clearly undermine Dr. Karp’s
argument.
If we went looking for evidence that could strengthen the argument, we might also
find something interesting. Obviously, some of the evidence above might strengthen
the argument if they were NOT as discussed above (e.g., if there were evidence that the
Tertian islands have NOT changed since Dr. Field’s study or if there were transcripts
that showed the children spoke about how much they loved living with their biological
parents). However, if we discovered that there are numerous interview-based studies
that confirm Dr. Karp’s findings, it would go a long way toward bolstering his claim
about Tertian child-rearing AND his claim about interview-centered studies being more
effective. Another piece of evidence that would strengthen Dr. Karp’s argument is
undermining Dr. Field’s original study. Maybe Dr. Field was sloppy, for example.
Dr. Karp’s article, then, ends up looking like something of an empty shell. Depending
on the evidence we find to fill it out, we may discover that it is quite convincing, or we
could determine that he is full of hot air.
Reader Commentary
This strong response presents a generally thoughtful and well-developed analysis of
the argument, and it follows the specific task directions quite clearly. This writer
approaches the task by first discussing the evidence that might weaken Dr. Karp’s argument
and then, in somewhat less depth, considering the evidence that could strengthen
it. In both cases the writer analyzes the ways in which the evidence would bear on the
argument. For example, the writer notes, “Influences from other cultures, significant
catastrophic events, or a change in government structures could have led to a change
in family dynamics. Any evidence of such changes would clearly undermine Dr. Karp’s
argument.” Although the development presented here is strong, the response does not
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present the compelling development required for a 6. For instance, in the first paragraph
there is some repetition, and in the third paragraph the reader must fill in the
implications of potential “changes” in Tertia, which are not fully fleshed out. How
could a catastrophic event or a change in governmental structure have led to changes
in child-rearing traditions? The development, then, is strong but not outstanding.
Also, the response demonstrates some facility with language, though it does not convey
meaning skillfully enough to merit a score of 6. In general, the response demonstrates
strong writing skills, in spite of some minor errors like the sentence fragment that
begins paragraph three. Sentences like this one demonstrate the quality of the writing
seen throughout the response: “Those islands may or may not have similar childrearing
traditions, and geographic proximity does not guarantee societal similarity.” In
terms of writing skill and analysis, then, this response earns a score of 5.
Score 4 Response
Dr. Karp’s arguments that his research proves that obervation-centered research is
invalid and that his interview-centered method “will establish a much more accurate
understanding of child-rearing traditions there and in other island cultures” need more
support. While the findings from Dr. Karp’s interviews do challenge Dr. Field’s results,
one then cannot make the assumption that Dr. Field’s research is invalid. This essay
will attempt to explain three ways in which Dr. Karp can strengthen his argument.
First, Dr. Karp should provide more information about the content of the interviews.
Misinterpretation from observation can be as likely as misinterpretation in interivews. It
is possible that while children may spend more time talking about their own biological
parents, other people from the village are still assisting in most of the rearing of the
child. Perhaps asking the children how much time they spend with their parents, who
disciplines them, and other specific questions about rearing would provide a more
complete answer about who exactly is raising the children.
Second, Dr. Karp could provide some information about societal changes in the
past twenty years. If there have been significant changes on the island of Tertia, it is
possible that both anthropologists are correct. Twenty years ago, the entire village
raised children, and now, biological parents raise their own children. Recents events
could explain the change – such as introduction of Western mass media or changes in
government (monarchy to democracy). Perhaps even interviewing adults to get a
better understanding on child rearing. Not to mention, interpretting information from
children and using that information to generalize about an entire island is not the most
effective means.
Thirdly, Dr. Karp needs more proof that the observation-centered approach to
studying cultures in invalid. A potential mistake in one article can hardly invalidate an
entire method of research. Other anthropologists who employ the interview-centered
method need to dispute the work of anthropoligsts who use the observation-centered
approach. Only when a significant amount of research can be disproved can an entire
method of research be invalidated.
To conclude, Dr. Karp needs to do more research and provide more evidence
before his large claims can be fully supported. In fact, it will take more than Dr. Karp
alone to prove observation-centered method of research is invalid and further, that the
interview-centered method is better. In terms of his own research, Dr. Karp needs to
conduct more interviews on the Tertia islands and scientifically prove Dr. Field’s
research wrong.
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
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Reader Commentary
This adequate response manages to identify some important features of the argument,
presenting a competent examination and generally following the task directions. The
response does not merit a score of 5 or 6, however, because it does not present compelling
or insightful development. The response identifies basic points about the
content of the interviews, possible changes in Tertia, and observation-centered studies,
but these points are developed only adequately. Development in paragraph four
(“Thirdly . . . ”) is generic and thin, and the final paragraph just recapitulates the assertions
made earlier. The response does follow the specific task instructions, but it does
not develop its discussion of specific evidence fully. For example, there is a claim that
“specific questions about rearing would provide a more complete answer about who
exactly is raising the children,” but the response does not explain what sorts of questions
would give which answers or how those answers would strengthen or weaken the
argument. Also, language control in this response is merely adequate, not strong. There
are some typos and other errors (e.g., a sentence fragment in paragraph 3: “Perhaps
even interviewing adults to get a better understanding on child rearing”), but the
response generally demonstrates control of the conventions of standard written English,
and main points are made with reasonable clarity. Because of its adequate control
of language and competent analysis, this response earns a score of 4.
Score 3 Response
It will be very inappropriate to condemn Dr. Field’s observations and findings. A critical
look and analyses of the argument shows that details of Dr. Field’s work was not given
out. In fact, it is sad on the side of the writer to think that Dr.Fields work is invalid.
First, the fact that the children of Tertia spend much time talking about their
biological parents than about other adults in the village can be interpreted in a different
way. The writer did not give any clue on what exactly the children were saying about
their biological parents. It could be that they were talking about their parents
irresponsibility of rearing them by themselves than leaving them in the hands of
the whole community to bring them up. In fact, the argument could have been
strengthened if the writer gave what exactly the children were talking about.
On the other hand, the writer failed on his or her part as a researcher to look at
the time frame from the time Dr. Field did his analyses to the the time writer also
conducted His or Her research. This would have given him the insight as what new
developments has taken place within the twenty years gap that Dr. Field did His
analyses. The writer’s argument would have given a lot of meaning if the writer had
research into the cultural developments that has taken place since the time Dr. fields
last visited and didcompleted His work at Tertia.
Also, as a reader, the tone this writing is not very convincing. It almost seems like
Dr. Karp is making Dr. Fields look bad, instead of supporting his own research with
information. He really only says one sentence about his own research, the rest of it is
about how Fields work is not as good and saying things about Fields work. He needs to
have more details about his own work to really sell the reader on it. He needs to write
more about what the interview-centered method is, since he does not even say what it
is. This will be more convincing if it is less of an attack on Dr. Field and more about the
researches.
On the whole the writer’s work is incomplete and His or Her criticisms are
unfounded. The writer needs to change the qualitative way of His or Her research into a
more quatitative approach. If done in this way the impact of His or Her findings will be
very strong and convincing.
Reader Commentary
Although this response analyzes some important features of the argument, it is limited
in development and often lacks acceptable clarity in expressing its ideas. In particular,
this response contains occasional major errors and frequent minor errors that can
interfere with meaning. Misused words, subject/verb agreement problems, and other
lapses occur throughout the response. In addition to the problems with language control,
the response demonstrates limited relevant development. It is true that the
response makes an attempt to follow the specific task instructions, identifying the fact
that the argument might be strengthened by evidence that the children were talking in
a positive manner about their parents. However, the response does not explain exactly
how this evidence would strengthen the argument. Similarly, there is discussion of the
elapsed time between the two studies, but the response does not clarify how information
about the “cultural developments” over the past 20 years would strengthen the
argument Dr. Karp is making. Additionally, some of the points the response is making
are not actually relevant to an analysis of the logic of the argument. The discussion of
Dr. Karp’s tone in the fourth paragraph, for example, is a rhetorical critique, not
a logical one. There is an attempt to talk about evidence (“He needs to have more
details . . . ”), but the focus in this paragraph is on “selling” the reader, not creating a persuasive
argument. Because of its limited development and language control, this
response earns a score of 3.
