Problems

Passage 1

To summarize the Classic Maya collapse, we can tentatively identify five strands. I acknowledge, however, that Maya archaeologists still disagree vigorously among themselves—in part, because the different strands evidently varied in importance among different parts of the Maya realm; because detailed archaeological studies are available for only some Maya sites; and because it remains puzzling why most of the Maya heartland remained nearly empty of population and failed to recover after the collapse and after re-growth of forests.

With those caveats, it appears to me that one strand consisted of population growth outstripping available resources: a dilemma similar to the one foreseen by Thomas Malthus in 1798 and being played out today in Rwanda (Chapter 10), Haiti (Chapter 11), and elsewhere. As the archaeologist David Webster succinctly puts it, “Too many farmers grew too many crops on too much of the landscape.” Compounding that mismatch between population and resources was the second strand: the effects of deforestation and hillside erosion, which caused a decrease in the amount of useable farmland at a time when more rather than less farmland was needed, and possibly exacerbated by an anthropogenic drought resulting from deforestation, by soil nutrient depletion and other soil problems, and by the struggle to prevent bracken ferns from overrunning the fields.

The third strand consisted of increased fighting, as more and more people fought over fewer resources. Maya warfare, already endemic, peaked just before the collapse. That is not surprising when one reflects that at least 5,000,000 people, perhaps many more, were crammed into an area smaller than the state of Colorado (104,000 square miles). That warfare would have decreased further the amount of land available for agriculture, by creating no man’s lands between principalities where it was now unsafe to farm. Bringing matters to a head was the strand of climate change. The drought at the time of the Classic collapse was not the first drought that the Maya had lived through, but it was the most severe. At the time of previous droughts, there were still uninhabited parts of the Maya landscape, and people at a site affected by drought could save themselves by moving to another site. However, by the time of the Classic collapse the landscape was now full, there was no useful unoccupied land in the vicinity on which to begin anew, and the whole population could not be accommodated in the few areas that continued to have reliable water supplies.

As our fifth strand, we have to wonder why the kings and nobles failed to recognize and solve these seemingly obvious problems undermining their society. Their attention was evidently focused on their short-term concerns of enriching themselves, waging wars, erecting monuments, competing with each other, and extracting enough food from the peasants to support all those activities. Like most leaders throughout human history, the Maya kings and nobles did not heed long-term problems, insofar as they perceived them. We shall return to this theme in Chapter 14.

Finally, while we still have some other past societies to consider in this book before we switch our attention to the modern world, we must already be struck by some parallels between the Maya and the past societies discussed in Chapters 2-4. As on Easter Island, Mangareva, and among the Anasazi, Maya environmental and population problems led to increasing warfare and civil strife. As on Easter Island and at Chaco Canyon, Maya peak population numbers were followed swiftly by political and social collapse.

Paralleling the eventual extension of agriculture from Easter Island’s coastal lowlands to its uplands, and from the Mimbres floodplain to the hills, Copan’s inhabitants also expanded from the floodplain to the more fragile hill slopes, leaving them with a larger population to feed when the agricultural boom in the hills went bust. Like Easter Island chiefs erecting ever larger statues, eventually crowned by pukao, and like Anasazi elite treating themselves to necklaces of 2,000 turquoise beads, Maya kings sought to outdo each other with more and more impressive temples, covered with thicker and thicker plaster— reminiscent in turn of the extravagant conspicuous consumption by modern American CEOs. The passivity of Easter chiefs and Maya kings in the face of the real big threats to their societies completes our list of disquieting parallels.

  1. According to the passage, which of the following best represents the factor that has been cited by the author in the context of Rwanda and Haiti?
    1. Various ethnic groups competing for land and other resources
    2. Various ethnic groups competing for limited land resources
    3. Various ethnic groups fighting with each other
    4. Various ethnic groups competing for political power
    5. Various ethnic groups fighting for their identity

 

  1. By an anthropogenic drought, the author means
    1. A drought caused by lack of rains.
    2. A drought caused due to deforestation
    3. A drought caused by failure to prevent bracken ferns from overrunning the fields.
    4. A drought caused by actions of human beings.
    5. A drought caused by climate changes.

 

  1.  According to the passage, the drought at the time of Maya collapse had a different impact compared to the droughts earlier because
    1. The Maya kings continue to be extravagant when common people were suffering.
    2. It happened at the time of the collapse of leadership among Mayas.
    3. It happened when the Maya population had occupied all available land suited for agriculture.
    4. It was followed by internecine warfare among Mayans.
    5. Irreversible environmental degradation led to this drought.

