Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 3; #9 (p. 54)

3

The passage suggests that the history of criminal

Historian F. W. Maitland observed that legal documents are the best—indeed, often the only—available evidence about the economic and social history of a given period. Why, then, has it taken so long for historians to focus systematically on the civil (noncriminal) law of early modern (sixteenth- to eighteenth-century) England? Maitland offered one reason: the subject requires researchers to “master an extremely formal system of pleading and procedure.” Yet the complexities that confront those who would study such materials are not wholly different from those recently surmounted by historians of criminal law in England during the same period. Another possible explanation for historians’ neglect of the subject is their widespread assumption that most people in early modern England had little contact with civil law. If that were so, the history of legal matters would be of little relevance to general historical scholarship. But recent research suggests that civil litigation during the period involved artisans, merchants, professionals, shopkeepers, and farmers, and not merely a narrow, propertied, male elite. Moreover, the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries saw an extraordinary explosion in civil litigation by both women and men, making this the most litigious era in English history on a per capita basis. The passage suggests that the history of criminal law in early modern England differs from the history of civil law during that same period in that the history of criminal law is of more intellectual interest to historians and their readers, has been studied more thoroughly by historians, is more relevant to general social history, involves the study of a larger proportion of the population, does not require the mastery of an extremely formal system of procedures

4 Explanations

1

Jamiul Islam

Dear Recine,
even if ur comment about the unpredictability of GRE is true, then at least help me with following sentence about the Maitman passage;
"Yet the complexities that confront those who would study such materials are not wholly different from those recently surmounted by historians of criminal law in England during the same period."
This means, both civil and criminal law requires a lot of work in order to be understood.
But, what is the proper meaning of the two words: "recently" and "during the same period" here? If, "during the same period" means sixteenth to eighteenth century, then, how the word "recently" match with this? I mean, if " recently" refers to something not so long ago (like recent photograph of a person), then, the historians would have overcome the difficulties only in the recent past, and not in the sixteenth or 18th centuries (as indicated by " during the same period".). Or, do "recently" and "the same period" bear another meaning here?
I went wrong exactly from here, then,made another silly mistake in question no 11 by confusing "plausible" with "possible".
P.S. : As a non- native speaker of English, these issues often bother me. If i could overcome these sort of problems, i feel my verbal score could raise.

Dec 31, 2018 • Comment

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Jamiul,

Great follow-up question. And yes, the meanings of GRE Verbal RC passages can be especially challenging for non-native English speakers, and are even challenging for native speakers.

To understand the relationship between "recently" and "during the same period," you need to look carefully at the context provided by the surrounding sentences. And it also helps to understand the meaning of recently.

First, "recently" will almost always reference something that happened in the recent past. In the less common cases where "recently" refers to something that happened shortly before a more distant past event, "recently" will be accompanied by a past perfect verb form. (EX: It was 1947. WWII had recently ended.)

Since we don't see any sort of past participle verb attached to the adverb "recently," that's a strong clue that "recently" is referring to "just before right now."

The other clue? That's where context comes in. In sentences before and after your focus sentence, the word "period" is always used to refer to a historical period int he past that is being treated as the subject of study by historians in present times ("real" present times and *recent* present times).

In short, "recently" cannot mean "recently back in that historical period," because such a meaning would not be consistent with the use and grammar of recently or with the contextual meaning of "period" from the passage.

Jan 2, 2019 • Reply

1

Jamiul Islam

Dear Chris,
Having completed both PowerPrep 1 and 2, I noticed a matter that troubles me a bit. The 1st section of Prep 2 contains many tough and uncommon passages. E.G., this particular above passage is about law, but, law is a very rare topic in GRE RCs. I have noticed only one out of 104 passages about law in old GRE Big Book, and none in the OG verbal reasoning. Then, the two critical reasoning questions of this section seemed particularly difficult to me.(both have a estimated p+ about 25%) Also, I found one passage containing arcane words like flaccid and supine. However, the section adaptive hard section of prep 2 has a bit easier passages. Indeed, in an untimed practice, I was able to correct exactly 17 out of 20 questions in each of prep2 and prep 1 hard set.

In contrast, I could correctly answer 18 in the first section of prep1, whereas only 15 were right in the 1st section of prep2. I could correct almost all the text completions and sentence equivalence except a few ones.I have heard that the real GRE is slightly easier than prep2 and bit harder than prep1. Especilly, the math part of prep1 is a lot easier to solve.

Considering the above facts, do u think that the real GREs verbal is very similar to prep1, and quant will be like prep2? or will it be something different?

Dec 30, 2018 • Comment

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

I can take this one, Chris! :)

Jamiul, the answer to your question is simple, but a bit unsatisfying: the real GRE may be the same as either PowerPrep, or have elements seen in both PowerPreps, or be easier or harder than a given PowerPrep test.

This is because the PowerPrep tests are just two samples out of many possible combinations of real GRE questions. You should treat the PowerPrep exams as a good cross section of the possible questions for test day. But you should also be ready for sections that feel, as a whole, different from any given practice section in PowerPrep. Even if you do both the free tests and the paid tests, PowerPrep is simply to limited a sample to give you a 100% prediction of what your real exam will be like!

The good news is that GRE scoring is adjusted to difficulty. So if you do get a harder mix of GRE questions on test day, the scoring will be more lenient. Similarly, the harder PowerPrep sections should generate scores that are tied to the difficulty of the practice questions.

Dec 31, 2018 • Reply

1

Gravatar Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Zhenghui,

When we say that "it has taken so long for ______", it means that the thing we are talking about has been delayed for a long time. For example, if we say "it has taken so long for the train to come," that means that the train did not come for a very long time.

So when we say "it has taken so long for historians to focus on civil law," it means that historians did not focus on civil law for a long time.

There's another clue in the passage, where it says that "another possible explanation for historians’ neglect of the subject...". Here, "the subject" is civil law. So historians neglected civil law for a long time.

I hope this helps!

Jul 17, 2018 • Comment

4

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 21, 2012 • Comment

LISA LEE

Hi there,

I am having some trouble understanding the answer to this question. In the passage it states that it took a long time for historians to study civil law. However, the question is asking about criminal law. Doesn't this mean that criminal law would take a shorter time?

Thanks, Lisa

Jun 19, 2017 • Reply

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Lisa,

If I understood your question correctly, you are asking about answer choice E, which says: "criminal law does not require the mastery of an extremely formal system of procedures."

However, notice that the text does not suggest this. It says that both criminal and civil law are very complicated:

"Maitland offered one reason: the subject (civil law) requires researchers to master an extremely formal system of pleading and procedure. Yet the complexities that confront those who would study such materials are not wholly different from those recently surmounted by historians of criminal law in England during the same period."

So both civil and criminal law requires a lot of work in order to be understood. So E cannot be the correct answer.

I hope this helps! If I misunderstood your question, and you were actually not asking about answer choice E, please let me know!

Thanks,
Sam

Jul 6, 2017 • Reply

Zhenghui Li

Hi Sam,
Maybe I have the similar question with Lisa's.
When I first read this sentence, I thought that for a long time the historians were focusing systematically on the civil law, but it doesn't match the following at all. I didn't understand its meaning until I read it for a second time.
How do we know "it has taken so long for historians to focus ……" means that they hadn't studied civil law for long time?
Thanks.

Jul 9, 2018 • Reply

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