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GRE Reading Comprehension Practice Test 07

    Democratic institutions are devices for reconciling social
    order with individual freedom and initiative, and for making
    the immediate power of a country's rulers subject to the
    ultimate power of the ruled. The fact that, in Western Europe
5    and America, these devices have worked, all things considered,
    not too badly is proof enough that the eighteenth century
    optimists were not entirely wrong. Given a fair chance, I
    repeat; for the fair chance is an indispensable prerequisite.
    No people that pass abruptly from a state of subservience
10  under the rule of a despot to the completely unfamiliar state
    of political independence can be said to have a fair chance
    of being able to govern itself democratically. Liberalism
    flourishes in an atmosphere of prosperity and declines as
    declining prosperity makes it necessary for the government
15  to intervene ever more frequently and drastically in the
    affairs of its subjects. Over-population and
    over-organization are two conditions which ... deprive a
    society of a fair chance of making democratic institutions
    work effectively. We see, then, that there are certain
20  historical, economic, demographic and technological
    conditions which make it very hard for Jefferson's rational
    animals, endowed by nature with inalienable rights and an
    innate sense of justice, to exercise their reason, claim
    their rights and act justly within a democratically organized
25  society. We in the West have been supremely fortunate in
    having been given a fair chance of making the great experiment
    in self-government. Unfortunately, it now looks as though,
    owing to recent changes in our circumstances, this infinitely
    precious fair chance
were being, little by little, taken
30  away from us.

1. The author’s primary purpose is apparently to

A. Explain a requirement and introduce a warning about that requirement
B. Argue for the limitation of a certain form of government
C. Define the conditions for social order
D. Advocate liberalism in government of a certain era
E. Credit certain thinkers with foresight

2. The ‘infinitely precious fair chance’ highlighted in the last sentence, according to the author is

A. Unlikely to emerge in an atmosphere of liberalism
B. Incompatible with Jefferson’s views
C. Vitiated in an atmosphere of prosperity
D. An essential precondition for the success of democracy
E. Only possible in a large, advanced and highly organised society

3. The author’s attitude to the way democratic institutions have functioned in Western Europe and America can best be described as

A. Deliberate neutrality
B. Cautious approval
C. Qualified disapproval
D. Wholehearted endorsement
E. Mocking disdain

    Nadezhda Krupskaya, in her little book on Lenin, relates that
    towards the end of his life Lenin went to see a dramatized
    version of The Cricket on the Hearth, and found Dickens’s
    ‘middle-class sentimentality’ so intolerable that he walked
5    out in the middle of a scene.
It is worth noticing that the
    dislike of Dickens implied in this anecdote is something
    unusual.
Plenty of people have found him unreadable, but very
    few seem to have felt any hostility towards the general spirit
    of his work.
Some years later, Bechhofer Roberts published a
10  full-length attack on Dickens in the form of a novel, but it
    was a merely personal attack, concerned for the most part with
    Dickens’s treatment of his wife.
It dealt with incidents which
    not one in a thousand of Dickens’s readers would ever hear
    about, and which no more invalidates his work than the
15  second-best bed invalidates Hamlet.
All that the book really
    demonstrated was that a writer’s literary personality has little
    or nothing to do with his private character.

    It is quite possible that in private life Dickens was just the
    kind of insensitive egoist that Bechhofer Roberts makes him
20  appear.
But in his published work there is implied a
    personality quite different from this, a personality which has
    won him far more friends than enemies.
It might well have been
    otherwise, for even if Dickens was a bourgeois, he was certainly
    a subversive writer, a radical, one might truthfully say a rebel.

25  Everyone who has read widely in his work has felt this.
Gissing,
    for instance, the best of the writers on Dickens, was anything
    but a radical himself, and he disapproved of this strain in
    Dickens and wished it were not there, but it never occurred to
    him to deny it.
In Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Bleak House,
30  Little Dorrit, Dickens attacked English institutions with a
    ferocity that has never since been approached.
Yet he managed
    to do it without making himself hated, and, more than this,
    the very people he attacked have swallowed him so completely
    that he has become a national institution himself.
In its
35  attitude towards Dickens the English public has always been a
    little like the elephant which feels a blow with a walking-stick
    as a delightful tickling.
Before I was ten years old I was
    having Dickens ladled down my throat by schoolmasters in whom
    even at that age I could see a strong resemblance to Mr. Creakle,
40  and one knows without needing to be told that lawyers delight
    in Sergeant Buzfuz and that Little Dorrit is a favourite in the
    Home Office.
Dickens seems to have succeeded in attacking
    everybody and antagonizing nobody.

4. It can be inferred that the ‘second best bed’ (highlighted in the first paragraph) refers to something that

A. could not be considered unpleasant in the personal life of Shakespeare (the author of Hamlet)
B. is unwarranted in the plot of Hamlet
C. most readers would approve of if they were aware of it
D. is irrelevant in a discussion of the personality of Shakespeare
E. has no place in an evaluation of the literary merit of the works of Shakespeare

5. Click on the sentence which specifically illustrates what the author means in saying ‘the very people he attacked have swallowed him so completely’

6. The author apparently believes that
(Select ALL answer choices that apply)

A. Thought that Dickens was a subversive writer
B. Disapproved of a certain aspect of Dickens’ writing
C. Produced good critical writing on Dickens

7. Answer this question based on the information in the paragraph below.

Josh has twenty years of typing experience behind him; therefore, if you are looking for an efficient typist to enter your data into the new system, you need look no further.

The speaker assumes that

A. Twenty years of practice ensures typing efficiency
B. The type of typing required for the new system is identical to what Josh has been doing
C. Josh’s job profile is the best that the new employer is going to get
D. Josh is an outstandingly fast and accurate typist
E. Josh will fit well into the new office

8. Answer this question based on the information in the paragraph below.

A fruit known as amla in certain parts of Asia is an excellent source of vitamin C. A small quantity of the fruit grated and added to salads provides almost all the daily requirement of this vitamin. However, the fruit is very sour. A new process designed to remove most of the sour taste will make the fruit acceptable to American tastes. We are therefore starting to grow this fruit for sale in the United States.

The argument above assumes all of the following except

A. Americans generally won’t eat very sour foods
B. The new process does not remove a significant part of the vitamin content
C. That a market exists for a new source of vitamin C
D. The fruit can be used only in salads
E. Apart from being sour there are no other objections to eating this fruit

Test information

Q 8 questions

Time 14 minutes

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