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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the word(s) that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Percy was often perceived as haughty or arrogant, but his ------- exterior ------- his true kindness and gentleness.

A. convoluted . . deterred
B. prolific . . feigned
C. pretentious . . belied
D. candid . . alleviated
E. condescending . . evoked


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.  Start with the easier blank first.  We already know that Percy is seen by others as haughty and arrogant, so it is easy to predict what should belong in the first blank.  We are looking for something synonymous with arrogant.  Using that prediction, let’s look at each of the choices for the first blank.  

A.  “Convoluted” means “intricate or complicated.”  The meaning of this word is fairly easy to remember because it sounds like “complicated,” “complex,” and “confusing.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  
 
B.   “Prolific” comes from the Latin word for “offspring,” and it means “fertile or highly productive.”  Think PROlific = PROductive.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

C.   “Pretentious” comes from the same root as “pretend.”  To be pretentious is to pretend to be more important, wealthy, worldly, intelligent, etc. than you actually are in order to impress others.  This matches our prediction, so keep this choice for now.

D.   To be “candid” is to be open and honest.  If you have read the popular Divergent series, you might recognize candid because it is closely related to the word candor (honesty, frankness).  If you are not familiar with this series of books, Candor is a sect of society that believes in honesty above all else.  This choice is basically the opposite of what we are looking for, so eliminate it.

E.  “Condescend” once meant “to willingly lower oneself to the level of one’s inferiors,” but that use is almost archaic (old, out of date) now.  Now, “condescending” is generally used to mean “patronizing or snobbish.”  This matches our prediction, so keep this choice and move on to the second blanks.  

Now look at the second blank and predict what the answer should be.  If Percy is arrogant on the surface but kind underneath, his appearance contradicts his true nature.  Using “contradict” as a prediction, check the second blanks of the two remaining answers (C and E).

C.   To “belie” is “to give a false impression or contradict.”  You can remember this word by noticing that it sounds a little like “lie.”  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it.  

E.  “Evoke” includes the Latin root “vox,” which gave rise to words like “vocal,” “vocalize,” and “vocabulary.”  You may remember from past posts that the root “e” means “out,” so “evoke” means, in the most literal sense, “to call forth.”  The term can also mean “to bring to mind” or “to bring out.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

The correct answer is C.  

This is a medium level question.  

Words used in this SC:

convoluted: intricate or complicated
deter: to discourage or prevent from taking action
prolific: fertile or highly productive
feign: to fake
pretentious: self-important
belie: to give a false impression or contradict
candid: open, honest, and sincere
alleviate: to relieve
condescend: to act superior
evoke: to bring to mind

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

The increase in the price of this item is -------; most consumers will not even notice the change.  

A. moribund
B. negligible
C. cacophonous
D. antiquated
E. futile

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.  The definition of the missing word is not exactly built into the sentence, but there is an obvious clue contained in the sentence as to what the missing word should mean.  If consumers will not notice the increase in the price of this item, then the increase must be very small.  Using “very small” as your prediction, look at each answer choice.

A. “Moribund” comes from the Latin root “mori,” which means “to die.”  The term can mean either that something/someone is on the verge of death, or it can mean that something/someone is slowing down or not progressing forward.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B. If you have not heard the word “negligible” before, you have probably heard a related word: “neglect.”  “Negligible,” in its most literal sense, means “capable of being neglected.”  Taken more loosely, “negligible” means small, unimportant, or not worth noticing.  This matches our prediction, so keep this choice and quickly check the others.  

C. “Cacophonous” comes from the Greek roots “kako,” which means bad, and “phone,” which means “voice.”  A cacophony is a harsh or jarring sound, like several people banging on pots and pans or instruments playing out of sync with one another.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D. Have you ever heard the word “antique?”  If so, you can probably guess what “antiquated” means.  Both terms come from the Latin word “antiquus,” meaning “ancient, former, or aged.”  Something antiquated is old and outdated.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

E.  “Futile” comes form the Latin word “futilus,” which means “leaky.”  Imagine you are trying to fill a vessel with water, but the water keeps leaking out of a hole in the bottom of the vessel.  That situation is the embodiment of the term “futile,” which means “useless, hopeless, or ineffective.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.  

The correct answer is (B).
This is an easy level question.

Words used in this SC:
moribund: not progressing or stagnant
negligible: small, unimportant, or not worth noticing
cacophonous: harsh or jarring
antiquated: outdated or related to the past
futile: useless, hopeless, or ineffective

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Fans of the young artist call her -------; in her paintings, they claim, she displays an artistic ability far beyond her years. 

A.   precocious

B.   pugnacious

C.   inept

D.   whimsical

E.   tacit

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.  How would you describe an artist with skill beyond her years?  A good prediction would be "advanced."

