New GRE (Revised) Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

Reviving the practice of using elements of popular music in classical composition, an approach that had been in hibernation in the United States during the 1960s, composer Philip Glass (born 1937) embraced the ethos of popular music without imitating it. Glass based two symphonies on music by rock musicians David Bowie and Brian Eno, but the symphonies' sound is distinctively his. Popular elements do not appear out of place in Glass's classical music, which from its early days has shared certain harmonies and rhythms with rock music. Yet this use of popular elements has not made Glass a composer of popular music. His music is not a version of popular music packaged to attract classical listeners; it is high art for listeners steeped in rock rather than the classics.
Select only one answer choice.

  1. The passage addresses which of the following issues related to Glass's use of popular elements in his classical compositions?
    • How it is regarded by listeners who prefer rock to the classics
    • How it has affected the commercial success of Glass's music
    • Whether it has contributed to a revival of interest among other composers in using popular elements in their compositions
    • Whether it has had a detrimental effect on Glass's reputation as a composer of classical music
    • Whether it has caused certain of Glass's works to be derivative in quality
Consider each of the three choices separately and select all that apply.

  1. The passage suggests that Glass's work displays which of the following qualities?
    • A return to the use of popular music in classical compositions
    • An attempt to elevate rock music to an artistic status more closely approximating that of classical music
    • A long-standing tendency to incorporate elements from two apparently disparate musical styles
  2. Select the sentence that distinguishes two ways of integrating rock and classical music.

Any takers for the above question? If not, we can put answers here too.


  • Ankita Katdare
    Ankita Katdare
    Democratic institutions are devices for reconciling social
    order with individual freedom and initiative, and for making
    the immediate power of a country's rulers subject to the
    ultimate power of the ruled. The fact that, in Western Europe
    5 and America, these devices have worked, all things considered,
    not too badly is proof enough that the eighteenth century
    optimists were not entirely wrong. Given a fair chance, I
    repeat; for the fair chance is an indispensable prerequisite.
    No people that pass abruptly from a state of subservience
    10 under the rule of a despot to the completely unfamiliar state
    of political independence can be said to have a fair chance
    of being able to govern itself democratically. Liberalism
    flourishes in an atmosphere of prosperity and declines as
    declining prosperity makes it necessary for the government
    15 to intervene ever more frequently and drastically in the
    affairs of its subjects. Over-population and
    over-organization are two conditions which ... deprive a
    society of a fair chance of making democratic institutions
    work effectively. We see, then, that there are certain
    20 historical, economic, demographic and technological
    conditions which make it very hard for Jefferson's rational
    animals, endowed by nature with inalienable rights and an
    innate sense of justice, to exercise their reason, claim
    their rights and act justly within a democratically organized
    25 society. We in the West have been supremely fortunate in
    having been given a fair chance of making the great experiment
    in self-government. Unfortunately, it now looks as though,
    owing to recent changes in our circumstances, this infinitely
    precious fair chance
    were being, little by little, taken
    30 away from us.
    1. The author’s primary purpose is apparently to

    A. Explain a requirement and introduce a warning about that requirement 

    B. Argue for the limitation of a certain form of government 

    C. Define the conditions for social order 

    D. Advocate liberalism in government of a certain era 

    E. Credit certain thinkers with foresight

    2. The ‘infinitely precious fair chance’ highlighted in the last sentence, according to the author is

    A. Unlikely to emerge in an atmosphere of liberalism
B. Incompatible with Jefferson’s views 

    C. Vitiated in an atmosphere of prosperity 

    D. An essential precondition for the success of democracy
E. Only possible in a large, advanced and highly organised society

    3. The author’s attitude to the way democratic institutions have functioned in Western Europe and America can best be described as

    A. Deliberate neutrality 

    B. Cautious approval 

    C. Qualified disapproval 

    D. Wholehearted endorsement
E. Mocking disdain

    Try to answer them all. Answers will be revealed soon.
  • shihan
    plz give the answer
  • silverscorpion
    I would go for

    1. A
    2. D
    3. B
  • Ankita Katdare
    Ankita Katdare
    Anyone is not trying the first paragraph?


    The correct answers to second para are:
    1. A
    2. D
    3. B

    Explanation for the first:

    The ‘requirement’ in answer A is the need for democracy to be given a ‘fair chance’ which is what the author keeps reiterating. In the last sentence he warns that the chance may be being taken away. He is not arguing to limit democracy (eliminate B); nor is he defining conditions for social order in general (eliminate C). Answers D and E are too narrow to be the main point of the whole extract.
  • anujd1488
    answers for the first passage are 1)a 2)ac ..??
  • Ankita Katdare
    Ankita Katdare
    @anuj: The correct answers are
    1. e
    2. ac.

    For Question No. 3:
    Almost every sentence in the passage refers to incorporating rock music in classical compositions, but only the last sentence distinguishes two ways of doing so. It distinguishes between writing rock music in a way that will make it attractive to classical listeners and writing classical music that will be attractive to listeners familiar with rock. Thus the correct answer is the last sentence of the passage.

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