Practice these 11 most difficult GRE Reading Comprehension passages to improve your GRE Verbal score by at least 4 points.
Directions: This passage is followed by a group of questions to be answered based on what is stated or implied in the passage. Choose the best answer; the one that most accurately and completely answers the question.
In the United States the per capita costs of schooling have risen almost as fast as the cost of medical treatment. But increased treatment by both doctors and teachers has shown steadily declining results. Medical expenses concentrated on those above forty-five have doubled several times over a period of forty years with a resulting 3 percent increase in the life expectancy of men. The increase in educational expenditures has produced even stranger results; otherwise President Nixon could not have been moved this spring to promise that every child shall soon have the “Right to Read” before leaving school.
In the United States it would take eighty billion dollars per year to provide what educators regard as equal treatment for all in grammar and high school. This is well over twice the $36 billion now being spent. Independent cost projections prepared at HEW and at the University of Florida indicate that by 1974 the comparable figures will be $107 billion as against the $45 billion now projected, and these figures wholly omit the enormous costs of what is called “higher education,” for which demand is growing even faster. The United States, which spent nearly eighty billion dollars in 1969 for “defense,” including its deployment in Vietnam, is obviously too poor to provide equal schooling. The President’s committee for the study of school finance should ask not how to support or how to trim such increasing costs, but how they can be avoided.
Equal obligatory schooling must be recognized as at least economically unfeasible. In Latin America the amount of public money spent on each graduate student is between 350 and 1,500 times the amount spent on the median citizen (that is, the citizen who holds the middle ground between the poorest and the richest). In the United States the discrepancy is smaller, but the discrimination is keener. The richest parents, some 10 percent, can afford private education for their children and help them to benefit from foundation grants. But in addition they obtain ten times the per capita amount of public funds if this is compared with the per capita expenditure made on the children of the 10 percent who are poorest. The principal reasons for this are that rich children stay longer in school, that a year in a university is disproportionately more expensive than a year in high school, and that most private universities depend—at least indirectly—on tax- derived finances.
Obligatory schooling inevitably polarizes a society; it also grades the nations of the world according to an international caste system. Countries are rated like castes whose educational dignity is determined by the average years of schooling of its citizens, a rating which is closely related to per capita gross national product, and much more painful.
1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
(A) The educational shortcomings of the United States, in contrast to those of Latin America, are merely the result of poor allocation of available resources.
(B) Both education and medical care are severely underfunded.
(C) Defense spending is sapping funds which would be better spent in education.
(D) Obligatory schooling must be scrapped if the goal of educational equality is to be realized.
(E) Obligatory education does not and cannot provide equal education.
2. Consider each of the three choices and select all that apply.
The author most likely would agree with which one of the following solutions to the problems presented by obligatory education?
(A) Education should not be obligatory at all.
(B) Education should not be obligatory for those who cannot afford it.
(C) More money should be diverted to education for the poorest.
3. According to the passage, education is like health care in all of the following ways EXCEPT:
(A) It has reached a point of diminishing returns, increased spending no longer results in significant improvement.
(B) It has an inappropriate “more is better” philosophy.
(C) It is unfairly distributed between rich and poor.
(D) The amount of money being spent on older students is increasing.
(E) Its cost has increased nearly as fast.
4. Why does the author consider the results from increased educational expenditures to be “even stranger” than those from increased medical expenditures?
(A) The aging of the population should have had an impact only on medical care, not on education.
(B) The “Right to Read” should be a bare minimum, not a Presidential ideal.
(C) Educational spending has shown even poorer results than spending on health care, despite greater increases.
(D) Education has become even more discriminatory than health care.
(E) It inevitably polarizes society.
5. Which one of the following most accurately characterizes the author’s attitude with respect to obligatory schooling?
(A) qualified admiration
6. The highlighted portions of the passage imply that
(A) equal education is possible in the United States but not in Latin America.
(B) equal education for all at the graduate level is an unrealistic ideal.
(C) educational spending is more efficient in the United States.
(D) higher education is more expensive than lower education both in Latin America and in the United States, but more so in Latin America.
(E) underfunding of lower education is a worldwide problem.
The premise with which the multiculturalists begin is unexceptional: that it is important to recognize and to celebrate the wide range of cultures that exist in the United States. In what sounds like a reflection of traditional American pluralism, the multiculturalists argue that we must recognize difference, that difference is legitimate; in its kindlier versions, multiculturalism represents the discovery on the part of minority groups that they can play a part in molding the larger culture even as they are molded by it. And on the campus multiculturalism, defined more locally as the need to recognize cultural variations among students, has tried with some success to talk about how a racially and ethnically diverse student body can enrich everyone’s education.
Phillip Green, a political scientist at Smith and a thoughtful proponent of multiculturalism, notes that for a significant portion of the students the politics of identity is all-consuming. Students he says “are unhappy with the thin gruel of rationalism. They require a therapeutic curriculum to overcome not straightforward racism but ignorant stereotyping.”
But multiculturalism’s hard-liners, who seem to make up the majority of the movement, damn as racism any attempt to draw the myriad of American groups into a common American culture. For these multiculturalists, differences are absolute, irreducible, intractable—occasions not for understanding but for separation. The multiculturalist, it turns out, is not especially interested in the great American hyphen, in the syncretistic (and therefore naturally tolerant) identities that allow Americans to belong to more than a single culture, to be both particularists and universalists.
