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"GMAT Verbal Ability Sample Questions"

Graduate Management Admission Test - Verbal Ability Sample Questions with their solutions of the GMAT exam. Practice Questions with Solutions presented to you by MBA Rendezvous.
GMAT Verbal Ability Sample Questions

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Home » GMAT » Verbal Ability » GMAT Verbal Ability Sample Questions

Published: Thursday, 11 February, 2016 01:00 PM


Total Time: 00 Minutes   Total Marks: 00


There are three types of questions in the Verbal section: Critical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Sentence Correction.

Directions: For each question, select the best answer of the choices given.

Each of the Critical Reasoning questions is based on a short argument, a set of statements, or a plan of action.

Each of the Reading Comprehension questions I based on the content of a passage. After reading the passage, answer all questions pertaining to it on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

Each of the Sentence Correction questions presents a sentence, part or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first of these repeats the original; the other four are different. Follow the requirements of standard written English to choose your answer, paying attention to grammar word choice, and sentence construction. Select the answer that produces the most effective sentence; your answer should make the sentence clear, exact, and free of grammatical error. It should also minimize awkwardness, ambiguity, and redundancy.

You may review these directions at any time during the Verbal section.



In the pages of Books in Print, Listed among works like Fuzzy Bear and Fuzzy Wuzzy Puppy, are some strange-sounding titles: Fuzzy Systems, Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy Reasoning and Its Applications. The bed time reading of scientists gone soft in the head? No, these academic tomes are the collected output of 25 years of mostly American research in fuzzy logic, a branch of mathematics designed to help computers simulate the various kinds of vagueness and uncertainty found in everyday life. Despite a distinguished corps of devoted followers, however, fuzzy logic has been largely relegated to the back shelves of computer science – at least in the U.S.

But not, it turns out, in Japan. As they have so often in the past, the Japanese have seized on an American invention and found practical uses for it. Suddenly the term fuzzy and products based on principles of fuzzy logic seem to be everywhere in Japan: in television documentaries, in corporate magazine ads an din novel electronic gadgets ranging from computer-controlled air conditioners to gold-swing analyzers. The concept of fuzziness has struck a cultural chord in a society whose religions and philosophies are attuned to ambiguity and contradiction.

What is fuzzy logic? The original concept, developed in the mid-60s by Lofti Zadeh, a Russian-born professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, is that things in the real world do not fall into the neat, crisp categories defined by traditional set theory, like the set of even numbers of the set of left-handed baseball players. In standard Aristotelian logic, as in computer science, membership in a class or set is not a matter of degree. Either a number is even, or it is not. But this on-or-off, black or white, 0 or 1 approach falls apart when applied to many everyday classifications, like the set of beautiful women, the set of tall men or the set of very cold days.

The deal with such cases, Zadeh proposed that membership in a set be measured not as a 0 or a 1, but as a value between 0 and 1. Thus, in the set of tall men, George Bush (6 ft. 2 in.) might have a membership value of 0.7, while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (7 ft. 2 in.) might have a 0.99. Zadeh and his students went on to elaborate a fully fuzzy mathematics, devising precise rule for combining vague expressions like “somewhat fast,” “very hot” and “usually wrong.”

This mathematics turns out to be surprisingly useful for controlling robots, machine tools and various electronic systems. A conventional air conditioner, for example, recognizes only two basic states: too hot or too cold. When geared for thermostat control, the cooling system either operates at full blast or shuts off completely. A fuzzy air conditioner, by contrast, would recognize that some room temperatures are closer to the human comfort zone than others. Its cooling system would begin to slow down gradually as the room temperature approached the desired setting. Result: a more comfortable room and a smaller electric bill.

Fuzzy logic began to find applications in industry in the early ‘70s, when it was teamed with another form of advanced computer science called the expert system. A product of research into artificial intelligence, expert systems solve complex problems somewhat like human experts do – by applying rules of thumb. (Example: when the oven gets very hot, turn the gas down a bit.) In 9180 F.L.Smidth & Co. of Copenhagen began marketing the first commercial fuzzy expert system: a computer program that controlled the fuel-intake rate and gas flow of a rotating kiln used to make cement.

