GMAT Reading Comprehension Practice Series: Sample Question Answer Explanations

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GMAT Reading Comprehension Questions

Thanks to everyone who submitted answers to our GMAT Reading Comprehension practice questions. We know you're eager to get the full explanations, so we'll get right to it.

1. The author distinguishes between andragogy and pedagogy (paragraph 1) for what purpose?

  • A. To illustrate that the two are essentially the same.
  • B. To describe Knowles's own background as a schoolteacher who later pioneered adult education.
  • C. To explain the importance of understanding the differences between how children learn and how adults learn.
  • D. To illustrate the failings of adult education classes.
  • E. To build an understanding of an unfamiliar concept by contrasting it with a more familiar tone.

To find the correct answer, you need to figure out the logic behind the author's statement in the first paragraph. The author defines pedagogy, a concept likely to be familiar to you, in order to illustrate that andragogy (a new concept unfamiliar to most) is different, and to explain those differences. Therefore choice (E) is correct.

Choice (A) is a 180 (the exact opposite of what you need)—since the author is contrasting pedagogy and andragogy (as distinct from...), he is pointing out their differences. Choice (B) is outside the scope, as although the passage describes Knowles as an educator, this has absolutely nothing to do with his distinction between pedagogy and andragogy. Choice (C) is outside the scope of the passage, since the importance of understanding the differences between how children learn and how adults learn is never discussed; and choice (D) is outside the scope and thus incorrect, because the failings of adult education classes are never mentioned.

2. Knowles most probably agrees with which of the following statements?

  • A. Children receive their motivation from external sources, rather than from within.
  • B. Educating children is the most important function of society.
  • C. Adult learners are comfortable learning abstract ideas.
  • D. Adult education is the most logical response to society's changing needs.
  • E. Adults are essentially unable to learn new ideas or skills.

One role of the second paragraph is to contrast the characteristics of adult learners with those of children. Since Knowles believed that adults were "self-directed, independent beings" and have "a reservoir of experiences on which to build, which children lack", he must have believed that children were externally motivated. Choice (A) is correct.

You can eliminate (B) on several counts—extreme language, since it describes the most important function of society; outside the scope, since the article does not address Knowles' beliefs about educating children; and 180 (opposite), since Knowles obviously was concerned with the education of adults, not children.

Choice (C) is incorrect, since it is a 180—the passage tells you that Knowles believed adults learned best by building on their prior experiences, not by dealing with concepts in the abstract.

Choice (D) is an example of the use of extreme language. Although Knowles devoted his life to adult education, you have no basis for believing that he thought it was the most logical response to societal changes.

Choice (E) is both a 180—since Knowles undertook to study how adults learn, he must have believed that they learned - and uses extreme language ("unable").

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Stay tuned - we've got one more question coming from this passage, and it's a HIGH level difficulty Q, so you'll want to get a look at it!

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