GMAT Tuesday: OG Reading Comprehension #4

by on October 18th, 2016

This is the final video in our series on the reading comprehension section of the Official Guide to the GMAT. In this final question, we are confronted with a main idea question. I talk about how to approach these questions, how to identify the common wrong answers, and finally, how to find the right answer.

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Hello! Welcome to GMAT Tuesdays. I was just doing a little finger painting. I don’t know if you know, but I’m an expert finger painter. Look at this beautiful ocean-scape that I just did. Isn’t that nice? There’s a whale jumping out of the ocean. All right, enough painting, enough art, down to business.

Let’s talk about the official guide to the GMAT and more reading comprehension questions. We are looking at question number four, which is the last question in this series. We’ve done one, two, three, and looked at the passage.

Passage Review: GMAT Official Guide Reading Comprehension Question #4

So as a reminder of the passage, the main idea here is schooling. There’s two theories. The structure. The first paragraph is the introduction, second paragraph is all about the theory A. Third paragraph is critics of theory A, introduction of theory B. And the fourth paragraph is about theory B. And then finally, the tone is balanced-ish. And the author is basically just presenting two ideas. I wouldn’t say the author is biased or has a real stake in any one of them.

Official Guide Reading Comp Question #4

Okay, so question number 4 is a main idea question, and that’s because the question says, what is the primary purpose of the passage? That is a very clear clue for a main idea question.

That means that our approach is going to be attack the passage, which we did. Rephrase the question. You never really need to rephrase these, but basically just know what’s the main idea of this passage. What’s great is you could easily skip number 3 if you’re taking good notes and have a good sense of the passage.

I already know that it’s about two theories of schooling we’ve been talking about that. And then, the real key is just going through the answer choices and eliminating anything that is wrong. So, in order to find wrong answers, it’s good to know the common wrong answers for main idea questions.

So, one common wrong answer is the distortion. So, adding a word in there that makes the answer wrong when everything else there is right, that would be a distortion. Extreme words or language. This is, you’ll notice these if you’re paying attention to the tone of the passage and the author’s purpose.

The extreme answer choices will stand out because there’s something there that just doesn’t sound right with the tone of the passage. And then anytime that there is a detail from the passage so it’s something that’s in the passage but doesn’t really encompass everything that the passage is about. That’s going to be wrong. And then finally, anything new if it’s on the topic but not really about what’s in the passage then that’s gonna be wrong as well.

Answer Choices

Okay, so let’s look at our answer choices. Answer choice A, says that the passage is presenting two different theories. Wow, great. That’s exactly what we’re looking for. And we’ve been talking about how the passage presents two ideas. There isn’t really any bias there and it’s just describing these two theories. So answer choice A is our answer.

Now let’s look at these wrong answers. Answer choice B talks about analyzing techniques. This is new information, there’s nothing about techniques in the passage. There is some analysis but no, you’re not analyzing techniques, you’re looking at theories.

Finally, C.) defending ideas, this is a distortion. There are ideas but the author again isn’t bias, isn’t arguing from one idea over the other so there’s no defense. That is a distortion.

Answer choice D, refuting beliefs. This is extreme and a little bit of a distortion too. You might thing beliefs could also be theories, but they’re not they’re different. And then refuting, again, refuting is extreme. There’s no refutation in the passage at all, it’s just a presentation.

Finally, enter choice E revealing new evidence. This would be cool evidence, I said ividence, that’s weird. So this is new information, there’s nothing in the passage about some new reveal that we haven’t heard from or knew about before. The theories that are discussed seemed to have been talked about for awhile. One of them has been around long enough for there to be critics of it, so this is wrong as well.

All right, we’re all done. That was it, so easy. All right, if you need any help with what we’ve talked about, feel free to leave comments down below.

And also feel free to head over to for even more help with your GMAT studies. All right, be excellent to the universe.

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