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Every culture that has adopted the cultivation of maize—also known as

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New post Updated on: 28 May 2017, 20:39
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As requested I am posting a brutal RC passage from an old LSAT exam. This passage has been voted as one of the top 10 most brutal passages to ever appear on the lsat exams in the last 30 years. This passage gave alot of students trouble. I found it during my research on brutal RCs. I started looking into LSAT RCs after GMATNinja mentioned how much tougher they were than GMAT passages and attempting these would take my skills to the next level. These are very high quality passages, designed to challenge you to the fullest.

I can confidently say that after doing about a dozen of these I already feel a huge improvement in my reading comprehension. Whats different about these passages is that they are much more detailed, they are longer and require a great deal more concentration than the average GMAT passage. The questions are also a tid bit tougher and wordier. So here's the first one. Shoutout to Stonecold warriorguy abhimahna duahsolo vyshak and gmatexam349 shailabh & hazelnut Good luck!

Remember you are allowed to have on avg 8-10 minutes to answer all the question during the lsat exam but you can take 15-20 minutes here.


LSAT June 2006, Passage #4: Maize


Maize is just another word for corn, so at first this passage doesn’t look too difficult. Indeed, the first paragraph is fairly easy to understand, as it lays out the importance of maize to the cultures that cultivated it. After the first paragraph, however, the discussion turns extremely detailed and covers the physical science behind why maize is so bountiful. Corn never tasted so bad.

Every culture that has adopted the cultivation of maize—also known as corn—has been radically changed by it. This crop reshaped the cultures of the Native Americans who first cultivated it, leading to such developments as the adoption of agrarian and in some cases urban lifestyles, and much of the explosion of European populations after the fifteenth century was driven by the introduction of maize together with another crop from the Americas, potatoes. The primary reason for this plant’s profound influence is its sheer productivity. With maize, ancient agriculturalists could produce far more food per acre than with any other crop, and early Central Americans recognized and valued this characteristic of the plant. But why are maize and a few similar crops so much more bountiful than others? Modern biochemistry has revealed the physical mechanism underlying maize’s impressive productivity.

To obtain the hydrogen they use in the production of carbohydrates through photosynthesis, all plants split water into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen. They use the resultant hydrogen to form one of the molecules they need for energy, but the oxygen is released into the atmosphere. During photosynthesis, carbon dioxide that the plant takes in from the atmosphere is used to build sugars within the plant. An enzyme, rubisco, assists in the sugar forming chemical reaction. Because of its importance in photosynthesis, rubisco is arguably the most significant enzyme in the world. Unfortunately, though, when the concentration of oxygen relative to carbon dioxide in a leaf rises to a certain level, as can happen in the presence of many common atmospheric conditions, oxygen begins to bind competitively to the enzyme, thus interfering with the photosynthetic reaction.

Some plants, however, have evolved a photosynthetic mechanism that prevents oxygen from impairing photosynthesis. These plants separate the places where they split water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen from the places where they build sugars from carbon dioxide. Water molecules are split, as in all plants, in specialized chlorophyll-containing structures in the green leaf cells, but the rubisco is sequestered within airtight tissues in the center of the leaf. The key to the process is that in these plants, oxygen and all other atmospheric gases are excluded from the cells containing rubisco. These cells, called the bundle sheath cells, surround the vascular structures of the leaf—structures that function analogously to human blood vessels. Carbon dioxide, which cannot enter these cells as a gas, first under goes a series of reactions to form an intermediary, non gas molecule named C-4 for the four carbon atoms it contains. This molecule enters the bundle sheath cells and there undergoes reactions that release the carbon dioxide that will fuel the production of carbohydrates (e.g., sugars).Taking its name from the intermediary molecule, the entire process is called C-4 photosynthesis. Such C-4 plants as sugar cane, rice, and maize are among the world’s most productive crops.
1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

(A) The greater productivity of maize, as compared with many other crops, is due to its C-4 photosynthetic process, in which the reactions that build sugars are protected from the effects of excess oxygen.
(B) Because of their ability to produce greater quantities and higher qualities of nutrients, those plants, including maize, that use a C-4 photosynthetic process have helped to shape the development of many human cultures.
(C) C-4 photosynthesis, which occurs in maize, involves a complex sequence of chemical reactions that makes more efficient use of available atmospheric hydrogen than do photosynthetic reactions in non-C-4 plants.
(D) The presence of the enzyme rubisco is a key factor in the ability of C-4 plants, including maize, to circumvent the negative effects of gases such as oxygen on the production of sugars in photosynthesis.
(E) Some of the world’s most productive crop plants, including maize, have evolved complex, effective mechanisms to prevent atmospheric gases that could bind competitively to rubisco from entering the plants’ leaves.




