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Reading Comprehension: Structure Questions

One purpose of the second paragraph is to



The last sentence of the first paragraph states that a culture was severely hampered by [corn's] limitations. However, this statement itself did not have negative implications - these limitations (as explained in the second paragraph) refer to corn's relatively late evolutionary development, which may have had, according to Jared Diamond in the third paragraph, negative implications for pre-Columbian Americans.

Very good!


The last sentence of the first paragraph states that a culture was severely hampered by [corn's] limitations. This statement is clarified in the second paragraph, and the third paragraph indeed describes a theory which purports that the evolution of corn (a scientific fact put forth in the second paragraph) has possible major historical significance. 



The second paragraph does not tell us about the uses or effects of teosinte, but gives us a description of the plant itself and details the process by which it mutated into what we know today as corn.



The first paragraph is mostly concerned with the modern uses of corn. The evolution of teosinte (which eventually mutated into corn) does not explain why the plant is so useful; this information is already embedded in the first paragraph itself.



The third and fourth paragraphs do not detail the possible implications of the late evolutionary development of corn (the scientific process described in the second paragraph). Instead, the fourth paragraph refutes the information in the third paragraph without suggesting any implications that might have arisen from this scientific process.

Initial reading as taught by the relevant lessons work in 95% of the GMAT passages. However, it is not an exact science, and we would be remiss to claim that it always works as advertised - some tougher passages/questions require reading a bit more. Do the initial reading, and, if a particularly difficult question (such as this one) so requires, read some more. Just remember to constantly ask yourself - "have I found my answer? do I really need to read more?"

For a question such as this one, with no answer choice immediately presenting itself as the ideal answer, you might need to go back and read more of the passage - find the statement that answer choices B and C hint at; maybe skim through the second paragraph quickly, just to make sure that there is no comparison of the use and effects on culture (to eliminate A). D and E are eliminated with initial reading only.

compare the uses and effects of a plant on a culture to the uses and effects, described in the first paragraph, of that plants' descendent on another culture
put forth a scientific fact which clarifies a statement made in the first paragraph and whose possible historical significance is presented in the third paragraph
explain a statement made in the first paragraph whose possible implications are detailed in the third paragraph
describe a scientific process whose possible implications, according to one scholar, are detailed in the third paragraph and fourth paragraphs
provide scientific background information that explains the topic which the author is most concerned with in the first paragraph
I did not read the last sentence of the first paragraph in my initial reading, and thus missed out on its significance. How do I know when to break away from the initial reading and read more?