GMAT Reading Comprehension Practice Series: Sample Inference Question

December 2, 2013
Gina Allison

GMAT reading comprehension difficult inference

This GMAT reading comp question takes some careful consideration.

As promised, today’s entry may push your limits with a GMAT Reading Comprehension question that’s rated as a high level of difficulty. With all the reading comp study and practice you’ve been doing lately, however, this might not feel so difficult.

Once more, here’s the passage you have been working with recently, along with the topic, scope, purpose, and passage map.

The 1950s saw the emergence of the theory of andragogy, the process by which adults learn (as distinct from pedagogy, the theory of children’s learning processes). Educator Malcolm Knowles held that flexibility, informality, enthusiasm, and commitment from both student and teacher, as well as the ability to build upon extant knowledge, were all necessary aspects of adult education classes.

Knowles’s beliefs about adult learning had their roots in five assumptions. First, adults are self-directed, independent beings. Next, adults have a reservoir of experiences on which to build, which children lack. Third, they are ready to learn skills necessary for their social roles. Fourth, adults learn as a way of solving problems, since their application of learned concepts is immediate. Finally, adults’ motivation to learn comes from within.

  • TOPIC: Knowles’s theory of and assumptions about andragogy
  • SCOPE: The characteristics of adult learners
  • PURPOSE: To explain Knowles’s views of the characteristics of adult learners.

Paragraph Map:

  • Paragraph 1: Knowles’s views re: the characteristics of adult education classes.
  • Paragraph 2: Knowles’s beliefs—5 assumptions—about the characteristics of adult learners.

Now, the much-anticipated practice question:

The author implies that Malcolm Knowles

  • A. lived in the 1950s
  • B. taught adult education classes.
  • C. believed that adults learned best when ordered by their employers to attend classes.
  • D. designed adult education curricula that were flexible and informal.
  • E. had a vast reservoir of varied experiences before entering the field of education.

Choose carefully, and post your answers here in the comments, or on Facebook. We’ll reveal the answer explanation in a couple of days!


Gina Allison Gina Allison has been a Kaplan instructor for over six years and was named Teacher of the Year in 2008. She has an MBA and would like to further her studies in Education or Botany. Gina loves working with students to help them develop study schedules and to motivate them to achieve success on test day and beyond. She likes to read, see movies, and work in her garden.

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