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Sentence Completions

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David Livingstone is famous for exploring Africa and making the horrors of the slave trade better known to the western world. He was also one of the first explorers to use quinine in doses that were effective at warding off malaria. You can learn more about Livingstone here

6/27 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. 

Whenever you have a two blank sentence completion, always remember to predict the easier blank first, then eliminate as many answer choices as you can with just that prediction. If there is more than one answer choice left, make a prediction for the other blank and eliminate any of the remaining answers that don't match your prediction.

Explorer David Livingstone has ________ reputation: some historians revile him as a proponent of imperialism, while others ________ him as a founder of African Nationalism. 

In this sentence, it's easier to predict the second blank because of the words that follow. "Others _______ him as a founder of African Nationalism." Since "African Nationalism" is a good thing, you can predict that "others revere him . . .   ." Now look through the answer choices (only looking at the second blank) and eliminate as many answers as you can.


(A) a substantial . . exalt
(B) a sketchy . . vilify 
(C) an illustrious . . dismiss
(D) a dichotomous . . praise
(E) a pristine . . castigate

Out of the 5 answer choices, only (A) and (D) match your prediction. Now, you need to predict the second blank. You are looking for a word that describes Livingstone's reputation. Based on the information in the passage, you know that "some historians revile him . . . while others revere him." In other words, there are a lot of conflicting opinions about him. You could say that he "has a divided reputation." Now take a look at the remaining answers (remember, since you already eliminated (B),(C), and (E) you don't have check them). Now you can also eliminate (A) because it doesn't match your prediction for the first blank. That leaves with choice (D).

The correct answer choice is (D).

Words tested in this SC:
substantial: not seeming or imaginary, real
exalt: to honor, to hold in high esteem
sketchy: rough or hastily laid out
vilify: to belittle through speech, to put down
illustrious: dignified, respectable
dismiss: to discharge, to end the employment or service of
dichotomous: dividing or branching into two pieces
praise: commendation, props, thanks
pristine: unspoiled, still with its original purity
castigate: to punish severely, to criticize severely

On sat.collegeboard.com 64% of the responses were correct.

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