GMAT Reading Comprehension

Most students who take the GMAT are intimidated by the Reading Comprehension section of the GMAT. The GMAT tests you on various parameters, right from your ability to comprehend the passage, to your grammar skills, and finally your ability to infer and summarize. Here is a reading comprehension test sample for the GMAT.

Instructions: 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.

Welcome to our GMAT Reading Comprehension Quiz. To begin click Next

Questions 1-5 below refer to the following passage:


The quality of almost pyramidal solidity characterizes another great enterprise of the Napoleonic period, the codification of French law. The difficulties of this undertaking consisted mainly in the enormous mass of decrees emanating from the National Assemblies, relative to political, civil, and criminal affairs. Many of those decrees, the offspring of a momentary enthusiasm, had found a place in the codes of laws which were then compiled; and yet sagacious observers knew that several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race. This conviction was summed up in the trenchant statement of the compilers of the new code, in which they appealed from the ideas of Rousseau to the customs of the past: "New theories are but the maxims of certain individuals: the old maxims represent the sense of centuries."
There was much force in this dictum. The overthrow of Feudalism and the old monarchy had not permanently altered the French nature. They were still the same joyous, artistic, clan-loving people whom the Latin historians described: and pride in the nation or the family was as closely linked with respect for a doughty champion of national and family interests as in the days of Caesar. Of this Roman or quasi-Gallic reaction Napoleon was to be the regulator; and no sphere of his activities bespeaks his unerring political sagacity more than his sifting of the old and the new in the great code which was afterwards to bear his name.
Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs, mainly Roman and Frankish in origin, hopelessly tangled by feudal customs, provincial privileges, ecclesiastical rights, and the later undergrowth of royal decrees; and no part of the legislation of the revolutionists met with so little resistance as their root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle. Their difficulties only began when they endeavored to apply the principles of the Rights of Man to political, civil, and criminal affairs.
The chief of these principles relating to criminal law were that law can only forbid actions that are harmful to society, and must only impose penalties that are strictly necessary. To these epoch-making pronouncements the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences. The last two of these principles had of late been flagrantly violated; but the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration of the whole question of criminal law, and of its application to normal conditions.

Question 1:
The author of the passage would likely agree with all of the following statements EXCEPT:

Questions 1-5 below refer to the following passage:

The quality of almost pyramidal solidity characterizes another great enterprise of the Napoleonic period, the codification of French law. The difficulties of this undertaking consisted mainly in the enormous mass of decrees emanating from the National Assemblies, relative to political, civil, and criminal affairs. Many of those decrees, the offspring of a momentary enthusiasm, had found a place in the codes of laws which were then compiled; and yet sagacious observers knew that several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race. This conviction was summed up in the trenchant statement of the compilers of the new code, in which they appealed from the ideas of Rousseau to the customs of the past: "New theories are but the maxims of certain individuals: the old maxims represent the sense of centuries."
There was much force in this dictum. The overthrow of Feudalism and the old monarchy had not permanently altered the French nature. They were still the same joyous, artistic, clan-loving people whom the Latin historians described: and pride in the nation or the family was as closely linked with respect for a doughty champion of national and family interests as in the days of Caesar. Of this Roman or quasi-Gallic reaction Napoleon was to be the regulator; and no sphere of his activities bespeaks his unerring political sagacity more than his sifting of the old and the new in the great code which was afterwards to bear his name.
Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs, mainly Roman and Frankish in origin, hopelessly tangled by feudal customs, provincial privileges, ecclesiastical rights, and the later undergrowth of royal decrees; and no part of the legislation of the revolutionists met with so little resistance as their root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle. Their difficulties only began when they endeavored to apply the principles of the Rights of Man to political, civil, and criminal affairs.
The chief of these principles relating to criminal law were that law can only forbid actions that are harmful to society, and must only impose penalties that are strictly necessary. To these epoch-making pronouncements the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences. The last two of these principles had of late been flagrantly violated; but the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration of the whole question of criminal law, and of its application to normal conditions.

