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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is a Sentence Completion question that tests your vocabulary and your ability to think logically.

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that you can focus on the sentence.  Read the entire sentence carefully.   This sentence tells you that there is a new administrator, and the sentence goes on to describe this person.  He thinks that new ideas are are "worthy of consideration," but compares them somehow to the old ways.

When you have two blanks, always focus on the easier blank first.  The second part of the sentence contains more clues, so look at the second blank first.  This person will think about new ideas (putting new ideas in a positive light), but then there is a contrast word: "but"!  This contrast word lets you know that you must contrast that positive statement about new ideas with a negative view of these new ideas. Look down at the answer choices for the second blank.  You know you want a negative word, so you can eliminate any of the positive words.

(A)  The word "undermined" is negative.  Teachers tell you not to undermine their authority.  Keep this choice. 

(B)  The word "reminiscent" is positive.  You sit and reminisce about the good old days.  Eliminate this choice. 

(C)  The word "preferable" is positive.  Eliminate this choice.

(D)  The word "inferior" is negative.  You never want to buy inferior products.  Keep this choice.  

(E)  The word "instructive" is positive.  If you are instructed, you learn something. 

Note:  If you are not sure about any of the charges of the words (whether they were negative or positive), keep those words until you have a specific reason to eliminate them.

You have two choices left, so you need to take a look at that first blank.  You know it describes the administrator, and you know that he administrator "ultimately" thinks something negative about new ideas.  How would you describe someone who thinks that old ideas are the best?  If no word immediately comes to mind, predict "someone who likes old ideas" and look down at the answer choices for the first blanks.  You only have to look at the choices you have not yet eliminated. 

(A)  Does an "iconoclast" only like old ideas?  You may not be sure what the word "iconoclast" means, but an icon is a picture or an image. These ideas don't have anything to do with pictures.  Eliminate this choice.

(B)  Does a "traditionalist" only like old ideas?  Yes!  Traditions are practices handed down from generation to generation.  This matches your prediction. 

The correct answer is (B). 

On sat.collegeboard.org, 42% of the responses were correct.

Words used in this SC: 

Administrator:  a person who directs or manages something

Iconoclast:  one who opposes orthodoxy or religious images

Undermined:  hindered or weakened

Opportunist:  someone who takes advantage of a situation

Reminiscent:  suggesting memories of something else

Sentimentalist:  someone who is sentimental or given to emotion

Preferable:  desired more than another thing

Traditionalist:  someone who looks to the past for authority

Inferior: of lower quality or status

Idealist:  someone who pursues noble goals

Instructive:  conveying knowledge and information

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question of the day is a Reading question that has already been addressed on this blog: click here to see an explanation.

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