Score 2 Response
The argument is on the article written by Dr. Karp , an anthropologist and his study
and the new plan to study the same in the tertia region.Dr.Karp has written an article
on Children in Tertia and about the culture.
The arguement is that they have not mention the type of intreview and the type of
questions of the interviwes.They haven’t indicate the education level in the children
and the background of the children. What are all the things the team is going to
observe and study on the child rearing tradition is not clearly mention.
The team is going to study and correlate the tradition with the other island culture
but there is a possibility of different environment of other island or differnt biological
parents. The resource availability on one island is different than the other is also a
possibility . In that situation it is not possible to correlate the culture between to
iceland.
There is a possibility , Dr. Field’s interview time , lacking of infrastructure in the
tartia. There was no developement of schools and other refreshment activity or the
parents may not spent enough time with the children due to various reasons and that
effect to the children , so they might have spend more time talking about their
biological parent.
To support the argument more information about the nature, cultural background
and also the type of infrastructure presence in the area is require, the kind of study
carring out in the study area is require. Which would help to give more support the
argument.
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Analytical Writing Sample Responses
Reader Commentary
This response demonstrates serious weaknesses in analytical writing. There seem to be
some attempts at logical analysis, though none that specifically and clearly examine
the evidence that might weaken or strengthen the argument. Additionally, there is little
or no relevant or reasonable support for the writer’s points. In large part, the lack of
logical development seems to be due to the serious and frequent problems with language
control seen throughout the response. There are basic errors in just about every
sentence of the response, and these errors frequently interfere with meaning. This sentence
exemplifies the problems seen throughout the response: “There was no developement
of schools and other refreshment activity or the parents may not spent enough
time with the children due to various reasons and that effect to the children , so they
might have spend more time talking about their biological parent.” The writer is
attempting to discuss some points that are relevant to an analysis of this argument, but
meaning is obscured by all of the errors present. However, some meaning can be discerned,
and these errors are not severe enough to drop the score to a 1.
Score 1 Response
Twenty years ago Dr field an anthropologist found result after reserch that in small
village of tertia children reared by entire village but according to dr karp he talked most
of the children that they talk about there boilogical parents. so it conclude that the
reserch of dr field is unvalid now and what type of methods dr field used may be not
cover all aspects of there culture and also other cultures of other islands. reared the
children by entire village is not logical but in some cultures there are some surprizing
customs . so may be dr field did not anlysed the culture of that island on various
parameters , which we are using now a days.intrveiw with children and observing their
behaviour is important because some time the person talk one thing and behave in
different way look like either he not telling correct or he is showing his altitude in
misguiding way. i think the behaviour of the children shows proper report of reserch
and you can observe their altitude to the other adult peoples of the village and to their
own biological parents.The expert reserch scholer can easily feel their emotions and
behavour during some time stay with their culture. dr field maybe more research time,
maybe, for longer.
Reader Commentary
This fundamentally deficient response mainly consists of a summary of the prompt,
and although there is some evidence of understanding, the response provides little evidence
of the ability to develop and organize an analysis of the argument. Also, severe
problems in language persistently interfere with meaning. In fact, the material that
does not come directly from the prompt is more or less incomprehensible.
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Answers and Explanations
SECTION 3
Verbal Reasoning
25 Questions with Explanations
For each of Questions 1 to 4, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed.
Questions 1 to 3 are based on the following reading passage.
Whether the languages of the ancient American peoples were used for expressing
abstract universal concepts can be clearly answered in the case of Nahuatl. Nahuatl,
like Greek and German, is a language that allows the formation of extensive compounds.
By the combination of radicals or semantic elements, single compound words
can express complex conceptual relations, often of an abstract universal character.
The tlamatinime (those who know) were able to use this rich stock of abstract terms
to express the nuances of their thought. They also availed themselves of other forms of
expression with metaphorical meaning, some probably original, some derived from
Toltec coinages. Of these forms, the most characteristic in Nahuatl is the juxtaposition
of two words that, because they are synonyms, associated terms, or even contraries,
complement each other to evoke one single idea. Used metaphorically, the juxtaposed
terms connote specific or essential traits of the being they refer to, introducing a mode
of poetry as an almost habitual form of expression.
Description
This passage claims that Nahuatl was used to express abstract universal concepts, by
combining semantic elements, and goes on to explain that the tlamatinime used these
terms to express subtle distinctions.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding present-day
research relating to Nahuatl?
A Some record or evidence of the thought of the tlamatinime is available.
B For at least some Nahuatl expressions, researchers are able to trace their
derivation from another ancient American language.
C Researchers believe that in Nahuatl, abstract universal concepts are
always expressed metaphorically.
Explanation
Choices A and B are correct.
Choice A is correct: the tlamatinime are mentioned in the first sentence of the second
paragraph, where it says they were able to use Nahuatl’s stock of abstract terms “to
express the nuances of their thought.” This suggests that there is some evidence of
what those thoughts were, and therefore Choice A can be inferred.
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5
10
Choice B is correct: according to the next sentence, Nahuatl speakers used “forms
of expression with metaphorical meaning,” some of which were probably “original”
and others “derived from Toltec coinages.” That researchers know certain Nahuatl
expressions are derived from Toltec suggests that they are able to trace the derivation
of some Nahuatl expressions from another language besides Nahuatl, and therefore
Choice B may be inferred.
Choice C is incorrect: the passage says that in Nahuatl there are single compound
words that can express conceptual relations of an “abstract universal character” and
mentions “other forms of expression with metaphorical meaning,” but it does not indicate
whether metaphorical words or phrases are the only way that abstract universal
concepts are expressed in Nahuatl, or whether researchers believe this about Nahuatl.
Therefore Choice C cannot be inferred.
2. Select the sentence in the passage in which the author introduces a specific
Nahuatl mode of expression that is not identified as being shared with certain
European languages.
Explanation
The passage introduces two specific Nahuatl modes of expression. One is the formation
of single compound words that are capable of expressing complex conceptual relations
(first paragraph); the other is the juxtaposition of two related words to evoke a single
idea (second paragraph). In the formation of compounds Nahuatl is described as being
“like Greek and German,” but the second mode is not identified as being shared with
other languages. Therefore the sixth sentence (“Of these forms . . . one single idea”) is
the best choice.
3. In the context in which it appears, “coinages” (line 9) most nearly means
A adaptations
B creations
C idiosyncrasies
D pronunciations
E currencies
Explanation
“Coinage” has two senses that are represented among the answer choices: in one sense
it denotes coins and currency, while in the other it denotes things — especially words —
that are invented. The fifth sentence draws a contrast between linguistic expressions
original to Nahuatl and those derived from Toltec. In this context of original versus
derived language, “coinages” means “inventions,” not “currencies.” Of the answer
choices given, “creations” is the nearest equivalent of “coinages” in the sense of “inventions,”
and therefore Choice B is the best answer.
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GRE Practice Test 1
Question 4 is based on the following reading passage.
At a certain period in Earth’s history, its atmosphere contained almost no oxygen,
although plants were producing vast quantities of oxygen. As a way of reconciling these
two facts, scientists have hypothesized that nearly all of the oxygen being produced was
taken up by iron on Earth’s surface. Clearly, however, this explanation is inadequate.
New studies show that the amount of iron on Earth’s surface was not sufficient
to absorb anywhere near as much oxygen as was being produced. Therefore,
something in addition to the iron on Earth’s surface must have absorbed much of the
oxygen produced by plant life.
4. In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following
roles?
A The first is a claim made by the argument in support of a certain position;
the second is that position.
B The first is a judgment made by the argument about a certain explanation;
the second is that explanation.
C The first expresses the argument’s dismissal of an objection to the position
it seeks to establish; the second is that position.
D The first sums up the argument’s position with regard to a certain
hypothesis; the second provides grounds for that position.
E The first is a concession by the argument that its initial formulation of the
position it seeks to establish requires modification; the second presents
that position in a modified form.
Explanation
The passage presents an argument and the question asks you to identify the role the
portions highlighted in boldface play in that argument. The first step in responding is
to read through the passage quickly to get an understanding of what is being said. Then
it is possible to go back and assess how the parts of the passage fit together into an
argument.
In this passage the first sentence presents two pieces of information that seem to be
in conflict — the atmosphere contained almost no oxygen even though plants were producing
so much of it. The second sentence presents a hypothetical explanation that has
been proposed for reconciling the discrepancy — that oxygen was absorbed by iron.
