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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 knowledge of vocabulary.

Always cover up your answer choices so that you don't jump to any incorrect conclusions as you read the sentence.  Read the entire sentence carefully, paraphrasing it as you read to insure that you have fully understood it.  This sentence is about Tantra paintings that have two different qualities: beauty, but also something else.  The information after the colon will be very helpful in predicting an answer because colons introduce clauses to explain the previous information.  There should be a parallel set up of two things to match "beauty" and "something else" after the colon.  After the colon you have aesthetic value (=beauty) and the fact that they are used for meditation(=something else).  The key word here is "used."  Paintings are usually just pretty things on a wall, so it is important that these paintings are "useful."  Predict the word useful and look down at your answer choices.

(A)  The word "garish" may be difficult for you to define, but if you have heard it once or twice, you know that it is a negative word that has to do with appearance.  You are looking for something that contrasts the idea of beauty, but "garish" does not mean "useful."  Eliminate it.

(B)  This word may be tempting because the word "value" is in the sentence.  However, the word in the sentence is a specific type of value: "aesthetic value."  On its own, the word "valuable" implies monetary worth and there is nothing about money in the sentence.  The word you are looking for must also contrast the ideas of "beauty" and "aesthetic value" because the word "but" is used before the blank.  This word provides no contrast.  Eliminate it. 

(C)  The word "numerous" shares a root with "numbers."  This sentence does not contain any information about how many of these paintings exist.  Nor does "numerous" mean useful for meditation.  Eliminate this choice. 

(D)  The word "ornate" has a root in common with the word "ornament."  Ornaments are decorations, so this word probably has to do with appearance.  You are looking for a word that contrasts a focus on appearance: "useful."  Eliminate this choice.

(E)  If something is "functional," then it is "useful."  This perfectly matches your prediction. 

The correct answer is (E). 

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

Words used in this SC: 

Aesthetic:  concerned with beauty, artistry, or appearance

Facilitate: assist the progress of, aid

Meditation:  contemplation, deep thought (often religious or philosophical)

Garish:  flashy, tasteless, ostentatious, too bright

Valuable:  worth a lot

Numerous:  many, amounting to a large number of something

Ornate:  elaborately decorated

Functional: useful, serving a purpose

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question of the day is a Science question that tests your ability to read tables.

Start by reading the question carefully.  The question asks, which substance is constant for sediment depths of 10 cm or more?  The word constant means the same.  Your table shows depths in increments of 5.  All you have to do is see which gas has the same number at 10 cm as it does for 15 cm and 20 cm.

(A)  The numbers for Sulfide (beginning at 10 cm) are 3.5, 3.8, and 4.  This substance is increasing, not remaining constant.  Eliminate this choice. 

(B)  The numbers for Carbon Dioxide are 2, 3, and 1.  This substance is fluctuating, not remaining constant.  Eliminate this choice. 

 (C)  The numbers for Ferric Iron are 2, 0.8, and 0.5.  This substance is decreasing, not remaining constant.  Eliminate this choice.

(D)  The numbers for Oxygen are 0, 0, and 0.  All of these numbers are the same, so you found the substance that is constant! 

The correct answer is (D). 

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