The time-honored American mixture of assimilation and traditional allegiance is denounced as a danger to racial and gender authenticity. This is an extraordinary reversal of the traditional liberal commitment to a “truth” that transcends parochialisms. In the new race/class/gender formation, universality is replaced by, among other things, feminist science Nubian numerals (as part of an Afro- centric science), and what Marilyn Frankenstein of the University of Massachusetts-Boston describes as “ethno-mathematics,” in which the cultural basis of counting comes to the fore.
The multiculturalists insist on seeing all perspectives as tainted by the perceiver’s particular point of view. Impartial knowledge, they argue, is not possible, because ideas are simply the expression of individual identity, or of the unspoken but inescapable assumptions that are inscribed in a culture or a language. The problem, however, with this warmed-over Nietzscheanism is that it threatens to leave no ground for anybody to stand on. So the multi-culturalists make a leap, necessary for their own intellectual survival, and proceed to argue that there are some categories, such as race and gender, that do in fact embody an unmistakable knowledge of oppression. Victims are at least epistemologically lucky. Objectivity is a mask for oppression. And so an appalled former 1960s radical complained to me that self- proclaimed witches were teaching classes on witchcraft. “They’re not teaching students how to think,” she said, “they’re telling them what to believe.”
1. Which one of the following ideas would a multiculturalist NOT believe?
(A) That we should recognize and celebrate the differences among the many cultures in the United States.
(B) That we can never know the “truth” because “truth” is always shaped by one’s culture.
(C) That “difference” is more important than “sameness.”
(D) That a school curriculum should be constructed to compensate for institutionalized racism.
(E) That different cultures should work to assimilate themselves into the mainstream culture so that eventually there will be no excuse for racism.
2. According to a hard-line multiculturalist, which one of the following groups is most likely to know the “truth” about political reality?
(A) Educated people who have learned how to see reality from many different perspectives.
(B) A minority group that has suffered oppression at the hands of the majority.
(C) High government officials who have privileged access to secret information.
(D) Minorities who through their education have risen above the socioeconomic position occupied by most members of their ethnic group.
(E) Political scientists who have thoroughly studied the problem.
3. The author states that in a “kindlier version” of multiculturalism, minorities discover “that they can play a part in molding the larger culture even as they are molded by it.” If no new ethnic groups were incorporated into the American culture for many centuries to come, which one of the following would be the most probable outcome of this “kindlier version”?
(A) At some point in the future, there would be only one culture with no observable ethnic differences.
(B) Eventually the dominant culture would overwhelm the minority cultures, who would then lose their ethnic identities.
(C) The multiplicity of ethnic groups would remain but the characteristics of the different ethnic groups would change.
(D) The smaller ethnic groups would remain, and they would retain their ethnic heritage.
(E) The minority cultures would eventually overwhelm the dominant culture, which would then lose its identity.
4. The author speaks about the “politics of identity” that Phillip Green, a political scientist at Smith, notes is all-consuming for many of the students. Considering the subject of the passage, which one of the following best describes what the author means by “the politics of identity”?
(A) The attempt to discover individual identities through political action
(B) The political agenda that aspires to create a new pride of identity for Americans
(C) The current obsession for therapy groups that help individuals discover their inner selves
(D) The trend among minority students to discover their identities in their ethnic groups rather than in their individuality
(E) The increased political activism of minorities on college campuses
5. Which one of the following best describes the attitude of the writer toward the multicultural movement?
(A) Tolerant. It may have some faults, but it is well-meaning overall.
(B) Critical. A formerly admirable movement has been taken over by radical intellectuals.
(C) Disinterested. He seems to be presenting an objective report.
(D) Enthusiastic. The author embraces the multiculturalist movement and is trying to present it in a favorable light.
(E) Ambivalent. Like a moth to a flame he is simultaneously attracted and repulsed by the movement.
6. “Multiculturalist relativism” is the notion that there is no such thing as impartial or objective knowledge. The author seems to be grounding his criticism of this notion on
(A) the clear evidence that science has indeed discovered “truths” that have been independent of both language and culture.
(B) the conclusion that relativism leaves one with no clear notions of any one thing that is true.
(C) the absurdity of claiming that knowledge of oppression is more valid than knowledge of scientific facts.
(D) the agreement among peoples of all cultures as to certain undeniable truths—e.g., when the sky is clear, day is warmer than night.
(E) the fact that “truth” is not finitely definable and therefore that any discussion of impartial or objective truth is moot.
According to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome, the social presence of a woman is different in kind from that of a man. A man’s presence is dependent upon the promise of power which he embodies. If the promise is large and credible his presence is striking. If it is small or incredible, he is found to have little presence. The promised power may be moral, physical, temperamental, economic, social, sexual—but its object is always exterior to the man. A man’s presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you. His presence may be fabricated, in the sense that he pretends to be capable of what he is not. But the pretense is always toward a power which he exercises on others.
By contrast, a woman’s presence expresses her own attitude to herself, and defines what can and cannot be done to her. Her presence is manifest in her gestures, voices, opinions, expressions, clothes, chosen surroundings, taste—indeed there is nothing she can do which does not contribute to her presence. Presence for a woman is so intrinsic to her person that men tend to think of it as an almost physical emanation, a kind of heat or smell or aura.