Question 2:
The word, “warred” (paragraph 1), most nearly means:

Questions 1-5 below refer to the following passage:

The quality of almost pyramidal solidity characterizes another great enterprise of the Napoleonic period, the codification of French law. The difficulties of this undertaking consisted mainly in the enormous mass of decrees emanating from the National Assemblies, relative to political, civil, and criminal affairs. Many of those decrees, the offspring of a momentary enthusiasm, had found a place in the codes of laws which were then compiled; and yet sagacious observers knew that several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race. This conviction was summed up in the trenchant statement of the compilers of the new code, in which they appealed from the ideas of Rousseau to the customs of the past: "New theories are but the maxims of certain individuals: the old maxims represent the sense of centuries."
There was much force in this dictum. The overthrow of Feudalism and the old monarchy had not permanently altered the French nature. They were still the same joyous, artistic, clan-loving people whom the Latin historians described: and pride in the nation or the family was as closely linked with respect for a doughty champion of national and family interests as in the days of Caesar. Of this Roman or quasi-Gallic reaction Napoleon was to be the regulator; and no sphere of his activities bespeaks his unerring political sagacity more than his sifting of the old and the new in the great code which was afterwards to bear his name.
Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs, mainly Roman and Frankish in origin, hopelessly tangled by feudal customs, provincial privileges, ecclesiastical rights, and the later undergrowth of royal decrees; and no part of the legislation of the revolutionists met with so little resistance as their root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle. Their difficulties only began when they endeavored to apply the principles of the Rights of Man to political, civil, and criminal affairs.
The chief of these principles relating to criminal law were that law can only forbid actions that are harmful to society, and must only impose penalties that are strictly necessary. To these epoch-making pronouncements the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences. The last two of these principles had of late been flagrantly violated; but the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration of the whole question of criminal law, and of its application to normal conditions.

Question 3:
The primary purpose of this passage is to:

Questions 1-5 below refer to the following passage:

The quality of almost pyramidal solidity characterizes another great enterprise of the Napoleonic period, the codification of French law. The difficulties of this undertaking consisted mainly in the enormous mass of decrees emanating from the National Assemblies, relative to political, civil, and criminal affairs. Many of those decrees, the offspring of a momentary enthusiasm, had found a place in the codes of laws which were then compiled; and yet sagacious observers knew that several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race. This conviction was summed up in the trenchant statement of the compilers of the new code, in which they appealed from the ideas of Rousseau to the customs of the past: "New theories are but the maxims of certain individuals: the old maxims represent the sense of centuries."
There was much force in this dictum. The overthrow of Feudalism and the old monarchy had not permanently altered the French nature. They were still the same joyous, artistic, clan-loving people whom the Latin historians described: and pride in the nation or the family was as closely linked with respect for a doughty champion of national and family interests as in the days of Caesar. Of this Roman or quasi-Gallic reaction Napoleon was to be the regulator; and no sphere of his activities bespeaks his unerring political sagacity more than his sifting of the old and the new in the great code which was afterwards to bear his name.
Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs, mainly Roman and Frankish in origin, hopelessly tangled by feudal customs, provincial privileges, ecclesiastical rights, and the later undergrowth of royal decrees; and no part of the legislation of the revolutionists met with so little resistance as their root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle. Their difficulties only began when they endeavored to apply the principles of the Rights of Man to political, civil, and criminal affairs.
The chief of these principles relating to criminal law were that law can only forbid actions that are harmful to society, and must only impose penalties that are strictly necessary. To these epoch-making pronouncements the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences. The last two of these principles had of late been flagrantly violated; but the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration of the whole question of criminal law, and of its application to normal conditions.

Question 4:
Why does the author mention Caesar in the second paragraph?

Questions 1-5 below refer to the following passage:

