Reading Comprehension on the GRE — Humanities Questions - dummies

Reading Comprehension on the GRE — Humanities Questions

By Consumer Dummies

If you run into Reading Comprehension questions on the GRE that deal with the humanities, they may cover a range of topics that include art, music, philosophy, drama, and literature.

Keep in mind that all Reading Comprehension questions are based directly on what’s in the passage. You don’t need to know anything about the subject outside the passage, so if it’s a question on Kant’s views on moral law, or on the poetry of John Donne, all the information you need will be included in the passage.

The following practice questions are based on this sample passage.

Sample passage

It is not very common for the public to know specific details about a specialty field like architecture, but one name stands out from the rest: Frank Lloyd Wright. Perhaps the reason is that he was so prolific during his active years, designing more than 1,100 structures and completing 532 of them. Whatever the reason, his mark on classic and contemporary architecture is not only valued by the world, but also visible in many of the world’s biggest cities and a few smaller communities.

Wright was a born architect, experiencing his first taste of structural design on his family farm in Wisconsin as a young man. Both a high school and college dropout, Wright left the confines of institutionalized education to pursue his passion in Chicago in 1887. Once he touched down in the Windy City, the world of architecture would never be the same. Rather than focusing on European design concepts and pragmatic functionality, Wright believed that form and function were a single entity and space was something to be honored, not partitioned. His early homes turned away from conventional room encasements and opted for connecting rooms with free-form structures, such as fireplaces as the centerpieces of the home and differing window placements to cast varying forms of light.

When Wright started designing larger buildings, his sentimentality came through, displaying a disdain for urban sprawl and a love of the natural environment. He often used natural materials and created shapes that mimicked items seen in the natural world. Buildings were created in the shape of trees, and elements allowing natural light to engulf a room were a common feature. The prowess and vision Wright had for creating grand structures was evident early on. Students and practitioners have attempted to emulate his style, and today, his influence can be seen in not only the form of many standing structures, but also in how function is incorporated to better serve the natural tendencies of life.

Practice questions

  1. Which of the following is mentioned as a convention used by Wright?

    Consider each of the three choices separately, and select all that apply.

    A. He partitioned rooms into separate entities.

    B. He created structures that mimicked the natural world.

    C. He thought natural light distorted open spaces.

  2. The passage is primarily concerned with

    A. showcasing the popular buildings Wright designed.

    B. informing about Wright’s past and growth as an architect.

    C. Wright’s passion for the environment.

    D. Wright’s life on the family farm.

    E. the number of buildings Wright constructed.

Answers and explanations

  1. B. He created structures that mimicked the natural world.

    The second paragraph provides information that opposes Choice (A), he partitioned rooms into separate entities, as does the third paragraph with Choice (C), he thought natural light distorted open spaces. Choice (B) is supported by information in the third paragraph, so this is the only correct choice.

  2. B. informing about Wright’s past and growth as an architect.

    None of Wright’s buildings are mentioned in the passage, so Choice (A), showcasing the popular buildings Wright designed, is wrong. Choices (C), (D), and (E) — Wrights passion for the environment, Wrights life on the family farm, and the number of buildings Wright constructed, respectively — are all mentioned in the text, but they are only small pieces of Wright’s life. Choice (B) provides the general idea behind the information in the passage and is correct.