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Reading Comprehension Practice for the GRE Video

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  • 0:00 GRE Reading Comprehension
  • 1:28 The Passage
  • 1:56 The Questions
  • 5:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

In this lesson, you'll try your hand at some GRE Reading Comprehension questions with complete explanations in case you need a little help figuring them out. All the question types are covered.

Reading Comprehension

On the GRE revised General Test, roughly half the Verbal Reasoning section consists of Reading Comprehension questions. These questions ask you about the content or argument structure of a given reading passage. In another lesson, you learned about the types of GRE Reading Comprehension questions in theory; now, it's time to take that theory for a test drive.

Don't worry, though; you'll get some training wheels to start out with. In this lesson, you'll start out with some sample questions followed by complete explanations, so you can get a feel for the test. Then, you'll move on to working independently in the quiz.

But before all that, here's a lightning-fast strategy review:

  • Reading comprehension questions come in three varieties: classic multiple-choice with one answer, multiple-choice with multiple answers, and select-a-sentence, where you choose a sentence from the passage in response to the question. Pay attention to which question type you're answering.
  • Base your answer only on the passage. It helps to read the question, then find the answer in the passage, and then look at the answer choices last.
  • Skip if it's too hard, but put a guess for everything. No points are deducted for wrong answers, so you lose nothing by guessing.

Okay, are you ready to start? Grab some scrap paper and a pen, since you'll have that on the actual test, and get ready for the passage.

The Passage

As you read the passage, you'll be allowed to take notes on your scrap paper.

(1) Stem cells are effectively blank slates that can differentiate into other types of cells, an ability that makes them useful for scientists researching treatments for many different kinds of diseases and injuries. (2) However, their utility has not protected them from controversy. (3) Some stem cells can be taken from the blood, bone marrow, and fat tissue of adults, but adult stem cells have a limited ability to differentiate. (4) The most versatile and useful stem cells for research and medical use come from human embryos. (5) To use the stem cells for research, scientists have to destroy the embryos, which qualifies as murder according to people who believe that human life begins at the moment of conception. (6)This has sparked an intense debate between opponents of embryonic destruction and the scientists who disagree with their definition of human life and need embryonic stem cells for applications where adult stem cells are not viable.

The Questions

That was the passage; now, it's time for the questions.

1. Which of the following does the passage identify as a reason why the stem cell controversy cannot simply be solved by using only adult stem cells?

A. The use of stem cells from adult blood, bone marrow, and fat tissue

B. The use of cells that can differentiate into other types of cells

C. The greater utility of embryonic stem cells, compared to adult cells

D. The objections of people who believe that life begins at conception

E. The use of cells from human umbilical cords

Go back to the passage if you like and find an answer based on the text.

Ready to hear the answer? The correct answer is C. In sentence three, the author mentions adult cells' 'limited ability to differentiate', and sentence six discusses 'applications where adult stem cells are not viable'. In other words, embryonic stem cells are needed for some applications where adult stem cells just won't do the job.

Watch for trap answers, like E - choice E sounds familiar if you know outside information about stem cells, but the passage doesn't mention umbilical cords anywhere!

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