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Reading Comprehension: Main Idea Questions

The primary purpose of the passage is to...



In the first paragraph the author tell us that the conceptual model (=theory) underlying mainstream economics is subject to critique. The second paragraph points out the main flaw in the concept of a self-regulating market. The third paragraph proposes ways to remedy =(correct) market failures.



The passage mentions a widely-held theory but does not caution against its misuse.



The passage contrasts the underlying premises posited by two theories, but does not contrast the results of their application.



The passage is not concerned with an hypothesis, but with a theory. An hypothesis is an unproven conclusion. A theory is a conceptual model - an explanatory framework or model that uses abstract concepts.



The passage does suggest that mainstream economics should be revised. However, it does not undermine the justifications for revising it, but rather offers such justifications (=reasons).

Why did you choose this answer choice?

Beware of answer choices that use the same words that appear in the passage - they may merely be distractors. Be certain that the word is actually used in the same sense, about the same things before you pick the answer choice.

That much is true. However, the author does not undermine the justifications for revising mainstream theory. He actually justifies (i.e., finds good reasons for) revising it.

Watch out for answer choices that use multiple terms that negate one another. Undermine and revision both denote opposites or reversal, so they cancel out, like two minus signs:

     (-)                  (+)                     (-)
the justifications for a revision of a prevalent theory
Justify the theory

Undermining the revision to the theory hence means to support the theory as it is.

Describe the flaws of a conceptual model and propose remedies for its application
Caution against the misuse of a widely-held theory
Contrast the results of divergent applications of a model
Advocate for broader acceptance of a useful hypothesis and describe the consequences of such acceptance
Undermine the justifications for a revision of a prevalent theory
Because the word "undermining" appears in the passage
Because the author argues that the mainstream theory needs revision