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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Queen Elizabeth I of England is one of the most beloved figures of English history. She was only the third queen to rule England in her own right, and the first to do so successfully. She was the first child of her father Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, creating a national stir because the Catholic Church did not allow divorce. Henry VIII eventually declared the Church of England a separate entity. The conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, the political discord created by Henry VIII's series of marriages, and the lack of a male heir to the throne meant that when Elizabeth finally wrested the country from her cousin and her half-sister, England was bloody and bankrupt, yet she lead her nation into "a glorious epoch" according to this link. 

5/19 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.

On Sentence Completion questions, make sure to always read the sentence carefully and make a prediction before looking at the answer choices. Covering the answers is a great way to slow yourself down and make sure you don't look at the answers before you are ready. After you have made a prediction about the word that would complete the sentence, look at the answer choices for a synonym.

The ------ of Queen Elizabeth I impressed her contemporaries: she seemed to know what dignitaries and foreign leaders were thinking.

First, consider what quality might describe someone who seems to know what others are thinking. That person might be described as discerning or observant. The blank requires a noun, so discernment, shrewdness, or perceptiveness would work well. Fill in the blank with your prediction and then look at the answer choices.

The discernment, shrewdness, and perceptiveness of Queen Elizabeth I impressed her contemporaries: she seemed to know what dignitaries and foreign leaders were thinking. 


A) symbiosis

B) malevolence

C) punctiliousness

D) consternation

E) perspicacity

Eliminate B immediately. Even if you don't know that malevolence means "hostile attitude or feeling," you can tell that it must be negative because it begins with "mal." Memorizing roots like "mal" will help you rule out words based on their connotation rather than their definition so that you can eliminate wrong words quickly.

You can also eliminate A and D, since neither "a relationship of mutual benefit" nor "amazement and horrors" is related to your prediction. Now that the choices have been narrowed down to only two options, it is reasonably safe to guess. A glance at the remaining choices reveals that choice E, perspicacity, looks similar to your prediction, perceptiveness. If you decided to guess E, you would get the answer correct.

Words tested in this SC
symbiosis: a relationship of mutual benefit
malevolence: hostile attitude or feeling; behavior exhibiting a hostile attitude
punctiliousness: the state of being strictly attentive to detail; meticulousness, fastidiousness
consternation: amazement or horror that confounds the faculties and incapacitates; terror combined with amazement
perspicacity: acute discernment or understanding; insight.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 55% of responses were correct.

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