Despite such successes, fuzzy logic was not well received in the U.S. Scientists pointed out that uncertainty and vagueness could be represented perfectly well by more traditional means, like statistics or probability theory. Some of the criticism  bordered on the vituperative, and the tenets of fuzzy logic were dismissed with terms ranging from “comical” to “content-free”.

The Japanese, however, showed no such resistance, perhaps because their culture is not so deeply rooted in scientific rationalism. Says Bart Kosko, a Zadeh protégé and a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Southern California; “Fuzziness begins where Western logic ends.” In the early 80s several Japanese firms plunged enthusiastically into fuzzy research. By 1985 Hitachi had installed the technology’s most elecbrated showpiece: a subway system in Sendai, about 200 miles north of Tokyo, that is operated by a fuzzy computer. Not only does it give an astonishingly smooth ride (passengers do not need to hang on to straps), but it is also 10% more energy efficient than systems driven by human conductors.

Japanese researchers are pursuing more than 100 new applications for fuzzy logic. Nissan has patented fuzzy auto transmission and anti-skid braking systems. Yamaichi Securities has introduced a fuzzy stock-marked investment programme for signaling shifts in market sentiment. Canon is working on a fuzzy auto-focus camera. Matsushita has delivered a fuzzy automobile traffic controller, and is about to unveil a fuzzy shower system that adjusts to changes in water temperature to prevent morning scalding. And in the strongest endorsement of the technology to date, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry opened the Laboratory for International Fuzzy Engineering Research in Yokohama and called for funding of some $34 million over the next six years.

1.      The term ‘content-free’ (paragraph 7), in the context of the passage, can best be described as:

         (a) a panegyric phrase.                                    (b) a euphemism.

         (c) a meaningless outburst                               (d) a comic phrase.

2.      According to the author, the most important reason for the ready adoption of fuzzy logic by the Japanese in their:

         (a) love of and penchant for adopting innovation.

         (b) readiness to find practical uses for American inventions.

         (c) ability to absorb and regurgitate other people’s inventions.

         (d) none of these.

3.      According to the author, Japanese culture:

         (a) encourages fuzzy thinking.                         (b) is based on ambiguity and contradiction.

         (c) welcomes unclear and vague ideas.             (d) none of the above.

4.      A suitable title to the passage would be:

         (a) Fuzzy Thinking Through the Ages                (b) Culture and Fuzzy Thinking

         (c) A Time For Fuzzy Thinking                          (d) Aristotelian Logic Vs. Eastern Logic

5.      According to the passage, we can infer that:

         (a) fuzzy logic helps to eliminate uncertainty.

         (b) Japanese culture is deeply rooted in science and rationality.

         (c) ordinary computer logic is Aristotelian in origin.

         (d) expert systems solve complex problems which humans cannot.

6.      Which of the following is not true according to the passage?

         (a) Matsushita is about to unveil a fuzzy shower system.

         (b) The construction of the Sendai subway system is the most spectacular application of fuzzy logic so far.

         (c) Fuzzy logic is not necessarily more versatile than probability theory or statistics.

         (d) Canon is developing a fuzzy auto-focus camera.


Philosophy is at once the most sublime and the most trivial of human pursuits. It works in the minutest crannies and it opens out the widest vistas. It ‘bakes no bread’, as it has been said, but it can inspire our souls with courage; and repugnant as its manners, its doubting and challenging, its quibbling and dialectics, often are to common people, no one of us can get along without the far-flashing beams of light it sends over the world’s perspectives. These illuminations at least, and the contrast effects of darkness and mystery that accompany them, give to what it says an interest that is much more than professional.

The history of philosophy to a great extent, is that of a certain clash of human temperament. Of whatever temperament a professional philosopher is, he tries when philosophizing to sink the fact of his temperament. Temperament is no conventionally recognized reason, so he urges impersonal reasons only for his conclusions. Yet his temperament really gives him a stronger bias than any of his more strictly objective premises. It loads the evidence for him one way or the other, making for a more sentimental or a more hard-hearted view of the universe, just as this fact or that principle would. He trusts his temperament. Wanting a universe that suits it, he believes in any representation of the universe that does suit it. He feels men of opposite temper to be out of key with the world’s character, and in his heart considers them incompetent and ‘not in it’, in the philosophic business, even though they may far excel him in dialectical ability.

