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MAGOOSH GRE READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Car Owner: Not all certified auto mechanics are honest. Therefore, though all the mechanics at Nicks Auto
Garage are certified, there must be a few who are dishonest.
The flawed pattern of reasoning exhibited by the car owner is most similar to that exhibited by which of the following
statements?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Although some R-rated films contain nudity, all of de Guzmans films are R-rated. Therefore, some of de
Guzmans films contain nudity.
All champagne comes from France, but not all champagne is dry. Therefore, French beverages need not be
dry.
Although some chili is not spicy, all chili is hearty. Therefore, food can be hearty even if it is not spicy.
Not all thieves get caught, but all thieves are criminals. Therefore, people can be criminals even if they dont
get caught.
Not all professional basketball players are tall; some short pro basketball players are former track athletes.
Therefore, the short pro basketball players were all, at one time, track athletes.

The correct answer is A.


The fact that some certified mechanics are dishonest does not necessarily mean that Nicks Auto has any dishonest
mechanics on staff. The flawed pattern: some A (certified mechanics) are B (dishonest); all C (mechanics at Nicks
Auto) are A; therefore some C are B.
This is the same as answer choice (A), A being R-rated films, B being contain nudity, and C being de Guzmans
films. Though all of de Guzmans films are R-rated, it is possible that none of them contains nudity.
(B), (C), and (D) are incorrect. These choices do not contain flawed reasoning, nor is the pattern the same as in the
original argument. Watch out for traps like (D), which have subject matter similar to that of the original
statement(thieves/dishonest
mechanics).
(E) is incorrect. (E) contains flawed reasoning but not of the same pattern as the car owners. (The pattern in this
answer choice could be presented as some A (pro basketball players)are B (short); some B are C (former track
athletes); therefore all B were C

An application for (Department of Housing and Urban Development) HUD funding requires review at every stage of
the process. Evaluation by a community-based local board whose charge is to rank proposals based on their likelihood
of achieving agreed-upon community goals is the first stage of the application process. Since there are rarely
adequate federal resources to fund all proposals submitted, it follows that those proposals that do not
receive a high ranking from the local board are unlikely to be funded. Applicants who decide to proceed after
receiving and assessing their ranking at the community level submit a formal application to the HUD office in
Washington, D.C. Because requirements for formal applications are strict, some applications are disqualified for
technical reasons by the national HUD office. Those applicants who are successful at the national level must make it
over yet another hurdle: they must tender a technical submission to their regional HUD office. The technical
submission emphasizes programmatic and fiscal accountability. Clearly, only those who are able to make their
way through the application process and to meet programmatic, technical, and fiscal demands at the community,
national, and regional level will receive and retain funding.

1.

In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?
The first states the conclusion of the argument as a whole; the second provides support for that conclusion.

2.
3.
4.
5.

The first serves as an intermediate conclusion that supports a further conclusion stated in the argument; the
second states the position that the argument as a whole opposes.
The first provides support for an intermediate conclusion that supports a further conclusion stated in the
argument; the second states that intermediate conclusion.
The first provides support for the conclusion of the argument as a whole; the second provides evidence that
supports an objection to that conclusion.
The first is an intermediate conclusion that supports a further conclusion stated in the passage; the second
supports the conclusion of the argument.

(E) is the credited response.


The first sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that summarizes the outcome of the ranking of HUD
applications by a community- based board. The final sentence of the passage is the conclusion of the argument as a
whole. The second sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that supports the conclusion as a whole by
making clear that programmatic and fiscal accountability must be demonstrated by HUD funding applicants at the
technical submission phase. Language from the second sentence in boldface is repeated in the concluding sentence
that speaks of programmatic, technical, and fiscal requirements of the application process.
(A) is incorrect.
Readers should be able to quickly eliminate (A) because the first sentence in boldface does not state the conclusion of
the argument
as a whole. Instead, the first sentence is an intermediate conclusion that deals only with the first stage of the HUD
funding application
process. The passage as a whole describes three stages of this funding process. The second sentence in bold does
not provide support for the first bold sentence.
(B) is incorrect. One of the statements in (B) is correct. The first sentence in bold does serve as an intermediate
conclusion that supports a further conclusion stated in the argument. [See explanation for (E) above.] However, the
second clause in (B) is incorrect. The second boldfaced sentence is supportive information, not in opposition to any
argument.
Incidentally, students who have a tendency to overanalyze may be challenged by the fact that (B) reads, The first
serves as an intermediate conclusion and (E) reads The first is an intermediate conclusion
For the purpose of this question serves and is mean the same thing.
(C) is incorrect. Readers who have difficulty distinguishing between an intermediate conclusion and a further
conclusion in the argument may be challenged by this question. The first sentence in boldface is an intermediate
conclusion; the second sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that supports the conclusion of the
argument as a whole. (C) suggests a link between the first bolded sentence and the second bolded sentence. Not so;
the bolded sentences are independent statements.
(D) is incorrect. Readers should be able to quickly eliminate (D) because the second sentence in boldface does not
provide evidence that supports an objection to the conclusion as a whole. The first sentence in boldface is an
intermediate conclusion that some readers may view as supporting the conclusion of the argument as a whole. But, in
reality, no objection exists in the passage.

Q3. The social psychology concept of cognitive dissonance explains many of peoples otherwise inexplicable attitudes
and actions. According to this theory, people often unconsciously alter their perceptions and evaluations of reality to

protect their preconceptions or to adjust to changing circumstances. For example, someone who believes that men
have more financial aptitude than women is likely to spot more errors on a balance sheet if told it was prepared by a
woman than if told it was prepared by a man. And someone worried about the dangers of radiation from a proposed
nuclear power plant to be built in his community may actually become less concerned if the plant is built and he is
unable to move from the area.
Which of the following would be the best example with which to continue the passage?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Someone who had opposed school integration may come to accept or even favor it after her child is forced to
attend an integrated school.
A traveling salesperson who is terrified of flying may continue to subject himself to this frightening experience
if his job demands it.
A brother and sister who dislike each other may disguise their feelings around their parents to avoid being
punished.
Folk wisdom about sour grapes and the grass being greener on the other side of the fence provides a
commonsense corollary to this theory.
Although some prisoners who tell their parole boards that they have recognized the error of their ways may be
lying to gain an early release, others may have genuinely accepted their punishment and its implications.

(A) is the credited response.


Because (according to the two examples) cognitive dissonance involves an attitudinal change to adjust to existing
circumstances, the correct alternative will reflect such a change, as in (A).
(B) and (C) are incorrect. Neither (B) nor (C) fits the concept in the passage. The traveling salesperson and the
brother and sister have clearly not altered their perceptions and evaluations. The
salesperson continues to be terrified of flying, and the brother and sister have hidden rather than changed their
attitudes.
(D) is incorrect. (D) is not appropriate because, although the idea of sour grapes may correspond to the theory of
cognitive dissonance, the second piece of folk wisdom does not. According to the theory of cognitive dissonance, the
grass would be greener on ones own side of the fence.
(E) is incorrect. (E) is not the best answer because it does not explain otherwise inexplicable attitudes and actions.
Here, there are at least two explanations for the prisoners behavior, and neither is a result of an unconscious
alteration of perceptions.

Q4. Protective coloration is common among animals. Some animals are countershaded for camouflage. For example,
the next time you pass a fish market, look at the specimens laid out for viewing. Fish are nearly always darker on top
than on the bottom. The selective theory of camouflage has long been favored by some ichthyologists, who believed
that countershading reduces the contrast between the shaded and unshaded areas of the body when the sun is
shining on the fish from overhead and lessens its vulnerability to predators. However, the discovery that the Nile
catfish is reverse-countershadedthat is, its dorsal (upper) surface is light and its ventral (lower) surface is dark
turned this theory on its head.
However, enterprising ichthyologists saved the selective theory of camouflage by observing that the Nile catfish swims
upside down, primarily to feed from the surface of the water. Some ichthyologists speculate that the Nile catfish also
swims upside down for protection.

The passage provides information on each of the following EXCEPT:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

etiology of countershading
etiology of reverse-countershading
feeding habits of countershaded fish
selective theory of camouflage
protective coloration of animals

Protective coloration is common among animals. Some animals are countershaded for camouflage. For example, the
next time you pass a fish market, look at the specimens laid out for viewing. Fish are nearly always darker on top
than on the bottom. The selective theory of camouflage has long been favored by some ichthyologists, who believed
that countershading reduces the contrast between the shaded and unshaded areas of the body when the sun is
shining on the fish from overhead and lessens its vulnerability to predators. However, the discovery that the Nile
catfish is reverse-countershadedthat is, its dorsal (upper) surface is light and its ventral (lower) surface is dark
turned this theory on its head.
However, enterprising ichthyologists saved the selective theory of camouflage by observing that the Nile catfish swims
upside down, primarily to feed from the surface of the water. Some ichthyologists speculate that the Nile catfish also
swims upside down for protection.
The passage provides information on each of the following EXCEPT:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

etiology of countershading
etiology of reverse-countershading
feeding habits of countershaded fish
selective theory of camouflage
protective coloration of animals
(C) is the credited response.
This is a hunt-and-peck question.
(C) isnt supported by the passage. Sentence 1 of Paragraph 2 mentions the feeding habits of the Nile catfish, which is
an anomaly because it is reverse-countershaded. The feeding habits of countershaded fish are not discussed in this
passage. Some readers may find this question challenging because it can
be difficult not to confuse countershading and reverse-countershading when reading the passage.
(A) is incorrect. Eliminating this response will be difficult for readers who dont know the meaning of etiology, which
means to describe or assign a cause. Sentences 5-6 of Paragraph 1 describe the etiology of countershading as a
protective mechanism that helps fish escape predators.
(B) is incorrect. As is the case with (A), eliminating this response will be difficult for readers who dont know the
meaning of etiology. The final sentence of Paragraph 2 describes the etiology of reverse-countershading by suggesting
that the Nile catfish also swims upside down for protection.
(D) is incorrect. The selective theory of camouflage is central to this passage. Sentences 5-6 in Paragraph 1 and
Sentence 1 in Paragraph 2 deal with the selective theory of camouflage. In fact, one could argue that the primary

