Wednesday, January 15, 2014

4:16 AM

GRE Text Completion sample questions

Select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column of choices. Fill in the blank in the way that best completes the text.
GRE Text Completion sample questions
1. In Europe, football, otherwise known as soccer, it the most popular sport by several orders of magnitude, whereas in America, fandom is fairly evenly __________ among a few different sports.

a) regarded
b) inspired
c) enjoyed
d) measured
e) apportioned

2. The astrophysicist argues that our books and films about interstellar space travel are a form of mass _________, and that only a miracle on a scale heretofore unseen could allow a human being to voyage to even the closest star in another solar system.

a) innovation
b) delusion
c) dementia
e) catastrophe
f) hysteria

3. Peculiarly enough, Shakespeare has been often (i) ______ as the best English language playwright, and often (ii)______ as a man lacking the education to write those plays.

   Blank (i)        Blank (ii)
a)crowned        demonized
b)stigmatized  dismissed
c)castigated    deified

4. Although it was not the university’s policy to (i) _________ the authority of its faculty, the president felt that theprofessor’s comments regarding affirmative action could not remain (ii) _________.

     Blank (i)        Blank (ii)
a)defend            unavailed
b)ruminate       unchallenged
c)undermine     averred

5. In order to defend downloading music illegally, it’s necessary to engage in a bit of ethical (i) ___________. While it is true that traditional record labels (ii) _________ their artists—demanding indefensibly large percentages of their profits—downloading a song illegally is equally (iii) _________, because it robs both the label and the artist.

   Blank (i)     Blank (ii)      Blank (iii)
a)contortion  swindle        justifiable
b)leniency     disabuse      unconscionable
c)probity       deluge         scrupulous

6. The fact that the average life expectancy ten thousand years ago was so much shorter than it is now is often (i)________ as evidence supporting the notion that the world always improves with time. However, if you (ii)_________ for the fact that most children in that epoch died in childbirth, it turns out that life expectancy back then was nearly the same as it is now. On a (iii) _________ note, it also turns out that many “barbaric” huntergatherer
tribes were taller on average than the average person now living.

    Blank (i)        Blank (ii)     Blank (iii)
a)cited               prepare       contrastive
b)disregarded  read             sidereal
c)embodied      correct         tangential

7. On an aptitude test in 1986, an argument posited that the possibility of conducting banking transactions from home was as likely as flying cars, an argument that today sounds ___________.


8. Napoleon is of course most famous for his military triumphs, but his innovative code of law had a subtler but more_____ impact, as its principles strongly influenced legal codes well into the 20th century.

9. Many ___________ people feared for the life of Ronald Reagan because since 1840, every president elected in a year ending in zero had died in office.

10. Known for her humorous but acerbic wit, the fashion doyenne commented, in her usual, simultaneously (i) _________ and (ii) _________ manner, that in Los Angeles, “the women dressed like men and the men dressed like boys.”

        Blank (i)     Blank (ii)
a)slanderous    considerate
b)amusing        hysterical
c)serious           caustic

11. Every generation is accused of slacking by the preceding ones, before in turn calling their own progeny lackadaisical; such is the _________ of life.

12. Although retired, the professor takes pains to remain _________ the latest developments in her field.
a)akimbo to
b)abreast of
c)obtuse to
d)subservient to
e)askance to

13. She was not the only (i) _________ of the long-proposed legislation, but she was the (ii) _________ who finally got the bill onto the legislative agenda.

   Blank (i)        Blank (ii)
a)apologist       catalyst
b)critic             mercenary
c)proponent    lackey

14. Jeremy was not one to (i) _________ his success, so his family was shocked when they finally discovered that their (ii) _________ son was a Rhodes Scholar.

      Blank (i)      Blank (ii)
a)demarcate      prodigal
b)whitewash      taciturn
c)trumpet          dissolute

15. The elderly woman was (i) _________ to have returned to her the ring that she had lost fifty years before in the (ii) _________ waters of the Mississippi River.

