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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Tales of strange accidents abound throughout history, and one of the most famous is the case of Phineas Gage. A railroad construction accident in 1848 drove a metal spike straight through his head and left him with one of the first recorded cases of brain damage. His memory, motor skills, and speech suffered no change, but his personality was altered drastically from that day forward, leading to some of the first meaningful discoveries about the prefrontal cortex. Scientists have since concluded that the areas of Gage's brain that were damaged had to do with reasoning, decision making, and social conventions.

Critical Reading: 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.

Remember that the answer choices on most SAT questions are there to confuse you. Out of the five listed, four of them are wrong! Look at the sentence, make a prediction without reading the answer choices, and then compare the answer choices to your prediction to find the one that matches most closely.

The accident left Tom not so much incapacitated as ------: he was left weak, but the doctors gave him reason to expect ------. 

First, look at the sentence and select the blank that will be easier to fill in. In this sentence, the second blank is easier. After an accident or injury, it is reasonable to expect recuperation or improvement in one's state of health. Look at the answer choices to see which items match this prediction.

A) enfeebled . . progression

B) inconvenienced . . deterioration

C) frustrated . . enervation

D) vindicated . . complication

E) debilitated . . recovery



First, eliminate B because deterioration is the opposite of recuperation. Enervation, similarly, would be the opposite of improvement after the injury, so eliminate C as well. Complications are generally unexpected, so D doesn't make sense either. Progression seems to make sense, but it is too vague to be correct in this sentence. Eliminate A. The answer is E.

Words tested in this SC
enfeeble: to make weak or faint
progression: moving from one thing to another
inconvenience: to bother or discomfort
deterioration: the process of growing worse
frustrated: foiled, stopped, disappointed
enervation: a loss of energy; debilitation
vindicated: evidence, facts, or statements that justify a claim or belief
complication: something that doesn't fit in with the pattern or plan
debilitated: weakened
recovery: a return to normal health


On sat.collegeboard.org, 66% of responses were correct.

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