To be born a woman has been to be born, within an allotted and confined space, into the keeping of men. The social presence of women has developed as a result of their ingenuity in living under such tutelage within such a limited space. But this has been at the cost of a woman’s self being split into two. A woman must continually watch herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually.
And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman.
She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to others, and ultimately how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another. Men survey women before treating them. Consequently how a woman appears to a man can determine how she will be treated. To acquire some control over this process, women must contain it and internalize it. That part of a woman’s self which is the surveyor treats the part which is the surveyed so as to demonstrate to others how her whole self would like to be treated. And this exemplary treatment of herself by herself constitutes her presence. Every woman’s presence regulates what is and is not “permissible” within her presence. Every one of her actions—whatever its direct purpose or motivation—is also read as an indication of how she would like to be treated. If a woman throws a glass on the floor, this is an example of how she treats her own emotion of anger and so of how she would wish to be treated by others. If a man does the same, his action is only read as an expression of his anger. If a woman makes a good joke this is an example of how she treats the joker in herself and accordingly of how she as joker-woman would like to be treated by others. Only a man can make a good joke for its own sake.
1. According to “usage and conventions,” appearance is NECESSARILY a part of reality for
(C) both men and women
(D) neither men nor women
(E) men always and women occasionally
2. In analyzing a woman’s customary “social presence,” the author hopes to
(A) justify and reinforce it.
(B) understand and explain it.
(C) expose and discredit it.
(D) demonstrate and criticize it.
(E) sanction and promote it.
3. It can be inferred from the passage that a woman with a Ph.D. in psychology who gives a lecture to a group of students is probably MOST concerned with
(A) whether her students learn the material.
(B) what the males in the audience think of her.
(C) how she comes off as a speaker in psychology.
(D) finding a husband.
(E) whether a man challenges her.
4. The passage portrays women as
5. Consider each choice, and select all that apply.
Which of the following is implied by the passage?
(A) A man is defined by what he does, whereas a woman is defined by how she appears.
(B) Men are not image-conscious.
(C) Good looks are more important to women than to men.
6. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(A) compare and contrast woman’s presence and place in society with that of man’s.
(B) discuss a woman’s presence and place in society and to contrast it with a man’s presence and place.
(C) illustrate how a woman is oppressed by society.
(D) explain why men are better than women at telling jokes.
(E) illustrate how both men and women are hurt by sexism.
That placebos can cure everything from dandruff to leprosy is well known. They have a long history of use by witch doctors, faith healers, and even modern physicians, all of whom refuse to admit their efficacy. Modern distribution techniques can bring this most potent of medicines to the aid of everyone, not just those lucky enough to receive placebos in a medical testing program.
Every drug tested would prove effective if special steps were not taken to neutralize the placebo effect, so drug tests give half the patients new medication and half a harmless substitute. These tests prove the value of placebos, because approximately five percent of patients taking them are cured, even though the placebos are made from substances carefully selected to be useless.
Many feel the lucky patients in a drug test get the experimental drug, because the real drug provides them a chance to be cured. (1) Yet analysis shows that patients getting the placebo may be the lucky ones, because they may be cured without any adverse effects the drug may have.
Placebos would cure considerably more patients if the doubts associated with the tests were eliminated. Cures are principally due to the patient’s faith, (2) yet since a patient knows the probability of being given a true drug is about fifty percent, the placebo cure rate would be higher by removing these doubts. This suggests that cure rates in the ten percent range could be expected if patients are given placebos under the guise of a proven cure, even when patients know their problems are incurable.
It may take a while to reach the ten percent level of cure, because any newly established program will not have cultivated the word-of-mouth advertising needed to ensure its success. One person saying “I was told that my problem was beyond medical help, but they cured me,” can direct countless people to the treatment with the required degree of faith. Furthermore, when only terminal illnesses are treated, those not cured tell no one of the failure.
Unfortunately, placebo treatment centers cannot operate as nonprofit businesses. Public health services know that medicine not paid for by patients is often not taken or not effective because the recipient feels the medicine is worth just what it cost him. Therefore, though it is against higher principles, treatment centers must charge high fees for placebo treatments. This sacrifice, however, is a small price to pay for the greater good of the patients.
1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
(A) Placebo treatment is a proven tool of modern medicine and its expanded use would benefit society’s health.
(B) Because modern technology allows for distribution of drugs on a massive scale, the proven efficacy of the placebo is no longer limited to a privileged few.
(C) The curative power of the placebo is so strong that it should replace proven drugs because the patients receiving the placebo will then be cured without risking any adverse side effects.
(D) The price of placebo treatment must be kept artificially high because patients have little faith in inexpensive treatments.
(E) Semi-placebos—drugs that contain only a small amount of the usual dosage—are even more effective curatives than either the placebo or the full-strength drug.
2. Which one of the following is most analogous to the idea presented in the last paragraph?
(A) Buying a television at a discount house
(B) Making an additional pledge to charity
(C) Choosing the most expensive dishwasher in a manufacturer’s line
(D) Waiting until a book comes out in paperback
(E) Contributing one dollar to the Presidential Campaign fund on your tax return
3. According to the passage, when testing a new drug, medical researchers give half of the subjects the test drug and half a placebo because
(A) proper statistical controls should be observed.
(B) this method reduces the risk of maiming too many subjects if the drug should prove to be harmful.