2. Which one of the following most accurately describes the organization of the material presented in the second and third paragraphs of the passage?

(A) The author suggests that the widespread cultivation of a particular crop is due to its high yield, explains its high yield by describing the action of a particular enzyme in that crop, and then outlines the reasons for the evolution of that enzyme.
(B) The author explains some aspects of a biochemical process, describes a naturally occurring hindrance to that process, and then describes an evolutionary solution to that hindrance in order to explain the productivity of a particular crop.
(C) The author describes a problem inherent in certain biochemical processes, scientifically explains two ways in which organisms solve that problem, and then explains the evolutionary basis for one of those solutions.
(D) The author describes a widespread cultural phenomenon involving certain uses of a type of plant, explains the biochemical basis of the phenomenon, and then points out that certain other plants may be used for similar purposes.
(E) The author introduces a natural process, describes the biochemical reaction that is widely held to be the mechanism underlying the process, and then argues for an alternate evolutionary explanation of that process.




3. Assuming that all other relevant factors remained the same, which one of the following, if it developed in a species of plant that does not have C-4 photosynthesis, would most likely give that species an advantage similar to that which the author attributes to C-4plants?

(A) Water is split into its constituent elements in specialized chlorophyll-containing structures in the bundle sheath cells.
(B) An enzyme with which oxygen cannot bind performs the role of rubisco.
(C) The vascular structures of the leaf become impermeable to both carbon dioxide gas and oxygen gas.
(D) The specialized chlorophyll-containing structures in which water is split surround the vascular structures of the leaf.
(E) An enzyme that does not readily react with carbon dioxide performs the role of rubisco in the green leaf cells.




4. The author’s reference to “all other atmospheric gases”in line 46 plays which one of the following roles in the passage?

(A) It indicates why certain atmospheric conditions can cause excess oxygen to build up and thus hinder photosynthesis in non-C-4 plants as described in the previous paragraph.
(B) It supports the claim advanced earlier in the paragraph that oxygen is not the only atmospheric gas whose presence in the leaf can interfere with photosynthesis.
(C) It supports the conclusion that non-C-4 photosynthesis makes use of several atmospheric gases that C-4 photosynthesis does not use.
(D) It explains why carbon dioxide molecules undergo the transformations described later in the paragraph before participating in photosynthesis in C-4 plants.
(E) It advances a broader claim that oxygen levels remain constant in C-4 plants in spite of changes in atmospheric conditions.




5. The passage contains information sufficient to justify inferring which one of the following?

(A) In rice plants, atmospheric gases are prevented from entering the structures in which water is split into its constituent elements.
(B) In rice plants, oxygen produced from split water molecules binds to another type of molecule before being released into the atmosphere.
(C) Rice is an extremely productive crop that nourishes large segments of the world’s population and is cultivated by various widely separated cultures.
(D) In rice plants, rubisco is isolated in the bundle sheath cells that surround the vascular structures of the leaves.
(E) Although rice is similar to maize in productivity and nutritive value, maize is the more widely cultivated crop.




6. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements?

(A) Maize’s impressive productivity cannot be understood without an understanding of its cultural influences.
(B) Maize is an example of a plant in which oxygen is not released as a by-product of photosynthesis.
(C) Maize’s high yields are due not only to its use of C-4 but also to its ability to produce large quantities of rubisco.
(D) Until maize was introduced to Europeans by Native Americans, European populations lacked the agricultural techniques required for the cultivation of C-4 plants.
(E) Maize’s C-4 photosynthesis is an example of an effective evolutionary adaptation that has come to benefit humans.