 

  1.  According to the author, why is it difficult to explain the reasons for Maya collapse?
    1. Copan inhabitants destroyed all records of that period.
    2. The constant deforestation and hillside erosion have wiped out all traces of the Maya kingdom.
    3. Archaeological sites of Mayas do not provide any consistent evidence.
    4. It has not been possible to ascertain which of the factors best explains as to why the Maya civilization collapsed.
    5. At least five million people were crammed into a small area.

 

  1. Which factor has not been cited as one of the factors causing the collapse of Maya society?
    1. Environmental degradation due to excess population
    2. Social collapse due to excess population
    3. Increased warfare among Maya people
    4. Climate change
    5. The obsession of Maya population with their own short-term concerns.

Passage 2

Disequilibrium at the interface of water and air is a factor on which the transfer of heat and water vapor from the ocean to the air depends. The air within about a millimeter of the water is almost saturated with water vapor and the temperature of the air is close to that of the surface water. Irrespective of how small these differences might be, they are crucial, and the disequilibrium is maintained by air near the surface mixing with air higher up, which is typically appreciably cooler and lower in water vapor content. The turbulence, which takes its energy from the wind mixes the air. As the speed of wind increases so does the turbulence, and consequently the rate of heat and moisture transfer. We can arrive at a detailed understanding of this phenomenon after further study. The transfer of momentum from wind to water, which occurs when waves are formed is an interacting-and complicated phenomenon. When waves are made by the wind, it transfers important amounts of energy-energy, which is consequently not available for the production of turbulence.

6. This passage principally intends to:

      1. resolve a controversy
      2. attempt a description of a phenomenon
      3. sketch a theory
      4. reinforce certain research findings
      5. tabulate various observation

 

7. The wind over the ocean usually does which of the following according to the given passage?
Leads to cool, dry air coming in proximity to the ocean surface.
II. Maintains a steady rate of heat and moisture transfer between the ocean and the air.
III. Results in frequent changes in the ocean surface temperature.

    1. I only
    2. II only
    3. I and II only
    4. II and III only
    5. I, II, and III

 

8. According to the author the present knowledge regarding heat and moisture transfer from the ocean to air as

  1. revolutionary
  2. inconsequential
  3. outdated
  4. derivative
  5. incomplete

 

9. According to the given passage, in case the wind was to decrease until there was no wind at all, which of the following would occur?

  1. The air, which is closest to the ocean surface would get saturated with water vapor.
  2. The water would be cooler than the air closest to the ocean surface.
  3. There would be a decrease in the amount of moisture in the air closest to the ocean surface.
  4. There would be an increase in the rate of heat and moisture transfer.
  5. The temperature of the air closest to the ocean and that of the air higher up would be the same.

Passage 3

Roger Rosenblatt’s book Black Fiction, manages to alter the approach taken in many previous studies by making an attempt to apply literary rather than sociopolitical criteria to its subject. Rosenblatt points out that criticism of Black writing has very often served as a pretext for an expounding on Black history. The recent work of Addison Gayle’s passes a judgment on the value of Black fiction by clearly political standards, rating each work according to the ideas of Black identity, which it propounds.

Though fiction results from political circumstances, its author react not in ideological ways to those circumstances, and talking about novels and stories primarily as instruments of ideology circumvents much of the fictional enterprise. Affinities and connections are revealed in the works of Black fiction in Rosenblatt’s literary analysis; these affinities and connections have been overlooked and ignored by solely political studies.

The writing of acceptable criticism of Black fiction, however, presumes to give satisfactory answers to a quite a few questions. The most important of all, is there a sufficient reason, apart from the racial identity of the authors, for the grouping together of Black authors? Secondly, what is the distinction of Black fiction from other modern fiction with which it is largely contemporaneous? In the work, Rosenblatt demonstrates that Black fiction is a distinct body of writing, which has an identifiable, coherent literary tradition. He highlights recurring concerns and designs, which are independent of chronology in Black fiction written over the past eighty years. These concerns and designs are thematic, and they come from the central fact of the predominant white culture, where the Black characters in the novel are situated irrespective of whether they attempt to conform to that culture or they rebel against it.

Rosenblatt’s work does leave certain aesthetic questions open. His thematic analysis allows considerable objectivity; he even clearly states that he does not intend to judge the merit of the various works yet his reluctance seems misplaced, especially since an attempt to appraise might have led to interesting results. For example, certain novels have an appearance of structural diffusion. Is this a defeat, or are the authors working out of, or attempting to forge, a different kind of aesthetic? Apart from this, the style of certain Black novels, like Jean Toomer’s Cane, verges on expressionism or surrealism; does this technique provide a counterpoint to the prevalent theme that portrays the fate against which Black heroes are pitted, a theme usually conveyed by more naturalistic modes of expressions?

