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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Teachers and parents are often so caught up in trying to prepare teens for the future that they don’t realize that teens have a lot to contribute in the present.  Your life is happening now; instead of waiting for the future, get out there and make a difference with the talents that you have.  Here is the story of one teen, Jack Andraka, who created a method to detect pancreatic cancer.  (And yes, this would make a great current event example for your SAT essay!)

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.

Cover up the answer choices until you have read the sentence and made a prediction to fill the blank.  Then match your prediction to the correct answer and eliminate any words that do not match.  Make sure to examine all of the answer choices as possibilities. 

The salmon's extraordinary ability to smell a single drop of its home river in almost two million gallons of seawater is only one of the fish's many ------- skills.

Ask yourself, what kind of skill does this fish have?  It is extraordinary!  You can use words that are in the sentence to save yourself time.  This extraordinary ability is just one of the many extraordinary skills that the fish has.  Predict the word “extraordinary” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) sinuous
(B) encumbered
(C) colossal
(D) prodigious
(E) furtive

(A) The Latin prefix “sinu-“ has something to do with drawing a line.  Think of the graph of sine from your math classes: it is curvy.  Curvy doesn’t match your prediction of extraordinary, so eliminate this choice.  (B)Encumber is a negative word:  Too many shopping bags encumber a person.  You are looking for a positive word, so eliminate this choice.  (C) Colossal has something to do with big, so this might be a tempting answer.  However, it actually means big as in large, not big as in a big idea.  Eliminate this choice. (D)  The prefix “pro” from prodigious means for or forward, and is often used with positive words.  Think of the related word, prodigy.  Are prodigies extraordinary?  Yes, so keep this choice.  The Latin prefix “furt” means “steal,” so you can identify this as a negative word.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Sinuous: curvy and graceful or indirect and devious
Encumbered: weighed down with a burden
Colossal: extremely large, gigantic
Prodigious: extraordinary, wonderful, enormous
Furtive: stealthy, exhibiting guilty or evasive secrecy


On sat.collegeboard.org, 56% of the responses were correct.

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