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Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge #6

Having trouble with GMAT reading comprehension science passages? Here's a great challenge for you! Many of my GMAT students complain about the difficulties they have with GMAT science passages so I picked out a science topic for this week's challenge. If this is your first challenge or you just want to refresh yourself on why you are bothering with these at all then have a look at this post on using the Economist to improve GMAT reading comprehension.  Happy Studies!


The Economist: Small but Deadly

1. Which of the following is most strongly supported about the extinctions mentioned in the first paragraph of the passage?

A. They had similar causes but different outcomes

B. They were similar in that they each wiped out over 80% of the animal species on earth

C. There were similar extinctions before the Cambrian period

D. It is unknown whether they had different causes

E. Their combined force permitted the rise of the reptiles

2. According to the passage which of the following is implied about mammals before the Cretaceous period?

A. Their flourishing was at least partially suppressed by competition with other species

B. Having gone under rapid evolution they faced fierce competition from more established organisms.

C. They evolved specialized social behavior which helped them rise out of obscurity in the post-Cambrian period.

D. They were better adapted than most other species to deal with changing atmospheric conditions.

E. Fewer species of them became extinct than species of reptiles

3. Which of the following statements is best supported about the weakened ecosystems mentioned in the 4th paragraph of the passage?

A. Some species benefited from a weakening of the world’s ecosystem

B. During periods of more frequent volcanic eruptions the ecosystem was more disrupted than during periods with fewer volcanic eruptions

C. Some of the volcanic eruptions were the effect and not the cause of some of the weakened ecosystems

D. They were the primary cause of the extinctions in the Cretaceous period.

E. The weakened ecosystems were the most important amongst several factors that caused an abrupt extinction at the end Permian period

4. According to the passage Dr. Tohver would most likely agree that each of the following were major contributors to the extinctions in the Cambrian period EXCEPT:

A. The mix of gasses in the atmosphere

B. uncharacteristic seismic activity

C. an increase in volcanic eruptions

D. Global warming

E. The geology of Araguainha


1. D

2. A

3. A

4. C


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