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Short passages in GMAT

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Manager
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Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2009, 11:02
Hi Guys,
I would like to start a thread for all the short passages that we find difficult or feel need discussion.
In GMAT, short passages play a very important role because u get atleast 2 short passages(not always) and most of the times they come in the beginning(not always).. So guys, why don't we post the short pessages that have troubled us while selecting the correct answer choice here in a single post so that we can have a good collection of 'em and can practice 'em to beat the actual test. So please make ur contribution by posting the short passages that u find are tricky and make this thread as a nice source to practice short passages.


Here goes my first passage:

Some historians contend that conditions
in the United States during the
Second World War gave rise to a
dynamic wartime alliance between
trade unions and the African American
community, an alliance that advanced
the cause of civil rights. They conclude
that the postwar demise of this
vital alliance constituted a lost oppor-
tunity for the civil rights movement that
followed the war. Other scholars,
however, have portrayed organized
labor as defending all along the relatively
privileged position of White
workers relative to African American
workers. Clearly, these two perspectives
are not easily reconcilable, but
the historical reality is not reducible
to one or the other.

Unions faced a choice between
either maintaining the prewar status
quo or promoting a more inclusive
approach that sought for all members
the right to participate in the internal
affairs of unions, access to skilled
and high-paying positions within the
occupational hierarchy, and protection
against management’s arbitrary
authority in the workplace. While
union representatives often voiced
this inclusive ideal, in practice unions
far more often favored entrenched
interests. The accelerating development
of the civil rights movement
following the Second World War
exacerbated the unions’ dilemma,
forcing trade unionists to confront
contradictions in their own practices.



Q1. The passage is primarily concerned with
A. providing a context within which to evaluate opposing viewpoints about a
historical phenomenon
B. identifying a flawed assumption underlying one interpretation of a historical
phenomenon
C. assessing the merits and weaknesses of a controversial theory about a historical
phenomenon
D. discussing the historical importance of the development of a wartime alliance
E. evaluating evidence used to support a particular interpretation of a historical
phenomenon
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q2:
According to the passage, the historians mentioned in line 1 and the scholars mentioned
in line 11 disagree about the
A. contribution made by organized labor to the war effort during the Second World
War
B. issues that union members considered most important during the Second World
War
C. relationship between unions and African Americans during the Second World
War
D. effect of the Second World War on the influence of unions in the workplace
E. extent to which African Americans benefited from social and political changes
following the Second World War
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3:
Which of the following best describes the purpose of the first sentence (lines 20-29) in
the second paragraph in the passage?
A. To summarize a situation confronted by unions during the Second World War
B. To summarize the role of unions in the workplace during the Second World War
C. To explain the philosophy supported by most unions during the Second World
War
D. To assess the effect of the growth of the civil rights movement on unions during
the Second World War
E. To present a criticism of the unions’ approach to representing workers during the
Second World War
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q4:
Which of the following best summarizes the opinion of the author of the passage
regarding the two points of view presented in the first paragraph (lines 1-19) ?
A. Neither point of view reflects the views of certain African American historians on
trade unions during the Second World War.
B. Neither point of view reflects the full complexity of the historical reality.
C. One point of view is based on more reliable research than is the other.
D. Both points of view have misinterpreted recent research on trade unions during
the Second World War.
E. The two points of view can be readily harmonized into a coherent interpretation.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA, after few replies
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 19 Jul 2009, 23:35
A,E,A,B..
had a tough time in comprehension ..Just started focusing on RC ..because to get +700 bracket we need to kill RC ..
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2009, 11:07
A B A B

--
(6:24)
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Consider kudos for the good post ... :beer
My debrief : journey-670-to-720-q50-v36-long-85083.html

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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2009, 17:48
atomy, OA pls !!
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2009, 18:44
guys, OAs are :
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A, B, A, B

please elaborate ur reasoning..
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 20 Jul 2009, 21:11
OA please... i tend to agree with A,E,A,B...

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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2009, 05:52
atomy wrote:
Hi Guys,
I would like to start a thread for all the short passages that we find difficult or feel need discussion.
In GMAT, short passages play a very important role because u get atleast 2 short passages(not always) and most of the times they come in the beginning(not always).. So guys, why don't we post the short pessages that have troubled us while selecting the correct answer choice here in a single post so that we can have a good collection of 'em and can practice 'em to beat the actual test. So please make ur contribution by posting the short passages that u find are tricky and make this thread as a nice source to practice short passages.


I agree with you. thanks for posting. I am hoping to participate regularly in this forum as well.
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2009, 09:01
Guys, I would like someone to post the explanations for the first passage if possible..coz that would help a lot to understand the answers..

