Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

on January 15 at 11:31PM


Hi, me again. I still have no idea how to tackle main point questions in RC. Is there an outline i should be following? I chose E instead of D, why is E wrong?

1 Reply

Ravi on February 19 at 09:28PM


Happy to help. Before we look at this question, let's discuss how to
handle main point questions in RC.

If you're getting lots of main point questions wrong, it's likely
because you're not truly comprehending what's going on in the passage.
This could be due to reading too fast, or maybe the topics are boring
for you and hard for you to get into. You need to think of the RC
passages like a puzzle that you're trying to solve.

The first piece of advice I have for you is to make sure you're
understanding each sentence that you're reading. If you don't
understand a sentence, don't just keep reading on because this will
likely cause even less of an understanding because RC sentences build
upon one another. If you don't understand a sentence, re-read it
carefully so that you can digest what's going on.

You might want to try reading a bit slower. RC passages shouldn't be
read like you're reading fun fiction novels. Each sentence needs to be
internalized, and you need to always be thinking of how what you're
reading relates to the previous sentence(s) you've read in the

Also, while you're reading the passage, think to yourself, "What's
your point?" Engage with the author. Also, try to make predictions. If
the author opens up with a question, try and predict what the answer
will be or how the author will direct the rest of the passage. It
doesn't matter if your prediction is right or wrong; all that matters
is that you're making predictions because it will help you be more
engaged with the passage and will also make you more interested in the
material even if you find the subject matter boring. If you're wrong
about a prediction, you'll remember being wrong about it, and if
you're right, you'll remember it because you guessed correctly. It's a
win-win scenario.

You should view main point questions as a general gauge for "did I get
what was going on in this passage?" The good thing is that you can
totally improve lots on the RC passages if you continue to put in the
work. Try out the steps above on your next RC sections and let us know
how they go!

Now that we've discussed the general RC strategy for main point
questions, let's take a look at (E) and (D). You said you chose (E)
and don't understand why it's wrong and (D) is right, so let's take a

(E) says the main point of the passage is "Perfume-making and oil
painting should be regarded as sister arts, both of which involve the
skilled application of complex configurations of ingredients."

It's true that the author refers to perfume-making and oil painting as
sister arts in lines 13 and 14, but this statement is actually used as
support for the author's main point. The author states that because
perfume-making and oil painting, they should also share the same
status as works of art. Because (E) is describing the author's support
for her main point—and not the main point itself—we can get rid of
this answer choice.

(D) says, "Great perfumes are works of art and deserve respect and
attention as such."

(D) captures the overall point that the author is trying to make with
this passage. It's important to recall that the passage as a whole
works toward providing support for the question posed in line 7, "Why
is great perfume not taken more seriously?" This rhetorical question
posed by the author is the main point of the passage, as the passage
as a whole supports the notion that great perfume should be taken more
seriously as a work of art. The rest of the passage works to provide
support for this assertion. The author uses a majority of the passage
to discuss why great perfumes should be considered works of art in the
second and third paragraphs. The author contends that perfumes have
lots of similarities to other types of art, such as oil painting, and
because of this, they deserve the same type of attention and
appreciation that these other art forms get (lines 37 to 43 of the
passage). (D) captures the overall point of the author well, as the
author spends most of the passage discussing why great perfumes should
be considered works of art and also get the same type of respect other
artistic works receive. (D) is the correct answer choice.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!