Reading Comprehension
Verbal Ability

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Common Information

On the surface, the conquest of the Aztec empire by Herman Cortes is one of the most amazing military accomplishments in history. With a small fighting force numbering in the hundreds, Cortes led the Spanish explorers into victory against an Aztec population that many believe topped 21 million. In light of such a seemingly impossible victory, the obvious question is: how did a small group of foreign fighters manage to topple one of the world's strongest, wealthiest, and most successful military empires?

Several factors led to Cortes' success. First, the Spanish exploited animosity toward the Aztecs among rival groups and convinced thousands of locals to fight. In one account of a battle, it is recorded that at least 200,000 natives fought with Cortes. Next, the Spanish possessed superior military equipment in the form of European cannons, guns, and crossbows, leading to effective and efficient disposal of Aztec defenses. For example, Spanish cannons quickly defeated large Aztec walls that had protected the empire against big and less technically advanced armies.

Despite the Spanish advantages, the Aztecs probably could have succeeded in defending their capital city of Tenochtitlan had they leveraged their incredible population base to increase their army's size and ensured that no rogue cities would ally with Cortes. In order to accomplish this later goal, Aztec leader Motecuhzoma needed to send envoys to neighboring cities telling their inhabitants about the horrors of Spanish conquest and the inevitability of Spanish betrayal.

In addition, the Aztecs should have exploited the fact that the battle was taking place on their territory. No reason existed for the Aztecs to consent to a conventional battle, which heavily favored the Spanish. Motecuhzoma's forces should have thought outside the box and allowed Cortes into the city, only to subsequently use hundreds of thousands of fighters to prevent escape and proceed in surprise "door-to-door" combat. With this type of battle, the Aztecs would have largely thwarted Spanish technological supremacy. However, in the end, the superior weaponry of the Spanish, the pent-up resentment of Aztec rivals, the failure of Aztec diplomacy, and the lack of an unconventional Aztec war plan led to one of the most surprising military outcomes in the past one thousand years.

Q.

Common Information Question: 1/8

Which of the following best characterizes the main point the author is trying to convey in the passage?

 A.

Aztec failure to fight an unconventional war led to an unnecessary defeat

 B.

Spanish victory was neither as impressive nor as surprising as it may first appear

 C.

Resentment toward the Aztecs led to their demise

 D.

Herman Cortes masterminded an amazing military accomplishment

 E.

The myopic vision of the Aztecs led to their unnecessary downfall

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Solution:
Option(B) is correct

In order to ascertain the main point that the author is trying to make, it is important to examine logical flow of the passage.

1st Paragraph: Explain a seemingly amazing accomplishment and ask whether it really is as impressive as it first appears.

2nd Paragraph: Explain factors that made the impressive accomplishment not as impressive.

3rd Paragraph: Explain how the seemingly amazing accomplishment didn't have to turn out the way it did.

4th Paragraph: Explain how the seemingly amazing accomplishment didn't have to turn out the way it did.

A.The Aztec failure to fight in an unconventional manner is discussed only in the last paragraph and is mentioned only to make a larger point: the fall of the Aztec was not as impressive as it originally appeared.

B.This encapsulates the logical flow and main points of the passage. 

C.This topic is only discussed during part of the second paragraph and is mentioned only to make a larger point: the fall of the Aztec was not as impressive as it originally appeared.

D.The main point of the passage is to challenge this common belief and point out that it was not as amazing as is often asserted. 

E.The passage never even mentions that the Aztec had myopic vision let alone makes this the main focus.


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