Sentence Completions

Link of the Day:

Are you able to memorize and analyze sports statistics even though other numbers leave your head in an instant?  You can use athletes and important events from the world of sports in your SAT essay as one excellent historical or current event example.  However, this example must be intellectual; be able to explain why the player or event is important and what kind of conclusions you can draw from this example in a wider context than sports.  Make sure you can draw out the themes of the example and then name specific statistics to back up your claims.  One current event that would make an excellent essay example is freshman Johnny Manziel's acceptance of the Heisman.  No freshman has ever won the award before.  Read more about this topic here.

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 your answer choices so that they do not prejudice your thoughts as you read the sentence carefully.  Then make a prediction for the easier blank and check it against the answer choices.  Eliminate any word that does not match your prediction.  Do the same for the other blank.  Always make sure to look at all the choices, even if one matches your prediction exactly.

Not wanting to come across as -------, the award-winning biologist ------- her many impressive accomplishments as she addressed the team of scientists.

Think about this sentence logically.  If someone has a lot of awards, how will others perceive that person?  Awards are a good thing unless someone becomes too proud and haughty.  Since the first blank has to do with what the award-winner does not want to be, predict the word “haughty” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) egotistical . . downplayed
(B) experienced . . explored
(C) celebrated . . highlighted
(D) arrogant . . evoked
(E) incompetent . . omitted

(A) Egotistical matches your prediction.  Keep it.  (B)  Experience is a good thing, people want to be seen as experienced.  It does not match your prediction, so eliminate it.  (C) Celebrated is a very positive word, but you are looking for a negative trait.  Eliminate it.  (D) Arrogant and haughty are synonyms.  Keep it.  (E) Incompetent is a negative thing, but you already know that the biologist is award-winning.  Her problem is not looking incompetent, it is looking too proud.

Look now at the second blank.  If this biologist does not want to be seen as too proud, is she going to enumerate or list out all of her accomplishments?  No!  She is going to avoid emphasizing them.  Predict a word such as “minimize” and look down at your remaining answer choices.

(A) egotistical . . downplayed
(D) arrogant . . evoked

(A) Downplayed matches your prediction.  (D) Evoked is the opposite of your prediction.

The correct answer is (A).

Words used in this SC:
Egotistical: vain, selfish, boastful, proud
Downplayed: reduced emphasis on
Arrogant: having excessive pride in oneself, conceited
Evoked: called up
Incompetent: unskilled
Omitted: left out

On, 67% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit!