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GMAT Verbal Study Guide Table of Contents Chapter 1 Reading Comprehension 4 Section 1: One

GMAT Verbal Study Guide

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Reading Comprehension

4

Section 1: One Principle

5

Section 2: Two Styles

8

1. Presentation

8

2. Argumentation

9

3. Organizational Structure

11

Section 3: Three Subjects

14

1. Natural Science

14

2. Social Science

15

3. Business Subject

17

Section 4: Four-step Process of Reading

20

1. Analyze the first paragraph

20

2. Skim the passage and get the author's main point

21

3. Diagram the organization of the passage

23

4. Tackle the questions and correspondently refer to the

26

Section 5: Five Types of Questions

29

1. Main Idea Question

30

2. Recall Question

35

3. Inference Questions

37

4. Critical Reasoning Question

39

5. Difficult-to-locate Question

41

Section 6: Six test points

43

1. Comparison

43

2. Example & Listing

43

3. People, Date & Place

46

4. Words of Attitude and Transition

47

5. Counter-evidence Indicators

49

6. Special Punctuation

51

Chapter 2 Sentence Correction Introduction

53

53

Three-step method

54

Section 1: Subject-Verb Agreement

56

Section 2: Verb Time Sequences

57

Section 3: Modification

58

A. Adjective or adverb as a modifier

58

B. Clause as a modifier

58

C. A long phrase as a modifier

59

D. Appositive as a modifier

60

Section 4: Parallelism

61

Section 5: Pronoun

62

Section 6: Comparisons

63

1. Quality Comparison

63

2. Quantity Comparison

64

3. Analogy

64

Section 7: Choice of Word

66

Section 8: Idioms

67

Section 9: Sentence Structure

72

Section 10: Subjunctive Mood

74

Section 11: Ambiguity

75

Section 12: Redundancy

76

Section 13: Awkward

77

Section 14: Logicality

78

Chapter 3 Critical Reasoning

80

Section 1: Introduction to Critical Reasoning

81

1. One Definition: Argument

81

2. Four elements of an argument

82

3. Seven Common Fallacies

84

4. Three-element Rule

86

5. Two Traps

87

6. Five Answer Choices

88

Section 2: Six Types of Argument

90

1. Deductive Argument

90

2. Generalization

94

3. Analogy

95

4. Causal Reasoning

96

5. Finding Assumption

97

6. Business Thinking

99

Section 3: Eight Types of Question

100

1. Inference Question

100

2. Assumption Question

102

3. Strengthen Question

104

4.

Weaken Question

106

5. Paradox Question

108

6. Reasoning Question

109

7. Complete Question

110

8. Boldface Question

112

If you have any question or suggestion, please email us at contact@microedu.com. Copyright 2004 The Microedu.com. All Rights Reserved. Not for distribution.

Chapter 1 Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension on the test day

On the test day, you will expect to see three or four reading passages, each followed with three or four questions. The passages presented depend on how well you are performing on the test. However, the questions presented for the same passage do not depend on your performance. In other word, after you are assigned a reading passage, the next question presented for the same passage will not base on your performance on the previous question.

Why Reading Comprehension is a nightmare to most students?

Most people find the reading compression difficult to prepare because the subject matter is unfamiliar and could be anything. In order to make sure that nobody can take advantages on a particular subject, the test-maker takes every effort to diversify the subjects of the three or four passages on your test day. As a result, obscure subject matter is chosen so that you will be tested, not on your knowledge of a particular subject, but the test-taking skills.

In addition, the reading passage is not created like the one we see on magazine, newspaper, or textbook. Rather, it uses a highly compressed style. Subjects of the passages are generally excerpted from academic articles that were published tens of years ago. Usually the chosen article is heavily edited until it is cut down to about 300 words, about one-third its original length.

Though it is difficult to read, the reading techniques introduced in the following passage will help you pick up the right answer even without understanding the reading passage.

Chapter Preview

In order to make it easier for you to prepare for GMAT, we have developed an interesting course for Reading Comprehension. You will find this chapter all in number, as the section number suggests. We hope this would help you learn the test prep strategies.

Section 1: One Principle

Section 2: Two Writing Styles

Section 3: Three Subjects

Section 4: Four-step Procedure for Attacking a Passage

Section 5: Five Types of Question

Section 6: Six Test Points

Section 1: One Principle

Directions: The questions in this group are based on the content of a passage. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each question. Answer all questions following the passage on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage

On the test day, you will see the above direction on computer screen. Most students disregard this instruction since it appears in every test. However, it introduces a basic principle you should follow in answering a reading comprehension question. When answering questions, you must refer each of them to some place in the passage. Don't rely on memory, since too many traps are used with these questions.

Also, don't base on your daily life experiences or college knowledge. Remember, GMAT doesn't test any specific knowledge on business or other functions. Image if a question is based on some specific knowledge, then those with broad knowledge can take advantages. This definitely violates the rule of GMAT. The test-maker often fools you by creating stuff choices that contain reasonable statement based on basic knowledge or your life experience, not on the passage. If you find an answer choice contains the widely known reasoning or statement on the test day, eliminate those choices with hesitation.

Let's look at a sample passage that discusses why the Indian software vendors perform better than their counterparts in China.

Indian firms have achieved the highest levels of efficiency in the world software outsourcing industry. Some researchers have assumed that Indian firms use the same programming languages and techniques as Chinese firms but have benefited from their familiarity with English, the language used to write software code. However, if this were true, then one would expect software vendors in Hong Kong, where most people speak English, to perform not worse than do Indian vendors. However, this is obviously not the case.

Other researchers link high Indian productivity to higher levels of human resource investment per engineer. But a historical perspective leads to a different conclusion. When the two top Indian vendors matched and then doubled Chinese productivity levels in the mid-eighties, human resource investment per employee was comparable to that of Chinese vendors. Furthermore, by the late eighties, the amount of fixed assets required to develop one software package was roughly equivalent in India and in the China. Since human resource investment was not higher in India, it had to be other factors that led to higher productivity.

A more fruitful explanation may lie with Indian strategic approach in outsourcing. Indian software vendors did not simply seek outsourced contract more effectively: they made aggressive strategic in outsourcing. For instance, most software firms of India were initially set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States. By contrary,

most Chinese firms seem to position their business in China, a promising yet under-developed market. However, rampant piracy in China took almost 90 percents of potential market, making it impossible for most Chinese firms to obtain sufficient compensation for the investment on development and research, let alone thrive in competitive environment.

Now, let's look at a sample question:

Which of the following statements concerning the productivity levels of engineers can be inferred from the passage?

(A)

Prior to the 1980’s, the productivity levels of the top Indian software firms were exceeded by those of Chinese software firms.

(B)

The official language of a country has a large effect on the productivity levels of its software developers.

(C)

During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, productivity levels were comparable in China and India.

(D) The greater the number of engineers that a software firm has, the higher a firm’s productivity level.

(E) The amount of human resource investment made by software developers in their firms determines the level of productivity.

If you do not refer to the original passage, you may pick up B. For test-takers who have some backgrounds in computer, it is obvious that being familiar with English will gain some advantage in writing program code. However, the correct answer is C.

In conclusion, the directions can run out of your eyes on the test day, but should be rooted deeply in your heart at the beginning of your test preparation.

Trap: Some choices just repeat the same words or phrases that you read in the passage. Keep alarm to these choices since in most cases, they are incorrect.

Here is an example:

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers

from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

Sample question

According to the passage, reduction in price are comparable to improvement in service in terms of the

(A)

tangibility of the benefits that they tend to confer

(B)

increased revenues that they ultimately produce

(C)

basis on which they need to be weighed

(D)

insufficient analysis that managers devote to them

(E)

degree of competitive advantage that they are likely to provide

To answer this question, first locate the question to the second sentence of the passage. "Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues." Now, go back to answer choices. Choice D and E are irrelevant to the original sentence, so eliminate them. Then, look at the choice A and B, both of them repeat the original sentences.

(A)

tangibility of the benefits that they tend to confer

(B)

increased revenues that they ultimately produce

(C)

basis on which they need to be weighed

Both A and B seem to be correct. However, reduction in price is comparable to that of improvement in service in term of the basis on direct and tangible benefits, not on the tangibility or specific benefits of increased revenues. So neither A nor B is correct. Choice B does not repeat the same words, but address the basis for comparison. Therefore, C is the correct answer.

Section 2: Two Styles

There is an endless number of writing techniques that authors use to present their ideas. However, there are only two writing styles used in a GMAT reading passage: presentation and argumentation.

1. Presentation

This technique is to present an idea that the author will agree or at least partially agree. The author strengthens his position by citing relevant evidences, each related to other in a highly structured manner. We call this style of writing as presentation. Sometimes, the author sometime may intentionally contrast his position with an opposing view. But most often the author is just anticipating an objection, he will soon refute it.

Here is a sample passage in presentation.

China as a nation faces two major financial problems. First, eighty-four percent of state-owned enterprises do not generate profit. Government failed to collect money from such business. Rather, it has to appropriate substantial funds to these enterprises in order to prevent them from going bankrupt and thus resulting in high unemployment rate. Second, 203 million of civilians in countryside will not be able to gain pension after they retire due to the limited budget of government.

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke generate finance

earnings and provide funds for civilians’ retirement. I would propose that government sells its holdings in state-owned enterprises on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for village civilian’s pension. At the same, they could cut down financial

burden on these state-owned enterprises.

You might object that government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money. I agree. Sell holdings of enterprises that would never generate profit. But, you might reply, every enterprise that competes on the market has potential. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every enterprise has the potential to make money. Practically, you are wrong.

I refer to the thousands of state-owned enterprises that are not likely to make money. These

companies are 100 percent held by the nation as a whole. Government officials are appointed as the chairman, CEO and president. The management was not responsible for the public interest, but for the nation as a whole. If there is no significant loss in business, they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government. If their companies perform great, these executives receive direct money compensation. However,

their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be far below that of their counterpart in private company.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market. But the demand for compensating the state-own enterprises would be substantially reduced.

The author developed the above passage by first pointing out a problem, suggesting a solution, anticipating counter-position, illustrating an example, refuting a second solution, and further anticipating possible objections. Obviously, this writing technique is presentation.

2. Argumentation

The second writing style is argumentation. This technique has a number of variations, but the most common and direct is to develop two to three ideas and then point out why one is better than the other or just simply refute all of them and developed the author's own idea.

Some common tip-off sentences to this method of analysis are:

It was traditionally assumed

It was once believed

It was frequently assumed

It was universally accepted

Many scientists have argued

The passage that discusses Indian and Chinese software firms represents a typical argumentation. At the beginning, the author presented a phenomenon and gave an explanation, but refuted that explanation immediately.

Indian firms have achieved the highest levels of efficiency in the world software outsourcing industry. Some researchers have assumed that Indian firms use the same programming languages and techniques as Chinese firms but have benefited from their familiarity with English, the language used to write software code. However, if this were true, then one would expect software vendors in Hong Kong, where most people speak English, to perform not worse than do Indian vendors. However, this is obviously not the case.

Then, the second explanation was introduced, but was denied again in the same paragraph.

Other researchers link high Indian productivity to higher levels of human resource investment per engineer. But a historical perspective leads to a different conclusion. When the two top Indian vendors matched and then doubled Chinese productivity levels in the mid-eighties, human resource investment per employee was comparable to that of Chinese vendors.

Furthermore, by the late eighties, the amount of fixed assets required to develop one software package was roughly equivalent in India and in the China. Since human resource investment was not higher in India, it had to be other factors that led to higher productivity.

Finally, a more fruitful one is presented. The author used the remaining passage try to argue that this explanation is the correct one.

A more fruitful explanation may lie with Indian strategic approach in outsourcing. Indian

software vendors did not simply seek outsourced contract more effectively: they made aggressive strategic in outsourcing. For instance, most software firms of India were initially

set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States. By contrary, most Chinese firms seem to position their business in China, a promising yet under-developed market. However, rampant piracy in China took almost 90 percents of potential market, making it impossible for most Chinese firms to obtain sufficient compensation for the investment on development and research, let alone thrive in competitive environment.

Why bother to identify the writing style?

Be familiar with the author's writing techniques can help you diagram the mental road map of a passage, identify the author's intention to cite an evidence, main idea of a passage, and most importantly, pick up the right choice quickly and decisively. Let’s go back the passage that talks about whether price reduction can generate a competitive advantage.

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price

is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which

failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience

of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine

whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would

excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

In the above passage, the author did not try to present his own position (presentation). If any, the position is that he does not agree with the fact that reduction in price can generate competitive

advantage for a company. In fact, the speaker here argued against a popular point of view by reasoning and examples (argumentation).

Let's look at a sample question to see how to pick up a right choice on the basis of writing styles.

The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A)

contrast possible outcomes of a type of business strategy

(B)

suggest more careful evaluation of a type of business strategy

(C)

illustrate various ways in which a type of business strategy could fail to enhance revenues

(D)

trace the general problems of a company to a certain type of business strategy

(E)

criticize the way in which managers tend to analyze the costs and benefits of business strategies

This question asks you to summarize the passage's central idea. Which of the five choices is correct? Based on the verbs initiating the five choices, you can eliminate three of them:

(A)

incorrect. To contrast is to compare several things, but not to agree or disagree.

(C)

incorrect. To illustrate is to give example, not to agree or disagree.

(D)

incorrect. To trace is to track, not to agree or disagree.

Choice E began with argumental word criticize, but isn't the correct choice because it addresses the detail. Therefore, B is the right answer: to argue that superior service does not generate competitive advantage is to suggest more careful evaluation of a type of business strategy (price reduction).

3. Organizational Structure

There are two major patterns that the test-maker uses to reach a conclusion: general-to-specific and specific-to-general. Become familiar with these writing patterns can help you identify the main idea of a passage.

A. General-to-Specific Structure

This structure is widely used in GMAT reading passage. The test-writer first makes a general argument, and then supports it using a series of specific examples or reasoning, and finally summaries by reclaiming his general argument.

Here is the structure:

General claim, followed by

first evidence or reasoning

second evidence or reasoning

more evidence or reasoning

Let's look at a passage of this structure:

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

Here, the author presents his opinion at the beginning of the passage: reduction in price does not necessarily generate a competitive advantage. To support his idea, the author first made reasoning by comparing service improvement and price reduction. Then, in the second paragraph, the author used an example within operating system software industry to further address that reducing price did not improve competitive position.

B. Specific-to-General Structure

Contrast to the general-to-specific structure, the specific-to-general first presents a group of examples or reasoning and finally draw a conclusion.

Here is the structure:

first example or reasoning

second example or reasoning

more example or reasoning

Conclusion

The passage that discusses Indian software vendors was written in argumentation, and represents a typical passage in specific-to-general structure.

Indian firms have achieved the highest levels of efficiency in the world software outsourcing industry. Some researchers have assumed that Indian firms use the same programming languages and techniques as Chinese firms but have benefited from their familiarity with

English, the language used to write software code. However, if this were true, then one would expect software vendors in Hong Kong, where most people speak English, to perform not worse than do Indian vendors. However, this is obviously not the case.

Other researchers link high Indian productivity to higher levels of human resource investment per engineer. But a historical perspective leads to a different conclusion. When the two top Indian vendors matched and then doubled Chinese productivity levels in the mid-eighties, human resource investment per employee was comparable to that of Chinese vendors. Furthermore, by the late eighties, the amount of fixed assets required to develop one software package was roughly equivalent in India and in the China. Since human resource investment was not higher in India, it had to be other factors that led to higher productivity.

A more fruitful explanation may lie with Indian strategic approach in outsourcing. Indian software vendors did not simply seek outsourced contract more effectively: they made aggressive strategic in outsourcing. For instance, most software firms of India were initially set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States. By contrary, most Chinese firms seem to position their business in China, a promising yet under-developed market. However, rampant piracy in China took almost 90 percents of potential market, making it impossible for most Chinese firms to obtain sufficient compensation for the investment on development and research, let alone thrive in competitive environment.

In the above passage, the author gave an explanation to a particular event, but refuted it soon, until it came with a convincing one – the conclusion.

Section 3: Three Subjects

Like writing techniques, GMAT subjects may vary significantly. The author may present how caffeine activates human behavior, discuss what causes Japanese auto companies to perform better than those in USA, or explain the union's effort to organize the employees in public sectors. Various as the subjects may be, there are only three major subjects that a GMAT passage may be discussing about: natural science, social science, and business. As the name indicates, natural science topic includes biology, chemistry, geology, and archeology; social science includes art, literature, and civil rights; business includes marketing, advertising, management, and economics.

1. Natural Science

Characteristics

Most test-takers find the natural science difficult to read and beyond their knowledge base. If you try to figure out what they are really talking about, in most cases you will fail, because reading passages in this kind of subject are filled of nomenclatures and jargons. The good news, however, is that the sentences are always written in a simple syntax and the questions to be answered after reading passage are typical of the recalled questions. That means, when you successfully locate the "key words", you will find it easy to get the right answer.

Strategy

Don't memorize the details or try to figure out the author's reasoning. Skim the passage, and get its central idea as well as organizational structure.

The following passage is about natural science topic. This passage is a little difficult to understand, but the following questions are much easier to answer.

Sample Passage

The cutting-edge science is ringing alarm bells. Avian flu virus picked up by pigs can swap genetic materials with another flu virus already in the pig and become a new, hitherto unknown flu virus for which no person, no animal has preexisting immunity. The kind of virus causes a pandemic because it spreads from human to human.

If you took a peek into history, it turns out that previous influenza pandemics have similar scenarios. The greatest influenza pandemic in 1918 caused more than 20 million deaths of soldiers stationed in France. The last influenza pandemic was in 1968, known as the Hong Kong flu (H3N2). Thousands of deaths and millions were infected worldwide.

The other examples are the Nipah virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus, which find pigs to be good hosts. With JE, the virus circulates in the blood of infected pigs. When infected pigs

are bitten by Culex mosquitoes, the virus replicates in the mosquito's gut. The next time the mosquito bites a human, the virus is passed on. The pig doesn't get sick as such. The Nipah virus causes pneumonia symptoms in pigs. In humans, it causes encephalitis, and humans catch it only with direct contact with infected pigs. Symptoms range from mild headache to permanent brain damage, and can be fatal.

It's merely a phenomenon of nature that the pig is the "mixing vessel" for the new germ. But make no mistake, the pig is not the villain, neither is the chicken. It's actually us, and our horrible farm practices, outdated agricultural policy and, most of all, reckless disregard of our ecology and environment. "Hygiene and management can control what eventually happens," says Lam. "Good farming practice will prevent serious outbreaks and infection to humans." Despite knowing that, animal diseases and the possibility of transmission to humans are becoming quite alarming. Of the 35 new emerging diseases in the last 20 years, more than 70 per cent involved animals.

In fact, what we may have done is unwittingly create the perfect launch pad for an influenza pandemic that will likely kill large numbers of people across the globe. Although scientists say it's impossible to predict the odds that the virus will alter its genetic form radically enough to start leaping from human to human, the longer H5N1 is out there killing chickens, the higher the chances are.

Sample Question

Which of the following statement can be inferred from the passage?

(A)

New emerging diseases causes more deaths of human than animal.

(B)

Animals are the villain for most flues.

(C)

Hygiene and management can not control the spread of viruses.

(D)

The current bird flu epidemic may be a launch pad for the next influenza pandemic.

(E)

The influenza pandemic is always a regional phenomenon.

Which answer is correct? For choice A, the passage did not make any comparison between deaths of human and deaths of animal. In B, animal is actually not the villain for most flues. Rather, it is human. Look at the second sentence in the fourth paragraph, “But make no mistake, the pig is not the villain, neither is the chicken.” For C, “Hygiene and management can control what eventually happens”(in the middle of fourth paragraph), therefore, C is incorrect. E is also incorrect. Though most flues discussed in this passage were originated from some areas, the passage never stated it was a regional phenomenon. In fact, it “will likely kill large numbers of people across the globe”, as stated at the beginning of last paragraph. The correct answer is D – the current bird flu epidemic may be a launch pad for the next influenza pandemic, because no animal has preexisting immunity and it causes a pandemic by spreading from human to human.

2. Social Science

Characteristics

Why women's rights experienced a significant improvement during 1860's? How the Pullman stroke to improve their living condition? Passages in these subjects are easy to read because it goes as you expect and talks about something around your world. You will find it easy to grasp the main idea and passage map. In order to get the right answer, however, you need to read beyond the words, phrases or concepts in the passage. The right answer is always created in a synthesized way.

Strategy

Be careful in tackling this "social" passage. To answer the later questions is always not as easy as to understand the passage. The answer choice that contains the exact words or phrases from the passage is generally not the correct answer. Rather, you need to synthesize several sentences or make some reasoning before you pick up the right choice. The process is time-consuming because the social passage is typically long.

Sample Passage

China as a nation faces two major financial problems. First, eighty-four percent of state-owned enterprises do not generate profit. Government failed to make money from such business. Rather, it has to appropriate substantial funds to these enterprises in order to prevent them from going bankrupt and thus resulting in high unemployment rate. Second, 203 million of civilians in countryside will not be able to gain pension after they retire due to the limited budget of government.

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke generate finance

earnings and provide funds for civilians’ retirement. I would propose that government sells its

holdings in state-owned enterprises on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for village civilian’s pension. At the same time, they could cut down financial burden on these state-owned enterprises.

You might object that government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money. I agree. Sell holdings of enterprises that would never generate profit. But, you might reply, every enterprise that competes on the market has potential. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every enterprise has the potential to make money. Practically, you are wrong.

I refer to the thousands of state-owned enterprises that are not likely to make money. These companies are 100 percent held by the nation as a whole. Government officials are appointed as the chairman, CEO and president. The management was not responsible for

the public interest, but for the nation as a whole. If there is no significant loss in business, they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government. If their companies perform great, these executives receive direct money compensation. However, their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be much less than the amount they would earn if were in private company.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market. But the demand for compensating the state-own enterprises would be substantially reduced.

Sample Question

According to the passage, executives in a state-owned enterprise are motivated by

(A)

direct money compensation

(B)

increasing salary

(C)

political outlook

(D)

share option

(E)

social responsibility

The passage mentioned the executives of state-owned enterprises in fourth paragraph; therefore, we need not to consider other paragraphs when referring to the original passage. Since “…their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be much less than the amount they would earn if were in private company” as stated in the last sentence, these executives are not motivated by financial earnings. If yes, they will transfer to a private company. Therefore, they are not motivated by direct money compensation, increasing salary, or share option. Rather, they are concerned on their political outlook. “If there is no significant loss in business, they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government.” Choice C is the correct answer. For choice E, the passage never discussed the executives’ social responsibility.

3. Business Subject

Characteristics

This subject is highly welcomed since most students possess some knowledge or background in business. But passage of this subject contains the most difficult questions in GMAT Reading Comprehension. Recall questions are few and you always have to reason before you pick up the correct choice.

Strategy

Don't rely on your memory even if you become or have been quite familiar with its topics. There are too many traps here. Make sure you refer to the passage when answering the questions.

Sample Passage

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

Sample Question

The passage suggests which of the following about price charged by an operating system software vendor prior to its strategy in reducing its price?

(A)

It was slightly low to that of the vendor’s competitors.

(B)

It threatened to weaken the vendor’s competitive position with respect to other operating system software vendor

(C)

It had already been reduced after having caused damage to the vendor’s reputation in the past.

(D)

It enabled the vendor to retain customers at an acceptable rate

(E) It needed to be reduced to attain parity with the software provided by competing vendors.

Here, the question was created in complicated clauses and itself already hard to understand. In fact, it asks for the situation of the vendor before price reduction. Only D can be inferred from the

passage. The original passage stated that “If a company is already effectively on …

customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate…” and “This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor…” That means the vendor was able to retain customers at an acceptable rate.

keeps

Section 4: Four-step Process of Reading

In the previous section we summarize three kinds of subject you will encounter in a GMAT reading passage. Now you will learn the four-step procedure to read a passage in any subject:

1. Analyze the first paragraph.

2. Skim the passage and get some idea of the main idea

3. Identify the purpose of each paragraph and structure of the passage

4. Answer the questions and don't forget to refer to the passage

1. Analyze the first paragraph.

It is essential to carefully read the first paragraph. You will get informed what the passage is talking about, and even the main idea of the passage. There are two major reasons for you to carefully read the first paragraph.

Fist of all, the paragraph is the main structural unit of any passage. Every paragraph is needed to understand the whole passage or answer the question after the passage. Test-maker never delivers a junk content. It must talk about something that relates to the central idea, and present it as persuasively as possible. In fact, the first paragraph introduces either the position that the author will support or the one that he/she will argue against. So, getting familiar with the introductory paragraph will definitely help you identify the main topic.

Secondly, analyzing the fist paragraph in stead of the whole passage can save you much time. As I said at the beginning of this chapter, GMAT reading passage is dry and unfamiliar. It is highly likely that after you read the passage, you get no ideas about what the passage is talking about. If you go back and reread the whole passage, you will have no sufficient time to answer the question. Analyze the first paragraph, pay attention to concepts, and then you will find it easy to understand the subject of passage.

Below is the first paragraph of a GMAT reading passage. Pay attention to concept words.

China as a nation faces two major financial problems. First, eighty-four percent of state-owned enterprises do not generate profit. Government failed to make money from such business. Rather, it has to appropriate substantial funds to these enterprises in order to prevent them from going bankrupt and thus resulting in high unemployment rate. Second, 203 million of civilians in countryside will not be able to gain pension after they retire due to the limited budget of government.

The first sentence stated that China faces two problems. Then, the author specified these two problems using a clear and logical structure. Firstly, government did not make money from but

input large amount of money to its enterprises. Secondly, government has limited funds for pension.

Now, let's summarize this paragraph and put it in our own words-- China has two problems:

financial burden and limited funds. Keep these key words (concepts) in mind, and you will find it easy to understand the remaining passage that we'll present in next step.

2. Skim the passage and get the author's main point

Here are some strategies that will speed your reading and help you identify the author's main points:

Focus on the first sentence of each paragraph

The first sentence of a paragraph is always the main point of this paragraph. Why? It confirms to the formal writing style. If you are a management consultant, you will find it a great advantage to use a summary at the very beginning of each section. Image when you are presenting a strategy report which contains hundreds of pages, how could your clients catch your all of them? The only solution is to use a highly structured presentation, and summarize your idea at the beginning of each section. In fact, you are also doing like this in the AWA section.

By simply reading the first sentence of each paragraph, you can construct a mental road map of the passage while not spending significant time.

Pay attention to the mood words

"Mood" words are those that the author uses to demonstrate his/her position to a particular event, phenomenon, or point of view. A mood word can be positive or negative. Positive words such as successfully, correctly and right often illustrate an idea that the author agree. And vis-a-vis, a negative word indicates an idea that will be weakened in later passage.

The following sentences express the author's position by using positive mood words:

a) Haney's through research provides convincing field evidence that

b) For many yeas, Benjamin Quarles' seminal account of the participation of African Americans

in the American Revolution has remained the standard work in the field.

c) Roger Rosenblatt's book successfully alters the approach taken by most previous studies.

By contrast, the following mood words are negative.

fail

ignore

overestimate

underestimate

misunderstand

misrepresent

overlook

exaggerate

sound

convincingly

successfully

correctly

Never ignore the counter-evidence indicators

The author uses counter-evidence words not to argue against himself, but concede certain minor points that may weaken his argument. The counter evidence is finally refuted by further evidence. You should keep alarm to these words since some students often mistake them as introducing arguing against a statement.

Following are some of the most common used counter-evidence indicators:

actually

despite

admittedly

except

even though

nonetheless

nevertheless

although

however

In spite of

do

may

OK. Let's go back to the passage talking about national finance. Here are the other five paragraphs. In order for you to skim the passage using the above three techniques, we underlined the first sentences of each paragraph, boldfaced the mood words and italicize the counter-evidence indicators.

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke generate finance

earnings and provide funds for civilians’ retirement. I would propose that government sells its holdings in state-owned enterprises on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for village civilian’s pension. At the same time, they could cut down financial burden on these state-owned enterprises.

You might object that government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money. I agree. Sell holdings of enterprises that would never generate profit. But, you might reply, every enterprise that competes on the market has potential. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every enterprise has the potential to make money. Practically, you are wrong.

I refer to the thousands of state-owned enterprises that are not likely to make money. These

companies are 100 percent held by the nation as a whole. Government officials are appointed as the chairman, CEO and president. The management was not responsible for the public interest, but for the nation as a whole. If there is no significant loss in business, they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government. If their companies perform great, these executives receive direct money compensation. However, their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be much less than the amount they would earn if were in private company.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market. But the demand for compensating the state-own enterprises would be substantially reduced.

What is the main idea of the passage? In a word, the author is to present a solution to funding civilian’s pension while benefiting the state-owned enterprises.

3. Diagram the organization of the passage

You got main idea of each paragraph. Now, it’s time to ask yourself why the author includes them, what the purpose of each paragraph is, and how each paragraph relates to other. This will help you diagram the organization of a passage, and locate the details when you answer the questions.

Pivotal words can help you in diagramming the organization. Pivotal words are signal words or phrases that would in advance indicate the idea of paragraphs. Below represents the most frequently used pivotal words or sentences you will see in a reading passage.

Note: A and B represent something, while sb represents somebody.

Introduction

When it comes to

,

some think

There is a public debate today that

A is a common way of

,

but is it a wise one?

Recently the problem has been brought into focus.

Presenting Opinion

Now there is a growing awareness that

It is time we explore the truth of

Nowhere in history has the issue been more visible.

Further Presenting Opinion

but that is only part of the history.

Another equally important aspect is

A is but one of the many effects. Another is

Besides, other reasons are

Anticipating Objections

You may reply that.

Admittedly,

It is reasonable to expect

It is not surprising that

Exampling

For example(instance),

such as A,B,C and so on (so forth)

A good case in point is

A particular example for this is

Presenting Reasons

There are many reasons for

Why

, for one thing,

The answer to this problem involves many factors.

Any discussion about this problem would inevitably involves

The first reason can be obliviously seen.

Most people would agree that

Some people may neglect that in fact

Others suggest that

Part of the explanation is

Comparing

The advantages for A for outweigh the disadvantages of

Although A enjoys a distinct advantage

Indeed , A carries much weight than B when sth is concerned.

A maybe

, but it suffers from the disadvantage that

Transitioning

To understand the truth of

,

it is also important to see

A study of

will make this point clear

Further Anticipating Objections

Certainly, B has its own advantages, such as

I do not deny that A has its own merits.

Conclusion

From what has been discussed above, we may safely draw the conclusion that

In summary, it is wiser

In short

In step 2, you are assigned to skim the passage and get the main idea. Here, let's identify the purpose of each paragraph for the archeology passage to better understand the passage.

(First of all, the author presented the problems)

China as a nation faces two major financial problems. First, eighty-four percent of state-owned enterprises do not generate profit. Government failed to make money from such business. Rather, it has to appropriate substantial funds to these enterprises in order to prevent them from going bankrupt and thus resulting in high unemployment rate. Second, 203 million of civilians in countryside will not be able to gain pension after they retire due to the limited budget of government.

(Then, the author suggested a solution to the problems)

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke generate finance

earnings and provide funds for civilians’ retirement. I would propose that government sells its holdings in state-owned enterprises on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for village civilian’s pension. At the same time, they could cut down financial burden on these state-owned enterprises.

(Here, the author anticipated a possible objection)

You might object that government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money. I agree. Sell holdings of enterprises that would never generate profit. But, you might reply, every enterprise that competes on the market has potential. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every enterprise has the potential to make money. Practically, you are wrong.

(Then, the author gave an example to deny this objection)

I refer to the thousands of state-owned enterprises that are not likely to make money. These

companies are 100 percent held by the nation as a whole. Government officials are appointed as the chairman, CEO and president. The management was not responsible for the public interest, but for the nation as a whole. If there is no significant loss in business, they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government. If their companies perform great, these executives receive direct money compensation. However,

their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be much less than the amount they would earn if were in private company.

(Finally, the author further anticipated a possible objection)

It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market. But the demand for compensating the state-own enterprises would be substantially reduced.

Now, you are able to create a mental road map for the whole passage:

Paragraph # 1: introduced two major problems that China faces.

Paragraph # 2: suggested a solution and explained why it is effective.

Paragraph # 3: anticipated a possible objection and denied it soon.

Paragraph # 4: exemplified to argue against a position initiated in the third paragraph.

Paragraph # 5: concluded that his solution is not perfect, but really effective

By making such a road map, I bet you understand this passage quite well.

4. Tackle the questions and correspondently refer to the passage.

Now that you have grasped main idea and the organizational structure of the passage, you are about to answer the following questions. Again, don’t base on your memory. Always refer to the original passage before you pick up a choice.

China as a nation faces two major financial problems. First, eighty-four percent of state-owned enterprises do not generate profit. Government failed to make money from such business. Rather, it has to appropriate substantial funds to these enterprises in order to prevent them from going bankrupt and thus resulting in high unemployment rate. Second, 203 million of civilians in countryside will not be able to gain pension after they retire due to the limited budget of government.

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke generate finance earnings and provide funds for civilians’ retirement. I would propose that government sells its holdings in state-owned enterprises on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for village civilian’s pension. At the same time, they could cut down financial burden on these state-owned enterprises.

You might object that government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money. I agree. Sell holdings of enterprises that would never generate profit. But, you might reply, every enterprise that competes on the

market has potential. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every enterprise has the potential to make money. Practically, you are wrong.

I refer to the thousands of state-owned enterprises that are not likely to make money. These companies are 100 percent held by the nation as a whole. Government officials are appointed as the chairman, CEO and president. The management was not responsible for the public interest, but for the nation as a whole. If there is no significant loss in business, they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government. If their companies perform great, these executives receive direct money compensation. However, their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be much less than the amount they would earn if were in private company.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market. But the demand for compensating the state-own enterprises would be substantially reduced.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to propose

(A)

an alternative to manage government property

(B)

a way to relieve government burden while providing funds to village civilians

(C) a way to distinguish state-owned enterprises that make money from those that do no make money

(D)

the governmental approach to evaluate state-owned enterprise’ executives

(E)

a new system for national pension system

This question requires you to identify the primary concern of the passage as a whole. The first paragraph introduces two major problems that China faces. The second paragraph suggests a solution and explains why it is effective. The third anticipates a possible objection and refutes it soon. The fourth paragraph illustrates an example to support the author’s argument. In the last paragraph, the author concludes that his solution is not perfect, but really effective. Therefore, the correct answer is B.

2. The author implies that all of the following statements about enterprises with which government

holds 100 percent share are true EXCEPT:

(A)

A market for government’s share already exists.

(B)

Such enterprises seldom generate profit.

(C)

There is likely to be a continuing loss of such enterprises.

(D)

Government officers are appointed as the executives with such enterprises.

(E) If the executives perform poorly, they will be demoted to lower position.

The question requires you to identify the answer choice that CANNOT be inferred from the passage. Nothing in the passage implies that “the executives will be demoted to lower position if they perform poorly”. Therefore, the best answer is E. In answering the question that contains “EXCEPT”, keep alarm not to be fooled by the test maker.

3. The author implies that which of the following would occur if government’s shares were sold on the open market?

I. The shortage of retirement fund in village would eventually cease completely.

II. Current executives in state-owned enterprises are not motivated to perform better

III. Civilians in countryside would be able to seek sufficient funds from government.

(A)

I only

(B)

II only

(C)

I and II only

(D)

II and III only

(E)

I, II, and III

This question asks you to identify information that is suggested rather than directly stated in the passage. To answer it, first look for the location in the passage of the information specified in answer choice. The last paragraph states that “It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market”, therefore, I is incorrect. III, which is a repeated of I, is also incorrect. Only II can be inferred from the original passage, therefore B is the best answer.

Section 5: Five Types of Questions

While the techniques introduced in previous four sections speed your reading, this section is developed to help you pick up the right choice quickly and decisively. In the following passage, we will discuss the major question types you may encounter in real GMAT test. Generally, there are only five major types of questions. As you become familiar with the following question types, you will gain an intuitive sense for the places from which questions are likely to be drawn. Note, the order in which the questions are asked roughly corresponds to the order in which the main issues are presented in the passage. Early questions should correspond to information given early in the passage, and so on.

Of course, there are many other kinds of classification according to different criteria. Here, we classify, by how we solve reading comprehension questions, into five based on the summary of thousands of the previous real questions. Let's preview the five question types.

Question Types Preview

1. Main Idea Question

a) Main Topic

b) Tone

c) Structure

d) Exemplifying

2. Recall Question

a) Description

b) Listing

3. Inference Question

4. Critical Reasoning Question

a) Analogy

b) Assumption/Weaken/Strengthen

5. Unable-to-locate Question

1. Main Idea Question

There are four sub-types for this kind of question: Main Topic, Tone, Structure, and Exemplifying. Why should we incorporate them into one type of question? In answering Main Idea Question, you should understand the organizational structure of the passage, the author tone toward a particular point of view in the reading passage, the purpose of each paragraph and why a particular example was illustrated. In other words, if you can determine the main topic of the passage, you are simultaneously well informed with the structure, the intent of specific example, and tone toward specific position.

A. Main Topic

Main idea questions test your ability to identify and understand an author's intent in a passage. The main idea is usually stated in the first or last paragraph. Main idea questions are usually the first questions asked. Some common main idea questions include:

The primary purpose of the passage is to…

Which of the following titles would best describe the content of the passage?

The passage supplies information that would answer which of the following questions?

Which of the following is the principal topic of the passage?

The passage is most probably an excerpt from.

Which of the following best states the central idea of the passage?

In most cases, main idea questions are easy to solve. In most GMAT passage the author's primary purpose is to persuade the reader to accept her opinion. Occasionally, it is to describe something. By determining the relationship of each paragraph, you come up with the main ideal at the same time. However, the GMAT writers may obscure the correct answer by surrounding it with close answer choices that stress specifics. Eliminate these choices without hesitation on the test day.

Trap 1: The main topic will not focus on certain details in the passage. If you encounter the main ideal question, eliminate the answer choices that describe the details.

Trap 2: Pay special attention to the "repeat" answer. Certain choices may exactly repeat some or most words of the correct answer, but do not present the central idea, therefore, is not the correct answer.

B. Tone Question

Tone questions ask you to identify the writer's attitude. Is the writer's feeling toward the subject positive, negative, or neutral? The following represents some ways of the questions asked.

Which of the following best summarizes the author's evaluation of Bailyn's fourth proposition?

The author's attitude toward the culture in most factories is best described as

(A) cautious

(B) critical

(C) disinterested

(D) respectful

(E) adulatory

However, if you did not get a feel for the writer's attitude on the first reading, check the mood words that he chooses. Beware of answer choices that contain extreme emotions. Remember the passages are taken from academic journals. In the rarefied air of academic circles, strong emotions are considered inappropriate and sophomoric. The writers want to display opinions that are considered and reasonable, not spontaneous and off-the-wall. So if an author's tone is negative, it may be disapproving, not snide or ridiculous. If her tone is positive, it may be approving, not ecstatic. Or if her tone is neutral, it would be not be disinterested.

C. Organizational Structure

When you can determine the right answer for main topic, generally you have been familiar with the organizational structure. Every passage is consisted of some paragraphs, and each single paragraph performs some certain function to the passage as a whole, by presenting, supporting or refuting the central idea. So, think about the purpose of each paragraph as you read through the passage.

You may encounter one type of question concerning the main idea or purpose of some certain paragraph. Some common questions include:

The last paragraph of the passage performs which of the following functions?

Which of the following best describes the organization of the second paragraph?

Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

Which of the following best describes the relation of the first paragraph to the passage as a whole?

It is relatively easy to solve this kind of question for two reasons. First, however the question may ask, it is concerning the main idea of the paragraph. If you come up with a question including "paragraph", it definitely require you to generate that paragraph. Second, paragraph is only some element of the completed passage. If you can generate the main topic for the whole passage of three to four paragraphs, why aren't you able to summarize just one paragraph?

D. Exemplifying

The other type of structure question, exemplifying, tests your ability to identify the intention of author's illustrating of something, some people, or phenomenon. In answering this question, you need to first locate the example, and then refer to opinion preceding or accompanying the example. The right answer is the repeat of this opinion.

In illustrating the example in line 13-16, the author intended to.?

The author referred to the experiment in order to.?

In addition to the above four types, the Main Idea Question may require you to respond in other ways, such as:

From what kinds of subject could this passage be excerpted?

Which of the following topic would be preceding this passage?

This question, however, is similar to the above four, since they are based on your understanding of the completed passage.

Sample Question #1

The cutting-edge science is ringing alarm bells. Avian flu virus picked up by pigs can swap genetic materials with another flu virus already in the pig and become a new, hitherto unknown flu virus for which no person, no animal has preexisting immunity. The kind of virus causes a pandemic because it spreads from human to human.

If you took a peek into history, it turns out that previous influenza pandemics have similar scenarios. The greatest influenza pandemic in 1918 caused more than 20 million deaths of soldiers stationed in France. The last influenza pandemic was in 1968, known as the Hong Kong flu (H3N2). Thousands of deaths and millions were infected worldwide.

The other examples are the Nipah virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus, which find pigs to be good hosts. With JE, the virus circulates in the blood of infected pigs. When infected pigs are bitten by Culex mosquitoes, the virus replicates in the mosquito's gut. The next time the mosquito bites a human, the virus is passed on. The pig doesn't get sick as such. The Nipah virus causes pneumonia symptoms in pigs. In humans, it causes encephalitis, and humans catch it only with direct contact with infected pigs. Symptoms range from mild headache to permanent brain damage, and can be fatal.

It's merely a phenomenon of nature that the pig is the "mixing vessel" for the new germ. But make no mistake, the pig is not the villain, neither is the chicken. It's actually us, and our horrible farm practices, outdated agricultural policy and, most of all, reckless disregard of our ecology and environment. "Hygiene and management can control what eventually happens," says Lam. "Good farming practice will prevent serious outbreaks and infection to humans." Despite knowing that, animal diseases and the possibility of transmission to humans are becoming quite alarming. Of the 35 new emerging diseases in the last 20 years, more than 70 per cent involved animals.

In fact, what we may have done is unwittingly create the perfect launch pad for an influenza pandemic that will likely kill large numbers of people across the globe. Although scientists say it's impossible to predict the odds that the virus will alter its genetic form radically enough

to start leaping from human to human, the longer H5N1 is out there killing chickens, the

higher the chances are.

Which of the following best describes the topic of the passage?

(A)

What causes the Nipah virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus to happen?

(B)

Does Hong Kong flu originate from pig?

(C)

From fowl to pigs to humans?

(D)

Is influenza pandemic horrible?

(E)

Shall we eat chicken?

This question asks you to find a title for the passage. In other word, it requires you to identify the primary concern of the passage as a whole. The first paragraph presents a recent virus. The second and third paragraphs describe similar influenza pandemics in history. The fourth paragraph concludes who should be responsible for the spread of virus and what human can do to control. The last paragraph indicates that people stimulated rather than inhibited its promulgation. We can thus conclude the current virus will also leap to human. Furthermore, the passage as a whole is to “ring alarm bells”. Therefore, C is the best answer.

Sample Question #2

Indian firms have achieved the highest levels of efficiency in the world software outsourcing industry. Some researchers have assumed that Indian firms use the same programming languages and techniques as Chinese firms but have benefited from their familiarity with English, the language used to write software code. However, if this were true, then one would expect software vendors in Hong Kong, where most people speak English, to perform not worse than do Indian vendors. However, this is obviously not the case.

Other researchers link high Indian productivity to higher levels of human resource investment per engineer. But a historical perspective leads to a different conclusion. When the two top Indian vendors matched and then doubled Chinese productivity levels in the mid-eighties, human resource investment per employee was comparable to that of Chinese vendors. Furthermore, by the late eighties, the amount of fixed assets required to develop one software package was roughly equivalent in India and in the China. Since human resource investment was not higher in India, it had to be other factors that led to higher productivity.

A more fruitful explanation may lie with Indian strategic approach in outsourcing. Indian

software vendors did not simply seek outsourced contract more effectively: they made aggressive strategic in outsourcing. For instance, most software firms of India were initially set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States. By contrary,

most Chinese firms seem to position their business in China, a promising yet

under-developed market. However, rampant piracy in China took almost 90 percents of potential market, making it impossible for most Chinese firms to obtain sufficient compensation for the investment on development and research, let alone thrive in competitive environment.

Which of the following best describes the organization of the first paragraph?

(A)

A thesis is presented and supporting examples are provided.

(B)

Opposing views are presented, classified, and then reconciled.

(C)

A fact is stated, and an explanation is advanced and then refuted.

(D)

A theory is proposed, considered, and then amended.

(E)

An opinion is presented, qualified, and then reaffirmed.

This question requires you to identify the organizational structure of the first paragraph. In this paragraph, the author first states a fact that Indian firms achieved the highest efficiency in software outsourcing. Then, an assumption is presented to explain such phenomenon. However, the author refuted this explanation soon. Thus, C is the best answer.

2. Recall Question

There are two subtypes of recall questions: detail-locating and listing. In the following passage, we'll discuss one by one.

A. Detail-locating

Locating question is the most common question you will encounter in Reading Comprehension. It roughly constitutes to 50-60% of total numbers of questions. That means, in every reading passage, there will be about one or two detail-locating questions. It is quite simple, however, to solve this seemingly difficult question if you are able locate the detail tested. The right answer choice is rewritten from certain sentence in the passage by changing some words or phrases. For example, test writer will change some words from adjective to adverbial, from noun to gerund, or just change to its synonym.

Strategy: How to locate

Below we will introduce the three-step method to locate detail.

(1) Before you locate the question to passage, you need to determine what to locate. Key words are something that is mentioned both in the question and in passage. Then, what are key words? Look at the following question:

Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as a disadvantage of storing artifacts in museum basements?

Here, key words will not be any word or phrase of "which of the following is mentioned in the passage as", but will be "disadvantage" from "disadvantage of storing artifacts in museum basements".

We call this step as Defining Key Words.

(2) After you define key words, you are turning to the original passage. Sometimes, the key words will appear several times in different parts of the passage. Where should you refer to? Generally, you should locate the key words to the sentence in which key words first appear. After all, you have only several minutes to complete a passage.

(3) When you determined which sentence (sometimes, two or more sentences) to locate, get some idea, then quickly refer to the answer choices. Do not spend too much time analyzing this sentence since it may be too long or complicated to understand. If the choice mentions something that only appears in other part of the passage, eliminate it. Also eliminate the choice that just repeats the words or phrases from original passage.

B. Listing

The other type of Recall Question is listing. As the name indicates, Listing Question requires you to identify some people, actions, or situations that are enumerated in the passage.

Here are some Listing Questions:

According to the passage, senior managers use intuition in all of the following ways EXCEPT to:

According to the passage, critics of the Ewha women's studies program cited the program as a threat to which of the following?

I. National identity

II. National unification

III. Economic development

IV. Family integrity

(A)

I only

(B) I and II only

(C) I, II, and III only

(D)

II, III, and IV only

(E) I, II, III, and IV

To solve this type of question, you should first name the key word from the stimulus, and locate it to original passage. Then, you will find some lists that are similar to the answer choices. Carefully compare those lists one by one to the answer choices. Use POE to eliminate incorrect choice, until you find the right one.

3. Inference Questions

Inference question is the second most common. Unlike recall question, inference questions require you to go beyond the passage. That means, the correct answer must say more than what is said in the passage. Beware of same language traps with these questions: the correct answer will often both paraphrase and extend a statement in the passage, but it will not directly quote it. If you are puzzled how to determine whether a detail question is recall question or inference question, pay attentions to the way the question asks. Generally, inference question will include some word, such as infer, suggest and imply that indicates what kind of question it is.

It can be inferred from the passage that

The passage/author suggests that.

The passage/author implies that

Since we must not directly refer to the original passage in answering inference question, we need to decipher the inference. Next, we will show you how to reason from couples of sentence.

Technique 1 Reasoning by Word of Comparison

The question is asking about B, but you may be unable to directly identify the characters of B even you have located B. Rather, the original sentence is discussing about A. Here, you should turn to the word that indicates comparison between A and B. Some words that indicate strong comparison are unlike, in contrast to, by contrast and compared with. When you can determine the character of B, you can simultaneously determine A is B or non-B. Also, the passage may compare two particular events by dates or places. The phrases could be "prior to 1975" or "since

mid-1970's".

Technique 2 Reasoning by Syllogism

In logics, Syllogism looks like this: every virtue is laudable; kindness is a virtue; therefore, kindness is laudable. As we put it in more simple way, it may be "AB and, then AC". It may be relatively easy to recognize AB by locating the key word in the question, but it will always take some time to identify BC, since they may be located in other part of the place. So pay attention to the pronouns (it or they) and the nouns with definite article "the" since they often serve as B.

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

The passage suggests which of the following about price charged by an operating system software vendor prior to its strategy in reducing its price?

(A)

It enabled the vendor to retain customers at an acceptable rate

(B)

It threatened to weaken the vendor’s competitive position with respect to other operating system software vendor

(C)

It had already been reduced after having caused damage to the vendor’s reputation in the past.

(D)

It was slightly low to that of the vendor’s competitors.

(E)

It needed to be reduced to attain parity with the software provided by competing vendors.

Here, the question asks for the situation of the vendor before price reduction. Only A can be

inferred from the passage. The original passage stated that “If a company is already effectively

on …

apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor…” That means the vendor was

keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate…” and “This truth was not

able to retain customers at an acceptable rate.

4. Critical Reasoning Question

Even in reading comprehension, you will encounter some critical reasoning questions: analogy, assumption, weaken, and strengthen. Here, the whole passage is an argument with premises, assumptions and conclusions. The question asks you to identify the reasoning, critique the argument or recognize the potential assumption. When you need to do is also to first locate the conclusion to particular sentence of the passage, then identify the evidence and conclusion. The premise (or evidence) could be near to the conclusion, or in other part of the 3-4 paragraph passage. So, it is more difficult than its counterpart in critical reasoning section. That's why it appears more often in high difficult level screen.

A. Analogy

Also known as application question, analogy question requires you to identify the author's reasoning somewhere in the passage and then ask you to select one from the following five answer choices that reasons as that is presented in the passage.

The answer choices are generally long and complicated, but they are not so difficult to understand. After you locate the details to certain sentences in the passage, try to identify the reasoning, and then turn to the answer choices. Fortunately, once you identify the reasoning, you will quickly get the right answer since there are great differences among these five choices.

B. Assumption/Weaken/Strengthen

Weaken, Support, and Assumption are the other three types of question you are expected to solve in critical reasoning question. As we said above, you need to evaluate the argument and identify the assumptions. Typical questions would be:

Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the theory proposed by Snyder et al?

Which of the following, if true, would most strongly support Keyssar's findings as they are described by the author?

Sample Question

The cutting-edge science is ringing alarm bells. Avian flu virus picked up by pigs can swap genetic materials with another flu virus already in the pig and become a new, hitherto unknown flu virus for which no person, no animal has preexisting immunity. The kind of virus causes a pandemic because it spreads from human to human.

If you took a peek into history, it turns out that previous influenza pandemics have similar scenarios. The greatest influenza pandemic in 1918 caused more than 20 million deaths of soldiers stationed in France. The last influenza pandemic was in 1968, known as the Hong Kong flu (H3N2). Thousands of deaths and millions were infected worldwide.

The other examples are the Nipah virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus, which find pigs to be good hosts. With JE, the virus circulates in the blood of infected pigs. When infected pigs are bitten by Culex mosquitoes, the virus replicates in the mosquito's gut. The next time the mosquito bites a human, the virus is passed on. The pig doesn't get sick as such. The Nipah virus causes pneumonia symptoms in pigs. In humans, it causes encephalitis, and humans catch it only with direct contact with infected pigs. Symptoms range from mild headache to permanent brain damage, and can be fatal.

It's merely a phenomenon of nature that the pig is the "mixing vessel" for the new germ. But make no mistake, the pig is not the villain, neither is the chicken. It's actually us, and our horrible farm practices, outdated agricultural policy and, most of all, reckless disregard of our ecology and environment. "Hygiene and management can control what eventually happens," says Lam. "Good farming practice will prevent serious outbreaks and infection to humans." Despite knowing that, animal diseases and the possibility of transmission to humans are becoming quite alarming. Of the 35 new emerging diseases in the last 20 years, more than 70 per cent involved animals.

In fact, what we may have done is unwittingly create the perfect launch pad for an influenza pandemic that will likely kill large numbers of people across the globe. Although scientists say it's impossible to predict the odds that the virus will alter its genetic form radically enough to start leaping from human to human, the longer H5N1 is out there killing chickens, the higher the chances are.

All of the following situations are similar to the spread of avian flu virus described in the first paragraph EXCEPT:

(A)

The BT2 spread from a pig to another pig, and thus causes significant disease in pig.

(B)

The AIDS viruses transferred from monkeys to man and spread across the world.

(C)

The SARS virus originates from some wildlife and is picked up by civet cats from which humans got it.

(D)

Nipah virus circulates in the blood of infected pig, which is bitten by Culex mosquitoes, the virus replicates in the mosquito's gut. The next time the mosquito bites a human, the virus is passed on.

(E)

H5N1 starts in chickens and leaps from human to human.

The question requires you to recognize a situation that is not similar to the spear of avian flu. Before considering following answer choices, we fist define its rationale. It is something like this:

Avian flu virus picked up by pigs and is transferred to human. All of the situations described in the answer choices are similar to it ex that in choice A (from animal to animal). Therefore, A is the best answer.

5. Difficult-to-locate Question

Some question does not ask for the central idea of a passage. Rather, it requires you to draw a conclusion based on the passage:

According to the passage, which of the following is the author most likely to agree with?

The passage supplies information that would answer which of the following questions?

Unlike Recall Question or Inference Question, Difficult-to-locate Question does not contain key words that you can use to locate the details tested. In order to solve this type of question, you have to skim through the passage again and again until you get the right answer. Eliminating wrong choices often take considerable time since the answer choices are often too long and complicated to understand. That is why most test takers regard difficult-to-locate question as the most difficult one in reading comprehension. The good news is that if you encounter several questions like these, then you probably get a high score since questions are presented based on your performance on the previous questions.

Sample Question

Indian firms have achieved the highest levels of efficiency in the world software outsourcing industry. Some researchers have assumed that Indian firms use the same programming languages and techniques as Chinese firms but have benefited from their familiarity with English, the language used to write software code. However, if this were true, then one would expect software vendors in Hong Kong, where most people speak English, to perform not worse than do Indian vendors. However, this is obviously not the case.

Other researchers link high Indian productivity to higher levels of human resource investment per engineer. But a historical perspective leads to a different conclusion. When the two top Indian vendors matched and then doubled Chinese productivity levels in the mid-eighties, human resource investment per employee was comparable to that of Chinese vendors. Furthermore, by the late eighties, the amount of fixed assets required to develop one software package was roughly equivalent in India and in the China. Since human resource investment was not higher in India, it had to be other factors that led to higher productivity.

A more fruitful explanation may lie with Indian strategic approach in outsourcing. Indian software vendors did not simply seek outsourced contract more effectively: they made aggressive strategic in outsourcing. For instance, most software firms of India were initially set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States. By contrary, most Chinese firms seem to position their business in China, a promising yet under-developed market. However, rampant piracy in China took almost 90 percents of potential market, making it impossible for most Chinese firms to obtain sufficient

compensation for the investment on development and research, let alone thrive in competitive environment.

According to the passage, which of the following statements is true of Indian software developers?

(A)

Their productivity levels did not equal those of Chinese software engineers until the late eighties.

(B)

Their high efficiency levels are a direct result of English language familiarity.

(C)

They develop component-specific software.

(D)

They are built to outsource the western orders.

(E)

They develop more packages of software than do those in Chinese developers.

In the middle of the last paragraph, the author states that “For instance, most software firms of India were initially set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States.” Thus, the best answer is D.

Section 6: Six test points

While four-step procedure helps you to understand a passage and the five types of question guide you how ETS test the understanding of the passage, the six test points will in advance introduce what would be tested even before you read the questions. As you are reading the passage, keep alarm to certain words or phrases since they would later act as clues for answering the following questions. We call these signal words or phrases as test points.

In the following passage, we will introduce you the six most common test points in reading comprehension. Once you become familiar with these test points, you will get advantage in speed to come up with the right answer choice.

1. Comparison

Words or phrases: like, unlike, in contrast to, similarly

Question Type: recall question, inference question

Here is an example:

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

Sample question

According to the passage, reduction in price are comparable to improvement in service in terms of the

(A)

tangibility of the benefits that they tend to confer

(B)

increased revenues that they ultimately produce

(C)

basis on which they need to be weighed

(D)

insufficient analysis that managers devote to them

(E)

degree of competitive advantage that they are likely to provide

To answer this question, first locate the question to the second sentence of the passage. "Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues." In other words, they are comparable based on which they need to be weighed. Therefore, C is the correct answer.

2. Example & Listing

Words or phrase: such as, as well as, for example, for instance

Question type: Listing, Exampling

Let's look at a sample question for the same passage.

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

The discussion of the operating system software vendor last paragraph serves which of the following functions within the passage as a whole?

(A)

It describes an exceptional case in which reduction in price actually failed to produce a competitive advantage.

(B)

It illustrates the pitfalls of choosing to reduce price at a time when business strategy is needed more urgently in another area.

(C)

It demonstrates the kind of analysis that managers apply when they choose one kind of business strategy over another

(D)

It supports the argument that strategies in certain aspects are more advantageous than strategies in other aspects.

(E)

It provides an example of the point about reduction in price made in the first paragraph.

Clearly, the author intends to prove his position that reduction in price does not necessarily generate competitive advantage. E is the correct.

3. People, Date & Place

Phrase: in the nineteenth-century, prior to mid-1970's, Snyder proposed that.

Question: inference question, main idea question

Indian firms have achieved the highest levels of efficiency in the world software outsourcing industry. Some researchers have assumed that Indian firms use the same programming languages and techniques as Chinese firms but have benefited from their familiarity with English, the language used to write software code. However, if this were true, then one would expect software vendors in Hong Kong, where most people speak English, to perform not worse than do Indian vendors. However, this is obviously not the case.

Other researchers link high Indian productivity to higher levels of human resource investment per engineer. But a historical perspective leads to a different conclusion. When the two top Indian vendors matched and then doubled Chinese productivity levels in the mid-eighties, human resource investment per employee was comparable to that of Chinese vendors. Furthermore, by the late eighties, the amount of fixed assets required to develop one software package was roughly equivalent in India and in the China. Since human resource investment was not higher in India, it had to be other factors that led to higher productivity.

A more fruitful explanation may lie with Indian strategic approach in outsourcing. Indian software vendors did not simply seek outsourced contract more effectively: they made aggressive strategic in outsourcing. For instance, most software firms of India were initially set up to outsource the contract in western countries, such as United States. By contrary, most Chinese firms seem to position their business in China, a promising yet under-developed market. However, rampant piracy in China took almost 90 percents of potential market, making it impossible for most Chinese firms to obtain sufficient compensation for the investment on development and research, let alone thrive in competitive environment.

The author suggests that if the researchers of India mentioned in paragraph 1 were correct, which of the following would be the case?

(A)

The computer used in India software firms would be different from the computer used in China firms.

(B)

Indian engineers would be trained to do several different programming jobs.

(C)

Familiarity with English language would not have an influence on the productivity levels of engineers.

(D)

The engineers in India-run firms would have lower productivity levels if they have a poor command of English.

(E) The production levels of India-run firms located in the China would be equal to those of firms run by China firms.

If the researchers are correct, then the familiarity with English determines the productivity of engineers. That is, if the engineers in India-run firms have a poor command of English they would have lower productivity levels, as stated in choice D.

4. Words of Attitude and Transition

Word: Correctly, qualified, do (does, did), may (might), correctly, first (second, third)

Question Type: Tone Question, Main Topic Question, Structure Question

The fact that reducing price can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every reduction in price will create such an advantage. Price reduction, like improvement in service, must be balanced against other types of efforts on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides product at an acceptable price and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then reduction in price may not be effective, since price is not necessarily the deciding factor for any customer in any situation.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one operating system software vendor, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its attempt to reduce price. The software managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia that arises from the inconvenience of switching operating system. Nor did they analyze their reduction in price to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of price that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy.

The passage suggests that operating system software managers failed to consider whether or not the price reduction mentioned last sentence

(A)

was too complicated to be easily described to prospective customers

(B)

made a measurable change in the experiences of customers purchasing

(C)

could be sustained if the number of customers increased significantly

(D)

was an innovation that competing vendors could have imitated

(E)

was adequate to bring the vendor’s general level of price to a level that was comparable with that of its competitors

The passage following “failed to” describes the failure. The best choice is D, which is stated in the last sentence.

5. Counter-evidence Indicators

Counter-evidence words warn that the author is about to either make a U-turn or introduce a counter-premise (concession to a minor point that weakens the argument).

But

Although

However

Yet

Despite

Nevertheless

Nonetheless

Except

In contrast

Even though

   

Counter-evidence words mark natural places for questions to be drawn. At a pivotal word, the author changes direction. The GMAT writers form questions at these junctures to test whether you turned with the author or you continued to go straight. Rarely do the GMAT writers let a pivotal word pass without drawing a question from its sentence. As you read a passage, note the pivotal words and refer to them when answering the questions.

Example

China as a nation faces two major financial problems. First, eighty-four percent of state-owned enterprises do not generate profit. Government failed to make money from such business. Rather, it has to appropriate substantial funds to these enterprises in order to prevent them from going bankrupt and thus resulting in high unemployment rate. Second, 203 million of civilians in countryside will not be able to gain pension after they retire due to the limited budget of government.

I would like to make an outrageous suggestion that would at one stroke generate finance

earnings and provide funds for civilians’ retirement. I would propose that government sells its holdings in state-owned enterprises on the open market. Such sales would provide substantial funds for village civilian’s pension. At the same time, they could cut down

financial burden on these state-owned enterprises.

You might object that government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money. I agree. Sell holdings of enterprises that would never generate profit. But, you might reply, every enterprise that competes on the market has potential. Here we part company. Theoretically, you may be correct in claiming that every enterprise has the potential to make money. Practically, you are wrong.

I refer to the thousands of state-owned enterprises that are not likely to make money. These

companies are 100 percent held by the nation as a whole. Government officials are appointed as the chairman, CEO and president. The management was not responsible for the public interest, but for the nation as a whole. If there is no significant loss in business,

they will soon be promoted back to the higher level position in government. If their companies perform great, these executives receive direct money compensation. However, their salary, when combined with such compensation, will be much less than the amount they would earn if were in private company.

It would be unrealistic to suggest that village civilians would have sufficient funds if government’s shares were sold on the open market. But the demand for compensating the state-own enterprises would be substantially reduced.

The author anticipates which of the following initial objections to the adoption of his proposal?

(A) Government will not be able to sell its holdings with state-owned enterprise.

(B) The ability of government’s to control the national economy will be weakened if state-owned enterprises are sold to private owners.

(C)

It is impossible to find enterprises that will never generate profit.

(D)

The poor performance of state-owned enterprises will continue.

(E)

The countryside civilians are sill unable to seek financial support from government.

In the third paragraph, the author illustrates a possible objection to his proposal. The opposite views are “government would be deprived of the opportunity to share its enterprise’s profit if someday they make money” and “every enterprise that competes on the market has potential”. Choice C presents one of them, and is the correct answer.

6. Special Punctuation

Punctuation: Quotation, Parentheses, Dash

Question type: Recall question, Inference Question

The cutting-edge science is ringing alarm bells. Avian flu virus picked up by pigs can swap genetic materials with another flu virus already in the pig and become a new, hitherto unknown flu virus for which no person, no animal has preexisting immunity. The kind of virus causes a pandemic because it spreads from human to human.

If you took a peek into history, it turns out that previous influenza pandemics have similar scenarios. The greatest influenza pandemic in 1918 caused more than 20 million deaths of soldiers stationed in France. The last influenza pandemic was in 1968, known as the Hong Kong flu (H3N2). Thousands of deaths and millions were infected worldwide.

The other examples are the Nipah virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus, which find pigs to be good hosts. With JE, the virus circulates in the blood of infected pigs. When infected pigs are bitten by Culex mosquitoes, the virus replicates in the mosquito's gut. The next time the mosquito bites a human, the virus is passed on. The pig doesn't get sick as such. The Nipah virus causes pneumonia symptoms in pigs. In humans, it causes encephalitis, and humans catch it only with direct contact with infected pigs. Symptoms range from mild headache to permanent brain damage, and can be fatal.

It's merely a phenomenon of nature that the pig is the "mixing vessel" for the new germ. But make no mistake, the pig is not the villain, neither is the chicken. It's actually us, and our horrible farm practices, outdated agricultural policy and, most of all, reckless disregard of our ecology and environment. "Hygiene and management can control what eventually happens," says Lam. "Good farming practice will prevent serious outbreaks and infection to humans." Despite knowing that, animal diseases and the possibility of transmission to humans are becoming quite alarming. Of the 35 new emerging diseases in the last 20 years, more than 70 per cent involved animals.

In fact, what we may have done is unwittingly create the perfect launch pad for an influenza pandemic that will likely kill large numbers of people across the globe. Although scientists say it's impossible to predict the odds that the virus will alter its genetic form radically enough to start leaping from human to human, the longer H5N1 is out there killing chickens, the higher the chances are.

What does the author mean by describing the pig as “mixing vessel”?

(A) Pig is the place where various viruses reside.

(B)

Pig is the pot in which viruses swap genes and become new, deadly germs.

(C)

Viruses are mixed inside the body of pig.

(D)

New germs come to the body of pig and reside there.

(E)

Pig attracts viruses.

The question requires you to determine the meanings of “mixing vessel”. At the beginning of the passage, the author states that “Avian flu virus picked up by pigs can swap genetic materials with another flu virus already in the pig and become a new, hitherto unknown flu virus for which no person, no animal has preexisting immunity. The kind of virus causes a pandemic because it spreads from human to human.” In other words, pig is the pot in which viruses swap genes and become new, deadly germs. Therefore, the correct answer is B.

Review

One principal

Don't rely on memory or on daily life experiences. Answer all the questions on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Two Styles

Presentation is to deliver an idea that the author will agree or partially agree. Argumentation is to develop two ideas or systems and then point out why one is better than the other (contrasting) or just simply refute both of them and developed the author's own idea.

Three Subjects

There are three major subjects that a typical GMAT reading passage may discuss about: natural science, social science and business subject.

Four-step Procedure

Use the four-step process to read a passage. First dissect the first paragraph, then skim the passage, get the main idea and diagram the organization of the passage.

Five Types of Question

There are five types of question you may encounter in real GMAT test: main idea question, recall question, inference question, critical reasoning question and the difficult-to-locate question.

Six Test Points

The most common six test points are comparison, exemplifying, people, special punctuation, counter-evidence and mood words.

Chapter 2 Sentence Correction

Introduction

Sentence Correction on the test day

About 17 of the 41 Verbal section questions are Sentence Correction. And in the first 10 question, there are about 5 sentence correction question. This is why Sentence Correction is so important to your GMAT performance. The directions on the test day for this part look like this:

Directions: The following questions consist of sentences that are either partly or entirely underlined. Below each sentence are five versions of the underlined portion of the sentence. Choice (A) is a copy of the original version. The four other answer choices change the underlined portion of the sentence. Read the sentence and the five choices carefully and select the best

version.

You are expected to pick up one choice that will make the whole sentence clear, concise and free with grammar errors. Choice A is always the same as the original underlined, so you only have to read the other four choices.

What does the Sentence Correction test?

The Sentence Correction section tests the correctness of English grammar, including subject-verb agreement, modification, pronouns, idioms, and etc. The GMAT also tests the effectiveness of expression, such as parallelism, and logicality. Therefore, the best answer should be both exact and clear, without ambiguity, redundancy, or awkwardness.

The GMAT does not test mechanics concerns, such as punctuation, capitalization, misspelling, etc. You should never spend time on figuring out whether a word is misspelled, or whether a comma is the right punctuation here. Rather, you should focus on the grammar usage and standard written English.

Now, let's look at an example to see what a sentence correction question could be.

Satisfied by the strong performance on GMAT test, it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest.

A. it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest

B. Peter decided to give himself a two-week rest

C. a two-week rest was given by Peter to himself

D.

Peter’s decision was to give himself a two-week rest

E. it was decided that Peter give himself a two-week rest

Three-step method

A. Read the complete sentence

Read the whole sentence to get an idea about the basic meanings. Don’t read only the underlined part of the sentence. If you simply read the underlined, you are probably following the trap set by the test maker.

Example

Satisfied by the strong performance on GMAT test, it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest.

B. Figure out what the question is testing

Before you read the answer choices, spend several seconds on figuring out what the question is testing. If you have no idea, you may look at the different answer choices and see what the changes have been made, so as to figure out the possible errors in the sentence.

Satisfied by the strong performance on GMAT test, it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest.

A.

it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest

B.

Peter decided to give himself a two-week rest

C.

a two-week rest was given by Peter to himself

D.

Peter’s decision was to give himself a two-week rest

E.

it was decided that Peter give himself a two-week rest

C.

Eliminate wrong choices

The process of elimination is extremely useful in Sentence Correction section. Eliminate it once you find one error, until you are left with only one or two choices. If you are unable to eliminate four choices, take a second look at the original sentence. Some questions test more than one grammar knowledge. If you still fail, you may just make a guess.

Satisfied by the strong performance on GMAT test, it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest.

A. it was decided by Peter to give himself a two-week rest

B. Peter decided to give himself a two-week rest

C. a two-week rest was given by Peter to himself

D. Peter’s decision was to give himself a two-week rest

E. it was decided that Peter give himself a two-week rest

The correct answer is B because it is Peter who was satisfied. In choice B, Peter appears as the subject. Choices A, C, D and E are incorrect because they used it, a two-week rest, Peter’s decision, and it as the sentence subject. In fact, the participial phrase beginning with satisfied should modify the subject of the main clause in order to follow the grammar rule.

Fourteen types of errors

Based on our research, the following 14 types of errors represent 96% of Sentence Correction questions. You should become sensitive to these errors.

Section 1: Subject-Verb Agreement

The subject and verb must agree both in person and number. If the subject is plural, then the verb must be plural too. If the subject is singular, then the verb must also be singular.

Intervening modifier has no effect on subject-verb agreement.

If

a singular subject is accompanied by phrases or clauses, it remains singular. Subject that

contains “andis plural. The subject that contains “or” can be either plural or singular depending

on the number of the last item.

When the subject and verb are reversed, they still must agree in both number and person.

Note:

1)

The following nouns are singular: work, happiness, poverty, honesty, faith, time, visibilitymilk,

2)

tea, cotton, petrol Singular and plural nouns with same form: bison, cattle, sheep, fish, aircraft, means, series,

3)

Chinese, Japanese Subject nouns ending with “ics” are singular: economics, statistics,

4)

Verb phrases as a subject is singular. Preparing for the TOEFL is not an easy task.

Example

Since 1999, the number of internet websites with the domain name ending with .com have grown from 62 million to nearly 78 million.

A.

have grown from 62 million to nearly 78 million

B.

are growing from 62 million to nearly 78 million

C.

grew from 62 million to nearly 78 million

D.

grow from 62 million to nearly 78 million

E.

has grown from 62 million to nearly 78 million

E

is the correct answer. In choice A, the plural verb have does not agree with the singular subject

number. Choices B and D commits the same fallacy by using plural verbal phrase are growing and grow respectively. B, C, and D also misused the verbal tense which should be present

perfect.

Section 2: Verb Time Sequences

Faulty verb tense is common on GMAT test. But it is easy to solve if you become familiar with verb tense rules. A verb has four principal parts: present tense, past tense, past participle and present participle. The present tense is used to express present tense or general truths. The past tense is used to express past tense.

The past participle is used to form the present perfect tense, past perfect tense, or future perfect tense. The present participle is used to form the present progressive tense, the past progressive tense, or the future progressive tense.

Keep alert when several verbs appear. If several events happened at different times, choose one as the basic in time sequence.

Eighty

manufactured in China, a country that has the largest population in the world.

percent of notebook computers that

were

sold

in

United

States last

year

were

A. Eighty percent of notebook computers that were sold in United States last year were

B. Eighty percent of notebook computers that were sold in United States last year had been

C. Eighty percent of notebook computers that were sold in United States last year have been

D. Last year eighty percent of notebook computers were sold in United States that have been

E. Last year eighty percent of notebook computers that were sold in United States had been

In using only one verb tense, were, choice A fails to indicate that the computers were manufactured before sold. Choices C and D use the present perfect tense incorrectly, saying in effect that the computers have been manufactured after they were sold last year. Choice E suggests that the manufacturing of the notebook computers, rather than selling, occurred last year, thus making the sequence of events unclear. Only B uses verb tenses correctly to indicate that manufacturing of the computers was completed prior to the selling.

Section 3: Modification

In GMAT grammar, a modifier can be an adjective, adverb, phrase, an appositive or even a clause. In the following passage, we will introduce each of them. As a general rule, a modifier should be placed as close as possible to what it modifies.

A. Adjective or adverb as a modifier

An adjective can modify a noun, but an adverb can not. An adverb is often used to describe the extent or degree of an adjective or a verb.

Example

According to a report from Anderson Accounting, the gross sales of General Movies in 2002 were $86 millions as many as their expected revenues.

A. as many as their expected

B. more than their expected

C. as many as their excepted

D. more than their expectedly

E. as many as their expectedly

Choices A, C, and E do not state the comparison logically. The expression as many as indicates equality of quantity, but the sentence indicates that the gross sales exceed the expected

revenues by $86 millions. In B, the best choice, more than makes this point of comparison clear.

B

also correctly uses the adjective expected, rather than the adverb expectedly used in D and E,

to

modify the noun phrase revenues.

B.

Clause as a modifier

A

clause beginning with that, which or where modifies the words or phrases nearest to it. Here,

"which" initiates a clause modifier and can not be used to refer to a sentence.

Example

The current downturn in the U.S. economy is encouraging many young professionals to return to school, which doubles to twice the number of applicants five years ago.

A. which doubles to twice the number of applicants five years ago

B. doubling to twice the number of applicants five years ago

C. which doubles to twice the number of applicants that were five years ago

D.

doubling to twice the number of applicants five years before

E. which doubles to twice the number of applicants five years before

The pronoun which should be used to refer to a previously mentioned noun, not to the idea expressed in an entire clause. In A, C, and E, which seems to refer to a vague concept involving young professionals’ returning to school, but there is no specific noun, such as return, to which it can refer. B and D use the correct participial form, doubling, to modify the preceding clause, but D, like A, uses five years before rather than five years ago, a phrase that is more idiomatic in context. B, therefore, is the best answer.

C. A long phrase as a modifier

When a long phrase initiates a sentence, make sure that it modifies the subject of the sentence.

Example

Using the KB833330, a new virus known as Bagle can be blocked outside the Local Area

Network.

A. Using the KB833330, a new virus known as Bagle can be blocked outside the Local Area Network.

B. A new virus known as Bagle can be blocked outside the Local Area Network, using the

KB833330.

C. Blocking a new virus known as Bagle outside the Local Area Network, an engineer can use the KB833330 by an engineer

D. Outside the Local Area Network, a new virus known as Bagle can be blocked using the KB833330 by an engineer

E. Using the KB833330, an engineer can block a new virus known as Bagle outside the Local Area Network.

Choice A presents a dangling modifier. The phrase beginning the sentence has no noun that it can logically modify and hence cannot fit anywhere in the sentence and make sense. Coming first, it modifies a new virus, the nearest free noun in the main clause; that is, choice A says that a new virus are using the KB83330. Choice B contains the same main clause and dangling modifier, now at the end. Contrary to intent, the wording in choice C suggests that engineers can use the

KB833330 after they block a new virus. In choice D the phrase using follow engineer, the noun it modifies. Choice E is best.

the KB833330 should

D. Appositive as a modifier

Like a clause, an appositive can also serve as a modifier. In most cases, appositive is separated by a comma. The appositive should be in the same number as modifiee.