Irrespective of such omissions, what Rosenblatt talks about in his work makes for an astute and worthwhile study. His book very effectively surveys a variety of novels, highlighting certain fascinating and little-known works like James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man. Black Fiction is tightly constructed, and levelheaded and penetrating criticism is exemplified in its forthright and lucid style.

 

10. The author of the passage raises an objection to criticism of Black fiction like that by Addison Gayle as it:

      1. Highlights only the purely literary aspects of such works
      2. Misconceive the ideological content of such fiction
      3. Miscalculate the notions of Black identity presented in such fiction
      4. Replaces political for literary criteria in evaluating such fiction
      5. Disregards the reciprocation between Black history and Black identity exhibited in such fiction.

 

11. The primary concern of the author in the above passage is:

  1. Reviewing the validity of a work of criticism
  2. Comparing various critical approaches to a subject
  3. Talking about the limitations of a particular kind of criticism
  4. Recapitulation of the major points in a work of criticism
  5. Illustrating the theoretical background of a certain kind of criticism.

 

12. The author is of the opinion that Black Fiction would have been improved had Rosenblatt:

  1. Undertaken a more careful evaluation of the ideological and historical aspects of Black Fiction
  2. Been more objective in his approach to novels and stories by Black authors
  3. Attempted a more detailed exploration of the recurring themes in Black fiction throughout its history
  4. Established a basis for placing Black fiction within its own unique literary tradition
  5. Calculated the relative literary merit of the novels he analyzed thematically.

 

13. According to the given passage, the author would be LEAST likely to approve of which among the following?

  1. Analyzing the influence of political events on the personal ideology of Black writers
  2. Attempting a critical study, which applies sociopolitical criteria to the autobiographies of Black authors
  3. A literary study of Black poetry that appraises the merits of poems according to the political acceptability of their themes
  4. Studying the growth of a distinct Black literary tradition within the context of Black history
  5. Undertaking a literary study, which attempts to isolate aesthetic qualities unique to Black fiction.

 

14. From the following options, which does the author not make use of while discussing Black Fiction?

  1. Rhetorical questions
  2. Specific examples
  3. Comparison and contrast
  4. Definition of terms
  5. Personal opinion.

 

15. The author makes a reference to James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man most probably to:

  1. Highlight the affinities between Rosenblatt’s method of thematic analysis and earlier criticism
  2. Elucidate regarding the point made regarding expressionistic style earlier in the passage
  3. Qualify the assessment of Rosenblatt’s book made in the first paragraph of the passage
  4. Demonstrate the affinities among the various Black novels talked of by Rosenblatt’s literary analysis
  5. Present a specific example of one of the accomplishments of Rosenblatt’s work.

Answers

1. Option 1

The question asks for the factor best denoting the case of Rwanda and Haiti.

From the second paragraph, “…one strand consisted of population growth outstripping available resources: a dilemma similar to the one foreseen by Thomas Malthus in 1798 and being played out today in Rwanda, Haiti, and elsewhere. As the archaeologist David Webster succinctly puts it, ‘Too many farmers grew too many crops on too much of the landscape.’

Compounding that mismatch between population and resources was the second strand: the effects of deforestation and hillside erosion, which caused a decrease in the amount of useable farmland at a time when more rather than less farmland was needed, and possibly exacerbated by an anthropogenic drought resulting from deforestation, by soil nutrient depletion and other soil problems, and by the struggle to prevent bracken ferns from overrunning the fields”.

The keywords are the words ‘limited’, ‘land ’and ‘resources’. The second strand continues in the same vein and says that land and resources were limited. Combining the two, option 1 is the right answer option.

Option 2 talks about “land resources” but does not mention other resources which were also scarce.

Options 3 states ‘ethnic groups fighting with each other’. There is no mention of fighting in the second paragraph.

Option 4 mentions ‘ethnic groups competing for political power’. There is no mention of this in the second paragraph.

Option 5 states ‘ethnic groups were fighting for their identity’ which is not related to the Rwandan and Haitian context.

 

2. Option 4

This was essentially a vocabulary question – you need to know or guess the meaning of Anthropogenic. Anthropogenic means ‘caused or produced by humans’.

From the second paragraph, “…anthropogenic drought resulting from deforestation, by soil nutrient depletion and other soil problems, and by the struggle to prevent bracken ferns from overrunning the fields.”

Option 1 is incorrect because lack of rain cannot be attributed to the human intervention.