(C) all drugs which are tested would prove to be effective otherwise.
(D) most drugs would test positively otherwise.
(E) the cost of dispensing drugs to all the patients is prohibitive.
4. It can be inferred from the passage that the author might
(A) believe that the benefits of a placebo treatment program which leads patients to believe they were getting a real drug would outweigh the moral issue of lying.
(B) support legislation outlawing the use of placebos.
(C) open up a medical clinic that would treat patients exclusively through placebo methods.
(D) believe that factors other than faith are responsible for the curative power of the placebo.
(E) believe that placebo treatment centers should be tax-exempt because they are nonprofit businesses.
5. Which one of the following best describes the organization of the material presented in the passage?
(A) A general proposition is stated; then evidence for its support is given.
(B) Two types of drug treatment—placebo and non-placebo—are compared and contrasted.
(C) A result is stated, its cause is explained, and an application is suggested.
(D) A dilemma is presented and a possible solution is offered.
(E) A series of examples is presented; then a conclusion is drawn from them.
6. Which one of the following most accurately characterizes the author’s attitude toward placebo treatment?
(A) reserved advocacy
(B) feigned objectivity
(C) summary dismissal
(D) perplexed by its effectiveness
(E) zealous promotion
Many readers, I suspect, will take the title of this article [Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things] as suggesting that women, fire, and dangerous things have something in common—say, that women are fiery and dangerous. Most feminists I’ve mentioned it to have loved the title for that reason, though some have hated it for the same reason. But the chain of inference—from conjunction to categorization to commonality—is the norm. The inference is based on the common idea of what it means to be in the same category: things are categorized together on the basis of what they have in common. The idea that categories are defined by common properties is not only our everyday folk theory of what a category is, it is also the principle technical theory—one that has been with us for more than two thousand years.
The classical view that categories are based on shared properties is not entirely wrong. We often do categorize things on that basis. But that is only a small part of the story. In recent years it has become clear that categorization is far more complex than that. A new theory of categorization, called prototype theory, has emerged. It shows that human categorization is based on principles that extend far beyond those envisioned in the classical theory. One of our goals is to survey the complexities of the way people really categorize. For example, the title of this book was inspired by the Australian aboriginal language Dyirbal, which has a category, balan, that actually includes women, fire, and dangerous things. It also includes birds that are not dangerous, as well as exceptional animals, such as the platypus, bandicoot, and echidna. This is not simply a matter of categorization by common properties.
Categorization is not a matter to be taken lightly. There is nothing more basic than categorization to our thought, perception, action and speech. Every time we see something as a kind of thing, for example, a tree, we are categorizing. Whenever we reason about kinds of things—chairs, nations, illnesses, emotions, any kind of thing at all—we are employing categories. Whenever we intentionally perform any kind of action, say something as mundane as writing with a pencil, hammering with a hammer, or ironing clothes, we are using categories. The particular action we perform on that occasion is a kind of motor activity, that is, it is in a particular category of motor actions. They are never done in exactly the same way, yet despite the differences in particular movements, they are all movements of a kind, and we know how to make movements of that kind. And any time we either produce or understand any utterance of any reasonable length, we are employing dozens if not hundreds of categories: categories of speech sounds, of words, of phrases and clauses, as well as conceptual categories. Without the ability to categorize, we could not function at all, either in the physical world or in our social and intellectual lives.
1. Consider all three answer choices and select all that apply.
The author probably chose Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things as the title of the article because
(A) he thought that since the Dyirbal placed all three items in the same category, women, fire, and dangerous things necessarily had something in common.
(B) he was hoping to draw attention to the fact that because items have been placed in the same category doesn’t mean that they necessarily have anything in common
(C) he wanted to use the Dyirbal classification system as an example of how primitive classifications are not as functional as contemporary Western classification systems.
2. Consider all three answer choices and select all that apply.
According to the author,
(A) categorizing is a fundamental activity of people.
(B) whenever a word refers to a kind of thing, it signifies a category.
(C) one has to be able to categorize in order to function in our culture.
3. Which one of the following facts would most weaken the significance of the author’s title?
(A) The discovery that all the birds and animals classified as balan in Dyirbal are female
(B) The discovery that the male Dyirbal culture considers females to be both fiery and dangerous
(C) The discovery that all items in the balan category are considered female
(D) The discovery that neither fire nor women are considered dangerous
(E) The discovery that other cultures have categories similar to the balan category
4. If linguistic experts cannot perceive how women, fire, and dangerous things in the category balan have at least one thing in common, it follows that
(A) there probably is something other than shared properties that led to all items in balan being placed in that category.
(B) the anthropologists simply weren’t able to perceive what the items had in common.
(C) the anthropologists might not have been able to see what the items had in common.
(D) the items do not have anything in common.
(E) the Australian aboriginal culture is rather mystic.
5. Which one of the following sentences would best complete the last paragraph of the passage?
(A) An understanding of how we categorize is central to any understanding of how we think and how we function, and therefore central to an understanding of what makes us human.
(B) The prototype theory is only the latest in a series of new and improved theories of categorization; undoubtedly even better theories will replace it.
(C) The prototype theory of categories has not only unified a major branch of linguistics, but it has applications to mathematics and physics as well.
(D) An understanding of how the prototype theory of categorization evolved from the classical theory is essential to any understanding of how we think and how we function in society.
