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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Have you caught the flu?  Have you had a flu shot?  Even something as mundane as the flu virus can make a great current event for your SAT essay.  Instead of focusing on your own experiences, take a broader look at the debate about flu vaccinations.  Read this article, looking for themes that are likely to show up on the SAT.  Be sure to scrutinize how the people in this article make the choices that they make.  If you choose to use this as one of your current event examples, memorize some specific details and facts so that your essay includes more than vague generalizations.  For those of you about to take the January SAT:  Take care of your health!  The SAT will seem much longer if you are sick! 

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 your answer choices and read carefully so that you can predict a word to fill one of the blanks.  Make a prediction for the easier blank and eliminate the answer choices that do not match your prediction.  Do the same for the other blank.

Alvin is an exceedingly ------- person: he unselfishly ------- his friends without ever expecting anything in return.

Start with the blank that seems easier.  What would an unselfish person do for his friends?  Help them!  Use the word “helps” as your prediction, and look down at your answer choices.

(A) opportunistic . . supports
(B) noble . . undermines
(C) bemused . . aids
(D) caustic . . neglects
(E) altruistic . . assists

(A) "Supports" can mean "helps".  Keep this choice.  (B) Undermining someone is the opposite of helping them.  Eliminate this choice.  (C) "Aids" and "helps" are synonyms.  Keep this choice.  (D) Neglecting someone is not helping!  Eliminate this choice.  (E) "Assists" and "helps" are synonyms.  Keep this choice.

Now look back at the first blank.  Right after the blank, you read that Alvin is unselfish.  Predict that Alvin is an “unselfish” person, and look down at your remaining answer choices.

(A) opportunistic . . supports
(C) bemused . . aids
(E) altruistic . . assists

(A) Does "opportunistic" mean "unselfish?"  No.  People who are always looking for opportunities may just be looking for opportunities for themselves.  Eliminate this choice.  (C)  Don’t confuse the word “bemused” with the word “amused,” but they both refer to the way that one person feels.  You aren’t looking for a feeling word; you are looking for a word that means unselfish.  Eliminate this choice.  (E) This word comes from French: “autrui” means “to others.”  Altruistic people are concerned with others; they are unselfish.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Opportunistic: taking advantage of situations (often selfishly)
Supports: helps or keeps from falling
Noble: honorable or aristocratic
Undermines: hinders or sabotages
Bemused: confused or preoccupied
Aids: helps
Caustic: burning, sharp or bitter (often refers to language)
Neglects: disregards, fails to care for
Altruistic: Unselfishly concerned for others (Knowsys word!)
Assists: helps


On sat.collegeboard.org, 72% of the responses were correct.

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