Example

The GMAT math section consists of 37 questions, each question a test of a certain math concept.

A. each question a test on a certain math concept

B. all the questions a test on a certain math concept

C. all the questions are tested on a certain math concept

D. every question is tested on a certain math concept

E. each question is tested on a certain math concept

Choice A is best: the appositive terms question and test, both singular, agree in number; both also agree with rule on sentence structure. In C, D, and E choices, Runs-on sentence is

committed.

Section 4: Parallelism

Similar elements must be expressed in similar form: all nouns, all infinitives, all gerunds, all prepositional phrases, or all clauses must agree. Test writers often use a parallel structure for dissimilar elements. In the case you are not sure which form should be used, the form of the second element of the series determines the form of all subsequent elements.

Example

According to a survey, a company president typically spends 60 percent of his or her time on communicational activities, such as answering the calls, communicating with clients and to speak on the meetings.

A. communicating with clients and to speak

B. communicating with clients and speaking

C. to communicate with clients and speak

D. to communicate with clients and to speak

E. to communicate with clients and speaking

Because the verb phrases used to describe the communicational duties are governed by the

phrase communicational duties such as, they should each be expressed in the present participial (or "-ing") form to parallel answering. Choices A, C, D, and E all violate parallelism by

in place of participial phrases. Only B, the best answer, preserves the

sense of the original, uses the correct idiom, and observes the parallelism required among and

within the three main verb phrases.

employing infinitives (to

)

Section 5: Pronoun

Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in both number and person.

Subject pronoun must be used as a subject. Object pronoun must be used as an object.

A pronoun must clearly stand for a noun. If a pronoun follows two nouns, it is often unclear which of the nouns the pronoun refers to. This is the most common error on the GMAT.

The word "which" introduces non-essential clauses and "that" introduces essential clauses. "Who" refers to individuals; "that" refers to a group of persons, class, type, or species.

Subject

Object

Possessive

Possessive

Self

Singular

(adjective)

(nouns)

or Plural

I

Me

my

mine

myself

Singular

We

Us

our

ours

ourselves

Plural

You

You

your

yours

yourself

Singular

You

You

your

yours

yourself

Plural

He

Him

his

his

himself

Singular

She

Her

her

hers

herself

Singular

It

It

its

its

itself

Singular

they

Them

their

theirs

themselves

plural

Example

The best way for an IT professional to protect data is to periodically back it in a pre-formatted disc.

A. to periodically back it in a pre-formatted disc

B. if it is quickly backed in a pre-formatted disc

C. for it to be backed periodically in a pre-formatted disc

D. if the data is periodically backed in a pre-formatted disc

E. to have them periodically backed in a pre-formatted disc

For parallelism, the linking verb is should link two infinitives: The only way to salvage

back. Choice A begins with an infinitive, but the plural pronouns I do not agree with the plural noun data. Choices B, C, and D do not begin with an infinitive, and all present pronoun errors: the singular pronouns cannot grammatically refer to data. The best choice, E, has parallel infinitives.

is to

Section 6: Comparisons

The comparison should be both logically similar and grammatically parallel. There are typically three types of comparisons: quality comparison, quantity comparison and analogy.

Types

of

Words of Comparison

 

Indicators

of

Comparison

 

Comparison

Quality

like/unlike

in contrast to

rather/other

that/those

of,

than

was/is/were/are,

Quantity

less/more than

as much as

the same as

did/do/does

Analogy

just as

so too

so as

1. Quality Comparison

If the comparison begins with like, unlike, rather than, in contrast to, not but, it is a quality comparison. This comparison is common, but easy in sentence correction. All you have to do is to check if the item following the word of comparison is comparable to the subject of main sentence.

Example

Unlike a corporation, which pays tax based on its related revenues, a fixed amount of tax is paid by a sole ownership business.

A. a fixed amount of tax is paid by a sole ownership business

B. with a sole ownership business a fixed amount of tax is paid

C. a sole ownership is paid a fixed amount of tax

D. for a sole ownership business a fixed amount of tax is paid

E. a sole ownership pays a fixed amount of tax

Choice E, the best answer, correctly uses a parallel construction to draw a logical comparison:

Unlike a corporation,

corporation, an entity, with a fixed amount of tax, money. In choice C, a sole ownership business can not be paid for tax. Choices B and D are syntactically and logically flawed because

each attempts to compare the noun corporation and a prepositional phrase: with a fixed amount of tax. Choices B and D are also imprecise and awkward. Finally, choice E is the only option that supplies an active verb form, pays to parallel pays.

, a sole ownership business

Choice A illogically compares a

2.

Quantity Comparison

Typical comparisons in this kind are introduced by such idioms as more/less than, the same as, as many as. The errors in quantity comparison are more difficult to identify since the sentence that contains quantity comparison is generally long. The following two procedures can be taken to tackle quantity comparison:

Check if the idiom or phrase is correct and complete

Check if the introductory word has been presented to initiate the comparison

Example

In addition to having more employees than UT StartCom, the employees in GenericSart are higher educated than those in UT StartCom, with more graduate students.

A. the employees in GenericSart are higher educated than those in

B. GenericStart has higher educated employees than those do

C. the employees in GenericStart are higher educated than those are in

D. GenericStart employees are higher educated that those are in

E. GenericStart has higher educated employees than

In this sentence, the initial clause modifies the nearest noun, identifying it as the thing being compared with UT StartCom. By making employees the noun modified, choices A, C, and D illogically compare UT StartCom with employees and claim that the employees in GenericStart has higher educated employees than UT StartCom does. B, the best choice, logically compares UT StartCom to GenericStart by placing the noun GenericStart immediately after the initial clause. B also uses those to refer to employees in making the comparison between the employees of UT StartCom and GenericStart. Choice E needs either those in or do after UT StartCom to make a complete and logical comparison.

3. Analogy

While analogy is a logical concept, it is also used in Sentence Correction to draw a comparison between two similar things. Like comparison, analogy should also be logical and grammatical.

Example

The gravity will apply the same to an airplane flying in the air as a ship floating on the water.

A. air as a

B. air as to a

C.

air; just as it would to a

D. air, as it would to the

E. air; just as to the

B, the best choice, uses the idiomatic and grammatically parallel form the same to X as to Y.

Section 7: Choice of Word

Sometime, the test-takers try to puzzle you by using some similar words with different meanings.

In choosing a choice, make sure it doesn't contain the wrong word.

Affect/Effect:

Effect is a noun meaning "a result."

Example: Increased fighting will be the effect of the failed peace conference.

Affect is a verb meaning "to influence."

Example: The rain affected their plans for a picnic.

Fewer/Less: (number/amount)

Use fewer when referring to a number of items. Use less when referring to a continuous quantity.

Example: In the past, we had fewer options.

Example: The impact was less than what was expected.

Example

A report by Business Weekly indicated that the number of money invested by companies in

Business and Research in 2003 was twice that in 2002.

A. the number of money invested by companies in Business and Research in 2003 was

B. the number of money invested by companies in Business and Research in 2003 were

C. the number of money invested by companies in Business and Research in 2003 are

D. the amount of money invested by companies in Business and Research in 2003 were

E. the amount of money invested by companies in Business and Research in 2003 was

Choices A, B, and C are flawed because the uncountable noun money should be modified by

amount rather than number. In addition, B, C, and D incorrectly use the plural verb were or are with the singular noun money. Choice E, the best answer, is both grammatically correct and

concise.

Section 8: Idioms

We have summarized most of the idioms tested on GMAT sentence corrections. By memorizing the following lists, you should be able to solve most the idioms questions on the test day.

act on account for at least a great deal

bare of begin to be adopted to be based on be characterized by be considered to be be depend on be divided into be expose to be filled with be full of be known as be made of be originated from be resistant to be similar to be valuabel for

A

ability to do ask for at one time a number of

B

belong to benefit from be associated with be beneficial to be composed of be credited with doing be derived from be engaged in be familiar with be forced to do be inclined to be known for be noted for be rich in be subjected to be suited for be viewed as

according to as far as is known a cluster of a minimum of

begin doing be able to be appreciated for be capable of be concerned with be dedicated to doing be destined to be equal to be famous for be found in be involved in be made from be obtained from be related to be supposed to be typical of be woven from

break away from by means of

bring about

C

bring … to light

close to

change … into …

coincide with

consist of

contrary to

contribute to

concentrate on

convert t … into …

combine … with …

comment on

come into contact with

come from

come into contract with

carry out

 

D

deal with

date back to demand for

depend on

dedicate to doing deter sb. from doing

devote to

differ from

draw … from …

do no harm to

do/deal with

due to + n.

E

excel in/at

 

F

feed on

focus attention on

give off grant sb. sth.

G

give way to

I

give up doing

interest in in connection with in nature in relation to in the future

interfere wit in danger of in honor of in response to

in addition to in history in comparison with in spite of

j

join … with …

 

L

lead to

live in

look for

M

make up more … than …

meet one's goal

mingle with

N

native to

no more than

not more than

O

on account of

on behalf of

P

participate in play a key role

pay for protect …… from

permit sb. to do prohibit… from

R

range from … to …

rank first among

refer to

rely on result from

regardless of run for

rest on

settle down shield …from… spend … doing start to succeed in doing

S

sever as so … as to spread to strive to

share … with … specialize in doing start doing substitute for

take place the ratio to…of …to togeter with

T

take charge of the use of to a great extent

U

use up

make use of

V

vary in

 

W

warm sb. of sth.

tend to think of transform … into …

Section 9: Sentence Structure

There are limited types of sentence used in English language. The five of them are

Declarative (simple statement): (Subject first) Mary (then verb) loves (then object) turnips.

Interrogative (a question): Do you need help identifying a question?

Imperative (command): Do as I say.

Exclamatory (exclamation): What exciting it is!

Conditional (condition expressed): If I pass the exam, I intend to move to Arizona.

Sentences are also classified as simple and complex. Complex sentences contain phrases and clauses that transform the "I like candy" sentences of your childhood to the more sophisticated constructions of adult speech. The most common errors for sentence structure is the RUN-ON sentence, a sentence that lacks of proper conjunctions.

Wrong: There is agreement among United States voters that there is waste in government and that the government as a whole spends beyond its means, it is difficult to find broad support for a movement toward a minimal state.

Correct: However much United States voters may agree that there is waste in government and that the government as a whole spends beyond its means, it is difficult to find broad support for a movement toward a minimal state.

Example

However much people may agree that there is substantial corruption in Chinese government and that government does its endeavor, it is difficult to keep the problem under control.

A. However much United States voters may agree that

B. Despite the agreement among people to the fact

C. Although people agree

D. Even though people may agree

E. There is agreement among people that

A is the best choice. Choices B, C, and D incorrectly omit that after agree; that is needed to

create the parallel construction agree that there is substantial corruption

government

an independent rather than a subordinate clause and separates its two independent clauses with

. Choice E, though it retains that, is grammatically incorrect: because E star