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Passage Reading and English Comprehension

The fact that superior service can generate a competitive advantage for a company does not mean that every attempt at improving service will create such an advantage. Investments in service, like those in production and distribution, must be balanced against other types of investments on the basis of direct, tangible benefits such as cost reduction and increased revenues. If a company is already effectively on a par with its competitors because it provides service that avoids a damaging reputation and keeps customers from leaving at an unacceptable rate, then investment in higher service levels may be wasted, since service is a deciding factor for customers only in extreme situations.

This truth was not apparent to managers of one regional bank, which failed to improve its competitive position despite its investment in reducing the time a customer had to wait for a teller. The bank managers did not recognize the level of customer inertia in the consumer banking industry that arises from the inconvenience of switching banks. Nor did they analyze their service improvement to determine whether it would attract new customers by producing a new standard of service that would excite customers or by proving difficult for competitors to copy. The only merit of the improvement was that it could easily be described to customers.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(a) contrast possible outcomes of a type of business investment
(b) suggest more careful evaluation of a type of business investment
(c) illustrate various ways in which a type of business investment could fail to enhance revenues
(d) trace the general problems of a company to a certain type of business investment

2. According to the passage, investments in service are comparable to investments in production and distribution in terms of the

(a) tangibility of the benefits that they tend to confer
(b) increased revenues that they ultimately produce
(c) basis on which they need to be weighed
(d) insufficient analysis that managers devote to them

3. The passage suggests which of the following about service provided by the regional bank prior to its investment in enhancing that service?

(a) It enabled the bank to retain customers at an acceptable rate.
(b) It threatened to weaken the bank’s competitive position with respect to other regional banks.
(c) It had already been improved after having caused damage to the bank’s reputation in the past.
(d) It was slightly superior to that of the bank’s regional competitors.

4. The passage suggests that bank managers failed to consider whether or not the service improvement

(a) was too complicated to be easily described to prospective customers
(b) made a measurable change in the experiences of customers in the bank’s offices
(c) could be sustained if the number of customers increased significantly
(d) was an innovation that competing banks could have imitated

5. The discussion of the regional bank serves which of the following functions within the passage as a whole?

(a) It describes an exceptional case in which investment in service actually failed to produce a competitive advantage.
(b) It illustrates the pitfalls of choosing to invest in service at a time when investment is needed more urgently in another area.
(c) It demonstrates the kind of analysis that managers apply when they choose one kind of service investment over another.
(d) It provides an example of the point about investment in service made in the first paragraph.

6. The author uses the word “only” in the last line most likely in order to

(a) highlight the oddity of the service improvement
(b) emphasize the relatively low value of the investment in service improvement
(c) distinguish the primary attribute of the service improvement from secondary attributes
(d) single out a certain merit of the service improvement from other merits
The antigen-antibody immunological reaction used to be regarded as typical of immunological responses. Antibodies are proteins synthesized by specialized cells called plasma cells, which are formed by lymphocytes (cells from the lymph system) when an antigen, a substance foreign to the organism’s body, comes in contact with lymphocytes. Two important manifestations of antigen-antibody immunity are lysis, the rapid physical rupture of antigenic cells and the liberation of their contents into the surrounding medium, and phagocytosis, a process in which antigenic particles are engulfed by and very often digested by macrophages and polymorphs. The process of lysis is executed by a complex and unstable blood constituent known as complement, which will not work unless it is activated by a specific antibody; the process of phagocytosis is greatly facilitated when the particles to be engulfed are coated by a specific antibody directed against them.

The reluctance to—abandon this hypothesis, however well it explains specific processes, impeded new research, and for many years antigens and antibodies dominated the thoughts of immunologists so completely that those immunologists overlooked certain difficulties. Perhaps the primary difficulty with the antigen-antibody explanation is the informational problem of how an antigen is recognized and how a structure exactly complementary to it is then synthesized. When molecular biologists discovered, moreover, that such information cannot flow from protein to protein, but only from nucleic acid to protein, the theory that an antigen itself provided the mold that directed the synthesis of an antibody had to be seriously qualified. The attempts at qualification and the information provided by research in molecular biology led scientists to realize that a second immunological reaction is mediated through the lymphocytes that are hostile to and bring about the destruction of the antigen. This type of immunological response is called cell-mediated immunity.

Recent research in cell-mediated immunity has been concerned not only with the development of new and better vaccines, but also with the problem of transplanting tissues and organs from one organism to another, for although circulating antibodies play a part in the rejection of transplanted tissues, the primary role is played by cell-mediated reactions. During cell-mediated responses, receptor sites on specific lymphocytes and surface antigens on the foreign tissue cells form a complex that binds the lymphocytes to the tissue. Such lymphocytes do not give rise to antibody-producing plasma cells but themselves bring about the death of the foreign-tissue cells, probably by secreting a variety of substances, some of which are toxic to the tissue cells and some of which stimulate increased phagocytic activity by white blood cells of the macrophage type. Cell-mediated immunity also accounts for the destruction of intracellular parasites.

7. The author is primarily concerned with

(a) proving that immunological reactions do not involve antibodies
(b) explaining two different kinds of immunological reactions
(c) establishing that most immunological reactions involve antigens
(d) criticizing scientists who will not change their theories regarding immunology

8. The author argues that the antigen-antibody explanation of immunity “had to seriously qualified” because

(a) antibodies were found to activate unstable components in the blood
(b) antigens are not exactly complementary to antibodies
(c) lymphocytes have the ability to bind to the surface of antigens
(d) antigens have no apparent mechanism to direct the formation of an antibody

9. The author most probably believes that the antigen-antibody theory of immunological reaction.

(a) is wrong
(b) was accepted without evidence
(c) is unverifiable
(d) is a partial explanation

10. The author mentions all of the following as being involved in antigen-antibody immunological reactions EXCEPT the

(a) synthesis of a protein
(b) activation of complement in the bloodstream
(c) destruction of antibodies
(d) entrapment of antigens by macrophages

11. The passage contains information that would answer which of the following questions about cell-mediated immunological reactions?

I. Do lymphocytes form antibodies during cell-mediated immunological reactions?
II. Why are lymphocytes more hostile to antigens during cell-mediated immunological reactions than are other cell groups?
III. Are cell-mediated reactions more pronounced after transplants than they are after parasites have invaded the organism?

(a) I only
(b) I and II only
(c) I and III only
(d) II and III only

12. The passage suggests that scientists might not have developed the theory of cell-mediated immunological reactions if

(a) proteins existed in specific group types
(b) proteins could have been shown to direct the synthesis of other proteins
(c) antigens were always destroyed by proteins
(d) antibodies were composed only of protein

13. According to the passage, antibody-antigen and cell-mediated immunological reactions both involve which of the following processes?

I. The destruction of antigens
II. The creation of antibodies
III. The destruction of intracellular parasites

(a) I only
(b) II only
(c) III only
(d) I and II only

14. The author supports the theory of cell-mediated reactions primarily by

(a) pointing out a contradiction in the assumption leading to the antigen-antibody theory
(b) explaining how cell mediation accounts for phenomena that the antigen-antibody theory cannot account for
(c) revealing new data that scientists arguing for the antigen-antibody theory have continued to ignore
(d) showing that the antigen-antibody theory fails to account for the breakup of antigens

TOTAL

Detailed Solution




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1. Passage Reading 2. Verbal Logic 3. Non Verbal Logic 4. Numerical Logic

5. Data Interpretation 6. Reasoning 7. Analytical Ability 8. Basic Numeracy

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