The next sentence calls this hypothetical explanation inadequate and the following sentence
gives a reason for that judgment — that there was insufficient iron for the proposed
explanation to work. Finally, the last sentence draws the conclusion that there
must have been something in addition to iron to absorb the oxygen.
Since the highlighted portions in the passage represent the main content of the
third and fourth sentences, the task in this question is to find the answer choice whose
two parts fit those sentences’ roles. It can be seen that answer Choice D fits the requirement:
the third sentence does sum up the argument’s position about a hypothesis, and
the fourth sentence gives grounds for the third. Therefore Choice D is the correct
answer.
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Answers and Explanations
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GRE Practice Test 1
For Questions 5 to 8, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column
of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.
5. In her later years, Bertha Pappenheim was an apostle of noble but already
(i)__________ notions, always respected for her integrity, her energy, and her
resolve but increasingly out of step and ultimately (ii)__________ even her own
organization.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
A anachronistic D emulated by
B accepted E appreciated by
C exotic F alienated from
Explanation
The sentence is clearly conveying a contrast since “but” is used twice to indicate something
positive and something negative about Pappenheim. The clue to the negative
aspect is in the later part of the sentence, where “out of step” leads both to “anachronistic”
as the answer for the first blank and “alienated from” as the answer for the
second.
Thus, the correct answer is anachronistic (Choice A) and alienated from (Choice F).
6. The reception given to Kimura’s radical theory of molecular evolution shows that
when __________ fights orthodoxy to a draw, then novelty has seized a good
chunk of space from convention.
A imitation
B reaction
C dogmatism
D invention
E caution
Explanation
The sentence sets up two parallel, contrasting concepts. The word in the blank must
contrast with “orthodoxy,” and since “convention” in the second contrasting pair is synonymous
with “orthodoxy,” the correct answer should be roughly synonymous with
“novelty.” The word “invention” is the best choice.
Thus, the correct answer is invention (Choice D).
7. The (i)__________ of Vladimir Nabokov as one of North America’s literary giants
has thrown the spotlight on his peripheral activities and has thus served to
(ii)__________ his efforts as an amateur entomologist.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
A stigmatization D foreground
B lionization E transcend
C marginalization F obscure
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Answers and Explanations
Explanation
It is possible to analyze this sentence by starting with either blank. Broadly, it states
that something that has happened to Nabokov has called attention to some of his
peripheral activities. It would hardly make sense for what had happened to be either
stigmatization or marginalization, since both of those activities represent a turning
away from him, not a calling attention to him. So the correct answer for the first blank
is “lionization,” since to lionize means to treat as important. Then, since we are told
that Nabokov is a literary giant, entomology must be one of his peripheral activities, so
the correct answer for the second blank must be “foreground,” which also means “call
attention to.” Spotlighting something would not result in transcending it or obscuring
it, so neither of the other choices is correct.
Thus, the correct answer is lionization (Choice B) and foreground (Choice D).
8. Mathematicians have a distinctive sense of beauty: they strive to present their
ideas and results in a clear and compelling fashion, dictated by __________ as
well as by logic.
A caprice
B aesthetics
C obligation
D methodologies
E intellect
Explanation
The opening statement attributes a “sense of beauty” to mathematicians, and the
remainder of the sentence after the colon spells out that observation. Filling in the
blank will supply some aspect that balances “logic” and reinforces the view that mathematicians
have a sense of beauty; “aesthetics” is the best choice.
Thus, the correct answer is aesthetics (Choice B).
For each of Questions 9 to 13, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed.
Questions 9 to 12 are based on the following reading passage.
Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds, tend to be costly. A bird, by singing,
may forfeit time that could otherwise be spent on other important behaviors such as
foraging or resting. Singing may also advertise an individual’s location to rivals or predators
and impair the ability to detect their approach. Although these types of cost may
be important, discussions of the cost of singing have generally focused on energy costs.
Overall the evidence is equivocal: for instance, while Eberhardt found increases in
energy consumption during singing for Carolina wrens, Chappell found no effect of
crowing on energy consumption in roosters.
To obtain empirical data regarding the energy costs of singing, Thomas examined
the relationship between song rate and overnight changes in body mass of male
nightingales. Birds store energy as subcutaneous fat deposits or “body reserves”;
changes in these reserves can be reliably estimated by measuring changes in body
mass. If singing has important energy costs, nightingales should lose more body mass
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GRE Practice Test 1
on nights when their song rate is high. Thomas found that nightingales reached a significantly
higher body mass at dusk and lost more mass overnight on nights when their
song rate was high.
These results suggest that there may be several costs of singing at night associated
with body reserves. The increased metabolic cost of possessing higher body mass contributes
to the increased overnight mass loss. The strategic regulation of evening body
reserves is also likely to incur additional costs, as nightingales must spend more time
foraging in order to build up larger body reserves. The metabolic cost of singing itself
may also contribute to increased loss of reserves. This metabolic cost may arise from
the muscular and neural activity involved in singing or from behaviors associated with
singing. For example, birds may expend more of their reserves on thermoregulation if
they spend the night exposed to the wind on a song post than if they are in a sheltered
roost site. Thomas’s data therefore show that whether or not singing per se has an
important metabolic cost, metabolic costs associated with singing can have an important
measurable effect on a bird’s daily energy budget, at least in birds with high song
rates such as nightingales.
Description
The passage mentions various ways in which singing is costly to a bird, but soon
focuses on the main topic: the energy costs of singing. The second paragraph then discusses
a particular experiment designed to assess the energy costs of singing for
nightingales, and the third paragraph identifies a range of different associated costs.
9. The primary purpose of the passage is to
A compare the different types of cost involved for certain birds in singing
B question a hypothesis regarding the energy costs of singing for certain
birds
C present evidence suggesting that singing has an important energy cost for
certain birds
D discuss the benefits provided to an organism by a behavior that is costly in
energy
E describe an experiment that supports an alternative model of how
birdsong functions
Explanation
As mentioned above, the first paragraph mentions various costs associated with birdsong,
but from that point onward, the focus of the passage is on evidence concerning
the energy costs of singing, for nightingales in particular. Thus, the correct answer is
Choice C. Although the passage mentions other costs, it does not compare them with
one another, so Choice A is incorrect. Because the passage does not question any
hypotheses, discuss benefits, or advance an alternative model of birdsong, Choices B,
D, and E are incorrect.
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20
25
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Answers and Explanations
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
10. The passage implies that during the day before a night on which a male
nightingale’s song rate is high, that nightingale probably does which of the
following?
A Expends less of its reserves on thermoregulation than on other days
B Stores more energy as body reserves than on other days
C Hides to avoid predators
Explanation
Choice B is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: the only reference to thermoregulation comes in line 24 and
discusses nighttime activity, not daytime activity.
Choice B is correct: the second paragraph explains that birds store energy as fat
deposits that can be estimated by measuring body mass, and that body mass at dusk
was significantly higher in nightingales on nights when their song rate was higher.
Choice C is incorrect: while the passage does say that singing exposes birds to predators
(line 3), it says nothing to suggest that they make special efforts to hide before
singing, and in fact it says that nightingales spend extra time foraging (line 20).
11. Select the sentence in the first or second paragraph that presents empirical
results in support of a hypothesis about the energy costs of singing.
Explanation
Only two sentences in the relevant portion of the passage contain information that
might be considered to be empirical results. The last sentence of the first paragraph
contains information about increases in energy consumption but only the last sentence
of the second paragraph provides results in support of the only hypothesis in the passage,
that nightingales should lose more body mass on nights when their song rate is
high. Thus, sentence 9 (“Thomas found . . . high”) is the correct choice.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
12. It can be inferred from the passage that compared with other costs of singing,
which of the following is true of the energy costs of singing?
A They are the single greatest cost to an individual bird.
B They have generally received more attention from scientists.
C They vary less from one bird species to another.
Explanation
Choice B is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: you might infer that energy costs of singing are significant
but no information is given to suggest that they are greater than other costs.
Choice B is correct: lines 4–5 say that discussions of the costs of singing have generally
focused on energy costs.
Choice C is incorrect: the only mention of differences across species occurs in the
discussion of the findings of Eberhardt and Chappell. These findings relate to energy
costs alone and, if anything, suggest that energy costs vary considerably.