(E) To fully understand how modern Australian society functions, we must study how it is influenced by aboriginal culture—most specifically how aborigines organize and classify their surroundings.
Global strategies to control infectious disease have historically included the erection of barriers to international travel and immigration. Between 29 and 50 countries are reported to have introduced border restrictions on HIV-positive foreigners, usually those planning an extended stay in the country.
The country with the broadest policy of testing and excluding foreigners is the United States. The U.S. policy has been sharply criticized by national and international organizations as being contrary to public health goals and human-rights principles. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires the Public Health Service to list “dangerous contagious diseases” for which aliens can be excluded from the United States. By 1987 there were seven designated diseases—five of them sexually transmitted and two non-venereal. On June 8, 1987, in response to a Congressional direction in the Helms Amendment, the Public Health Service added HIV infection to the list of dangerous contagious diseases.
A just and efficacious travel and immigration policy would not exclude people because of their serologic status unless they posed a danger to the community through casual transmission. We support well-funded programs to protect the health of travelers infected with HIV through appropriate immunizations and prophylactic treatment and to reduce behaviors that may transmit infection.
We recognize that treating patients infected with HIV who immigrate to the United States will incur costs for the public sector. It is inequitable, however, to use cost as a reason to exclude people infected with HIV, for there are no similar exclusionary policies for those with other costly chronic diseases, such as heart disease or cancer.
Rather than arbitrarily restrict the movement of a subgroup of infected people, we must dedicate ourselves to the principles of justice, scientific cooperation, and a global response to the HIV pandemic.
1. The authors of the passage conclude that
(A) it is unjust to exclude people based on their serological status without the knowledge that they pose a danger to the public.
(B) U.S. regulations should require more stringent testing to be implemented at all major border crossings.
(C) it is the responsibility of the public sector to absorb costs incurred by treatment of immigrants infected with HIV.
(D) the HIV pandemic is largely overstated and that, based on new epidemiological data, screening immigrants is not indicated.
(E) only the non-venereal diseases active tuberculosis and infectious leprosy should be listed as dangerous and contagious diseases.
2. It can be inferred from the passage that
(A) more than 3 million HIV-positive people have sought permanent residence in the United States.
(B) countries with a low seroprevalence of HIV have a disproportionate and unjustified concern over the spread of AIDS by immigration.
(C) the United States is more concerned with controlling the number of HIV-positive immigrants than with avoiding criticism from outside its borders.
(D) current law is meeting the demand for prudent handling of a potentially hazardous international issue.
(E) actions by countries all over the world to restrict travel are ineffective.
3. The word “prophylactic” as used in the passage can best be defined as
4. Before the Helms Amendment in 1987, seven designated diseases were listed as being cause for denying immigration. We can conclude from the passage that
(A) the authors agree fully with this policy but disagree with adding HIV to the list.
(B) the authors believe that sexual diseases are appropriate reasons for denying immigration but not non-venereal diseases.
(C) the authors disagree with the amendment.
(D) the authors believe that non-venereal diseases are justifiable reasons for exclusion, but not sexually transmitted diseases.
(E) the authors believe that no diseases should be cause for denying immigration.
5. In referring to the “costs” incurred by the public, the authors apparently mean
(A) financial costs.
(B) costs to the public health.
(C) costs in manpower.
(D) costs in international reputation.
(E) costs in public confidence.
Most students arrive at [college] using “discrete, concrete, and absolute categories to understand people, knowledge, and values.” These students live with a dualistic view, seeing “the world in polar terms of we-right-good vs. other-wrong-bad.” These students cannot acknowledge the existence of more than one point of view toward any issue. There is one “right” way. And because these absolutes are assumed by or imposed on the individual from external authority, they cannot be personally substantiated or authenticated by experience. These students are slaves to the generalizations of their authorities. Most students break through the dualistic stage to another equally frustrating stage—multiplicity. Within this stage, students see a variety of ways to deal with any given topic or problem. However, while these students accept multiple points of view, they are unable to evaluate or justify them. To have an opinion is everyone’s right. Every assertion, every point, is valid. In their democracy they are directionless.
The third stage of development finds students living in a world of relativism. Knowledge is relative: right and wrong depend on the context. No longer recognizing the validity of each individual idea or action, relativists examine everything to find its place in an overall framework. In this stage, however, students resist decision making. Suffering the ambivalence of finding several consistent and acceptable alternatives, they are almost overwhelmed by diversity and need means for managing it.
In the final stage students manage diversity through individual commitment. Students do not deny relativism. Rather they assert an identity by forming commitments and assuming responsibility for them. They gather personal experience into a coherent framework, abstract principles to guide their actions, and use these principles to discipline and govern their thoughts and actions.
1. Consider each of the options, and select all that apply.
It can be inferred from the passage that the author would consider which of the following to be good examples of “dualistic thinking”?
(A) People who think “there is a right way and a wrong way to do things”
(B) Teenagers who assume they know more about “the real world” than adults do
(C) People who back our country “right or wrong” when it goes to war
2. Students who are “dualistic” thinkers may not be able to support their beliefs convincingly because
(A) most of their beliefs cannot be supported by arguments.
(B) they have accepted their “truths” simply because authorities have said these things are “true.”
(C) they half-believe and half-disbelieve just about everything.
(D) their teachers almost always think that “dualistic” thinkers are wrong.
