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PrepTest 73, Passage 3, Question 16


As per usual, question 16 starts out asking us about the main point of the passage. There's usually a main point question on every passage and it usually comes first. Main point questions ask you to select an answer that sums up the argument of the passage as a whole. It doesn't have to name every single concept that comes up in the passage.

But it does have to be broad enough to cover the content of the passage. As you're reading, you should always be on the lookout for the main point. If you don't know it, you probably shouldn't be doing questions. Our prediction for what the main point here would be is probably Marcuse is wrong. It said several times in the passage.

The author clearly says that Marcuse is not right about advertising. The correct answer could describe Marcuse's views instead of naming him. And it can also explain why the author thinks that Marcuse is wrong, include that as part of the text of the answer. So on to the answer choices, answer choice A. Well, this one is half right.

The first part gets it right that is, Marcuse is wrong. Advertising has greater social value than Marcusians have supposed. But the second half doesn't work out. The author doesn't say that ads are an effective way of informing consumers or that they're an intrinsically entertaining medium. He says that sometimes they're entertaining but not that they're an intrinsically entertaining medium.

So answer choice A is not the answer. Answer choice B. Another half right, half wrong. The author does say that there's a difference between real and false needs, but not that the difference is obscured in practice. The author thinks that people can tell the difference.

And it's not really an even if. The author accepts that there is a difference. So B is not our answer. Answer choice C, this is what we want. The first half clearly states that Marcuse is wrong. And then the second half gets right why the author says that.

Because we can make decisions regarding our needs. That is we can separate true and false needs and sometimes we can actually fulfill our needs with advertisements. Sometimes they are good. So C is what we wanted. D and E are wrong.

D is wrong, but it's so close to being right. But it is subtly too extreme. The author never said that Marcuse or the critics like him are typical critics. Just that some critics focus on this stuff. Typical means most of the time it means the majority. And the author never said that the critics who follow Marcuse are the majority.

So all the rest of the answer doesn't matter. It's too extreme. And answer choice E, the first half of this works. Marcuse's distinction is problematic, but not because it ignores consumers' needs or overlooks the distinction between physical and psychological needs. It's wrong because it doesn't understand that people can distinguish their real from their false needs.

So the answer was C.

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