purpose of the passage is to discuss the selective theory of camouflage. This response should be easy for readers to
eliminate.
(E) is incorrect. Sentence 1 in Paragraph 1 states that protective coloration is common among animals. Sentence 2 in
Paragraph 1 states that some animals are countershaded for camouflage. Some readers may have difficulty
eliminating this response because they may believe, incorrectly, that fish arent animals, and most of the passage
deals with protective coloration among fish.

Q5. Intelligent people are often said to have big brains. This should not be taken literally. If brain size were the cause
of intelligence, we should expect elephants to be the planets smartest creatures. Rather, our intelligence is a
result of the dense and complex neural network of the human brain. The disproportionately large human brain
is no accident, however: the constancy of cell size means that a certain cranial capacity is necessary. Indeed, a large
cranial volume is paramount to allow for an advanced neural network to develop. Brain size should thus be
considered a prerequisite for intelligence rather than its cause.
In the argument given, the two sentences in bold play which of the following roles?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

The
The
The
The
The

first
first
first
first
first

cites a general rule; the second points out an exception to that rule.
makes a hypothesis; the second provides evidence confirming this hypothesis.
makes an observation; the second proposes an explanation for this observation.
makes a crucial claim; the second links this claim to the main idea of the passage.
identifies a common argument; the second contradicts this argument.

(D) is the credited response.


The first few sentences draw a clear distinction between brain size and intelligence. The first bolded sentence follows
the elephant comparison, which underscores this crucial claim made by this sentence. Only (D) fits the sequence.
(A) is incorrect. The main topic of this passage is brain size and its relation to intelligence. In the first bolded
sentence, the author makes a claim that is central to his argument: our intelligence is the result of . . . This is
certainly not a general rule, so eliminate (A).
In the second bolded sentence, he explains what this claim has to do with brain size.
(B) is incorrect. There is no evidence provided by the passage, so (B) is incorrect.
(C) is incorrect. Although the first bolded sentence may be seen as an observation, the second bolded sentence
doesnt explain the first. (The second bolded sentence offers an explanation for the unbolded sentence that
immediately precedes it.)
(E) is incorrect. Despite the presence of the word however, in another sentence there is no contradiction between the
two bolded sentences, so choice(E) is incorrect.
Q6. The resurgence of the womens movement in the late 1960s led to the reevaluation of many authors by feminist
literary critics. During the early phase of the resurgence, Nathaniel Hawthornes works received considerable attention
from feminist critics, but that attention had waned by 1976.

Ironically, prefeminist criticism of Hawthorne demonstrated little of what we would now call feminist consciousness,
yet prefeminist criticism strove to uncover antifeminist bias in Hawthornes works and may have precluded feminist
critics from breaking any new ground. Prefeminist criticism argued that Hawthornes female characters did not portray
the lives of real women of their era but were symbols of Hawthornes religious and moral values and projections of his
sexual psychology.
Thus, prefeminist criticism foreshadowed the stance of feminist criticism that women in literature are usually not
reliable descriptions of women in the real world but rather images that reflect the values of their creators.
The authors primary purpose in the passage is:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

to
to
to
to
to

compare and contrast prefeminist and feminist criticism of Hawthorne


describe the resurgence of interest by feminist critics in Hawthorne
describe prefeminist criticism of Hawthorne
describe feminist criticism of Hawthorne
describe the relationship of prefeminist and feminist criticism of Hawthorne

(E) is the credited response.


(E) is the best response because, neither too narrow nor too broad, it accurately captures the main purpose of the
passage.
(A) is incorrect. The passage does briefly compare and contrast prefeminist and feminist criticism of Hawthorne. But
the main purpose of the passage is to place feminist criticism of Hawthorne
within the context of the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s and to suggest that feminist critics stopped writing
about Hawthorne because prefeminist critics had, ironically, already demonstrated that his portrayals of women did
not accurately
reflect the women of his era.
(B) is incorrect. Although the passage does reference the resurgence of interest by feminist critics in Hawthorne, its
main purpose is broader than a description of this resurgence.
(C) is incorrect. The passage does briefly describe prefeminist criticism of Hawthorne, but (C) is too narrow.
(D) is incorrect. (D) is similar to (C). The passage does briefly describe feminist criticism of Hawthorne, but (D) is too
narrow.