Question 13 is based on the following reading passage.
In the past ten years, there have been several improvements in mountain-climbing
equipment. These improvements have made the sport both safer and more enjoyable
for experienced climbers. Despite these improvements, however, the rate of mountainclimbing
injuries has doubled in the past ten years.
13. Which of the following, if true, best reconciles the apparent discrepancy
presented in the passage?
A Many climbers, lulled into a false sense of security, use the new equipment
to attempt climbing feats of which they are not capable.
B Some mountain-climbing injuries are caused by unforeseeable weather
conditions.
C Mountain climbing, although a dangerous sport, does not normally result
in injury to the experienced climber.
D In the past ten years there have been improvements in mountain-climbing
techniques as well as in mountain-climbing equipment.
E Although the rate of mountain-climbing injuries has increased, the rate of
mountain-climbing deaths has not changed.
Explanation
In this question you are asked to identify the fact that would best reconcile the apparent
discrepancy that the passage presents. The discrepancy is that despite improvements
in mountain climbing equipment that have made climbing safer, the incidence
of mountain-climbing injuries has greatly increased. Choice A explains how this could
have happened — the improvements in equipment have led climbers to attempt feats
that are beyond their level of skill. Therefore, Choice A is the correct answer.
None of the other choices provides information that resolves the discrepancy. Neither
Choice B nor Choice C relates to conditions that have changed over the relevant
ten-year period. Choices D and E do relate to the relevant period. But if, as Choice D
says, techniques as well as equipment have improved, that fact by itself only makes the
increase in injuries more puzzling. Choice E provides more data about the consequences
of climbing accidents, but doesn’t suggest any explanation for the increase in
injuries.
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Answers and Explanations
For Questions 14 to 17, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.
14. Unenlightened authoritarian managers rarely recognize a crucial reason for the
low levels of serious conflict among members of democratically run work groups:
a modicum of tolerance for dissent often prevents __________.
A demur
B schism
C cooperation
D compliance
E shortsightedness
Explanation
The blank must be filled with a word that describes a problem that a work group can
suffer, a problem that can be a cause of (or associated with) serious conflict. Of the
answer choices, only “schism” fits this description.
Thus, the correct answer is schism (Choice B).
15. The novelist devotes so much time to avid descriptions of his characters’ clothes
that the reader soon feels that such __________ concerns, although worthy of
attention, have superseded any more directly literary aims.
A didactic
B syntactical
C irrelevant
D sartorial
E frivolous
Explanation
The “concerns” described by the adjective that fills the blank relate to clothing, so “sartorial”
fits the blank. Although these concerns could also be described as “irrelevant” or
“frivolous,” neither of these choices is correct because the sentence identifies the concerns
as “worthy of attention.”
Thus, the correct answer is sartorial (Choice D).
16. Belanger dances with an (i)__________ that draws one’s attention as if by seeking
to (ii)__________ it; through finesse and understatement, he manages to seem at
once intensely present and curiously detached.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
A undemonstrative panache D focus
B unrestrained enthusiasm E overwhelm
C unattractive gawkiness F deflect
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Explanation
The point of the sentence is to emphasize contradictory aspects of Belanger’s dancing:
we are told, for example, that he seems “at once intensely present and curiously
detached.” Looking at the second blank with this point in mind, we can see that the
sentence is saying that Belanger draws attention in some way that would not normally
be a means of doing so. The only choice that fits, therefore, is “deflect”; focusing or
overwhelming attention would certainly be expected to draw it. And since employing
“unrestrained enthusiasm” or “unattractive gawkiness” would not be ways of deflecting
attention, the correct choice for the first blank is “undemonstrative panache,” another
paradoxical term, since “panache” means “dash or flamboyance in style.”
Thus, the correct answer is undemonstrative panache (Choice A) and deflect
(Choice F).
17. The most striking thing about the politician is how often his politics have been
(i)__________ rather than ideological, as he adapts his political positions at any
particular moment to the political realities that constrain him. He does not,
however, piously (ii)__________ political principles only to betray them in
practice. Rather, he attempts in subtle ways to balance his political self-interest
with a (iii) __________, viewing himself as an instrument of some unchanging
higher purpose.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
A quixotic D brandish G profound
cynicism
B self-righteous E flout H deeply felt moral
code
C strategic F follow I thoroughgoing
pragmatism
Explanation
Since the politician is portrayed as adapting political positions to political realities,
blank (i) should be filled with “strategic,” which is also the only choice that provides
the required contrast with “ideological.” The second blank, brandishing political principles
is what a politician might do piously, while flouting is not pious and following
principles does not make sense when combined with “betray[ing] them in practice.”
The third blank requires something that would have to be balanced against “political
self-interest” and that would be embraced in service of an “unchanging higher purpose,”
making “deeply felt moral code” the only viable choice.
Thus, the correct answer is strategic (Choice C), brandish (Choice D), and deeply
felt moral code (Choice H).
For each of Questions 18 to 20, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed.
Questions 18 to 20 are based on the following reading passage.
The condition of scholarship devoted to the history of women in photography is confounding.
Recent years have witnessed the posthumous inflation of the role of the hobbyist
Alice Austen into that of a pioneering documentarian while dozens of notable
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Answers and Explanations
senior figures — Marion Palfi, whose photographs of civil-rights activities in the South
served as early evidence of the need for protective legislation, to name one — received
scant attention from scholars. And, while Naomi Rosenblum’s synoptic History of
Women Photographers covers the subject through 1920 in a generally useful fashion,
once she reaches the 1920s, when the venues, forms, applications, and movements of
the medium expanded exponentially, she resorts to an increasingly terse listing of un –
familiar names, with approaches and careers summarized in a sentence or two.
Description
The passage expresses dismay at the current state of scholarship concerning the history
of women in photography: some figures receive disproportionate attention, and past
1920 Rosenblum’s book is too sketchy to be useful.
18. The author of the passage cites Rosenblum’s book most likely in order to
A suggest that the works documented most thoroughly by historians of
women in photography often do not warrant that attention
B offer an explanation for the observation that not all aspects of the history
of women in photography have received the same level of attention
C provide an example of a way in which scholarship on the history of
women in photography has been unsatisfactory
D suggest that employing a strictly chronological approach when studying
the history of women in photography may be unproductive
E provide support for the notion that certain personalities in women’s
photography have attained undue prominence
Explanation
As mentioned above, the topic of the passage is the unsatisfactory condition of scholarship
devoted to the history of women in photography. Since Rosenblum’s book is
clearly presented as an example of this unsatisfactory scholarship, Choice C is the correct
answer. Choice D may seem appealing, because a strictly chronological approach
might be inadequate to represent the explosive growth of the field in the 1920s. However,
the sentence does not develop this idea, and this is not the reason for mentioning
Rosenblum.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
19. Which of the following statements about Marion Palfi is supported by the
passage?
A Marion Palfi’s photographs would have received greater recognition from
historians had her work been done in an era when most aspects of
photography were static rather than in a state of transition.
B Alice Austen has achieved greater notoriety than has Marion Palfi
primarily because the subjects that Austen photographed were more
familiar to her contemporaries.
C In addition to providing a record of certain historical events, Marion
Palfi’s photographs played a role in subsequent events.
line
5
10
Explanation
Choice C is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: the passage does not state whether the period in which Palfi
was working was an era when photography was static or in transition.
Choice B is incorrect: the passage does not state the nature of the subjects Austen
photographed, nor compare their relative familiarity to those photographed by Palfi.
Choice C is correct: Palfi’s photographs played a role in subsequent events because
they served as early evidence of the need for protective legislation.
20. In the context in which it appears, “inflation” (line 2) most nearly means
A exaggeration
B acquisition
C evaluation
D distortion
E attenuation
Explanation
The term “hobbyist” suggests Austen’s relative lack of seriousness as a photographer
when compared with “senior figures,” yet her role has been elevated to that of a “pioneering
documentarian” at the expense of these other figures. Choice D may be appealing
in that this elevation could be considered a form of distortion, but Choice A is more
specific as well as more in line with the dictionary definition of “inflated” as “expanded
to an abnormal or unjustifiable volume or level.” Thus, Choice A, “exaggeration,” is the
correct answer.
For Questions 21 to 25, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning.