Blank (i)                 Blank (ii)
a)dumbfounded     turbid
b)addlepated          turgid
c)enervated            tepid

16. Hursthouse, (i) _________ virtue ethicists in general, argues that ethics is properly neither situational nor utilitarian and that one ought to seek out virtue and emulate it rather than base one’s judgments on subjective concerns or a (ii) _________ weighing of pain and pleasure likely to result from a given action; critics, of course, tend to (iii) _________ that Hursthouse and other virtue ethicists who seek to define virtue merely seek to enshrine their own prejudices under the guise of theory.

      Blank (i)                       Blank (ii)       Blank (iii)
a)enigmatic to                 pragmatic         posit
b)breaking away from   quixotic             deny
c)emblematic of              grandiloquent   cajole

17. The film was (i) _________ (ii) _________ by critics; not a single reviewer had any positive thing to say about it.

   Blank (i)           Blank (ii)
a)warily                lauded
b)mendaciously   panned
c)roundly             venerated

18. Socrates advocated a life of moderation: live (i) _________, drink (ii) _________, and (iii) _________.

       Blank (i)            Blank (ii)                Blank (iii)
a)apathetically       sparingly           fight for one’s beliefs
b)lavishly               copiously           do nothing to excess
c)modestly             brusquely          remain inscrutable always

19. After the US Civil War, “carpetbaggers”—so-called because they carried suitcases made of inexpensive carpeting material— _________ the South, hoping to turn a quick profit.

20. December’s earthquake was but a _________ to a terrible year for a small island nation recently wracked by civil strife and devastating tropical storms.

Text Completions Answers

1. Apportioned. You begin by learning about football, which is by far the most popular sport in Europe. The word whereas then creates a contrast, so you need American fans to be evenly split between their many sports. Measured is close, but doesn’t quite divide things up the way you need it to. Apportioned means “divided and allocated.”

2. Delusion. The second half of the sentence tells you that it would take a “miracle” for a person to get to another solar system. In other words, it’s more or less or impossible. Both dementia and hysteria are too negative and extreme. Delusion, meaning “a belief that is maintained despite being contradicted by reality,” is the best fit.

3. Crowned, dismissed. “Peculiarly enough” is the clue that indicates that the blanks oppose each other, and best English language playwright is the clue that tells you that the first blank must be positive, so the second blank must be negative. Crowned is the only positive word choice for the first blank. In the second blank, demonized is much too strong an attitude to direct towards someone for lacking education; dismissed is a more appropriate word.

4. Undermine, unchallenged. The first word of the sentence tells you that the two parts of the sentence will oppose each other. The second suggests that the president felt that the professor’s comments couldn’t be allowed to stand as they were, so they could not go unchallenged. If the university challenges a faculty member, however, this tends to subvert or undermine the faculty member’s authority, which is what you need for the first blank. Note that, if you picked defend for the first blank, you would need a word like undefended in the second blank — none of the choices for the second blank match undefended.

5. Contortion, swindle, unconscionable. It’s easiest to start this sentence with the second blank, where record labels are described as demanding indefensibly large percentages of [artists’] profits. This means the second blank should be swindle. The third blank then uses the word equally, implying that downloading a song illegally is also a kind of swindle. Both justifiable and scrupulous are positive words, so you need unconscionable, meaning “not right or reasonable.” Now you can return to the first blank. You know that the prompt as a whole argues that downloading music is bad, so “in order to defend” it, one must be slightly dishonest. Probity and leniency are both good things. You want contortion, meaning “twisting or bending out of something’s normal shape.”

6. Cited, correct, tangential. You can start with the first blank here, where a fact about life expectancy relates to the world improving with time. Clearly this would be true if life expectancies have increased with time, so you can simply use cited in the first blank. The second blank, however, says that this statistic is slightly misleading if you consider a new fact (i.e., that most children died in childbirth). This means you need to correct for the new piece of information. The final sentence seems a bit off-topic (suddenly you’re talking about height, when you had been talking about life expectancy), so you should use the word tangential to set it off. Note that sidereal doesn’t have anything to do with being “on the side” — it means “related to the stars.”