(E) they are enslaved by their authorities.
3. Which one of the following assertions is supported by the passage?
(A) Committed thinkers are not very sure of their positions.
(B) Relativistic thinkers have learned how to make sense out of the world and have chosen their own positions in it.
(C) Multiplicity thinkers have difficulty understanding the relationships between different points of view.
(D) Dualistic thinkers have thought out the reasons for taking their positions.
(E) Dualistic thinkers fear the power of authority.
4. In paragraph one, the author states that in their “democracy” students in the multiplicity stage are directionless. The writer describes multiplicity students as being in a “democracy” because
(A) there are so many different kinds of people in a democracy.
(B) in an “ideal” democracy, all people are considered equal; by extension, so are their opinions.
(C) Democrats generally do not have a good sense of direction.
(D) although democracies may grant freedom, they are generally acknowledged to be less efficient than more authoritarian forms of government.
(E) in a democracy the individual has ultimate authority over himself, not the state.
5. Which one of the following kinds of thinking is NOT described in the passage?
(A) People who assume that there is no right or wrong in any issue
(B) People who make unreasoned commitments and stick by them
(C) People who believe that right or wrong depends on the situation
(D) People who commit themselves to a particular point of view after having considered several alternative concepts
(E) People who think that all behavior can be accounted for by cause and effect relationships
6. If students were asked to write essays on the different concepts of tragedy as exemplified by Cordelia and Antigone, and they all responded by showing how each character exemplified a traditional definition of tragedy, we could, according to the passage, hypothesize which one of the following about these students?
(A) The students were locked into the relativist stage.
(B) The students had not advanced beyond the dualist stage.
(C) The students had at least achieved the multiplicity stage.
(D) The students had reached the commitment stage.
(E) We have no indication of which cognitive stage the students were in.
7. Which one of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
(A) Four methods of thought are compared and contrasted.
(B) It is shown how each of four types of thought evolved from each other.
(C) Four methods of thought are presented, and each is shown to complement the other.
(D) The evolution of thought from simplistic and provincial through considered and cosmopolitan is illustrated by four stages.
(E) The evolution of thought through four stages is presented.
A growing taste for shark steaks and shark-fin soup has for the first time in 400 million years put the scourge of the sea at the wrong end of the food chain. Commercial landings of this toothsome fish have doubled every year since 1986, and shark populations are plunging.
Sharks do for gentler fish what lions do for the wildebeest: they check populations by feeding on the weak. Also, sharks apparently do not get cancer and may therefore harbor clues to the nature of that disease. Finally, there is the issue of motherhood. Sharks are viviparous. That is, they bear their young alive and swimming (not sealed in eggs). Shark mothers generally give birth to litters of from eight to twelve pups and bear only one litter every other year.
This is why sharks have one of the lowest fecundity rates in the ocean. The female cod, for example, spawns annually and lays a few million eggs at a time. If three quarters of the cod were fished this year, they could be back in full force in a few years. If humans took that fraction out of the sharks, the population would not recover for 15 years.
So, late this summer, if all goes according to plan, the shark will join the bald eagle and the buffalo on the list of managed species. The federal government will cap the U.S. commercial catch at about half of the 1989 level and limit sportsmen to two sharks per boat. Another provision discourages finning, the harvesting of shark fins alone, by limiting the weight of fins to 7 percent of that of all the carcasses.
Finning got under the skin of environmentalists, and the resulting anger helped to mobilize support for the new regulations. Shark fins contain noodle-like cartilaginous tissues that Chinese chefs have traditionally used to thicken and flavor soup. Over the past few years rising demand in Hong Kong has made the fins as valuable as the rest of the fish.
But can U.S. quotas save shark species that wander the whole Atlantic? The blue shark, for example, migrates into the waters of something like 23 countries. International co-ordination will eventually be necessary, but biologists support U.S. quotas as a first step in mobilizing other nations. Meanwhile, the commercial fishermen are not waiting for the new rules to take effect. “There’s a pre-quota rush on sharks,” Casey says, “and it’s going on as we speak.”
1. According to the passage, shark populations are at greater risk than cod populations because
(A) sharks are now being eaten more than cod.
(B) the shark reproduction rate is lower than that of the cod.
(C) sharks are quickly becoming fewer in number.
(D) sharks are now as scarce as bald eagles and buffalo.
(E) sharks are scavengers and therefore more susceptible to disease.
2. Consider all of the answer choices, and select all that apply.
According to the passage, a decrease in shark populations
might cause some fish populations to go unchecked.
(B) would hamper cancer research.
(C) to one-quarter the current level would take over a decade to recover from.
3. If the species Homo logicus was determined to be viviparous and to have extremely low fecundity rates on land, we might expect that
(A) Homo logicus could overpopulate its niche and should be controlled.
(B) Homo logicus might be declared an endangered species.
(C) Homo logicus would pose no danger to other species and would itself be in no danger.
(D) Homo logicus would soon become extinct.
(E) None of these events would be expected with certainty.
4. Which one of the following best describes the author’s attitude toward the efforts to protect shark populations?
(A) strong advocate
(B) impartial observer
(E) resigned to their ineffectiveness
5. Consider all the choices and select all that apply.
It can be inferred from the passage that
(A) research efforts on cancer will be hindered if shark populations are threatened.
(B) U.S. quotas on shark fishing will have limited effectiveness in protecting certain species.