A.  The word "precocious” comes from the Latin word “praecox,” which means “maturing early.”  Although this term originally referred to flowers that bloomed to early or fruits that ripened ahead of their usual season, it has been used for the past few hundred years to refer to people who develop traits earlier than is the norm.  This young artist already displays the skills beyond her years, so precocious would be an appropriate term to describe her.  Keep this choice.

B.  The term “pugnacious” means “quarrelsome or combative.”  To remember the meaning of this word, you can think about how it starts with a "p,"  just like the word “punch.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C.  You probably recognize the root “in,” which is commonly used for negation.  This young artist is obviously good at what she does, so any term that means “not something” is probably not the correct choice.  As it happens, “inept” means unskilled, so it is the opposite of what we are looking for.  Eliminate this choice.

D. “Whimsical” means fanciful or unpredictable.  You could describe an artist as whimsical if that artist’s works were playful and imaginative.  However,  we are considering this young artist’s level of skill, not her style.  Eliminate this choice.

E.  “Tacit” comes from the Latin word “tacere,” which means “to be silent.”  Something tacit is understood but not spoken, like a rule that everyone follows even though it is not posted anywhere.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice. 

The correct answer is (A).

This is a medium level question.

 

Words used in this SC:
precocious: exceptionally early in development
pugnacious: quarrelsome or combative
inept: awkward or unskilled
whimsical: fanciful or unpredictable
tacit: understood without being clearly stated

 

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

The fast-paced game gave players little chance for -------, so by the end of the first half, they were all panting and drenched in sweat. 

A.   remorse

B.  credulity

C.  recalcitrance

D.  nostalgia

E.  respite

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  If the players of this game are panting and drenched in sweat, then they must have been playing nonstop.  What did they not have a chance to do?  Rest.  Use "rest" as your prediction for the answer, and check each answer choice to see whether it matches.

A.  The word "remorse" literally translates from Latin as "to bite back."  When you feel remorseful, you feel deep regret for something something you have done wrong.  It is as though your guilt is "biting" you and torturing you.  Does this match our prediction?  No, so eliminate this choice.

B.  "Credulity" refers to eagerness to believe something despite the fact that there is not sufficient proof.  Someone who demonstrates "credulity" is giving too much "credibility" where it is not due.  Does this match our prediction?  No.  Eliminate this choice. 

C.   "Recalcitrance" comes from the French word récalcitrant, which means "kicking back."  Think of a toddler kicking and screaming when he or she does not want to do something.  Recalcitrant means stubborn and resistant to authority.  It does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice. 

D.  "Nostalgia" is something that you might feel when you look back through old photographs.  It is a sense of homesickness or a longing to return to the past.  Does it match our prediction?  No, so eliminate this choice. 

E.   "Respite" sounds like "rest," and it has a similar meaning.  A respite is a temporary delay, pause, or rest period.  This is the only choice that matches our prediction, so it is the correct answer.


The correct answer is (E).

This is a medium level question. 

 

Words used in this SC:

remorse: a nagging sense of guilt and regret caused by wrongdoing

credulity: over eagerness to believe, despite insufficient evidence  

recalcitrant: stubbornly defiant and resistant of authority

nostalgia: homesickness, or a wistful yearning for the past

respite: a temporary delay, pause, or rest period

 

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

 Sentence Completions

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

Alfons Mucha saw The Slav Epic as the ------- of his life’s work in the visual arts; this series of paintings was intended to celebrate Slavic history and become the artist’s ultimate legacy.

A. veneration

B. decorum

C. culmination

D. nadir

E. cacophony

 

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  This series of paintings plays a certain role in Mucha’s life work.  The paintings were also intended to become “the artist’s ultimate legacy.”  From these context clues, you can predict that Mucha considered these paintings to be very important, the high point of his career.  Predict the phrase “most important part” and look down at your answer choices.  For each choice, ask yourself whether this word means “the most important part.”

A.       The Latin root “vener” means respectful.  The whole word means praise.  While Mucha probably wanted the praise of others for his work, this does not match your prediction.  This answer choice puts the spotlight on Mucha’s previous work rather than showing that The Slav Epic is to be his “ultimate legacy.”  Eliminate it.

B.      Don’t confuse the word “decorum” with the word “decorate” assume that it has to do with the visual arts.  Decorum is proper behavior.  This does not match your prediction.  Eliminate it.

C.      The culmination of something is its highest point.  This matches your prediction exactly.  Keep it and quickly check the remaining choices.

D.      The word “nadir” is the opposite of your prediction.  It means the lowest point.  Eliminate this choice.

E.       The word “cacophony” should be connected with sound in your mind.  The Greek root “cac” means bad.  The Greek root “phon” means sound (think of the telephone).  Therefore, this word indicates a bad sound.  You are looking for something positive.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (C).

 

Words used in this SC:

Ultimate: the final or the greatest

Legacy:  something left behind once a person is gone

Veneration: profound reverence or respect

Decorum: appropriate behavior

Culmination: the highest point

Nadir: the lowest point

Cacophony: a harsh or jarring sound

 

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