SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the words that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

After a long, ------- hike up a steep hillside, the friends were exhausted and needed to rest.

A.  partisan
B.  arcane
C.  arduous
D.  phlegmatic
E.  indelible

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, and then predict what you think the answer should be.  What kind of hike would make people feel exhausted?  A difficult hike.  Using “difficult” as our prediction, let’s look at each of the answer choices.   

A.  You may have heard the word “partisan” in discussion about politics.  News outlets are sometimes called “partisan” when they are partial to one political party or another because “partisan” means strongly biased.  This choice does not fit with our prediction, so eliminate it.

B.  The word “arcane” shares a common root with the word “ark” (as in the biblical story of Noah’s Ark).  Both come from the Latin word “arca,” meaning “chest, box, or place for safekeeping.”  Something “arcane” is mysterious, secret, or known only to a few.  This choice does not match with our prediction, so eliminate it.

C.  The word “arduous” comes from the Latin “arduss,” which means “high or steep.”  Something “arduous” is difficult to accomplish, just like climbing a steep hill.  This choice fits our prediction.  Keep it.  

D.  The term “phlegmatic” means “calm, impassive, or not easily agitated.”  This term comes from the theory of humorism, used by ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, which states that people’s moods or personalities are determined by whether they have an excess or deficiency of any of four bodily fluids.  An excess of phlegm was said to make a person calm and unemotional.  Eliminate this choice because it does not match our prediction.

E.  The word “indelible” come from the Latin roots “in,” meaning “not or the opposite of,” and “delebilis,” meaning “able to be destroyed.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

The correct answer is C.

This is a medium-level problem.

Words used in this SC:
partisan: strongly biased
arcane: mysterious or understood only by a few
arduous: difficult
phlegmatic: calm, impassive, and not easily agitated
indelible: permanent


Want some help with SAT Vocabulary?  Check out these helpful resources:

Subscribe to Knowsys SAT & ACT Blog by Email