7. The passage provides the most support for which one of the following statements?

(A) In many plants, rubisco is not isolated in airtight tissues in the center of the leaf.
(B) A rubisco molecule contains four carbon atoms.
(C) Rubisco is needed in photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide to a nongas molecule.
(D) In maize, rubisco helps protect against the detrimental effects of oxygen buildup in the leaves.
(E) Rubisco’s role in the C-4 process is optimized when oxygen levels are high relative to carbon dioxide levels.




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Originally posted by jkolachi on 26 May 2017, 16:25.
Last edited by broall on 28 May 2017, 20:39, edited 3 times in total.
Please use the first sentence of the passage for the name of the topic!
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New post 27 May 2017, 05:44
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All answers posted now. I got 2/7. Passage seems straight forward, the questions are super tricky. All the answers choices sound the same.
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New post 28 May 2017, 10:06
14:30, All correct. Lot of questions.
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New post 04 Jan 2019, 21:41

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions


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Re: Every culture that has adopted the cultivation of maize—also known as  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2019, 00:25
Took 10+ minutes to read the paragraph.
Easy paragraph but questions are tricky.
3/7

How to knock down these kind of passages ??

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Re: Every culture that has adopted the cultivation of maize—also known as  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2019, 04:16
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1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

(A) The greater productivity of maize, as compared with many other crops, is due to its C-4 photosynthetic process, in which the reactions that build sugars are protected from the effects of excess oxygen. ---Correct, aptly describes the gist of the passage. The first para introduces the high productivity question and the subsequent paras provide the answer to that question.

(B) Because of their ability to produce greater quantities and higher qualities of nutrients, those plants, including maize, that use a C-4 photosynthetic process have helped to shape the development of many human cultures. ---Incorrect, partial scope. Moreover, the passage doesn't focus on why some plants helped to reshape human cultures rather focuses on reason for high productivity.

(C) C-4 photosynthesis, which occurs in maize, involves a complex sequence of chemical reactions that makes more efficient use of available atmospheric hydrogen than do photosynthetic reactions in non-C-4 plants. ---Incorrect, distortion of details.

(D) The presence of the enzyme rubisco is a key factor in the ability of C-4 plants, including maize, to circumvent the negative effects of gases such as oxygen on the production of sugars in photosynthesis. ---Incorrect, same as C.

(E) Some of the world’s most productive crop plants, including maize, have evolved complex, effective mechanisms to prevent atmospheric gases that could bind competitively to rubisco from entering the plants’ leaves. ---Incorrect, partial scope. The passage does mention evolution of some plants but it does in order to answer the question of high productivity.


2. Which one of the following most accurately describes the organization of the material presented in the second and third paragraphs of the passage?

(A) The author suggests that the widespread cultivation of a particular crop is due to its high yield, explains its high yield by describing the action of a particular enzyme in that crop, and then outlines the reasons for the evolution of that enzyme. ---Incorrect, 'the widespread cultivation of a particular crop is due to its high yield' is mentioned in 1st para.

(B) The author explains some aspects of a biochemical process, describes a naturally occurring hindrance to that process, and then describes an evolutionary solution to that hindrance in order to explain the productivity of a particular crop. ---Correct, The 2nd para describes photosynthesis and mentions a problem, relatively high oxygen levels, to the process. The 3rd para then describes an evolution, isolation of enzyme from atmospheric gases, to overcome the hindrance.

(C) The author describes a problem inherent in certain biochemical processes, scientifically explains two ways in which organisms solve that problem, and then explains the evolutionary basis for one of those solutions. ---Incorrect, no two ways have been described. Only one evolution is mentioned.

(D) The author describes a widespread cultural phenomenon involving certain uses of a type of plant, explains the biochemical basis of the phenomenon, and then points out that certain other plants may be used for similar purposes. ---Incorrect, usage of plants has not been discussed.

(E) The author introduces a natural process, describes the biochemical reaction that is widely held to be the mechanism underlying the process, and then argues for an alternate evolutionary explanation of that process. ---Incorrect, no such argument is presented in the two paragraphs. No debate is mentioned on whether the biochemical reaction is widely held to be the mechanism underlying the process.


3. Assuming that all other relevant factors remained the same, which one of the following, if it developed in a species of plant that does not have C-4 photosynthesis, would most likely give that species an advantage similar to that which the author attributes to C-4plants?