21. The plan, which the engineers said would save the aquifer by reducing pumping
to __________ levels, has passed a governmental environmental review but faces
opposition from outdoor and environmental groups.
A innocuous
B feasible
C practicable
D minimal
E remedial
F benign
Explanation
If the engineers think that the reduced levels will save the aquifer, they may describe
the reduced levels as innocuous, minimal, remedial, or benign. Of these words, only
“innocuous” and “benign” produce sentences with the same meaning. The two words
“feasible” and “practicable” are similar in meaning, but do not fit the context well,
because they imply that the current levels are not feasible or practicable, conflicting
with the implication that the current levels, though perhaps undesirable, are nevertheless
entirely feasible.
Thus, the correct answer is innocuous (Choice A) and benign (Choice F).
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22. Though feminist in its implications, Yvonne Rainer’s 1974 film __________ the
filmmaker’s active involvement in feminist politics.
A antedated
B cloaked
C portrayed
D preceded
E renewed
F represented
Explanation
The words that fill the blank must fit with the idea that Rainer’s film has some feminist
implications, but that those are limited compared with her other activities. From the
six words offered as answer choices, the pair “antedated” and “preceded” and the pair
“portrayed” and “represented” each produce sentences that are similar in meaning.
However, only “antedated” and “preceded” make sense in the context of the sentence:
Rainer’s 1974 film exhibits feminist themes in a limited way because it came before she
became active in feminist politics.
Thus, the correct answer is antedated (Choice A) and preceded (Choice D).
23. Congress is having great difficulty developing a consensus on energy policy,
primarily because the policy objectives of various members of Congress rest on
such __________ assumptions.
A commonplace
B disparate
C divergent
D fundamental
E trite
F trivial
Explanation
The words that fill the blank must help explain the difficulty of developing a consensus.
A lack of agreement on the assumptions that underlie Congress members’ policy objectives
would contribute to such a difficulty. Accordingly, “disparate” and “divergent” are
the best choices because they both indicate disagreement among the members.
Although the words “trite” and “trivial” are similar in meaning, triteness and triviality
do not help to explain the difficulty in developing a consensus.
Thus, the correct answer is disparate (Choice B) and divergent (Choice C).
24. During the opera’s most famous aria, the tempo chosen by the orchestra’s
conductor seemed __________, without necessary relation to what had gone
before.
A arbitrary
B capricious
C cautious
D compelling
E exacting
F meticulous
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Answers and Explanations
Explanation
Any of the offered words could possibly describe a conductor’s choice of tempo. However,
the phrase “without necessary relation to what had gone before” is presented as
an elaboration on the word in the blank. Among the answer choices, only “arbitrary”
and “capricious” could be elaborated that way; none of the other choices would be
explained by the final phrase.
Thus, the correct answer is arbitrary (Choice A) and capricious (Choice B).
25. Because they had expected the spacecraft Voyager 2 to be able to gather data only
about the planets Jupiter and Saturn, scientists were __________ the wealth of
information it sent back from Neptune twelve years after leaving Earth.
A anxious for
B confident in
C thrilled about
D keen on
E elated by
F eager for
Explanation
In the sentence, the words “expected” and “only” imply that the data received from the
spacecraft exceeded scientists’ expectations. Therefore, the words that fill the blank
should describe a reaction to results that are better than hoped for, and the choices
“thrilled about” and “elated by” both express such a reaction. The scientists may well
also have been eager for, or keen on, the information, but their eagerness is not well
explained by the unexpectedness of the information.
Thus, the correct answer is thrilled about (Choice C) and elated by (Choice E).
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Answers and Explanations
SECTION 4
Verbal Reasoning
25 Questions with Explanations
For Questions 1 to 4, select the two answer choices that, when used to complete
the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed
sentences that are alike in meaning.
1. Only by ignoring decades of mismanagement and inefficiency could investors
conclude that a fresh infusion of cash would provide anything other than a
__________ solution to the company’s financial woes.
A complete
B fleeting
C momentary
D premature
E trivial
F total
Explanation
The key phrases that indicate how the blank for this question should be completed are
“Only by ignoring decades of mismanagement and inefficiency” and “provide anything
other than.” Taken together, these phrases indicate that the sentence will not envision a
very beneficial or successful resolution of the “financial woes.” Among the answer
choices, “complete” and “total” are quite close in meaning and would clearly create two
sentences very similar in meaning. But those two sentences would be internally contradictory,
suggesting that doing something unwise would completely solve a problem.
“Fleeting” and “momentary” suggest that the event referred to (“a fresh infusion of
cash”) might have some beneficial effect, but that it would ultimately not resolve the
problem.
Thus, the correct answer is fleeting (Choice B) and momentary (Choice C).
2. Some scientists argue that carbon compounds play such a central role in life on
Earth because of the possibility of __________ resulting from the carbon atom’s
ability to form an unending series of different molecules.
A diversity
B deviation
C variety
D reproduction
E stability
F invigoration
Explanation
The key phrase that indicates how the blank for this question should be completed is
“the ability to form an unending series of different molecules.” Among the answer
choices, “diversity” and “variety” clearly fit logically with “unending” and “different”
and create two very similar sentences. No other pair of choices here would produce
two sentences as similar in meaning as those created by placing “diversity” and “variety”
in the blank. Thus, the correct answer is diversity (Choice A) and variety (Choice C).
3. Given the flood of information presented by the mass media, the only way for
someone to keep abreast of the news is to rely on __________ accounts.
A synoptic
B abridged
C sensational
D copious
E lurid
F understated
Explanation
The key phrase that indicates how the blank for this question should be completed is
“the only way for someone to keep abreast of the news.” Among the answer choices,
“synoptic” and “abridged,” while not synonymous in the strict sense, both fit the logic
of this description, “synoptic” because of its emphasis on breadth and generality as
opposed to detail, and “abridged” because of its obvious focus on brevity. “Sensational”
and “lurid” would create two similar sentences but do not fit the logic for completing
the blank, since we would not be relying on sensational or lurid accounts in order to
keep abreast of the news.
Thus, the correct answer is synoptic (Choice A) and abridged (Choice B).
4. Always circumspect, she was reluctant to make judgments, but once arriving at a
conclusion, she was __________ in its defense.
A deferential
B intransigent
C lax
C negligent
E obsequious
F resolute
Explanation
The key phrases that indicate how the blank for this question should be completed are:
“circumspect,” “reluctant,” and “but once.” Taken together they point to completing the
blank with something that is opposite in some way to the two cited adjectives. Among
the answer choices, “intransigent” and “resolute,” although not strictly synonymous,
both fit the logic of the description given here for completing the blank and create sentences
that are similar in meaning. “Lax” and “negligent” are clearly similar in meaning
and would create sentences similar in meaning, but they continue the sentiment voiced
in the initial clause rather than contrasting with it. “Deferential” and “obsequious” are
also similar in meaning, but their emphasis on “politeness,” while not strictly synonymous
with reluctance and circumspection, like “lax” and “negligent” fail to pick up on
the expected contrast.
Thus, the correct answer is intransigent (Choice B) and resolute (Choice F).
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Answers and Explanations
For each of Questions 5 to 9, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed.
Questions 5 and 6 are based on the following reading passage.
When marine organisms called phytoplankton photosynthesize, they absorb carbon
dioxide dissolved in seawater, potentially causing a reduction in the concentration of
atmospheric carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming. However, phytoplankton
flourish only in surface waters where iron levels are sufficiently high. Martin
therefore hypothesized that adding iron to iron-poor regions of the ocean could
help alleviate global warming. While experiments subsequently confirmed that such a
procedure increases phytoplankton growth, field tests have shown that such growth
does not significantly lower atmospheric carbon dioxide. When phytoplankton utilize
carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, the carbon becomes a building block for organic
matter, but the carbon leaks back into the atmosphere when predators consume the
phytoplankton and respire carbon dioxide.
Description
The paragraph presents a hypotheses about reducing global warming by adding iron
to iron-poor areas of the ocean and explains why adding the iron does not have the
hoped-for benefit.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
5. It can be inferred from the passage that Martin’s hypothesis includes which of the
following elements?