Yet in the forum he can make no claim, on the bare ground of his temperament, to superior discernment or authority. There arises thus a certain insincerity in our philosophic discussions: the most potent of all our premises is never mentioned. Very positively marked men, men of radical idiosyncracy, who have set their stamp and likeness on philosophy and figure in its history: Plato, Locke, Hegel, Spencer, are such temperamental thinkers. Most of us have, of course, no very definite intellectual temperament; we are a mixture of opposite ingredients, each one present very moderately. We hardly know our own preferences in abstract matters; some of us are easily talked out of them, and end by following the fashion or taking up with the beliefs of the most impressive philosopher in our neighborhood, whoever he may be. But the one thing that has counted so far in philosophy is that a man should see things, see them straight in his own particular way, and be dissatisfied with any opposite way of seeing them. There is no reason to suppose that this strong temperamental vision is form now onwards not to be counted any longer in the history of man’s beliefs.

Now one particular difference of temperament is one that has counted in literature, art, government and manners as well as in philosophy. In manners we find formalists and free and easy persons. In government, authoritarians and anarchists. In literature, purists or academics, and realists. In art, classics and romantics. You recognize these contrasts as familiar; well, in philosophy we have a very similar contrast that covers all these: expressed in the pair of terms ‘rationalist’ and ‘empiricist’, ‘empiricist’ meaning your lover of facts in all their crude variety, ‘rationalist’ meaning your devotee to abstract and eternal principles. No one can live an hour without both facts and principles, so it is a difference rather of emphasis; yet it breeds antipathies of the most pungent character between those who lay the emphasis differently; and we shall find it extraordinarily convenient to express a certain contrast in men’s ways of taking their universe, by talking of the ‘empiricist’ and of the ‘rationalist’ temper. These terms make the contrast simple and massive.

More simple and massive than the terms are usually the men of whom the terms are predicated. For, every sort of permutation and combination is possible in human nature. Historically, we find the terms ‘intellectualism’ and ‘sensationalism’ used as synonyms of ‘rationalism’ and ‘empiricism’. Well, nature seems to combine most frequently, intellectualism with an idealistic and optimistic tendency. Empiricists on the other hand are not uncommonly materialistic, and their optimism is apt to be decidedly conditional and tremulous. Rationalism is always monistic. It starts from wholes and universals, and makes much of the unity of things. Empiricism starts from the parts, and makes of the whole a collection – is not averse therefore, to calling itself pluralistic. Rationalism usually considers itself more religious than empiricism, but there is much to say about this claim. It is a true claim when the individual rationalist is what is called a man of feeling, and when the individual empiricist prides himself on being hard-headed. In that case the rationalist will usually also be in favour of what is called free-will, and the empiricist will be a fatalist. The rationalist finally will be of dogmatic temper in his affirmations, while the empiricist may be more skeptical and open to discussion. The two types of mental make-up that I mean can go by the titles ‘tender-minded’ and ‘tough-minded’ respectively.

7.      Why is there an insincerity in philosophical discussions?(a) Though a philosopher’s temperament colours his view, he cannot lay claim to superior insight and judgement on the basis of this.

         (b) A professional philosopher tries to sink the fact of his temperament, as it is not a conventionally recognized reason.

         (c) The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments.

         (d) Temperament loads the evidence for the philosopher one way or the other, making for a more sentimental or a more hard-hearted view of the universe.

         (e) A philosopher tends to feel that other of a temperament opposite to his own are not in touch with reality, though their dialectical ability may be superior to his own.

8.      Which of the following statements is not implied by the author of his passage with respect to temperament?

         (a) Men of radical idiosyncracy such as Plato, Locke, Hegel, Spencer were courageous enough to base their philosophies on their temperaments.

         (b) Ordinary people lack strength of temperament and preferences; therefore, we aren’t philosophers.

