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Sentence Completions

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The Congressional Medal of Honor is America's highest military decoration. The US Army Center for Military History maintains a record of every Medal of Honor recipient and what he did to earn the award. For example, in 2003 Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith gave his life to protect around 100 fellow soldiers from a surprise attack at Baghdad International Airport. He killed around 50 enemy soldiers using a machine gun mounted on a damaged personnel carrier and helped to defeat the attack. Similar details are available on the astonishingly brave actions of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since 1861. 

4/13 Sentence Completions

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

Always take time to read the sentence carefully before you look at the answer choices. The sentence will have clues about the omitted word or words, so use them to find the word instead of using the answer choices to reinterpret the sentence.

Because he was ------ in the face of danger, the explorer won the government's highest award for conspicuous bravery.

The explorer was obviously very courageous, since he received an award for bravery. "resolute," "fearless," or "indomitable" would work as predictions. Next, look at the answer choices.


A) virile

B) heedless

C) dauntless

D) callow

E) timorous

Someone timorous would run away from danger and would not win awards for courage. Someone callow, or young, would be unlikely to exhibit the kind of bravery suggested in the sentence. Eliminate D and E.

The other three words can all be interpreted in relation to bravery; someone virile and manly might be courageous, someone heedless of danger could appear brave, and someone dauntless could be brave because he has no fear. The question to ask is, "Does [answer choice] mean [prediction]?" If the answer is "no," eliminate that answer choice. So, does virile mean brave? Not exactly, it means "masculine." Does heedless mean brave? No, it really means "unaware." Does dauntless mean brave? Yes, it means "invulnerable to fear." The answer is C.

Words tested in this SC:
virile: having masculine characteristics such as strength
heedless: unaware, without noticing
dauntless: invulnerable to fear or intimidation
callow: unfledged, as of a young bird
timorous: fearful, afraid, timid.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 63% of responses were correct.

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