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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.  Instead, use the Knowsys method so that you will not be distracted by wrong answer choices.  The method for approaching a sentence with two blanks is the same as the method for approaching a sentence with one blank; you just repeat the steps!  Choose the easier blank, make a prediction, and then check to see which answer choices match your prediction.  Eliminate any choices that do not match your prediction.  Next, go back to the other blank, make a prediction, and then check to see which of the remaining answer choices match your prediction.  Using this method, you will be able to quickly eliminate many answer choices, even if you do not know every word in the answer choices.

The store manager was ------- when sales dropped for the third year in a row; that was why she ------- our department for its lack of effort.

After reading this sentence, you may decide that the second blank is the easier blank.  If a store manager thinks that a department did not put forth effort, what is she going to do?  She is going to yell at the department!  “Yelled at,” would fit the blank, or you might predict a word such as “berated” or “reprimanded.”  You could use any word that shows that the manager expressed displeasure.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) indolent . . intimidated
(B) indignant . . upbraided
(C) insolent . . exonerated
(D) indulgent . . castigated
(E) intolerant . . condoned

(A) When someone yells it can be intimidating, but this does not really match your prediction.  Keep any choice that you are not sure about.  (B) matches.  (C) is the opposite of what she would do.  Eliminate it.  (D) matches your prediction, but it is a very strong word.  (E) does not match your prediction.  Also, it would take an exceptionally bad manager to condone behavior that has lowered sales for the three years in a row.  Eliminate it.

Go back the second blank now.  You can tell that this blank will describe the manager.  She is upset, but she has a good reason to be upset: the behavior of the department is cutting into sales.  You can make a general prediction such as the phrase “angry for a good reason,” but if you know a word that means exactly that, use it as your prediction.  Look down at any answer choices that you have not eliminated.

(A) indolent . . intimidated
(B) indignant . . upbraided
(D) indulgent . . castigated

(A) describes the behavior of the department, not the manager. Eliminate it. (B) matches your prediction perfectly. If you have a good vocabulary, you might have predicted this very word. (C) does not match your prediction.  Also, it would be very strange for anyone in an indulgent mood to castigate someone else.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (B).

Words used in this SC:
Indolent: habitually lazy
Intimidated: tried to make others fearful
Indignant: showing anger at something unjust or wrong
Upbraided: reproached or criticized severely
Insolent: insulting, rude
Exonerated: freed from guilt
Indulgent: ready to show favor or leniency
Castigated: punished or reprimanded severely
Intolerant: not open to new ideas or certain actions
Condoned: excused or overlooked something wrong


On sat.collegeboard.org, 43% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!