Options 2 and 3 are incorrect because they are reasons to the causes of the drought and why the drought was anthropogenic.

Option 4 means the same as anthropogenic. Deforestation and soil nutrient depletion can only be caused by humans.

Option 5 is incorrect because a drought caused by climate changes cannot be said to be caused by humans.

 

3. Option 3

This is a direct question.

Option 1 is the fifth strand is the passage, but there is nothing to indicate that had a different impact compared to earlier draughts.

Option 2 has no supporting data in the passage.

Option 4 contradicts the third paragraph, “Maya warfare, already endemic, peaked just before the collapse”.

Option 5 is incorrect because “the third strand consisted of increased fighting, as more and more people fought over fewer resources.” This implies that environmental degradation had nothing to do with this particular drought.

The third paragraph mentions “at the time of previous droughts, there were still uninhabited parts of the Maya landscape, and people at a site affected by drought could save themselves by moving to another site.

However, by the time of the Classic collapse the landscape was now full, there was no useful unoccupied land in the vicinity on which to begin anew, and the whole population could not be accommodated in the few areas that continued to have reliable water supplies.” From this, option 3 is correct.

 

4. Option 4

Option 1: the passage does not talk about Copan inhabitants destroying the records.

The first paragraph mentions that “detailed archaeological studies are available for some Maya sites” which contradicts options 2. Further, since there is no other evidence in the passage, we have no ground for option 3.

Option 5 is mentioned in the third paragraph; however, it does not explain the reasons for Maya collapse. The passage mentions five possible strands for the Maya collapse.

The passage states, “I acknowledge, however, that Maya archaeologists still disagree vigorously among themselves – in part, because the different strands evidently varied in importance among different parts of the Maya realm; because detailed archaeological studies are available for only some Maya sites; and because it remains puzzling why most of the Maya heartland remained nearly empty of population and failed to recover after the collapse and after re-growth of forests”. The summary of this paragraph is option 4.

 

5. Option 5

The second paragraph states, “…population growth outstripping available resources”. This led to deforestation and soil erosion which ultimately led to environmental degradation. This eliminates option 1.

The last paragraph states “…the Maya peak population numbers were followed swiftly by political and social collapse”. This eliminates option 2.

Option 3 is also mentioned in the passage. The third paragraph states “the third strand consisted of increased fighting, as more and more people fought over fewer resources. Maya warfare, already endemic, peaked just before the collapse.”

Option 4 has been cited as one of the factors. In the third paragraph, “bringing matters to a head was the strand of climate change.”

Option 5 is not mentioned in the passage. The fourth paragraph does state “short-term concerns of the kings and the nobles” but option 5 talks about the ‘Maya population’.

 

Question 6-9: We cannot skim it.
No shortcuts.
Such passages require detailed attention from the beginning – as this passage explains a scientific process of how the vapors, winds, ocean waves etc – different processes.
The initial passage can take a moment to understand but it is a must.

6. This passage principally intends to:

  1. resolve a controversy. (there is no controversy, mentioned in the passage)
  2. attempt a description of a phenomenon. Correct – this option is dear to the passage
  3. sketch a theory. Didn’t seem like the author is sketching a theory
  4. reinforce certain research findings. No reinforcing
  5. tabulate various observations tabulate – refers to arrange in a tabular format, this doesn’t seem to be the case

 

7. The wind over the ocean usually does which of the following according to the given passage?

I. Leads to cool, dry air coming in proximity to the ocean surface. Correct.

Disequilibrium at the interface of water and air is a factor on which the transfer of heat and water vapor from the ocean to the air depends. The air within about a millimeter of the water is almost saturated with water vapor and the temperature of the air is close to that of the surface water.

 

8.  According to the author the present knowledge regarding heat and moisture transfer from the ocean to air as
1. revolutionary
2. inconsequential
3. outdated
4. derivative
5. incomplete  CORRECT -Please refer, the second last line…”We can arrive at a detailed understanding of this phenomenon after further study.” – Author never said – this knowledge is any of the above four options 

 

9. According to the given passage, in case the wind was to decrease until there was no wind at all, which of the following would occur?
1. The air, which is closest to the ocean surface would get saturated with water vapor. Correct, – The air within about a millimeter of the water is almost saturated with water vapor and the temperature of the air is close to that of the surface water                                                                                                                                      
2. The water would be cooler than the air closest to the ocean surface. Incorrect – there would be a decrease in water vapors as water vapor content will be impacted and not the cooler water vapor.        

 

  1. Answer 4
  2. Answer 1
  3. Answer 5
  4. Answer 3
  5. Answer 4
  6. Answer 5