SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Although she was a bright student, Hannah’s ------- habits hurt her grades because she often procrastinated on projects until she no longer had enough time to complete them.

A.      dilatory

B.      jocular

C.      negligible

D.      slovenly

E.       pretentious


Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  Your keyword here is "because" - all of the words after this word explain the type of habits that this student has developed.  The sentence tells you that the problem is procrastination, so predict the word "procrastinating" or even "time-wasting" to describe Hannah's habits.  Look down at your answer choices to see which one matches your prediction.  Eliminate any choice that does not match your prediction.

A.  Has an adult ever told you not to "dillydally"?  That means not to waste time or delay progress towards something.  The word "dilatory" matches your prediction exactly.  Quickly check the other choices before selecting this answer. 

B.  The Latin root "joc" means "joke."  This sentence is not about silliness but about procrastination.  Eliminate this choice.

C.  The Latin root "neg" means to say no (think of the word "negative).  Essentially, the word "negligible" refers to things that can be dismissed or ignored.  Although Hannah is ignoring her homework, her habits are not something that can be easily dismissed or ignored because they are hurting her grades.  Eliminate this choice.

D.  Think of the word "slovenly" as the SAT way to call someone a slob.  The problem in this sentence is not messiness but procrastination.  Eliminate this choice.

E.  Pretentious people pretend to be important - they are so worried about their images of greatness that they don't have time for others.  In this sentence, Hannah doesn't even have time for her own activities.  Eliminate this choice.


The correct answer is (A). 

This is a medium level question.


Words used in this SC: 

Dilatory: characterized by procrastination or delay

Jocular: joking

Negligible: small, unimportant, or not worth noticing

Slovenly: messy

Pretentious: self-important


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