It is important to understand how the arrangement of ideas affects the overall meaning of a passage. The exercises below are meant to provide practice in careful, detailed reading. The task is not only to find the main idea of a passage, but also to guess vocabulary meanings of words from context, to answer questions about specific details in the paragraph, and to draw conclusions based on the understanding of the passage.
Restatement and Inference
Each paragraph below is followed by five statements. The statements are of four types:
1. Some of the statements are restatements of ideas in the original paragraph. They give the same information in a different way.
2. Some of the statements are inferences (conclusions) that can be drawn from the information given in the paragraph.
3. Some of the statements are not true based on the information given.
4. Some of the statements cannot be judged true or false based on the information given in the
Find all restatements and inferences (types 1 and 2). Pay attention to statements that are true of themselves but cannot be inferred from the paragraph.
Often people who hold higher positions in a given group overestimate their performance, while people in the lowest levels of the group underestimate theirs. While this may not always be true, it does indicate that often the actual position in the group has much to do with the feeling of personal confidence a person may have. Thus, members who hold higher positions in a group or feel that they have an important part to play in the group will probably have more confidence in their own performance.
a. If people have confidence in their own performance, they will achieve high positions in a group.
b. If we let people know they are an important part of a group, they will probably become more self-confident.
c. People who hold low positions in a group often overestimate their performance.
d. People in positions of power in a group may feel they do better work than they really do.
e. People with higher positions in a group do better work than other group members.
a. This cannot be inferred from the paragraph. We know that people who hold high positions have more self-confidence than those who don't. However, we don't know that people with more confidence will achieve higher status. Confidence may come only after one achieves a higher position.
b. This is an inference that can be drawn from the last sentence in the paragraph. We know that if people feel they have an important part to play in a group, they will probably have more self-confidence. We can infer that if we let people know (and therefore make them feel) that they have an important part to play, they will probably become more self-confident.
c. This is false. The first sentence states that the people in the lowest levels of a group underestimate, not overestimate, their performance.
d. This is a restatement of the first sentence. People who hold higher positions tend to
overestimate their performance: they may feel they do better work than they really do.
e. We do not know this from the paragraph. We know that people who hold higher positions often think they do better work than others in a group. (They "overestimate their performance.") We do not know that they actually do better work.
Like any theory of importance, that of social or cultural anthropology was the work of many minds and took on many forms. Some, the best known of its proponents, worked on broad areas and attempted to describe and account for the development of human civilization in its totality. Others restricted their efforts to specific aspects of the culture, taking up the evolution of art, or the state, or religion.
a. Social anthropology concerns itself with broad areas while cultural anthropology concerns itself with specific aspects of culture.
b. Cultural anthropologists, also known as social anthropologists, may work in either broad or restricted areas.
c. Cultural anthropology is a new field of study.
d. Any important area of study requires the work of many minds and is therefore likely to have different approaches.
e. The best-known people in cultural anthropology attempted to describe the development of human civilization.
I saw by the clock of the city jail that it was past eleven, so I decided to go to the newspaper immediately. Outside the editor's door I stopped to make sure my pages were in the right order; I smoothed them out carefully, stuck them back in my pocket, and knocked. I could hear my heart thumping as I walked in.
a. The teller of this story has just left the city jail.
b. He has been carrying his papers in his pocket.
c. We know that the storyteller is a newspaper writer by profession.
d. We might infer that the storyteller is going to show his papers to the editor.
e. The meeting is important for the storyteller.
In recent years there have been many reports of a growing impatience with psychiatry, with its seeming foreverness, its high cost, its debatable results, and its vague, esoteric terms. To many people it is like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. The magazines and mental health associations say psychiatric treatment is a good thing, but what it is or what it accomplishes has not been made clear.
a. Even mental health associations haven't been able to demonstrate the value of psychiatry.
b. The author believes that psychiatry is of no value.
c. People are beginning to doubt the value of psychiatry.
d. In recent years psychiatry has begun to serve the needs of blind people.
e. Only magazines and mental health associations believe that psychiatry is a good thing.
The Incas had never acquired the art of writing, but they had developed a complicated system of knotted cords called quipus. These were made of the wool of the alpaca or llama, dyed in various colors, the significance of which was known to the officials. The cords were knotted in such a way as to represent the decimal system. Thus an important message relating to the progress of crops, the amount of taxes collected, or the advance of an enemy could be speedily sent by trained runners along the post roads.
a. Because they could not write, the Incas are considered a simplistic, poorly developed society.
b. Through a system of knotted cords, the Incas sent important messages from one community to another.
c. Because runners were sent with the cords, we can safely assume that the Incas did not have domesticated animals.
d. Both the color of the cords and the way they were knotted formed part of the message of the quipus.
e. The quipus were used for important messages.