GMAT Verbal Practice: Complete the Passage Questions

GMAT Verbal Practice: Complete the Passage Questions

When you encounter Complete the Passage questions on the GMAT, use Kaplan’s four-step process below to find the correct answer.

  • Identify the Conclusion, Evidence & Assumption(s).

    This should be your first step for all of the Critical Reasoning question types. The conclusion and the evidence will be explicitly stated in the passage, while the assumptions will require you to sit and consider the author’s point of view. What needs to be true in order for the conclusion to be correct based on the given evidence?

  • Determine what is missing.

    What does the blank represent? Often it will be either a restatement of the conclusion,  or another supporting piece of evidence, but it could also be an action advocating by the author, or an example of the author’s argument applied to the real world.

  • Make a prediction (and write it down)!

    This is the most important step. Come up with a logical phrase for the blank, in your own words, based on what you think the blank represents to the argument as a whole. If you’ve determined the blank is the conclusion, come up with your own logical conclusion based on the evidence. If you believe it’s something the author is advocating as a next step, try to consider his perspective and come up with a reasonable leap. Don’t worry about making it perfect – just get something down on paper!

  • Eliminate out-of-scope answers.

    While the correct answer may not perfectly match your prediction, the simple fact that you took the time to think critically while you came up with a prediction will help you understand the author’s focus and the flow of his argument. Eliminate answer choices that would NOT follow the gist of the paragraph. Especially look for those that are outside the scope of the author’s focus, a favorite CR wrong answer type!

Practice Question

Use the four-step process to answer the following practice question, then check your process with the one below.

Old, longstanding firms concentrate on protecting what they have already amassed. Consequently, they rarely innovate and often underestimate what consequences innovation by other companies will have. The best example of one such defensive strategy is the fact that ___.

Which of the following best completes the passage?

A.   electronics and mass-produced gears eliminated the traditional market for pocket watches, clearing the way for marketing them as elegant, old-fashioned luxury items.

B.   an extremely popular prefabricated house was introduced by a company that, several years before, had failed miserably with its product line of glass houses.

C.   a once-leading maker of buggy whips responds to the new availability of stick shifts by attempting to make better buggy whips.

D.   smoking pipes, originally designed for use by typically older, more traditional smokers of tobacco, are now bought mostly by young smokers of scented or flavored herbal blends.

E.   the psychiatrist who invented the anti-inhibition drug MDM did not mean for his product to be used by partygoers, who buy most of the drug now called “Ecstasy.”

Make A Prediction

Conclusion – Old firms don’t innovate & underestimate other companies that do.

Evidence – Old firms concentrate on protecting what they have.

Assumptions – Protecting what you have = NOT innovating

What’s the blank represent? An example that will prove the author’s point.

Prediction: An old firm that didn’t innovate & suffered as a result of another company that did.

Answer Choices

A.   electronics and mass-produced gears eliminated the traditional market for pocket watches, clearing the way for marketing them as elegant, old-fashioned luxury items.

Incorrect. This is contradictory since the traditional pocket watch makers changed their marketing (and thus innovated.)

B.   an extremely popular prefabricated house was introduced by a company that, several years before, had failed miserably with its product line of glass houses.

Incorrect. This is contradictory since it shows a company that innovated.

C.   a once-leading maker of buggy whips responds to the new availability of stick shifts by attempting to make better buggy whips.

Correct! Here an old buggy whip firm does not innovate and simply focuses on what they already have.

D.   smoking pipes, originally designed for use by typically older, more traditional smokers of tobacco, are now bought mostly by young smokers of scented or flavored herbal blends.

Incorrect. This focuses on the consumer. We would consider this “out of scope” since our argument focuses on the producers.

E.   the psychiatrist who invented the anti-inhibition drug MDM did not mean for his product to be used by partygoers, who buy most of the drug now called “Ecstasy.”

Incorrect. This focuses on the intentions of the producer, which is also “out of scope” to our argument.