(C) some practices of Chinese chefs have angered environmentalists.
6. An irony resulting from the announcement that sharks will be placed on the managed list is
(A) we will now find out less about cancer, so in effect by saving the sharks, we are hurting ourselves.
(B) sharks are far more dangerous to other fish than we are to them.
(C) more chefs are now using the cartilaginous tissues found in shark fins.
(D) more sharks are being killed now than before the announcement.
(E) man will now protect a creature that he has been the victim of.
“A writer’s job is to tell the truth,” said Hemingway in 1942. “I only know what I have seen,” was a statement which came often to his lips and pen. What Hemingway had personally done, or what he knew unforgettably by having gone through one version of it, was what he was interested in telling about. This is not to say that he refused to invent freely. But he always made it a sacrosanct point to invent in terms of what he actually knew from having been there.
The primary intent of his writing, from first to last, was to seize and project for the reader what he often called “the way it was.” This is a characteristically simple phrase for a concept of extraordinary complexity. At the core of the concept, however, one can invariably discern the operation of three aesthetic instruments: the sense of place, of fact, and of scene.
The first of these, obviously a strong passion with Hemingway, is the sense of place. Few writers have been more place-conscious. Few have so carefully charted out the geographical ground work of their novels while managing to keep background so conspicuously unobtrusive. Few, accordingly, have been able to record more economically and graphically… the way it is when at around six o’clock of a Spanish dawn, you watch the bulls running from the corrals at the Puerta Rochapea through the streets of Pamplona towards the bullring.
“When I woke it was the sound of the rocket exploding that announced the release of the bulls from the corrals at the edge of town. Down below the narrow street was empty. All the balconies were crowded with people. Suddenly a crowd came down the street. They were all running, packed close together. They passed along and up the street toward the bullring and behind them came more men running faster, and then some stragglers who were really running. Behind them was a little bare space, and then the bulls, galloping, tossing their heads up and down. It all went out of sight around the corner. One man fell, rolled to the gutter, and lay quiet. But the bulls went right on and did not notice him. They were all running together.”
This landscape is as morning-fresh as a design in India ink on clean white paper. First is the bare white street, seen from above, quiet and empty. Then one sees the first packed clot of runners. Behind these are the thinner ranks of those who move faster because they are closer to the bulls. Then the almost comic stragglers, who are “really running.” Brilliantly behind these shines the “little bare space,” a desperate margin for error. Then the clot of running bulls—closing the design, except of course for the man in the gutter making himself, like the designer’s initials, as inconspicuous as possible.
1. According to the author, Hemingway’s primary purpose in telling a story was
(A) to construct a well-told story that the reader would thoroughly enjoy.
(B) to construct a story that would reflect truths that were not particular to a specific historical period.
(C) to begin from reality but to allow his imagination to roam from “the way it was” to “the way it might have been.”
(D) to report faithfully reality as Hemingway had experienced it.
(E) to go beyond the truth, to “create” reality.
2. From the author’s comments and the example of the bulls (paragraph 4), what was the most likely reason for which Hemingway took care to include details of place?
(A) He felt that geography in some way illuminated other, more important events.
(B) He thought readers generally did not have enough imagination to visualize the scenes for themselves.
(C) He had no other recourse since he was avoiding the use of other literary sources.
(D) He thought that landscapes were more important than characters to convey “the way it was.”
(E) He felt that without background information the readers would be unable to follow the story.
3. One might infer from the passage that Hemingway preferred which one of the following sources for his novels and short stories?
(A) Stories that he had heard from friends or chance acquaintances
(B) Stories that he had read about in newspapers or other secondary sources
(C) Stories that came to him in periods of meditation or in dreams
(D) Stories that he had lived rather than read about
(E) Stories adapted from myths
4. Consider all of the choices and select all that apply.
It has been suggested that part of Hemingway’s genius lies in the way in which he removes himself from his stories in order to let readers experience the stories for themselves. Which of the following elements of the passage support this suggestion?
(A) The comparison of “the designer’s initials” to the man who fell and lay in the gutter (end of the last paragraph) during the running of the bulls
(B) Hemingway’s stated intent to project for the reader “the way it was” (opening of the second paragraph)
(C) Hemingway’s ability to invent fascinating tales from his own experience
5. From the passage, one can assume that which of the following statements would best describe Hemingway’s attitude toward knowledge?
(A) One can learn about life only by living it fully.
(B) A wise person will read widely in order to learn about life.
(C) Knowledge is a powerful tool that should be reserved only for those who know how to use it.
(D) Experience is a poor teacher.
(E) One can never truly “know” anything.
6. The author calls “the way it was” a “characteristically simple phrase for a concept of extraordinary complexity” because
(A) the phrase reflects Hemingway’s talent for obscuring ordinary events.
(B) the relationship between simplicity and complexity reflected the relationship between the style and content of Hemingway’s writing.
(C) Hemingway became increasingly confused about “the way it was” throughout the course of his career.
(D) Hemingway’s obsession for geographic details progressively overshadowed the dramatic element of his stories.
(E) it typifies how Hemingway understated complex issues.
Imagine that we stand on any ordinary seaside pier, and watch the waves striking against the iron columns of the pier. Large waves pay very little attention to the columns—they divide right and left and re-unite after passing each column. But the short waves find the columns of the pier a much more formidable obstacle. When the short waves impinge on the columns, they are reflected back and spread as new ripples in all directions. To use the technical term, they are “scattered.” The columns hardly affect the long waves at all, but scatter the short ripples.