The quality of almost pyramidal solidity characterizes another great enterprise of the Napoleonic period, the codification of French law. The difficulties of this undertaking consisted mainly in the enormous mass of decrees emanating from the National Assemblies, relative to political, civil, and criminal affairs. Many of those decrees, the offspring of a momentary enthusiasm, had found a place in the codes of laws which were then compiled; and yet sagacious observers knew that several of them warred against the instincts of the Gallic race. This conviction was summed up in the trenchant statement of the compilers of the new code, in which they appealed from the ideas of Rousseau to the customs of the past: "New theories are but the maxims of certain individuals: the old maxims represent the sense of centuries."
There was much force in this dictum. The overthrow of Feudalism and the old monarchy had not permanently altered the French nature. They were still the same joyous, artistic, clan-loving people whom the Latin historians described: and pride in the nation or the family was as closely linked with respect for a doughty champion of national and family interests as in the days of Caesar. Of this Roman or quasi-Gallic reaction Napoleon was to be the regulator; and no sphere of his activities bespeaks his unerring political sagacity more than his sifting of the old and the new in the great code which was afterwards to bear his name.
Old French law had been an inextricable labyrinth of laws and customs, mainly Roman and Frankish in origin, hopelessly tangled by feudal customs, provincial privileges, ecclesiastical rights, and the later undergrowth of royal decrees; and no part of the legislation of the revolutionists met with so little resistance as their root and branch destruction of this exasperating jungle. Their difficulties only began when they endeavored to apply the principles of the Rights of Man to political, civil, and criminal affairs.
The chief of these principles relating to criminal law were that law can only forbid actions that are harmful to society, and must only impose penalties that are strictly necessary. To these epoch-making pronouncements the Assembly added, in 1790, that crimes should be visited only on the guilty individual, not on the family; and that penalties must be proportioned to the offences. The last two of these principles had of late been flagrantly violated; but the general pacification of France now permitted a calm consideration of the whole question of criminal law, and of its application to normal conditions.

Question 5:
It can be inferred that the author of the passage believed the old code to be flawed because of its:

Questions 6-8 below refer to the following passage:

In our study of business we are always emphasizing the "long-time point
of view," and we fall back upon this convenient phrase to harmonize
many discrepancies between our so-called scientific principles and
present facts. On the whole, we are well justified in assuming these
long-time harmonies, but it will not do to overlook the fact that many
important and legitimate enterprises have to justify themselves from a
short-time viewpoint. Of more importance still is the fact that in this
country enterprises of the latter sort have predominated in the past.
This circumstance has a very marked bearing on the nature of our task,
when we try to approach business from the standpoint of education.

There are strong historical and temperamental reasons why
nineteenth-century Americans were inclined to take a short-time view of
business situations. Our fathers were pioneers, and the pioneer has
neither the time, the capital, the information, the social insight, nor
the need to build policies for a distant future. The pioneer must
support himself from the land; he must get quick results, and he must
get them with the material at hand.

Every one of our great industries--steel, oil, textiles, packing,
milling, and the rest--has its early story colored with pioneer
romance. The same romantic atmosphere gave a setting of lights and
shadows to merchandising and finance and most of all to transportation.
Whether we view these nineteenth-century activities from the standpoint
of private business or of public policy, they bear the same testimony
to the pioneer attitude of mind.

Considering our business life in its national aspects, our two greatest
enterprises in the nineteenth century were the settlement of the
continent and the building-up of a national industry. In both these
enterprises we gave the pioneer spirit wide range. With respect to the
latter, industrial policy before 1900 was summed up in three items:
protective tariff, free immigration, and essential immunity from legal
restraints. This is not the place to justify or condemn a policy of
laissez-faire, or to strike a balance of truth and error in the
intricate arguments for protection and free trade; nor need we here
trace the industrial or social results of immigration. We need only
point out that the policy in general outline illustrates the attitude
of the pioneer. The thing desired was obvious; obvious instruments were
at hand--immediate means used for immediate ends. From his viewpoint,
the question of best means or of ultimate ends did not need to be
considered.

Question 6:
The author implies all of the following EXCEPT:
Questions 6-8 below refer to the following passage:

In our study of business we are always emphasizing the "long-time point
of view," and we fall back upon this convenient phrase to harmonize
many discrepancies between our so-called scientific principles and
present facts. On the whole, we are well justified in assuming these
long-time harmonies, but it will not do to overlook the fact that many
important and legitimate enterprises have to justify themselves from a
short-time viewpoint. Of more importance still is the fact that in this
country enterprises of the latter sort have predominated in the past.
This circumstance has a very marked bearing on the nature of our task,
when we try to approach business from the standpoint of education.

There are strong historical and temperamental reasons why
nineteenth-century Americans were inclined to take a short-time view of
business situations. Our fathers were pioneers, and the pioneer has
neither the time, the capital, the information, the social insight, nor
the need to build policies for a distant future. The pioneer must
support himself from the land; he must get quick results, and he must
get them with the material at hand.

