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SAT Reading: Sentence Completion

Sentence Completions

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

Despite last night’s -------, tonight’s performance was stellar, ------ the performer’s reputation as an excellent entertainer.

A. indulgence . . prompting
B. misconception . . providing
C. advancement . . undermining
D. debacle . . reinforcing
E. plot . . mandating

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be.  In this case, we have two blanks. 

Let’s focus on the easier blank.  Despite last night’s ------, tonight’s performance was stellar.  Stellar means “like the stars” or brilliant.  So, last night’s performance had to be bad.  Let’s look for “huge disaster.” 

A. Is an indulgence a huge disaster?  No.  Eliminate it.  An indulgence is catering to a whim or desire and is positive.   

B.  Is a misconception a huge disaster?  No.  It’s negative (a misconception is a mistaken idea), but it is not a huge disaster.  Eliminate it.

C. Is an advancement a huge disaster?  No.  It’s the opposite.  So, eliminate it. 

D. Is a debacle a huge disaster?  Maybe you don’t know this term.  No problem.  Let’s just leave it and go to E.

E. Is a “plot” a huge disaster?  You’ve probably heard “plot” in your English class in relation to most things you read.  The term “plot” has several distinct meanings:  1) the storyline, 2) a secret (usually hostile, illegal, or evil) plan, 3) a small area of ground, and 4) a graphic representation of land, or a building, etc.  Bottom line:  a “plot” isn’t a huge disaster . . . although implementing one could create a huge disaster.  Eliminate. 

Only Choice D is left.  And, sure enough, a debacle is a huge disaster (a complete collapse or failure).  The 2nd blank works nicely too.  The stellar performance “reinforces” the entertainer’s reputation.

The correct answer is D.

Level:  Medium

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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 uncooperative participants ------ the tour leader’s attempts to round them up and keep them on scheduling, resulting in the entire group missing the bus.

A. discharged
B. implemented
C. forfeited
D. thwarted
E. redoubled

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be.  Since the participants caused the group to miss the bus, they must have hindered the leader’s efforts.  So, let’s predict “hindered.”

A. The verb “discharge” has several meanings:  1) to unload (e.g., to discharge the cargo), 2) to fire (e.g., to discharge a gun), 3) to emit (e.g., to discharge a substance), and 4) to get rid of something (e.g., to discharge a responsibility).  None of these mean “to hinder” so we will eliminate it.

B.  To “implement” is to put into action. Eliminate this choice. 

C. To “forfeit” is to lose or become liable to lose something as a result of a failure (you forfeit the right to go the mall with your friends when you fail to clean your room).  This doesn’t match our prediction.  Eliminate it.  

D. To “thwart” is to prevent something from happening; you can thwart a person, a plan, a purpose, etc.  This works!  Let’s check E quickly, and then we’re done.

E. To “redouble” is to double or make something twice as great.  The common phrase is to “redouble your efforts” by trying twice as hard.  Eliminate it.   

 

The correct answer is D.

Level:  Medium

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Even at the end of the long, arduous bike ride through the mountains, the young athlete looked and felt ------ and hearty; she eagerly anticipated the next day's ride. 

A. robust
B. facile
C. halting
D. corpulent
E. vexed

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be.  Since the athlete felt hearty and ready to ride again, we need something like "healthy."  Let's use "healthy" for our prediction as we go through the choices.

A. Something robust is hearty and healthy.  This works, but let's check the other choices quickly. 

B.  Something "facile" is easy, which would be the opposite of the arduous (difficult) bike ride.  Eliminate this choice. 

C. Something "halting" starts and stops or moves in fits and spurts.  This doesn't match our prediction.  Eliminate it.  

D. Someone "corpulent" is overweight or "full of body" (from the root "corpus" = body).  This doesn't describe the hearty athlete.  Eliminate it. 

E. Someone "vexed" is annoyed or bothered, and that does not match our prediction.  Eliminate it.   

 

The correct answer is A.

Level:  Hard

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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 young prince was known far and wide for his -------, the stubbornness and unyielding persistence that made him both a difficult student and an excellent warrior.  

A. presumptiveness
B. valor
C. impetuosity
D. hubris
E. obstinacy

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be.  Since the prince was known for "stubbornness and unyielding persistence," let's use that for our prediction as we go through the choices.

A. Something presumptive is based on presumption or probability. not facts.  So, presumptiveness (the act of making a presumption or guess based on probability) does not fit our prediction.  Eliminate it.  

B.  "Valor" is bravery and courage, particularly in battle.  While it might be tempting because the prince is an excellent warrior, valor is not associated with stubbornness.  Eliminate it. 

C. Someone impetuous does things without thinking them through, on the spur of the moment.  "Impetuosity" is the noun form of the adjective "impetuous" and means the quality of being rash and impulsive.  Since this does not match our prediction, eliminate this choice.

D. "Hubris" is excessive pride (sometimes called "overweening pride").  It is arrogance to the extreme.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate it. 

E. "Obstinacy" is exactly what we are looking for:  stubbornness and unyielding persistence.  The adjective form of this word is obstinate as in, "He is as obstinate as a mule!"  

 

The correct answer is E.

Level:  Hard

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Although my friend did not find the movie overly sentimental, I was shocked by how ------- it was; it actually brought tears to my eyes even though I never cry when watching movies. 

A. meticulous
B. prosaic
C. cursory
D. treacly
E. consecrated

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be.  Since the writer found the movie "overly sentimental," let's use that for our prediction as we go through the choices.

A. The word "meticulous" means extremely careful and precise.  People are often said to pay meticulous attention to small details.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it and keep moving. 

B.  When you hear "prosaic" you should hear "prose."  This word comes from a time when the distinction between prose and poetry was essentially the difference between boring and workaday and flowery, romantic, and interesting.  Thus, when something is "prosaic" it is dull and straightforward rather than poetic.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

C. You might hear "cursory" and associate it with either cursing or the cursor on the computer monitor.  Cursory actually just means hasty.  Since this does not match our prediction, eliminate this choice.

D. "Treacly" means cloyingly sweet or sentimental and has two synonyms that are even more frequently tested on the SAT:  maudlin and mawkish.  This matches our prediction perfectly, but we should still check the rest of the choices.

E. To "consecrate" something is to make it holy or sacred.  Consecrate actually has the root word "secare" in it, which comes from the Latin sacrare, the source of "sacred."  This has nothing to do with sentimentality, so eliminate it.  

The only word here that you probably have never heard is "treacly," but by process of elimination you should have been able to say "treacly" has to be it because none of the others match the prediction.  

The correct answer is D.

Level:  hard

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