7. Preposterous. The blank must agree with the clue that the possibility is remote. Note that prescient is the opposite of what you want — because the prediction about the future was entirely wrong, it did not sound prescient.

8. Enduring. The blank must agree with strongly influenced legal codes well into the 20th century; thus, the code of law is enduring. Note that incorrect choice fleeting is exactly the opposite of the intended meaning.

9. Superstitious. The pivot word because indicates that the blank will agree with the (interesting but meaningless) pattern that every president elected in a year ending in zero had died in office. Don’t fall for traps like conservative (which would only be attractive if you were using outside information).

10. Amusing, caustic. The clue “usual” means that the two blanks must match “humorous but acerbic” — and in order.

11. Circle. The clue “in turn” leads to the correct answer. Incorrect answers irony and comedy add an idea — humor
— that was not indicated by the sentence.

12. Abreast of. The word although gives you a clue that what the professor is doing is unusual or not required of a retired person. “Takes pains” also tells you that what she is doing is difficult. To keep abreast of a topic is to remain current.

13. Proponent, catalyst. You know that the woman in this sentence finally got the bill onto the legislative agenda, so she is definitely an advocate, or proponent, of the legislation. A catalyst — a term adopted from chemistry — is someone who creates change.

14. Trumpet, taciturn. You know that Jeremy is successful, but it takes his family a long time to “discover” his accomplishments. Thus, Jeremy does not brag — or even report the facts! To trumpet is to “talk loudly or report something to everyone.” In the second blank, only taciturn (quiet) works. Don’t be fooled by prodigal, which occurs in the expression “prodigal son,” but actually means “wasteful.” (The original prodigal son from the Bible ungratefully wasted his inheritance.)

15. Dumbfounded, turbid. In the first blank, you need a word like amazed. Dumbfounded is the only match. Turbid which is related to turbulent, is the right word to describe choppy waters in which something could easily be lost. (Turgid means “stiff” and tepid means “lukewarm.”)

16. Emblematic of, pragmatic, posit. You learn at the end of the sentence that Hursthouse puts forth the same views as many other virtue ethicists. So in the first blank, you want something like representative of. The only match is emblematic of. You then learn that Hursthouse thinks ethics is “neither situational nor utilitarian” — the next part of the sentence will have a first part that matches up with situational, and a second part that matches up with utilitarian, (GRE sentences often use a pattern of mentioning two things, and then giving more information about those two things in the same order.) Base one’s judgments on subjective concerns refers back to a situational approach to ethics, and a __________ weighing of pain and pleasure refers back to a utilitarian (or practical) approach. Thus, pragmatic, which means “practical,” matches. Finally, critics would definitely agree with the idea that virtue ethicists “seek to enshrine their own prejudices,” so in the third blank, you just need a word like say or claim. Posit is the only match.

17. Roundly, panned. Wow, what a terrible movie! Not a single reviewer could think of one nice thing to say? You need two words that mean something like “unanimously criticized” or “100% disliked.” Roundly means “emphatically,” or “so thoroughly as to leave no doubt.” Panned means “reviewed negatively” and is almost always used to refer to plays, movies, etc., so the word is a perfect match here.

18. Modestly, sparingly, do nothing to excess. The only clue you have is that Socrates advocated a life of
moderation, so you need words that mean moderately in both the first and second blanks, and a phrase that means “live moderately” in the third blank.

19. Inundated. Upon reading this sentence, you might have filled in something like “went to” in the blank. One good clue is that the carpetbaggers needed suitcases, so they were probably traveling. Process of elimination works well here — vanquished, blacklisted, boycotted, and berated all add ideas not indicated by the sentence. Only inundated (flooded, overwhelmed) makes sense.

20. Coda. You need a word that means something like a bad ending. A coda is an ending that sums up what came before, which, in this case, was pretty bad. A rampage is bad but does not fit grammatically before “to,” nor does it correctly describe an earthquake — rather, murderers or mobs go on rampages.


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