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The first paragraph performs which of the following functions in the passage?

Incorrect.

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Although the first paragraph introduces the process which stands at the center of the passage, this process is also described in further detail in the first paragraph. We know this from the word Initially (which opens the fourth sentence), which indicates that the paragraph returns to the process in order to elaborate on it.

Incorrect.

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The end of the process described in this passage is discussed in the second paragraph, not the first.

Incorrect.

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Though the paragraph clearly fulfills more than one function, it does not alternate between two topics. The paragraph begins with the main idea of the passage (the first three sentences), and then proceeds to discuss one aspect of this idea in greater detail.

Incorrect.

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Although the first sentence of the first paragraph presents a topic which is perhaps not commonly very well known, it does not deal with a common misconception.

Also, we can eliminate this answer choice based on its second part, which states that the first paragraph contains reasons. Reading the second and third sentences of the first paragraph makes it clear that they do not focus on reasons but on details and facts.

Very good!

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The second paragraph describes how Gondwana broke apart, eventually creating the continent Antarctica, while the first paragraph describes what happened to Gondwana before it began to break up.

It begins with a discussion of one topic and continues with a discussion of another topic.
It introduces the process discussed in the passage, which is described in further detail only in the second paragraph.
It describes the process discussed in the passage from beginning to end.
It portrays a common misconception and proceeds to explain the reasons for it.
It presents the background for a process discussed in the second paragraph.