Practice Questions on Reading Comprehension
Verbal Test Questions and Answers

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.

Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 1

Q1.

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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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 2

Q2.

Common Information Question: 2/8

The passage is sequentially organized in which of the following ways?

A.

Introduce an enigma; explain the reasons for the enigma; discuss the inevitability of the enigma

B.

Define a problem; explain the sources of the problem; offer a solution to the problem

C.

Introduce a mystery; offer an explanation for the mystery; provide an alternative explanation for the mystery

D.

Pose a question; offer an answer to the question; offer an alternative answer to the question

E.

Define a problem; explain the likelihood of the problem; discuss the consequences of the problem

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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 3

Q3.

Common Information Question: 3/8

The author implies which of the following about the Aztec view toward an unconventional military confrontation of the Spanish?

A.

The Aztecs did not consider it

B.

The Aztecs considered it, but rejected it out of beliefs about how battles ought to be fought

C.

The Aztecs considered this, but it was too late

D.

The Aztecs were certain a victory could be achieved via traditional combat

E.

The Aztecs felt the geography of Tenochtitlan did not favor this strategy

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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 4

Q4.

Common Information Question: 4/8

According to the passage, all of the following led to Cortes' success EXCEPT:

A.

Advanced crossbows

B.

Nimble military force

C.

Local Spanish allies

D.

Local tribal friction

E.

Quick destruction of Aztec walls

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Easy Reading Comprehension Question - 5

Q5.

Common Information Question: 5/8

Which of the following best characterizes the author's view about the inevitability of Aztec demise at the hands of the Spanish?

A.

Absolutely Inevitable

B.

Likely Inevitable

C.

Ambivalent

D.

Likely Not Inevitable

E.

Absolutely Not Inevitable

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