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Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

As always, remember to read carefully and predict the answer before looking at the answer choices.

Numerous illnesses that were once difficult to ------ may now be diagnosed through ------ blood tests.

This sentence has two blanks, so the first step is to choose the easier blank and make a prediction for it. In this sentence, start with the first blank. "Illnesses that were once difficult to [blank] may now be diagnosed..." It is reasonable to assume that the illnesses were difficult to "diagnose".

Numerous illnesses that were once difficult to diagnose may now be diagnosed through ------blood tests.

You could start with the second blank if you prefer, and in face a prediction comes to mind. The contrast between "once" and "now" suggests that something has changed. While the clue is too vague to predict exactly what the word will be, "easy" will suffice as an opposite of "difficult."

Numerous illnesses that were once difficult to diagnose may now be diagnosed through easy blood tests.

Keeping in mind that "easy" is a vague prediction, take a look at the answer choices:



A) detect... perfunctory

B) facilitate... tedious

C) administer... pre-emptive

D) treat... grueling

E) observe... inconvenient

You can immediately eliminate D and E because the second word in each pair is the opposite of "easy." C can go as well because no doctor would "administer" a disease, except on the occasional episode of "House" where it is a treatment for another disease or condition. Similarly, it does not make sense to "facilitate" a disease.

Now look at A. Could an illness be difficult to detect? Definitely, and many diseases that used to defeat doctors are now detected and cured in very young patients. Are blood tests perfunctory? Definitely. Drawing and testing blood is a routine part of many diagnoses. The answer is A.

Numerous illnesses that were once difficult to detect may now be diagnosed through perfunctory blood tests.

Words tested in this SC:
detect: to discover by careful search or examination
perfunctory: performed out of routine and with little care
facilitate: to make easy or easier
tedious: boring, time consuming
administer: to make application of something; to give (medicine, tests, etc)
pre-emptive: an action against something possible, anticipated, or feared
treat: to deal with (a disease, patient, etc) in order to relieve or cure
grueling: so difficult or taxing that it makes one exhausted
observe: to view with careful attention to detail
inconvenient: difficult or complicated; not suiting one's needs or purposes


80% of responses at sat.collegeboard.org were correct.


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