SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Sarah wished she had a calculator to ------- her math homework because solving each problem by hand was taking her a long time. 

A. mollify
B. expedite
C. circumvent
D. enumerate
E. bolster

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, and then predict what you think the answer should be.  If Sarah's math homework is taking her a long time, why might she want to use a calculator?  To speed up her work, probably.  Using "speed up" as a prediction, let's look at the answers. 

A. "Mollify" comes from the Latin word "mollificare," which means "to make soft."  To mollify someone is to calm or soothe that person.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B. "Expedite" literally translates from Latin as "to free the feet from chains."  To expedite something is to make it faster or easier.  This matches our prediction, but we need to check the rest of the answer choices.

C. The word “circumvent" comes from the Latin term "circumventus," which is made up of two parts, "circum" (around), and "venire" (to come).  To circumvent something is to go around or avoid that thing.  Sarah wants to speed up her math homework, not avoid it, so eliminate this choice.

D. "Enumerate" means "to list out."  An easy way to remember the meaning of "enumerate" is to think about the fact that it looks a little like the word "number."  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

E.  To bolster something it to encourage it or keep it raised.  For instance, an Academy Award nomination might bolster a film's ticket sales.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is B.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary. Dan Harper. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.

Words used in this SC:

mollify: to calm or soothe
expedite: to speed up or make easier
circumvent: to avoid or go around
enumerate: to list out
bolster: 1) to encourage or 2) to keep raised

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