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Unit 1.2 – Interpreting The Art of War


Difficulty:            Medium/Hard

Time:                   1 minute 30 seconds


The following is an extract from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.


In War,

Victory should be


If victory is slow,

Men tire,

Morale sags.


Exhaust strength;

Protracted campaigns

Strain the public treasury.

If men are tired,

Morale low,

Strength exhausted,

Treasure spent;

Then the feudal lords

Will exploit the disarray

And attack.

This even the wisest

Will be powerless

To mend.

I have heard that in war

Haste can be


But I have never seen

Delay that was



1.            Which of the following Irish proverbs most accurately expresses the meaning of the above passage?

  • A             It is often that a person’s tongue cut his throat
  • B             A windy day is not a day for thatching
  • C             Don’t bare your teeth until you can bite
  • D            The tide does not wait for a slow man


  • Q1: D. This extract is all about speed and decisiveness and the perils of acting slowly. In order to answer the question you must first understand the extract, and then interpret the proverbs.
    A: A person who acts rashly or without thought may hurt themselves (the opposite of the extract’s point)
    B: This proverb refers to preparation. When the storm is upon you it is already too late.
    C: Take your time, prepare. Don’t make threats until you can back them up.
    D: Whether or not you act, things will continue to happen.

    Gamsat Sample Questions

    May 16, 2012

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