Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

We once thought that sending a man to the moon was impossible. Well, NASA has done the impossible again. The Curiosity space rover, a mobile lab the size of a small car and weighing around a ton, landed safely on the surface of Mars last night after a completely autonomous seven-minute landing sequence. Because of the size and weight of the rover, NASA had to invent an entirely new process to get Curiosity to the planet's surface. The sequence involved an "automated flight-entry system," a supersonic parachute, and a giant jetpack NASA calls a "sky crane." Most impressive of all, the entire landing was accomplished without the help or input of any humans. There is a 14-minute communications delay between Earth and Mars, so it would be impossible to respond to any problems in time, and on top of that the Earth disappeared below the Martian horizon two minutes before Curiosity touched down. Read more about the landing here and about the mission here

8/5 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.

Sentence completion questions test your vocabulary and your ability to think logically.  Never look at the vocabulary in the answer choices until you have read the entire sentence carefully and predicted an answer choice for a blank.  If there are two blanks, focus on the easy blank and eliminate any choices that do not match your prediction for that blank.  Then return to the other blank, make a prediction for that blank and eliminate any remaining choices that do not fit with your prediction.

It was difficult to believe that the sophisticated piece of technology had ------- through the centuries from such ------- and rudimentary apparatus.

It is easy to fill in the blanks for this sentence if you understand all of the vocabulary.  However, even if you are unsure of a definition (or several), you can still use the Knowsys method to come up with a prediction.  Look at the first blank.  Paraphrase the sentence using the terms you know: “I can’t believe that technology like this came from something like that.”  The key to predicting the first blank is to find out what happened to technology over time.  It clearly changed from one description to another, but try to make your prediction a little more specific.  “Sophisticated” is a positive word, so it is safe to assume that technology improved over time.  Use the word “improved” as your prediction and look down at the first part of your answer choices. 

(A) developed . . an intricate
(B) resulted . . a complicated
(C) evolved . . a quaint
(D) degenerated . . an obsolescent
(E) differed . . an exotic

(A) matches.  (B) is a little awkward, but you can keep it in mind. (C) matches – “evolved” and “developed” can be synonyms. (D) can be eliminated because “degeneration” is a negative word; technology did not get worse over time.  (E) can be eliminated because “differed” is a neutral word for change and you are looking for a positive one.  Three answer choices remain, so look at the second blank. 

You know that something new came from something older and simpler.  The “simpler” part of this prediction is clearer if you know the definition of “rudimentary,” but you can eliminate all the wrong answer choices just by predicting the word “old.”  Look at the second answer choices now for the letters you have not yet eliminated.

(A) developed . . an intricate
(B) resulted . . a complicated
(C) evolved . . a quaint

(A) And (B) can be eliminated because “intricate” and “complicated” do not mean “old” and they are the opposite of “simple.”

The correct answer choice is (C).

Words tested in this SC:
Sophisticated: refined
Rudimentary: basic
Apparatus: a machine or tool
Intricate: complex
Quaint: having old-fashioned charm
Degenerated: degraded, having deteriorated
Obsolescent: becoming obsolete or antiquated
Exotic: foreign, non-native (*this is the second time in three days that this word appears in a question!)

On, 71% of responses were correct.

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