Here goes the second passage:

Firms traditionally claim that they
downsize (i.e., make permanent
personnel cuts) for economic reasons,
Line laying off supposedly unnecessary staff
(5) in an attempt to become more efficient
and competitive. Organization theory
would explain this reasoning as an
example of the “economic rationality”
that it assumes underlies all organi-
(10) zational activities. There is evidence
that firms believe they are behaving
rationally whenever they downsize; yet
recent research has shown that the
actual economic effects of downsizing
(15) are often negative for firms. Thus,
organization theory cannot adequately
explain downsizing; non-economic
factors must also be considered.

One such factor is the evolution of
(20) downsizing into a powerful business
myth: managers simply believe that
downsizing is efficacious. Moreover,
downsizing nowadays is greeted
favorably by the business press; the
(25) press often refers to soaring stock
prices of downsizing firms (even though
research shows that stocks usually
rise only briefly after downsizing and
then suffer a prolonged decline).
(30) Once viewed as a sign of desperation,
downsizing is now viewed as a signal
that firms are serious about competing
in the global marketplace; such signals
are received positively by key actors—
(35) financial analysts, consultants,
shareholders—who supply firms with
vital organizing resources. Thus, even
if downsizers do not become economically
more efficient, downsizing’s mythic
(40) properties give them added prestige
in the business community, enhancing
their survival prospects.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q1:
According to the passage, the “key actors” (line 34) view a firm’s downsizing activities
as an indication of the firm’s
A. troubled financial condition
B. inability to develop effective long-term strategies
C. inability to retain vital organizational resources
D. desire to boost its stock price
E. desire to become more competitive
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q2:
The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. criticize firms for engaging in the practice of downsizing
B. analyze the negative economic impact of downsizing on firms
C. offer an alternative to a traditional explanation for the occurrence of downsizing
D. chronicle how perceptions of downsizing have changed over time
E. provide evidence disputing the prevalence of downsizing
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3:
The passage suggests which of the following about the claim that a firm will become
more efficient and competitive by downsizing?
A. Few firms actually believe this claim to be true.
B. Fewer firms have been making this claim in recent years.
C. This claim contradicts the basic assumption of organization theory.
D. This claim is called into question by certain recent research.
E. This claim is often treated with skepticism by the business press.
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 23 Jul 2009, 05:59
atomy wrote:
Guys, I would like someone to post the explanations for the first passage if possible..coz that would help a lot to understand the answers..

Here goes the second passage:

Firms traditionally claim that they
downsize (i.e., make permanent
personnel cuts) for economic reasons,
Line laying off supposedly unnecessary staff
(5) in an attempt to become more efficient
and competitive. Organization theory
would explain this reasoning as an
example of the “economic rationality”
that it assumes underlies all organi-
(10) zational activities. There is evidence
that firms believe they are behaving
rationally whenever they downsize; yet
recent research has shown that the
actual economic effects of downsizing
(15) are often negative for firms. Thus,
organization theory cannot adequately
explain downsizing; non-economic
factors must also be considered.

One such factor is the evolution of
(20) downsizing into a powerful business
myth: managers simply believe that
downsizing is efficacious. Moreover,
downsizing nowadays is greeted
favorably by the business press; the
(25) press often refers to soaring stock
prices of downsizing firms (even though
research shows that stocks usually
rise only briefly after downsizing and
then suffer a prolonged decline).
(30) Once viewed as a sign of desperation,
downsizing is now viewed as a signal
that firms are serious about competing
in the global marketplace; such signals
are received positively by key actors—
(35) financial analysts, consultants,
shareholders—who supply firms with
vital organizing resources. Thus, even
if downsizers do not become economically
more efficient, downsizing’s mythic
(40) properties give them added prestige
in the business community, enhancing
their survival prospects.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q1:
According to the passage, the “key actors” (line 34) view a firm’s downsizing activities
as an indication of the firm’s
A. troubled financial condition
B. inability to develop effective long-term strategies
C. inability to retain vital organizational resources
D. desire to boost its stock price
E. desire to become more competitive
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Q2:
The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. criticize firms for engaging in the practice of downsizing
B. analyze the negative economic impact of downsizing on firms
C. offer an alternative to a traditional explanation for the occurrence of downsizing
D. chronicle how perceptions of downsizing have changed over time
E. provide evidence disputing the prevalence of downsizing
Answer:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q3:
The passage suggests which of the following about the claim that a firm will become
more efficient and competitive by downsizing?
A. Few firms actually believe this claim to be true.
B. Fewer firms have been making this claim in recent years.
C. This claim contradicts the basic assumption of organization theory.
D. This claim is called into question by certain recent research.
E. This claim is often treated with skepticism by the business press.