We have been watching a working model of the way in which sunlight struggles through the earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere interposes obstacles in the form of molecules of air, tiny droplets of water, and small particles of dust, which are represented by the columns.
The waves of the sea represent the sunlight. We know that sunlight is a blend of lights of many colors—as Nature demonstrates to us when she passes it through the raindrops of a summer shower and produces a rainbow. We also know that light consists of waves, and that the different colors of light are produced by waves of different lengths, red light by long waves and blue light by short waves. The mixture of waves which constitutes sunlight has to struggle through the obstacles it meets in the atmosphere, just as the mixture of waves at the seaside has to struggle past the columns of the pier. And these obstacles treat the light waves much as the columns of the pier treat the sea-waves. The long waves which constitute red light are hardly affected, but the short waves which constitute blue light are scattered in all directions.
Thus, the different constituents of sunlight are treated in different ways as they struggle through the earth’s atmosphere. A wave of blue light may be scattered by a dust particle, and turned out of its course. After a time a second dust particle again turns it out of its course, and so on, until finally it enters our eyes by a path as zigzag as that of a flash of lightning. Consequently, the blue waves of the sunlight enter our eyes from all directions. And that is why the sky looks blue.
1. We know from experience that if we look directly at the sun, we will see red light near the sun. This observation is supported by the passage for which one of the following reasons?
(A) It seems reasonable to assume that red light would surround the sun because the sun is basically a large fireball.
(B) It seems reasonable to assume that the other colors of light would either cancel each other or combine to produce red.
(C) It seems reasonable to assume that red light would not be disturbed by the atmospheric particles and would consequently reach us by a relatively direct path from the sun to our eyes.
(D) It is not supported by the passage. The author does not say what color of light should be near the sun, and he provides no reasons that would allow us to assume that the light would be red.
(E) Gazing directly at the sun forces the eye to focus on the longer red waves.
2. Scientists have observed that shorter wavelength light has more energy than longer wavelength light. From this we can conclude that
(A) red light will exert more energy when it hits the surface of the earth than will blue light.
(B) lightning is caused by the collision of blue light with particles in the air.
(C) red light will travel faster than blue light.
(D) blue light has more energy than red light.
(E) blue light has less energy than red light.
3. A scientist makes new observations and learns that water waves of shorter wavelengths spread in all directions not only because they scatter off piers but also because they interact with previously scattered short water waves. Drawing upon the analogy between water waves and light waves, we might hypothesize which of the following?
(A) Blue light waves act like ripples that other blue light waves meet and scatter from.
(B) Red light waves will be scattered by blue light waves like incoming long water waves are scattered by outgoing ripples.
(C) Red light waves can scatter blue light waves, but blue light waves cannot scatter red.
(D) The analogy between water and light waves cannot be extended to include the way in which short water waves become ripples and scatter one another.
(E) The scattering effect of blue light waves is canceled by that of red.
4. Which one of the following is a reason for assuming that sunlight is constituted of waves of many colors?
(A) The mixture of waves that make up sunlight has to struggle through a variety of obstacles in the atmosphere.
(B) When passing through water in the atmosphere, sunlight is sometimes broken down into an array of colors.
(C) Many different wavelengths of light enter our eyes from all directions.
(D) The mere fact that light waves can be scattered is a reason for assuming that sunlight is constituted of waves of different colors.
(E) When passing through dust in the atmosphere, sunlight is sometimes broken down into an array of colors.
5. From the information presented in the passage, what can we conclude about the color of the sky on a day with a large quantity of dust in the air?
(A) The sky would be even bluer
(B) The sky would be redder
(C) The sky would not change colors
(D) We do not have enough information to determine a change in color
(E) The sky would assume a violet hue
6. Consider all the choices, and select all that apply.
We all know that when there is a clear sky, the western sky appears red as the sun sets. From the information presented in the passage, this phenomenon would seem to be explained by which of the following?
(A) Light meets more obstacles when passing parallel to the earth’s surface than when traveling perpendicular. Consequently, even red light is diffused.
(B) The blue light may not make it through the denser pathway of the evening sky, leaving only the long light waves of red.
(C) The short red light waves have more energy and are the only waves that can make it through the thick atmosphere of the evening sky.
7. Which one of the following does the author seem to imply?
(A) Waves of light and waves of water are identical.
(B) Waves of light have the same physical shape as waves of water.
(C) Waves of light and waves of water do not have very much in common.
(D) Waves of water are only models of waves of light.
(E) There are colors of light waves just as there are colors of water waves.
1. E 2. A 3. C 4. B 5. B 6. B
1. E 2. B 3. A 4. D 5. B 6. B
1. B 2. B 3. C 4. C 5. C 6. B
1. A 2. C 3. C 4. A 5. C 6. A
1. B 2. A,B,C 3. C 4. A 5. A
1. A 2. C 3. B 4. C 5. A
1. A,C 2. B 3. C 4. B 5. E 6. B 7. E
1. B 2. A,C 3. E 4. B 5. B 6. D
1. D 2. A 3. D 4. A,B 5. A 6. B
1. C 2. D 3. D 4. B 5. D 6. A,B 7. D