         (c) Seeing something in one’s own peculiar way in bound to result in one-sidedness, which hampers a person’s ability to philosophize objectively.

         (d) It is the clash of human temperaments that give variety to philosophy.

         (e) Temperamental differences among philosophers always have and always will contribute positively to philosophy.

9.      Which of the following statements is false as per the claims made in this passage?

         (a)   Philosophy is much more personal than it is of professional interest.

         (b) According to the author, philosophy may have no practical value, but it has spiritual value.

         (c) Personality types analogous to those found among philosophers are found in many other field as well.

         (d) Though many people may dislike the methods of philosophy, even they cannot really do without it.

         (e) According to the author, rationalists are generally of a type of personality that he calls ‘tough-minded’.

10.    What according to the author can lead to the simple and massive contrasts in philosophy?

         (a) The strong adherence to one’s line of though and a complete distrust in other’s way of seeing things.

         (b) The difference in laying emphasis on either facts or obstract principles.

         (c) A devotion to either facts or abstract principles, thus separating the ‘rationalist’ from the ‘empiricist’

         (d) A balance between facts and principles, without which one cannot live

         (e) Too much emphasis laid on only either facts or abstract principles, though both are necessary in philosophy

11.    What does the word ‘monistic’ as used in the passage refer to?

         (a)   The whole seen a collection of small parts that are independent

         (b) The unity in all existing things

         (c)   A simple and massive defining factor of rationalism

         (d) Intellectualism as an idealistic and optimistic tendency

         (e)   Antagonism towards pluralistic tendencies

DIRECTIONS for questions 12 to 14:

The sentences given below, when properly sequenced, form a coherent paragraph. Each sentence is labeled with a latter. Select the most logical order of sentences from among the given choices to construct a coherent paragraph.

12.     A.    Pembrooks, as he sat opposite Jackson in the first class compartment, felt that genial glow of satisfaction.

         B.    The five o’clock train, having given itself a spasmodic jerk, began to move slowly out of Paddington Station.

         C.    Until now, he had been half-afraid that Smith might suddenly appear with bag and baggage.

         D.    The platform past which it was gliding was crowded with a number of fauna but in their ranks there was no sign of Smith.

         (a) BDAC                         (b) BACD                      (c) CABD                      (d) BDCA

13.    A.    He’d done with hospitals and he’d done with medicos.

         B.    The other time this happened he had driven himself to Taunton General but the nurses took one look at him and slapped him into emergency, so he filched his clothes and left.

         C.    He was woken by the pain, and by the draught on the wet of his back where the discharge flowed.

         D.    In Jim’s world, Thursday and gone along like any other except that some time in the small hours of the morning the wounds in his shoulder bone started leaking.

         (a) DABC                         (B) DCAB                      (c) DACB                      (d) DCBA

14.    A.    He edged out N.R. Narayana Murthy, CEO of Indian IT giant, Infosys, in the process.

         B.    In January 2001, Fortune magazine named K.Tachikawa, the president of DoCoMo, NTT’s mobile communication subsidiary, as the Asian Businessman of the Year 2000.

         C.    Her achievement was to design the I-mode service of DoCoMo, the first in the world to popularize the mobile version of the Internet.

         D.    Earlier, Fortune had named Mari Matsunaga as the most powerful Asian woman.

         (a) DCBA                         (b) BADC                      (c) ACDB                      (d) ABDC


DIRECTIONS for questions 15 to19:

Each question has a set of sequentially ordered statements. Each statement can be classified as one of the following:

-        Facts, which deal with pieces of information that one has heard, seen or read, and which are open to discovery or verification (the answer option indicates such a statement with an ‘F’).

-        Inferences, which are conclusions drawn about the unknown, on the basis of the known (the answer option indicates such a statement with an ‘I’).

-        Judgements, which are opinions that imply approval or disapproval of persons, objects, situations and occurrences, in the past, the present or the future (the answer option indicates such a statement with a ‘J’).

Select the answer option that best describes the set of four statements.


15.     I.      The Omega Speed master is the only chronograph that survived NASA’s two-year tests.

         II.     Since then it has proven itself in the extreme conditions of space travel – acceleration to 27,000 km/hr and operation in zero gravity.