Every one of our great industries--steel, oil, textiles, packing,
milling, and the rest--has its early story colored with pioneer
romance. The same romantic atmosphere gave a setting of lights and
shadows to merchandising and finance and most of all to transportation.
Whether we view these nineteenth-century activities from the standpoint
of private business or of public policy, they bear the same testimony
to the pioneer attitude of mind.

Considering our business life in its national aspects, our two greatest
enterprises in the nineteenth century were the settlement of the
continent and the building-up of a national industry. In both these
enterprises we gave the pioneer spirit wide range. With respect to the
latter, industrial policy before 1900 was summed up in three items:
protective tariff, free immigration, and essential immunity from legal
restraints. This is not the place to justify or condemn a policy of
laissez-faire, or to strike a balance of truth and error in the
intricate arguments for protection and free trade; nor need we here
trace the industrial or social results of immigration. We need only
point out that the policy in general outline illustrates the attitude
of the pioneer. The thing desired was obvious; obvious instruments were
at hand--immediate means used for immediate ends. From his viewpoint,
the question of best means or of ultimate ends did not need to be
considered.


Question 7:
The primary purpose of the passage is to

Questions 6-8 below refer to the following passage:

In our study of business we are always emphasizing the "long-time point
of view," and we fall back upon this convenient phrase to harmonize
many discrepancies between our so-called scientific principles and
present facts. On the whole, we are well justified in assuming these
long-time harmonies, but it will not do to overlook the fact that many
important and legitimate enterprises have to justify themselves from a
short-time viewpoint. Of more importance still is the fact that in this
country enterprises of the latter sort have predominated in the past.
This circumstance has a very marked bearing on the nature of our task,
when we try to approach business from the standpoint of education.

There are strong historical and temperamental reasons why
nineteenth-century Americans were inclined to take a short-time view of
business situations. Our fathers were pioneers, and the pioneer has
neither the time, the capital, the information, the social insight, nor
the need to build policies for a distant future. The pioneer must
support himself from the land; he must get quick results, and he must
get them with the material at hand.

Every one of our great industries--steel, oil, textiles, packing,
milling, and the rest--has its early story colored with pioneer
romance. The same romantic atmosphere gave a setting of lights and
shadows to merchandising and finance and most of all to transportation.
Whether we view these nineteenth-century activities from the standpoint
of private business or of public policy, they bear the same testimony
to the pioneer attitude of mind.

Considering our business life in its national aspects, our two greatest
enterprises in the nineteenth century were the settlement of the
continent and the building-up of a national industry. In both these
enterprises we gave the pioneer spirit wide range. With respect to the
latter, industrial policy before 1900 was summed up in three items:
protective tariff, free immigration, and essential immunity from legal
restraints. This is not the place to justify or condemn a policy of
laissez-faire, or to strike a balance of truth and error in the
intricate arguments for protection and free trade; nor need we here
trace the industrial or social results of immigration. We need only
point out that the policy in general outline illustrates the attitude
of the pioneer. The thing desired was obvious; obvious instruments were
at hand--immediate means used for immediate ends. From his viewpoint,
the question of best means or of ultimate ends did not need to be
considered.


Question 8:
In line 25, “colored” most nearly means

Questions 9-11 below refer to the following passage:

If one is to establish a terminus ante quem for the appearance of the mechanical clock in Europe, it would appear that 1364 is the most reasonable date. It might well be possible to set a date a few decades earlier, but in general as one proceeds backwards from this point, the evidence becomes increasingly fragmentary and uncertain.

Temporarily postponing the consideration of evidence prior to 1350, one may take Giovanni de Dondi as a starting point and trace a virtually unbroken lineage from his time to the present day. One may follow the spread of clocks through Europe, from large towns to small ones, from the richer cathedrals and abbeys to the less wealthy churches. There is the transition from the tower clocks—showpieces of great institutions--to the simple chamber clock designed for domestic use and to the smaller portable clocks and still smaller and more portable pocket watches.

