Practice Questions on Reading Comprehension
Verbal Test Questions and Answers

Common Information

Some people maintain that the whole of medieval society can be explained by the relationship between lord and vassal. But while much of Europe was divided into fiefs, the very lands from which the word feudalism derives, there were parts of the continent that did not fit so nice a definition. In fact, much of Italy, Spain, and southern France were not "feudal" in this sense.

Still, contractual obligations based on land ownership did define much of the social interaction of the period. Corporations, such as they were in this time, might be lords or vassals or both. For example, a monastery might be the lord to the tenant who resides in one of the manor houses on the monastery grounds, while at the same time the monastery pays its homage to the king. There was much room in the medieval system for ambiguities, but the exchange of obligations between superior and inferior was the key element of the society.

As the feudal system increased in scope, new social structures emerged to help maintain the convoluted networks of relationships required by feudalism. In order to justify the continued extraction of resources from the peasants, the kings and lords had to provide security. This exchange led to both the aristocracies that would come to control Europe for centuries to come and the rise of a dedicated warrior class, whose militaristic tendencies would be partly responsible for the years and years of warfare that would wrack Europe. Counterbalancing this, though, was the tradition of courtly behaviour and romantic love that would not have arisen without the fighting class.

While the lives of the vassals were not to be envied, it would be remiss to think that medieval kings led luxurious lives. The great kings of early Europe had more freedom, but that freedom was tempered by the paucity of options available. There was not much more to do than eat, sleep, pray, hunt, and watch over the estate.

Moderate Reading Comprehension Question - 41

Q41.

Common Information Question: 3/4

It can be inferred from the author’s discussion of kings in the passage that:

A.

most medieval kings were highly religious

B.

medieval kings were no freer than the vassals that served them

C.

medieval kings provided their vassals with protection in exchange for material goods

D.

kings were partly responsible for the wars that wracked Europe

E.

medieval kings paid homage to no one

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Moderate Reading Comprehension Question - 42

Q42.

Common Information Question: 4/4

The author uses the term "feudal" in the first paragraph most probably to emphasize that:

A.

social relations in Italy, Spain, and southern France were not based on obligations and land ownership

B.

the word feudal has many different derivations

C.

certain parts of Europe need a different word to define the social interactions that took place in them

D.

Italy, Spain, and southern France did not have kings

E.

although certain parts of the continent were not divided into fiefdoms, a system of obligations still existed

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Common Information

Economists have long recognized a persistent and unfounded belief among the population which has come to be known as the anti-foreign bias. As a result of this bias, most people systematically underestimate the economic benefits of interactions with foreign nations. Some psychologists believe that this bias is rooted in a natural distrust of the "other," while others believe that a form of folk wisdom, seemingly in accord with common sense but nonetheless incorrect, explains the bias. This wisdom asserts that in any transaction there is a winner and a loser and any foreign nation that wants to engage in trade must be doing so because it seeks its own advantage. But nothing could be further from truth.

No less an authority than Adam Smith, one of the fathers of the modern free market system, spoke glowingly of foreign trade in his influential treatise Wealth of Nations. "What is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in a great kingdom," said Smith. His point is simple. A baker trades his bread to the cobbler for shoes and both men benefit from the trade because of the value of specialization. The same principle works for nations. Even more startling, a basic economic theorem, the Law of Comparative Advantage, states that mutually beneficial trade is possible even if one nation is less productive than the other.

Suppose a citizen of Country X can produce either 10 computers or five bushels of wheat and a citizen of Country Y can produce either three computers or two bushels of wheat. If one citizen from Country X switches from producing wheat to computers and three citizens from Country Y switch from producing computers to wheat, there is a net gain of one computer and one bushel of wheat.

Moderate Reading Comprehension Question - 43

Q43.

Common Information Question: 1/4

The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?

A.

Arguing for an increase in trade with foreign nations.

B.

Providing a historical context for a long-standing belief.

C.

Demonstrating the fallacy of a particular way of thinking.

D.

Illustrating an economic principle through an example.

E.

Describing Adam Smith’s contributions to the theory of trade.

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Moderate Reading Comprehension Question - 44

Q44.

Common Information Question: 2/4

The author most likely mentions the "baker" and the "cobbler" in order to:

A.

provide a concrete illustration of an economic principle

B.

discuss the types of goods available during Adam Smith’s time

C.

evaluate an example used in Smith’s Wealth of Nations

D.

show that all trade is based on specialization

E.

give a real world example of the importance of foreign trade

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Moderate Reading Comprehension Question - 45

Q45.

Common Information Question: 3/4

The author most probably uses the word "startling" in reference to the Law of Comparative Advantage because:

A.

it is surprising that the general public is unaware of the Law of Comparative Advantage

B.

the Law proves that all foreign trade is mutually beneficial

C.

it is puzzling that no one before Adam Smith thought of the Law

D.

the Law of Comparative Advantage holds even when there is an imbalance in the capabilities of the nations

E.

most countries do not consider the Law of Comparative Advantage when devising their trade policies

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