Critical Reading: Sentence CompletionsChoose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.
Read, predict, match. If these three steps become habit, your SAT score will go up.
Enrique did not take Marisol seriously when she told him she was going to bed to sleep for a week: he knew she was prone to ------.
What clues are given in this sentence to help you predict? First, we know that unless Marisol is seriously ill, she is not actually going to sleep for a week. Since the sentence gives no indication that Marisol feels poorly, "illness" will not work as a prediction. However, someone who tends to overstate the facts might still say she was going to sleep for a week. You could predict "overstatement," "exaggeration," or "aggrandizement." If a specific word doesn't come to mind immediately, you could go with "stretching the truth" or "a kind of lying." Now look at the answer choices.
At first glance, you can immediately eliminate E because it is the opposite of your prediction. A can go as well, since earnestness means "sincerity." You've probably worked with similes in English class; any comparison that uses "like" or "as" is a simile. Sometimes they are used to exaggerate, but they can also be used simply to describe, so C is not the answer either. What about belligerence? The root "bell-" has to do with war. It is also seen in "bellicose," or warlike, and "antebellum," which usually refers to things from before the Civil War.
The only choice left is D, hyperbole, which means "extreme or deliberate exaggeration." The answer is B.
Words tested in this SC
belligerence: an inclination toward war or fighting
simile: a poetic comparison using "like" or "as"
hyperbole: extreme or deliberate exaggeration
understatement: a statement characterized by incompleteness, restraint, or lack of emphasis.
On sat.collegeboard.org, 64% of responses were correct.
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