A A correct understanding of how phytoplankton photosynthesis utilizes
carbon dioxide
B A correct prediction about how the addition of iron to iron-poor waters
would affect phytoplankton growth
C An incorrect prediction about how phytoplankton growth would affect the
concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide
Explanation
All three choices are correct. Martin’s hypothesis was that adding iron to iron-poor
regions of the ocean could help alleviate global warming.
Choice A is correct: the passage presents Martin as using the standard understanding
of how phytoplankton photosynthesize as a basis for the hypothesis.
Choice B is correct: the passage states that experiments confirmed that adding
iron to iron-poor regions increases phytoplankton growth in those regions. Therefore,
Martin’s prediction about this was correct.
Choice C is correct: it can be inferred that in Martin’s hypothesis the means by
which adding iron in certain regions could alleviate global warming is that phytoplankton
increase in those regions and absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. The passage
states that predators who consume phytoplankton respire carbon dioxide, so that
the carbon dioxide absorbed by phytoplankton reenters the atmosphere. Therefore,
Martin’s prediction about this was incorrect.
line
5
10
6. It can be inferred that the author of the passage mentions predators (line 10)
primarily in order to
A help explain why Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect
B identify one effect of adding iron to iron-poor waters
C indicate how some carbon dioxide is converted to solid organic matter
D help account for differences in the density of phytoplankton between
different regions of the ocean
E point out a factor that was not anticipated by the scientists who
conducted the field tests mentioned in the passage
Explanation
Lines 7–11 of the paragraph present the evidence against Martin’s hypothesis. Lines
7–8 present field test results showing that Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect, and the last
sentence explains these results: the reason the increased phytoplankton resulting from
the addition of iron do not reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide is that while the phytoplankton
absorb carbon dioxide, the gas reenters the atmosphere when it is respired by
phytoplankton predators. Therefore Choice A is correct: predators are mentioned to
explain why Martin’s hypothesis is incorrect. Choice B is not correct because while
predators’ consumption of phytoplankton and respiration of carbon dioxide might be
considered one indirect consequence of adding iron to iron-poor waters, identifying a
consequence is not the primary function of the mention of predators. Choice C is incorrect
because the reference to predators is used to explain how carbon dioxide reappears
as a gas, and Choice D is incorrect because no connection is suggested between
predators and the distribution of phytoplankton. Choice E is not correct because it is
Martin who did not anticipate this factor, rather than the scientists who conducted the
field tests.
Question 7 is based on the following reading passage.
Sparva, unlike Treland’s other provinces, requires automobile insurers to pay for any
medical treatment sought by someone who has been involved in an accident; in the
other provinces, insurers pay for nonemergency treatment only if they preapprove the
treatment. Clearly, Sparva’s less restrictive policy must be the explanation for the fact
that altogether insurers there pay for far more treatments after accidents than insurers
in other provinces, even though Sparva does not have the largest population.
Description
The passage tells us that in Sparva automobile insurers pay for far more medical treatments
after accidents than they do in Treland’s other provinces. The passage concludes
that the explanation is to be found in the difference in legal requirements for insurers
in Sparva as compared to other provinces.
7. Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?
A Car insurance costs more in Sparva than in any other province.
B The cost of medical care in Sparva is higher than the national average.
C Different insurance companies have different standards for determining
what constitutes emergency treatment.
D Fewer insurance companies operate in Sparva than in any other province.
E There are fewer traffic accidents annually in Sparva than in any of the
provinces of comparable or greater population.
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Answers and Explanations
Explanation
The question asks you to identify among the answer choices a fact that would support
the passage’s argument. The explanation offered in the passage can be supported by ruling
out other explanations that might, given the information presented in the passage,
appear likely. One obvious explanation for there being more medical treatments in
Sparva is that there are more accidents there. Choice E rules out that explanation. So
Choice E strengthens the argument in the passage and is the correct answer. Choices A
and D each present consequences that are likely results of insurers in Sparva having to
pay for more medical treatments. But neither bears on the cause of insurers having to
pay for more treatments. Choice B does not strengthen the argument and may weaken
it. A higher cost of medical care provides additional motivation for people to seek insurance
payments to cover whatever post-accident care they receive. So Choice B might
weaken the argument by providing an alternative explanation for insurers paying for
more medical treatments in Sparva. According to the passage, whether treatment is
emergency treatment is, in other provinces, an important criterion in determining insurers’
responsibility. But since this criterion does not apply in Sparva, Choice C is not
directly relevant to the point that the passage is trying to establish.
Questions 8 and 9 are based on the following reading passage.
Elements of the Philosophy of Newton, published by Voltaire in 1738, was an early
attempt to popularize the scientific ideas of Isaac Newton. In the book’s frontispiece,
Voltaire is seen writing at his desk, and over him a shaft of light from heaven, the light
of truth, passes through Newton to Voltaire’s collaborator Madame du Châtelet; she
reflects that light onto the inspired Voltaire. Voltaire’s book commanded a wide audience,
according to Feingold, because “he was neither a mathematician nor a physicist,
but a literary giant aloof from the academic disputes over Newtonian ideas.” In other
words, Voltaire’s amateurism in science “was a source of his contemporary appeal,
demonstrating for the first time the accessibility of Newton’s ideas to nonspecialists.”
Description
The paragraph describes Voltaire’s book and gives some reasons for its success.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
8. Which of the following statements about Voltaire’s Elements of the Philosophy of
Newton can be inferred from the passage?
A Voltaire’s literary stature helped secure a large audience for this attempt to
popularize Newton’s ideas.
B Voltaire’s status as a nonscientist was an advantage in this effort to bring
Newtonian science to the attention of the general public.
C The frontispiece of the book implies that Voltaire’s understanding of
Newton’s ideas was not achieved without assistance.
Explanation
All three choices are correct.
Choice A is correct: the paragraph states that one of the reasons Voltaire’s book
commanded a wide audience is that he was “a literary giant.”
Choice B is correct: the paragraph states that Voltaire’s amateurism in science
demonstrated that nonspecialists could also understand Newton’s ideas.
Choice C is correct: the paragraph refers to Voltaire’s collaborator, Madame du
Châtelet. In the image described, she serves as the intermediary between Newton and
Voltaire, conveying Newton’s ideas to Voltaire.
9. Select the sentence that describes an allegory for Voltaire’s acquisition of
knowledge concerning Newton’s ideas.
Explanation
In the image described in the second sentence, Voltaire acquires his knowledge of Newton
through Madame du Châtelet, who conveys Newton’s ideas — his “light of truth” —
to Voltaire. The only other sentence that contains figurative language is the next sentence,
in which Voltaire is described as “a literary giant aloof . . . from disputes.” However,
this image refers not to Voltaire’s acquisition of knowledge of Newtonian ideas,
but rather to his attitude regarding Newtonian ideas. Therefore sentence 2 (“In the
book’s . . . Voltaire”) is the correct choice.
For Questions 10 to 13, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.
10. Ironically, the writer so wary of (i)__________ was (ii)__________ with ink and
paper, his novel running to 2,500 shagreen-bound folio pages — a fortune in
stationery at the time.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
A probity D acquisitive
B extravagance E illiberal
C disapprobation F profligate
Explanation
The last part of the sentence provides most of the context needed to fill in the two
blanks. The novel was extremely long and required vast amounts of paper. Among the
choices for the second blank, only “profligate” matches this lack of restraint. The word
“Ironically” indicates that what the writer was “wary of” was something similar to
profligacy; of the choices for the first blank, “extravagance” is the closest.
Thus, the correct answer is extravagance (Choice B) and profligate (Choice F).
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Answers and Explanations
11. What readers most commonly remember about John Stuart Mill’s classic
exploration of the liberty of thought and discussion concerns the danger of
(i)__________: in the absence of challenge, one’s opinions, even when they are
correct, grow weak and flabby. Yet Mill had another reason for encouraging the
liberty of thought and discussion: the danger of partiality and incompleteness.