ECA?
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2009, 21:43
my take: E C D
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2009, 05:57
My Take A,C, A,B

Pls provide OAs
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Thanks
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2009, 10:53
Hey thanks and very good initiative.
My take is : EBAB
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 13:30
OAs for the second passage are: E C D

guys, please write the explanation in atleast one statement for your selection of the answer choices. This would help others to understand the answers..
thanks for your support and interest.. :)

Next passage coming soon..
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2009, 06:58
The fact that superior service can generate a competitive
advantage for a company does not mean that every attempt
at improving service will create such an advantage. Investments
in service, like those in production and distribution,
(5) must be balanced against other types of investments on the
basis of direct, tangible benefits such as cost reduction and
increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a
par with its competitors because it provides service that
avoids a damaging reputation and keeps customers from
(10) leaving at an unacceptable rate, then investment in higher
service levels may be wasted, since service is a deciding
factor for customers only in extreme situations.
This truth was not apparent to managers of one regional
bank, which failed to improve its competitive position
(15) despite its investment in reducing the time a customer had
to wait for a teller. The bank managers did not recognize
the level of customer inertia in the consumer banking
industry that arises from the inconvenience of switching
banks. Nor did they analyze their service improvement to
(20) determine whether it would attract new customers by producing
a new standard of service that would excite customers
or by proving difficult for competitors to copy. The
only merit of the improvement was that it could easily be
described to customers.


1. The passage suggests that bank managers failed to
consider whether or not the service improvement
mentioned in line 19
(A) was too complicated to be easily described to
prospective customers
(B) made a measurable change in the experiences of
customers in the bank’s offices
(C) could be sustained if the number of customers
increased significantly
(D) was an innovation that competing banks could
have imitated
(E) was adequate to bring the bank’s general level of
service to a level that was comparable with that of
its competitors

2. The discussion of the regional bank (line 13-24) serves
which of the following functions within the passage as a
whole?
(A) It describes an exceptional case in which
investment in service actually failed to produce a
competitive advantage.
(B) It illustrates the pitfalls of choosing to invest in
service at a time when investment is needed
more urgently in another area.
(C) It demonstrates the kind of analysis that managers
apply when they choose one kind of service
investment over another
(D) It supports the argument that investments in
certain aspects of service are more advantageous
than investments in other aspects of service.
(E) It provides an example of the point about
investment in service made in the first paragraph.


3. The author uses the word “only” in line 23 most likely
in order to
(A) highlight the oddity of the service improvement
(B) emphasize the relatively low value of the
investment in service improvement
(C) distinguish the primary attribute of the service
improvement from secondary attributes
(D) single out a certain merit of the service
improvement from other merits
(E) point out the limited duration of the actual service
improvement
1 KUDOS received
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 04 Aug 2009, 08:41
1
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KUDOS
1. b
a. contradicts the fact
b. answer
c. no reference in para
d.similar to the copy point...but doesn't talk abt difficulty
e.point is about setting a new standard of service, not on par

2.e
a. not an exceptional case.
b. doesn't mention abt urgency of investment in other areas
c. no analysis info is mentioned
d. it does the reverse.
e. answer

3.b
a.it's not odd.
b.answer
c.no reference to the attribute types.
d.no..the merit is singled out from the demerits.
e.no time discussion mentioned
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2009, 00:46
my take: D E B
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 05 Aug 2009, 11:55
gmaggi wrote:
1. b
a. contradicts the fact
b. answer
c. no reference in para
d.similar to the copy point...but doesn't talk abt difficulty
e.point is about setting a new standard of service, not on par

2.e
a. not an exceptional case.
b. doesn't mention abt urgency of investment in other areas
c. no analysis info is mentioned
d. it does the reverse.
e. answer

3.b
a.it's not odd.
b.answer
c.no reference to the attribute types.
d.no..the merit is singled out from the demerits.
e.no time discussion mentioned

Nice explanations gmaggie..
+1 kudos for u..
OAs are D E B..
By lines 20 - 22 u can infer that D is correct. actually i also selected B for the first time but D is the correct answer for 1st question..
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 07 Aug 2009, 12:28
Can someone explain me the Q:2 of the first passage?
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2009, 09:13
1st passage - ACDB - I screwed it.
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Re: Short passages in GMAT [#permalink] New post 17 Aug 2009, 09:35
DEB for the second one.
Re: Short passages in GMAT   [#permalink] 17 Aug 2009, 09:35
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