         III.    Michael Schumacher wears the most tested watch in the world.

         (a) FIJ                     (b) FJJ                     (c) JFJ                    (d) FIF               (e) FFF

16.     I.      It is ironic that Anna Nicole Smith’s struggle over her late husband’s estate has lasted 2 months longer than the couple’s marriage.

         II.     In the latest round, a U.S. District Court judge awarded Smith $88 million of J.Howard Marshall’s oil fortune.

         III.    Smith and Marshall married in 1994 when she was 26 and he was 89.

         (a) FIJ                     (b) FJJ                     (c) JFF                    (d) FFF             (d) JIF

17.     I.      The genius of Todd Field’s anti melodrama, In the Bedroom, lies in its tender approach to a very disturbing truth: grief can be ugly.

         II.     Set amid the clapboard houses of a Maine lobstering village, the film takes its time introducing us to its masterfully played protagonist.

         III.    Tom Wilkinson plays Tom, the genial local doctor.

         (a) FII                      (b) III                        (c) JJJ                    (d) JJF              (e) JIF

18.     I.      Cambodia is about to begin organizing a UN-supported tribunal to put aging Khmer Rouge leaders on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity.

         II.     A breakthrough is likely to come about soon, as the Cambodian government is now seeking UN help in financing the prosecutions.

         III.    At a donors’ conference next moth, UN member governments will pledge about $US38 million to the project - $US 21.6 million from Japan.

         (a) JJF                    (b) JIF                      (c) FFF                   (d) FJF             (e) FIF

19.     I.      Paris is yet to be declared host for the 2012 Olympics, but l’affaire has begun.

         II.     The Games budget takes into account transparency, accountability, performance and fiscal balance, while also contributing to the country’s long-term development.

         III.    Paris plans to stage some of the beach volleyball matches below the Eiffel Tower, which may prove to be popular.

         (a) JFJ                    (b) JFI                      (c) FFF                   (d) FFJ             (e) FFI



1.      Ans. (b)

‘Content-free’ means without any useful substance. The term is clearly derogatory, so (a), (c) and (d) can be ruled out. A euphemism is a polite way of saying something that is offensive. The critics of fuzzy logic dismissed it as insubstantial or meaningless, using a less offensive term like ‘content-free’.

2.      Ans. (d)

The Japanese love of and penchant for innovation has not been mentioned in the passage. So, option (a) is incorrect. Option (b) has been mentioned as a characteristic of the Japanese but has not been said to be the most important reason for the adoption of fuzzy logic. Option (c) is also incorrect as it finds not basis in the passage.

3.      Ans. (d)

Option (a) is incorrect as there is no information to suggest that Japanese culture encourages fuzzy thinking. Option (b) is incorrect as it is Japanese religion and philosophy, not culture in its entirety, that is in tune with ambiguity and contradiction. Option (c) is incorrect as it is fuzzy logic that welcomes unclear and vague ideas and not the Japanese culture.

4.      Ans. (c)

(a) is not suitable as the passage does not cover a long period of time. (b) is incorrect as culture is not the primary focus of the passage. (d) is not related to the passage at all. (c) is an apt title as the author mainly wants to discuss fuzzy logic in general.

5.      Ans. (c)

Option (a) is incorrect as fuzzy logic tries to simulate uncertainty, according to paragraph 1. Option (b) has been negated in paragraph 8. Option (d) has been negated in paragraph 6. Option (c) can be clearly inferred from the 3rd paragraph.

6.      Ans. (b)

Option (a) and (d) have been mentioned in the last paragraph. Option (c) is mentioned in paragraph 7. In option (b), it is the subway system and not its construction that has proved to be a spectacular application of fuzzy logic.

7.      Ans. (a)

Refer to paragraph 2 and the first two sentences of paragraph 3. The author states that a philosophers temperament colours his interpretation of the universe and tends to be his most potent reason for the views he holds. Yet, temperamental bias is not recognized as a valid reason for preferring one view over another, so a philosopher cannot claim any superiority of judgement on the basis of his temperament, and has to supply insincere reasons for the same. This is what is stated in (a), (b) an d() are only partial answers; (c) and (e) do not directly deal with the question at all.

