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GRE Reading Comprehension: Practice Question of the Week #30 Answer

Here’s the answer and explanation to yesterday’s practice question. Thanks for sending in all of your answers! Even if you got the right answer, make sure to read the explanation and watch the video to make sure your reasoning was correct!

Intelligent people are often said to have big brains. This should not be taken literally. If brain size were the cause of intelligence, we should expect elephants to be the planet’s smartest creatures. Rather, our intelligence is a result of the dense and complex neural network of the human brain. The disproportionately large human brain is no accident, however: the constancy of cell size means that a certain cranial capacity is necessary. Indeed, a large cranial volume is paramount to allow for an advanced neural network to develop. Brain size should thus be considered a prerequisite for intelligence rather than its cause.

In the argument given, the two sentences in bold play which of the following roles?

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

(D) is the credited response.

The first few sentences draw a clear distinction between brain size and intelligence. The first bolded sentence follows the elephant comparison, which underscores this “crucial claim” made by this sentence. Only (D) fits the sequence.

(A) is incorrect. The main topic of this passage is brain size and its relation to intelligence. In the first bolded sentence, the author makes a claim that is central to his argument: “our intelligence is the result of . . .” This is certainly not a general rule, so eliminate (A).

In the second bolded sentence, he explains what this claim has to do with brain size.

(B) is incorrect. There is no evidence provided by the passage, so (B) is incorrect.

(C) is incorrect. Although the first bolded sentence may be seen as an observation, the second bolded sentence doesn’t explain the first. (The second bolded sentence offers an explanation for the unbolded sentence that immediately precedes it.)

(E) is incorrect. Despite the presence of the word however, in another sentence there is no contradiction between the two bolded sentences, so choice(E) is incorrect.


Video explanation:

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3 Responses to GRE Reading Comprehension: Practice Question of the Week #30 Answer

  1. Dr. Deepshikha December 14, 2013 at 3:16 am #


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 16, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      You are welcome!

      • VINAYAK September 4, 2014 at 6:21 am #

        can i get access to more passages like this

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