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.
Always cover your answer choices and use the sentence to predict a response to fill the blanks. Match your prediction to the correct answer choice, eliminating any words that do not match.
His ------- prior experience notwithstanding, David was judged by the hiring manager to be ------- the job.
This sentence is a little harder to predict than some others, but you should always make a prediction so that you don’t get bogged down in the answer choices. You don’t know whether David had experience and you don’t know whether he got the job, but you should immediately spot a keyword in the sentence. “Notwithstanding” tells you that although David’s experience was one way, it was judged another way. In other words, the two blanks will contrast one another: you will have one negative and one positive blank. Look down at your answer choices.
(A) illustrious . . entitled to
(B) limited . . qualified for
(C) applicable . . assured of
(D) useful . . overqualified for
(E) irrelevant . . perplexed by
(A) The word illustrious comes from the Latin “illustris,” which means “lighted” or “brilliant.” Illustrious is a positive word. It would also be a positive thing if a manager judged David to be entitled to a job. This answer choice has two positives, but you predicted a negative and a positive. Eliminate this choice.
(B) The idea of limited experience is negative. However, qualifying for a job is a positive thing. You found a positive and a negative. Keep this answer choice and quickly check the remaining choices.
(C) Applicable experience would be good during a job search. Being assured of a job is also good. Eliminate this choice.
(D) Useful experience would be good during a job search. Being overqualified for a job is bad if you don’t get hired. At first glance this choice seems to fit your prediction; however, remember the keyword “notwithstanding.” It is logical to say that a person with a lot of useful experience may be overqualified. There is no contrast between these ideas. Eliminate this answer choice.
(E) Irrelevant experience won’t help you; it is negative. Being perplexed by a job is also a bad thing. Eliminate this answer choice.
The correct answer is (B).
Words used in this SC:
Notwithstanding: in spite of, nevertheless
Illustrious: famous, dignified, glorious
Entitled: has the right to something
Limited: confined, lacking
Qualified: meeting the standards for a position
Assured: guaranteed, certain
Overqualified: has more than required
Irrelevant: not related
Perplexed: baffled, puzzled
On sat.collegeboard.org, 63% of the responses were correct.
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