8.      Ans. (c)

Option (a) can be easily inferred from paragraph 3, sentence (c). (b) is a corollary to this view. (e) is implicit in the last sentence of paragraph (c). (d) is also implicit in the same sentence, as well as the rest of the passage (c), however, goes against the grain of the author’s argument – nowhere does he imply that an ‘objective’ stance is necessary in philosophy.

9.      Ans. (e)

Refer to paragraph I, the last sentence: (a) is clearly stated. (b) is implicit in the first half of third sentence of the same passage (the idiom ‘bakes no bread’ means that it has no practical value); (d) is implicit in the second half of the same. (c) is a summary of the beginning of paragraph (d). But refer to the last two sentences of the last paragraph: the author called rationalists ‘tender-minded’ and empiricists ‘tough-minded’. So (e) is false.

10.    Ans. (b)

Refer to the end of paragraph (d) where the author uses the phrase ‘simple and massive contrast’. (a) is too general to apply in this specific context. Since the answer should refer to a ‘contrast’, (d), which talks of a ‘balance’, cannot possibly be correct. While (b), (c) and (e) seem correct at first glance, a closer reading of the passage will show that only (b), which talks of the ‘difference in emphasis of either facts or abstract principles’ is correct in this context.

11.    Ans. (b)

Refer to the last paragraph. According to the author, rationalis is always ‘monistic’. This, he explains, means that rationalism emphasized the unity of all things. Thus (b) is the most suitable answer. Note that (a) is contradictory, (c) does not explain the word’s meaning. (d) is irrelevant, and (e) cannot be inferred.


12.     Ans. (a)

We can clearly see the BD and AC link. ‘it’ in D describes the train in B. Similarly, ‘he’ in statement C refers to Pembrooks in statement A. So, C will follow A. We know that AC will follow BD as BD confirms that Smith has not yet arrived, making Pembrooks happy in AC. Hence, the right order is BDAC. Hence, (a).

13.    Ans. (d)

Clearly statement D is the first sentence as it mentions Jim by name, while the other statements refer to Jim as “he”. It ends with the shoulder bone leaking and statement C, which further describes this wound, will follow D. Then we would have statement B, which describes what Jim did when the thing happened last time. Finally, A should follow B as it ends the paragraph saying that Jim had done with medicos and hospitals after the previous incident described in B.

14.    Ans. (b)

         Neither A, C nor D can logically start the sequence. B is the only stand alone statement. We know that C follows D, as ‘Her’ in C references ‘Mari Matsunaga’ in D. Because of his, we know that ‘He’ in A references ‘K.Tachikawa’ in B. So, the sequence is BADC.

15.     Ans. (e)

         The first statement can be verified and is therefore a Fact. II also reports a verifiable piece of information regarding the watch, so it too is a Fact. While III may seem like a Judgement at first glance, it is a Fact that can be cross-checked.

16.     Ans. (c)

         The word ‘ironic’ in statement I makes it a Judgement, as it is the author’s own opinion that the situation is ironic. Statements II and III, on the other hand, are simply reports of events without any opinions expressed about them, so they are Facts.

17.     Ans. (d)

         The first statement is laden with adjectival qualifications, and is a personal opinion, so it is a Judgement. In the second statement too, the phrase ‘masterfully played’ makes us mark it as a Judgement. Note, although there is an adjectival qualification (genial doctor) in the third statement, we cannot mark it a Judgement because it is a Fact that Tom Wikinson plays the role of a genial doctor – there is no opinion involved here. 

18.     Ans. (e)

         Statement I simply reports the current situation in Cambodia, so it is a Fact. Statement II, on the other hand, makes a prediction for the future based on the present situation. So it is an Inference. Though statement III also deals with the future, it is verifiable, and therefore a Fact.

19.     Ans. (e)

         Statement I is a Fact, in spite of the phrase ‘l’affaire’, which is simply a stylistic device, not an opinion. Statement II is a straightforward Fact that can be verified. Statement III moves from the known fact to the unknown (‘which may prove to be popular’), making it an Inference.


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