Reference lines: (2nd para)'Unfortunately, though, when the concentration of oxygen relative to carbon dioxide in a leaf rises to a certain level, as can happen in the presence of many common atmospheric conditions, oxygen begins to bind competitively to the enzyme, thus interfering with the photosynthetic reaction'...(3rd para)'The key to the process is that in these plants, oxygen and all other atmospheric gases are excluded from the cells containing rubisco.'

So, we need to find an alternative such that oxygen doesn't interfere with photosynthesis.
Only option B provides such a solution and hence is the correct answer.

(B) An enzyme with which oxygen cannot bind performs the role of rubisco.


4. The author’s reference to “all other atmospheric gases”in line 46 plays which one of the following roles in the passage?

Reference lines: 'The key to the process is that in these plants, oxygen and all other atmospheric gases are excluded from the cells containing rubisco...Carbon dioxide, which cannot enter these cells as a gas, first under goes a series of reactions to form an intermediary, non gas molecule named C-4 for the four carbon atoms it contains.'

Takeaway: Not only oxygen, but also other gases such as carbon dioxide can't reach the enzyme 'rubisco' and since carbon dioxide is essential for photosynthesis it must reach rubisco through some transformation, C-4.
Option D aptly describes this role and hence is the correct answer.

(D) It explains why carbon dioxide molecules undergo the transformations described later in the paragraph before participating in photosynthesis in C-4 plants.


5. The passage contains information sufficient to justify inferring which one of the following?

(A) In rice plants, atmospheric gases are prevented from entering the structures in which water is split into its constituent elements. ---Incorrect, distortion of details. Gases are prevented to reach rubisco.

(B) In rice plants, oxygen produced from split water molecules binds to another type of molecule before being released into the atmosphere. ---Incorrect, distortion of facts. Oxygen binds with rubisco in non C-4 plants and rice is mentioned as a C-4 plant.

(C) Rice is an extremely productive crop that nourishes large segments of the world’s population and is cultivated by various widely separated cultures. ---Incorrect, not supported by the passage. Corn instead of rice is mentioned to be such case.

(D) In rice plants, rubisco is isolated in the bundle sheath cells that surround the vascular structures of the leaves. ---Correct, Since, rice is an example of C-4 plant so this can be properly inferred from the passage.

(E) Although rice is similar to maize in productivity and nutritive value, maize is the more widely cultivated crop. ---Incorrect, not supported by the passage. Cultivation of rice is not discussed.


6. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements?

(A) Maize’s impressive productivity cannot be understood without an understanding of its cultural influences. ---Incorrect, an evolution is describe to answer reason for high productivity.
(B) Maize is an example of a plant in which oxygen is not released as a by-product of photosynthesis. ---Incorrect, distortion of facts. oxygen is released but is isolated from rubisco.
(C) Maize’s high yields are due not only to its use of C-4 but also to its ability to produce large quantities of rubisco. ---Incorrect, same as B. quantity of rubisco is not mentioned.
(D) Until maize was introduced to Europeans by Native Americans, European populations lacked the agricultural techniques required for the cultivation of C-4 plants. ---Incorrect, not supported by the passage.
(E) Maize’s C-4 photosynthesis is an example of an effective evolutionary adaptation that has come to benefit humans. ---Correct, by POE. Moreover, the passage mentions that an evolution led to high productivity of the crop, Maize and that this crop reshaped the cultures of the Native Americans.


7. The passage provides the most support for which one of the following statements?

(A) In many plants, rubisco is not isolated in airtight tissues in the center of the leaf. ---Correct, Only C-4 plants, rice sugar cane, corn, have such isolation
(B) A rubisco molecule contains four carbon atoms. ---Incorrect, distortion of details. CO2 changes its form to C-4 to reach rubisco.
(C) Rubisco is needed in photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide to a nongas molecule. ---Incorrect, same as B.
(D) In maize, rubisco helps protect against the detrimental effects of oxygen buildup in the leaves. ---Incorrect, false. Isolation helps to prevent the damage.
(E) Rubisco’s role in the C-4 process is optimized when oxygen levels are high relative to carbon dioxide levels. ---Incorrect, opposite to the presented facts in the passage.
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Re: Every culture that has adopted the cultivation of maize—also known as   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2019, 04:16
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