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MCAT, the Medical College Admission Test, is an examination for prospective medical students in USA and Canada. It is to assess problem solving, critical thinking, written analysis as well as knowledge of scientific concepts and principles to the study of medicine.

Scores are reported in Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences. Almost all USA and Canada medical schools require to submit MCAT exam scores.

More information is in its official website. MCAT Test

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MCAT exam practice - Reading Main Idea questions(4)
By Enoch Morrison
Reading Main Idea Questions

Read the following passage and answer question 10.

High in the Andes Mountains in Peru stands the ancient city of Machu Picchu. No one knows why this great city was built, nor is it likely that anyone will ever know. Nevertheless, the deserted city of Machu Picchu is important for what it reveals about the ancient Inca people of South America.

The Incas once ruled a great empire that covered a large part of the South American continent. The empire was more than 500 years old when the first Spanish explorers, looking for gold, went to that continent in the 16th century.

The Incas were an advanced people. They were skillful engineers who paved their roads and built sturdy bridges. They plowed the land in such a way that rains would not wash away valuable soil, and dug ditches to carry water into dry areas for farming.

Even though they did not know about the wheel, the Incas were able to move huge stone blocks-some as heavy as 10 tons-up the sides of mountains to build walls. The blocks were fitted so tightly, without cement of any kind, that it would be impossible to slip a knife blade between them! The walls have stood firm through great storms and earthquakes that have destroyed many modern buildings.

The Incas were great artists, too. Today, Incan dishes and other kinds of pottery are prized for their wonderful designs. Because both gold and silver were in great supply, the Incas created splendid objects from these precious metals.

While it is true that the Incas had no written language, they kept their accounts by using a system of knotted strings of various lengths and colors. The sizes of the knots and the distances between them represented numbers.

At its height, the Incan Empire included as many as 30 million people. The emperor ruled them with an iron hand. He told his subjects where to live, what to plant, how long they should work, and even whom they could marry. Because he owned everything, the emperor gave what he wished when he wished-and in the amount he wished-to his people.

In 1533, Spanish explorers led by Francisco Pizarro murdered the emperor of the Incas. Earlier, the heir to the Incan empire had also been killed. The Incas, who had always been entirely dependent on their emperor, now had no recognized leader. The Spaniards easily conquered the empire and plundered its riches.

Have the Incas disappeared from South America? Not at all. In Peru alone, once the center of that great empire, 80 percent of the 20 million people are descendants of the Inca people. Evidence of the Incan empire can be found in many other places in South America as well. Tourists can even visit Machu Picchu. The remains of this ancient city still stand high in the mountains of Peru, an awesome tribute to this once powerful empire.

10. What is the main idea of this passage?
  • A. The Incas once inhabited the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
  • B. Peru was the primary country of the Incas.
  • C. The Incan Empire can be found in ancient cities and was plundered by the Spanish.
  • D. Spanish conquerors destroyed the Incan empire in the 13th century.
  • E. Machu Picchu was the capital of the Incan empire.

Answers and Explanations

1. D

2: D

3. E

4. A

5. B

6. D

7. D

8. C

9. A

10. C


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