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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. 

Never look at the answer choices before reading the sentence because most of them are wrong, and they will prejudice the way that you read the sentence.  Instead, cover the answers and read the sentence carefully.  Use the words in the sentence to make a prediction for the blank.  Then match your prediction to the answer choices.  Check every choice even if answer (A) or answer (B) seems to fit perfectly.

The professor asked the students to make sure they read the entire novel, both the twelve regular chapters and the extensive ------- materials that the author included at the beginning of the book.

Paraphrase the sentence as you read it:  the professor is asking the students to do a lot of work because he wants them to read both the regular chapters and some extra stuff.  You can predict the word “extra” for the blank before the word materials, but try to make your prediction even more specific.  Where are the materials located?  They are included at the beginning of the book.  You should predict a word like “introductory,” but this is also a good time to remember your root words.  This material comes before the regular material and you know a prefix that means before: “pre-.”  If you run across some difficult words in the answer choices, this knowledge will help you.

(A) proleptic
(B) redacted
(C) prefatory
(D) orthographic
(E) conjunctive

(A) If you don’t know what the word means, then keep it as a possible choice.  The prefix “pro-” means for or forward.  (B) The prefix “re-” means back or again, but this information is at the beginning of the book, so it probably is not a repeat of anything.   Eliminate this choice.  (C) If you aren’t sure about whether this matches your prediction, the prefix “pre-“ lets you know that this choice has something to do with the beginning of something.  Also, try relating unfamiliar words to familiar ones.  “Prefatory” looks like another word that you may know, “preface.” The words are similar enough that it is reasonable to guess that “prefatory” is another form of the word “preface.”  (D) Some of you will recognize the roots in this word.  “Ortho” means straight or correct while “graph” has to do with writing or drawing.  This choice is distracting because it is on topic and could have something to do with a book, but it does not match your prediction.  (E) Some of you will recognize that “junct” means join.  That would make sense if you were looking at material in the middle of the book, but at the beginning you need an introduction; there is not yet anything to join together.  Eliminate this choice.  Once you have eliminated at least two choices, you can guess on an SAT question. 

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Proleptic: representing the future as if it had already occurred, anticipatory
Redacted: edited or censored
Prefatory: introductory, serving as a preface
Orthographic: pertaining to letters and spelling or a particular map
Conjunctive: connecting


On sat.collegeboard.org, 64% of the responses were correct.

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