Since one’s opinions, even under the best circumstances, tend to (ii)__________,
and because opinions opposed to one’s own rarely turn out to be completely
(iii)__________, it is crucial to supplement one’s opinions with alternative points
of view.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
A tendentiousness D embrace only a G erroneous
portion of the truth
B complacency E change over H antithetical
time
C fractiousness F focus on matters I immutable
close at hand
Explanation
An overview of the passage suggests that the first sentence is relatively self-contained
and that the blank is answerable without the succeeding sentences, where the topic
shifts slightly. The colon after the first blank signals that what follows will define the
word in the blank and will explain what danger Mill was concerned about. It says that
without challenge, one’s opinions grow “weak and flabby” and therefore one becomes
complacent, not tendentious or fractious. A quick reading of the next two sentences
suggests that the topic will be another danger that Mill described, “the danger of partiality
and incompleteness.” Free and open discussion needs to take place because each
person’s opinion tends to “embrace only a portion of the truth” and others’ views are
partially right, or never completely “erroneous.” The other choices for the second and
third blanks deal with change, immediacy, or antithesis, none of which relate to the
second danger of “partiality” or “incompleteness.”
Thus, the correct answer is complacency (Choice B), embrace only a portion of
the truth (Choice D), and erroneous (Choice G).
12. Just as the authors’ book on eels is often a key text for courses in marine
vertebrate zoology, their ideas on animal development and phylogeny __________
teaching in this area.
A prevent
B defy
C replicate
D inform
E use
Explanation
The “just as” structure indicates that the second half of the sentence should somehow
parallel the idea presented in the first half (i.e., the idea that the authors’ book on eels
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is a “key text” in marine vertebrate zoology). Among the choices given, “inform” is
clearly the best choice. “Prevent” and “defy” work in the opposite direction, while “use”
and “replicate” would suggest that the authors’ ideas are drawing upon the teaching in
this area rather than the other way around. “Inform” leads to a meaning that nicely
matches the first half of the sentence.
Thus, the correct answer is inform (Choice D).
13. Mechanisms develop whereby every successful species can __________ its innate
capacity for population growth with the constraints that arise through its
interactions with the natural environment.
A enhance
B replace
C produce
D surpass
E reconcile
Explanation
A quick overview of the sentence indicates that the blank should be filled with a verb
that indicates what a successful species does with its “innate capacity for population
growth” in the face of certain constraints on that growth. This analysis suggests that
the correct answer will have something to do with adjusting that capacity in the face of
these constraints. Of the choices given, “reconcile” is closest to that meaning. None of
the other options make for a meaningful, coherent sentence. “Enhance,” for example,
may fit nicely with “its innate capacity,” but it does not make sense with “constraints.”
Thus, the correct answer is reconcile (Choice E).
For each of Questions 14 to 16, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed.
Questions 14 to 16 are based on the following reading passage.
It would be expected that a novel by a figure as prominent as W. E. B. DuBois would
attract the attention of literary critics. Additionally, when the novel subtly engages the
issue of race, as DuBois’ The Quest of the Silver Fleece (1911) does, it would be a surprise
not to encounter an abundance of scholarly work about that text. But though
valuable scholarship has examined DuBois’ political and historical thought, his novels
have received scant attention. Perhaps DuBois the novelist must wait his turn behind
DuBois the philosopher, historian, and editor. But what if the truth lies elsewhere: what
if his novels do not speak to current concerns?
Description
The paragraph first presents reasons for critical interest in DuBois’ novels, but then
goes on to explain that there has in fact been very little such interest and speculates as
to why that might be.
389
Answers and Explanations
14. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage regarding DuBois’ The
Quest of the Silver Fleece?
A The lack of attention devoted to The Quest of the Silver Fleece can be
attributed to the fact that it was DuBois’ first novel.
B Among DuBois’ novels, The Quest of the Silver Fleece is unusual in that it
has received scant attention from scholars.
C The Quest of the Silver Fleece has at least one feature that typically would
attract the attention of literary scholars.
D The Quest of the Silver Fleece, given its subtle exploration of race, is
probably the best novel written by DuBois.
E Much of the scholarly work that has focused on The Quest of the Silver
Fleece has been surprisingly critical of it.
Explanation
Choice C is correct. The second sentence states that The Quest of the Silver Fleece subtly
engages the issue of race and implies that such an issue would attract the attention
of literary scholars. The passage provides no information about whether The Quest of
the Silver Fleece is DuBois’ first novel (Choice A), whether it received more or less scholarly
attention than his other novels (Choice B), whether it is better than any of his
other novels (Choice D), nor about what scholars have said about it (Choice E).
15. In the fourth sentence (“Perhaps DuBois . . . editor.”), the author of the passage is
most likely suggesting that
A scholars will find that DuBois’ novels are more relevant to current
concerns than is his work as philosopher, historian, and editor
B more scholarly attention will be paid to The Quest of the Silver Fleece than
to DuBois’ other novels
C DuBois’ novels will come to overshadow his work as philosopher,
historian, and editor
D DuBois’ novels may eventually attract greater scholarly interest than they
have to date
E it will be shown that DuBois’ work as philosopher, historian, and editor
had an important influence on his work as novelist
Explanation
The fourth sentence speculates that once DuBois scholars have exhausted potential
avenues of research in the fields of philosophy, history, and editing, they will turn to his
novels, so Choice D is the correct answer. None of the other choices fits the metaphor
in “Perhaps DuBois the novelist must wait his turn.”
390
GRE Practice Test 1
16. Which of the following best describes the central issue with which the passage is
concerned?
A The perfunctoriness of much of the critical work devoted to DuBois’
novels
B The nature of DuBois’ engagement with the issue of race in The Quest of
the Silver Fleece
C Whether DuBois’ novels are of high quality and relevant to current
concerns
D The relationship between DuBois the novelist and DuBois the philosopher,
historian, and editor
E The degree of consideration that has been given to DuBois’ novels,
including The Quest of the Silver Fleece
Explanation
The passage focuses on the scant attention given to DuBois’ novels, The Quest of the Silver
Fleece in particular. The first two sentences give reasons to expect greater attention,
while the last two offer speculations about the explanation for the scant attention.
Thus, Choice E is correct. The issues described in the other answer choices are all marginal
to the passage, if they are mentioned at all.
For Questions 17 to 20, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding
column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.
17. In the midst of so many evasive comments, this forthright statement, whatever its
intrinsic merit, plainly stands out as __________.
A a paradigm
B a misnomer
C a profundity
D an inaccuracy
E an anomaly
Explanation
The sentence offers a contrast between “many evasive statements” and a single “forthright
statement.” On that basis alone, one might expect an answer such as “an anomaly.”
Do any of the other options make for a meaningful, coherent sentence? “A
paradigm” is appealing, as is “a profundity,” since the forthright statement is clearly
presented as something positive. However, we are not in a position to call it paradigmatic
or profound, since the sentence withholds judgment on “its intrinsic merit.” The
same reasoning allows us to eliminate “inaccuracy” and “misnomer.” The straightforwardly
descriptive “anomaly” is clearly the best choice.
Thus, the correct answer is an anomaly (Choice E).
391
Answers and Explanations
18. The activists’ energetic work in the service of both woman suffrage and the
temperance movement in the late nineteenth century (i)__________ the assertion
that the two movements were (ii)__________.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
A undermines D diffuse
B supports E inimical
C underscores F predominant
Explanation
The sentence is about the implications of the activists’ energetic work for some assertion
about the woman suffrage and temperance movements. The second blank, however,
obscures the nature of that assertion. But it is clear that the “energetic work”
could either support an assertion that the two movements were similar, or undermine
an assertion that the two movements were opposed. “Supports” is offered as a choice
for the first blank (as is the somewhat similar “underscores”), but there is no corresponding
term in the second blank, nothing along the lines of “similar” or “compatible.”
“Undermines” and “inimical” make for the only meaningful statement.
Thus, the correct answer is undermines (Choice A) and inimical (Choice E).
19. There is nothing quite like this movie, and indeed I am not altogether sure there
is much more to it than its lovely (i) __________. At a moment when so many
films strive to be as (ii)__________ as possible, it is gratifying to find one that is so
subtle and puzzling.
Blank (i) Blank (ii)
A peculiarity D indirect
B pellucidity E assertive
C conventionality F enigmatic
Explanation
The two sentences provide the reader with quite a bit of information about the movie.
There is “nothing quite like it” and it is “subtle and puzzling.” “Peculiarity” is clearly a
solid fit for the first blank, while “conventionality” clearly does not work, given the fact
that there is “nothing quite like it.” That leaves “pellucidity,” which, while it could fit
logically in the first sentence in isolation, does not fit the later claim that the movie is
“subtle and puzzling.” The second blank needs simply to provide a contrast with “subtle
and puzzling.” Of the choices offered, only “assertive” clearly does that.