In mechanical refinement a similar continuity may be noted, so that one sees the cumulative effect of the introduction of the spring drive, pendulum control, and the anchor escapement. The transition from de Dondi to the modern chronometer is indeed basically continuous, and though much research needs to be done on special topics, it has an historical unity and seems to conform for the most part to the general pattern of steady mechanical improvement found elsewhere in the history of technology.

Most remarkable however is the earliest period of this seemingly steady evolution. Side by side with the advances made in the earliest period extending for less than two centuries from the time of de Dondi one may see a spectacular process of degeneration or devolution. Not only is de Dondi's the earliest clock of which we have a full and trustworthy account, it is also far more complicated than any other until comparatively modern times! Moreover, it was not an exception. There were others like it, and one cannot therefore reject as accidental this process of degeneration that occurs at the very beginning of the certain history of the mechanical clock in Europe.

Question 9: The primary purpose of this passage it to

Questions 9-11 below refer to the following passage:

If one is to establish a terminus ante quem for the appearance of the mechanical clock in Europe, it would appear that 1364 is the most reasonable date. It might well be possible to set a date a few decades earlier, but in general as one proceeds backwards from this point, the evidence becomes increasingly fragmentary and uncertain.

Temporarily postponing the consideration of evidence prior to 1350, one may take Giovanni de Dondi as a starting point and trace a virtually unbroken lineage from his time to the present day. One may follow the spread of clocks through Europe, from large towns to small ones, from the richer cathedrals and abbeys to the less wealthy churches. There is the transition from the tower clocks—showpieces of great institutions--to the simple chamber clock designed for domestic use and to the smaller portable clocks and still smaller and more portable pocket watches.

In mechanical refinement a similar continuity may be noted, so that one sees the cumulative effect of the introduction of the spring drive, pendulum control, and the anchor escapement. The transition from de Dondi to the modern chronometer is indeed basically continuous, and though much research needs to be done on special topics, it has an historical unity and seems to conform for the most part to the general pattern of steady mechanical improvement found elsewhere in the history of technology.

Most remarkable however is the earliest period of this seemingly steady evolution. Side by side with the advances made in the earliest period extending for less than two centuries from the time of de Dondi one may see a spectacular process of degeneration or devolution. Not only is de Dondi's the earliest clock of which we have a full and trustworthy account, it is also far more complicated than any other until comparatively modern times! Moreover, it was not an exception. There were others like it, and one cannot therefore reject as accidental this process of degeneration that occurs at the very beginning of the certain history of the mechanical clock in Europe.



Question 10:
According to the passage, which of the following is the primary reason that de Dondi’s contributions are noteworthy?

Questions 9-11 below refer to the following passage:

If one is to establish a terminus ante quem for the appearance of the mechanical clock in Europe, it would appear that 1364 is the most reasonable date. It might well be possible to set a date a few decades earlier, but in general as one proceeds backwards from this point, the evidence becomes increasingly fragmentary and uncertain.

Temporarily postponing the consideration of evidence prior to 1350, one may take Giovanni de Dondi as a starting point and trace a virtually unbroken lineage from his time to the present day. One may follow the spread of clocks through Europe, from large towns to small ones, from the richer cathedrals and abbeys to the less wealthy churches. There is the transition from the tower clocks—showpieces of great institutions--to the simple chamber clock designed for domestic use and to the smaller portable clocks and still smaller and more portable pocket watches.

In mechanical refinement a similar continuity may be noted, so that one sees the cumulative effect of the introduction of the spring drive, pendulum control, and the anchor escapement. The transition from de Dondi to the modern chronometer is indeed basically continuous, and though much research needs to be done on special topics, it has an historical unity and seems to conform for the most part to the general pattern of steady mechanical improvement found elsewhere in the history of technology.

Most remarkable however is the earliest period of this seemingly steady evolution. Side by side with the advances made in the earliest period extending for less than two centuries from the time of de Dondi one may see a spectacular process of degeneration or devolution. Not only is de Dondi's the earliest clock of which we have a full and trustworthy account, it is also far more complicated than any other until comparatively modern times! Moreover, it was not an exception. There were others like it, and one cannot therefore reject as accidental this process of degeneration that occurs at the very beginning of the certain history of the mechanical clock in Europe.



Question 11:
The attitude of the author of the passage towards the development of the mechanical clock can best be described as:


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