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Reading Comprehension Practice Question of the Week #18 Answer

Here are the answer and explanation to yesterday’s practice question:

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

In the argument given, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles?

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

(E) is the credited response.

The first sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that summarizes the outcome of the ranking of HUD applications by a community- based board. The final sentence of the passage is the conclusion of the argument as a whole. The second sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that supports the conclusion as a whole by making clear that programmatic and fiscal accountability must be demonstrated by HUD funding applicants at the technical submission phase. Language from the second sentence in boldface is repeated in the concluding sentence that speaks of programmatic, technical, and fiscal requirements of the application process.

(A) is incorrect.
Readers should be able to quickly eliminate (A) because the first sentence in boldface does not state the conclusion of the argument
as a whole. Instead, the first sentence is an intermediate conclusion that deals only with the first stage of the HUD funding application
process. The passage as a whole describes three stages of this funding process. The second sentence in bold does not provide support for the first bold sentence.

(B) is incorrect. One of the statements in (B) is correct. The first sentence in bold does serve as an intermediate conclusion that supports a further conclusion stated in the argument. [See explanation for (E) above.] However, the second clause in (B) is incorrect. The second boldfaced sentence is supportive information, not in opposition to any argument.

Incidentally, students who have a tendency to overanalyze may be challenged by the fact that (B) reads, “The first serves as an intermediate conclusion… and (E) reads “The first is an intermediate conclusion…”

For the purpose of this question “serves” and “is” mean the same thing.

(C) is incorrect. Readers who have difficulty distinguishing between an intermediate conclusion and a further conclusion in the argument may be challenged by this question. The first sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion; the second sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that supports the conclusion of the argument as a whole. (C) suggests a link between the first bolded sentence and the second bolded sentence. Not so; the bolded sentences are independent statements.

(D) is incorrect. Readers should be able to quickly eliminate (D) because the second sentence in boldface does not provide evidence that supports an objection to the conclusion as a whole. The first sentence in boldface is an intermediate conclusion that some readers may view as supporting the conclusion of the argument as a whole. But, in reality, no objection exists in the passage.

Explanation Video:

 

Hope that helped! If you’d like to read up on strategies for getting through dense passages, check out quick tips and the list of all of our RC blog posts on our Reading Comprehension page.  See you next week for another practice question!

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3 Responses to Reading Comprehension Practice Question of the Week #18 Answer

  1. Heath April 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    I was thrown off by the first bold sentence being called a conclusion. The second part of the sentence is certainly one, but I wouldn’t call the sentence as a whole a conclusion. What’s the difference between a key point and a conclusion on the GRE? Will the GRE take a sentence that contains a conclusion and call the whole sentence a conclusion?

  2. Naveed July 17, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I am usually taking around 2.5 mins (approx.) to answer these questions (correctly). Wonder if I am up to the mark or I need to speed up?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

      This is a very long, difficult question. I’d say 2.5 minutes is pretty good :).


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