Thus, the correct answer is peculiarity (Choice A) and assertive (Choice E).
392
GRE Practice Test 1
20. Wills argues that certain malarial parasites are especially (i)__________ because
they have more recently entered humans than other species and therefore have
had (ii)__________ time to evolve toward (iii)__________. Yet there is no reliable
evidence that the most harmful Plasmodium species has been in humans for a
shorter time than less harmful species.
Blank (i) Blank (ii) Blank (iii)
A populous D ample G virulence
B malignant E insufficient H benignity
C threatened F adequate I variability
Explanation
The “Yet” that begins the second sentence indicates that Wills’ position would be supported
by evidence that the newer parasites are in humans, the more harmful they are.
So Wills’ position must be that more recent parasites are especially harmful, implying
that “malignant” is the correct choice for the first blank. What follows “therefore” is a
potential explanation for the trend that Wills expects, namely an evolution toward
harmlessness, implying “benignity” for the third blank, with newer species having had
“insufficient” time (second blank) to evolve toward harmlessness.
Thus, the correct answer is malignant (Choice B), insufficient (Choice E), and
benignity (Choice H).
For each of questions 21 to 25, select one answer choice unless otherwise instructed.
Question 21 is based on the following reading passage.
Saturn’s giant moon Titan is the only planetary satellite with a significant atmosphere
and the only body in the solar system other than Earth that has a thick atmosphere
dominated by molecular nitrogen. For a long time, the big question about Titan’s
atmosphere was how it could be so thick, given that Jupiter’s moons Ganymede and
Callisto, which are the same size as Titan, have none. The conditions for acquiring and
retaining a thick nitrogen atmosphere are now readily understood. The low temperature
of the protosaturnian nebula enabled Titan to acquire the moderately volatile compounds
methane and ammonia (later converted to nitrogen) in addition to water. The
higher temperatures of Jupiter’s moons, which were closer to the Sun, prevented them
from acquiring such an atmosphere.
Description
The paragraph discusses Titan’s thick atmosphere and explains the conditions under
which a body can have a thick atmosphere.
21. According to the passage, Titan differs atmospherically from Ganymede and
Callisto because of a difference in
A rate of heat loss
B proximity to the Sun
C availability of methane and ammonia
D distance from its planet
E size
393
Answers and Explanations
Explanation
According to the last two sentences of the paragraph, Titan was able to acquire an
atmosphere because of a prevailing low temperature, but Ganymede and Callisto could
not because they were at a higher temperature. Because the reason for this difference
in temperature was their respective distances from the Sun, Choice B is correct. The
passage says nothing about differences in rate of heat loss, availability of methane and
ammonia, or distance from their planets, and it explicitly states that the three moons
are the same size.
Question 22 is based on the following reading passage.
Observations of the Arctic reveal that the Arctic Ocean is covered by less ice each summer
than the previous summer. If this warming trend continues, within 50 years the
Arctic Ocean will be ice free during the summer months. This occurrence would in
itself have little or no effect on global sea levels, since the melting of ice floating in
water does not affect the water level. However, serious consequences to sea levels
would eventually result, because __________.
22. Which of the following most logically completes the passage?
A large masses of floating sea ice would continue to form in the wintertime
B significant changes in Arctic sea temperatures would be accompanied by
changes in sea temperatures in more temperate parts of the world
C such a warm Arctic Ocean would trigger the melting of massive landbased
glaciers in the Arctic
D an ice-free Arctic Ocean would support a very different ecosystem than it
does presently
E in the spring, melting sea ice would cause more icebergs to be created and
to drift south into shipping routes
Explanation
To logically complete the passage’s open-ended “because,” something is needed that
will explain why the continuation of the warming trend would have serious consequences
for sea levels. The passage explains that the melting of the Arctic Ocean ice
will not affect sea levels because the contribution that the water contained in that ice
makes to sea levels is the same whether the water is frozen or liquid. But Choice C
points to a way in which increasing temperatures in the Arctic could add water to the
ocean, namely by melting ice on the land. So Choice C logically completes the passage
and is the correct answer.
Given that the passage has already explained that melting sea ice does not affect
sea levels, the formation of sea ice described in Choice A does not explain why there
would be consequences for sea levels.
Choices B, D, and E all describe possible consequences of increased temperatures
in the Arctic, but none of these consequences suggests a mechanism by which sea
levels would change. So none of these options provides a logical completion for the
passage.
Questions 23 to 25 are based on the following reading passage.
In a recent study, David Cressy examines two central questions concerning English
immigration to New England in the 1630s: what kinds of people immigrated and why?
Using contemporary literary evidence, shipping lists, and customs records, Cressy finds
that most adult immigrants were skilled in farming or crafts, were literate, and were
organized in families. Each of these characteristics sharply distinguishes the 21,000
people who left for New England in the 1630s from most of the approximately 377,000
English people who had immigrated to America by 1700.
With respect to their reasons for immigrating, Cressy does not deny the frequently
noted fact that some of the immigrants of the 1630s, most notably the organizers and
clergy, advanced religious explanations for departure, but he finds that such explanations
usually assumed primacy only in retrospect. When he moves beyond the principal
actors, he finds that religious explanations were less frequently offered, and he
concludes that most people immigrated because they were recruited by promises of
material improvement.
Description
The passage discusses Cressy’s answers to the questions posed in the first sentence. The
immigrants were skilled, literate, and in families, and they apparently immigrated to
have a better life materially, rather than religiously.
For the following question, consider each of the choices separately and select all that
apply.
23. The passage indicates that Cressy would agree with which of the following
statements about the organizers among the English immigrants to New England
in the 1630s?
A Some of them offered a religious explanation for their immigration.
B They did not offer any reasons for their immigration until some time after
they had immigrated.
C They were more likely than the average immigrant to be motivated by
material considerations.
Explanation
Choice A is correct.
Choice A is correct: the organizers are mentioned in the second paragraph, where
the passage says that Cressy “does not deny” that organizers “advanced religious explanations”
for leaving England and immigrating to New England in the 1630s. This
suggests that Cressy would agree with the statement in choice A about the organizers.
Choice B is incorrect: in lines 10–11, the passage says that Cressy finds that religious
reasons for immigration “assumed primacy” only in retrospect, but this is not the
same as Cressy’s concluding that no reasons were given at the time of immigration.
Therefore it cannot be inferred that Cressy would agree with the statement in Choice B.
Choice C is incorrect: the passage refers in lines 13–14 to “promises of material
improvement” as a factor that in Cressy’s view motivated most immigrants other than
“the principal actors.” This suggests that Cressy regards the principal actors, such as
organizers, as having been less, not more, motivated by material considerations than
average immigrants were. Therefore it cannot be inferred that Cressy would agree with
the statement in Choice C.
394
GRE Practice Test 1
line
5
10
24. Select the sentence that provides Cressy’s opinion about what motivated English
immigrants to go to New England in the 1630s.
Explanation
The last sentence says that Cressy “concludes that most people immigrated because
they were recruited by promises of material improvement.” Because this suggests that
Cressy believes immigrants were motivated by these promises to go to New England,
sentence 5 (“When he . . . improvement) is the correct choice. The preceding sentence
suggests that Cressy does not believe religion was a primary motive influencing immigrants’
decision to immigrate in the 1630s. Thus, although this sentence provides an
opinion of Cressy’s concerning some immigrants’ stated reasons for immigrating, it
does not say what motive he believes was actually behind the immigration, and therefore
does not answer the question.
25. In the passage, the author is primarily concerned with
A summarizing the findings of an investigation
B analyzing a method of argument
C evaluating a point of view
D hypothesizing about a set of circumstances
E establishing categories
Explanation
The passage is about Cressy’s investigation of English immigration to New England in
the 1630s, and it summarizes his findings concerning who immigrated and why.
Choice A, “summarizing the findings of an investigation,” is therefore the best description
of the author’s primary concern in the passage. The passage does not analyze a
method of argument, so Choice B is incorrect. Choice C is incorrect because the passage
is not primarily concerned with evaluating a point of view: it does not assess the
merits or demerits of Cressy’s viewpoint. The passage is concerned with reporting
Cressy’s findings, not with hypothesizing or with establishing categories, so Choices D
and E are incorrect.