Economist Reading Comprehension Challenge #1

Hi All,

You are probably reading this because you want to improve your verbal performance on the GMAT. Great! One way to improve the entire verbal section: Improve accuracy and speed of reading. One way to do this is to read a challenging article every day. To my students I suggest the economist: the level of reading and the grammar structures are similar to the GMAT, the topics are varied, and a certain number of articles are free each week. A few things that will help:

1. Read for 100% comprehension. Read with a dictionary. Go as slow as you need to in order to understand everything. This is not what you will do on the GMAT but it is necessary to train your reading.

2. Think about how the author structures his/her arguments. What is the main point? What are the facts? What are the opinions? What are the assumptions?

3. Pay attention to grammar structures. Analyze lists, parallelism, and verb tenses. Get comfortable with sentences that have many structurally unnecessary descriptive clauses. Confirm verb agreement.

The main idea is: Be an active reader In the internet age everyone has gotten used to skimming and half-comprehension. For the GMAT we have to train ourselves for a more focused analysis of text.

I have been providing reading comprehension questions for my students based on economist articles. This process has really helped them improve. Below are the questions and a link to the article. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. I’ll try to post as many as I can. If this turns out to be helpful maybe we can make it a regular thing. Have great day!

These questions are based on the first article in the series

“Small models of cosmic phenomena are shedding light on the real thing”

1. It can be inferred from the article that some stars

A. have unlimited sources of fusion and can therefore last indefinitely

B. by increasing in mass create powerful magnetic fields which interfere with the energy creation capacities of other stars

C. have properties that affect light emitted by certain gasses

D. increase in temperature and mass but decrease in volume as they die

E. decrease in temperature but increase in mass and volume as they die

2. The author of the passage would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. There are some subjects for which it is impossible to gather direct scientific measurements

B. Experiments which are not based on direct evidence have a higher margin for error than experiments based on direct observation of phenomena

C. Magnetism is one of the few properties of White Dwarfs that scientists are able to accurately estimate

D. In some certain specialized laboratories the magnetism of a White Dwarf can be closely approximated

E. The most powerful man-made magnetic fields have a similar output to those of some stars

3. How does the 5th paragraph relate to the passage as a whole?

A. It elaborates on an example from the previous paragraph and puts forth a theory

B. It provides a series of examples in order to strengthen an assertion put forth by the author

C. It outlines an important detail of an experiment by which a theory in the passage is supported

D. It provides the background history of the scientific question being studied

E. It evaluates a scientific experiment which in itself is being used to test a theory proposed in the previous paragraph

4. It can be reasonably inferred that in a hydrogen atom

A. it is more difficult to manipulate the position of the protons compared to the protons in a pseudo-hydrogen atom

B. the electrons are bonded to each other more tightly than those of a psuedo-hydrogen atom are bonded

C. there are fewer electrons per available proton than in pseudo-hydrogen

D. the change in spectrum is directly proportional to the power of the magnetic field to which it is exposed

E. the extra electron would have behaved similarly to the extra electron in psuedo-hydrogen when exposed to a tesla-magnet of comparable power to a white dwarf



1. C
2. A
3. C
4. E