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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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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Given his ------- chocolate desserts, we were all a little surprised when my father chose vanilla cake and ice cream for his birthday this year.

A. predilection for
B. resurgence of
C. deference to
D. decorum around
E. aversion to

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.  If the father's choice of vanilla cake and ice cream surprised his family, the father probably had an established preference for chocolate.  Using "established preference" as our prediction, let's go through the choices.

A. The word “predilection" comes from the Latin word "prediligere," meaning "to prefer before others."  A predilection is an established preference for something.  This matches our prediction perfectly, but we should still check the rest of the choices.

B.  “Resurgence" sounds a lot like what it means.  A resurgence is a revival.  Think: something is re- (again) surging (thriving, increasing, moving, etc.)  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

C. "Deference" sounds like "preference," but don't be fooled!  It means something very different.  To show deference to someone is to show that person respect or esteem.  The father in the sentence probably likes chocolate, but it would make no sense for him to "respect" chocolate.  Eliminate this choice.

D. "Decorum" means "socially acceptable dignity or correctness of speech or behavior."  Here's an easy trick for remembering this definition.  If you are somewhere that is formally DECORated (like a ballroom, the White House, etc.), you should display a certain sense of DECORum.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E. You can probably detect just from looking at this word that it has a negative connotation.  An "aversion" to something is a severe dislike of that thing.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is A.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary. Dan Harper. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

Words used in this SC:

predilection: an established preference for something
resurgence: a revival
deference: respect or esteem due to a superior of an elder
decorum: socially acceptable dignity or correctness of speech or behavior
aversion: dislike and opposition

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

After discovering a permanent marker in a kitchen drawer, my two-year-old nephew left ------- scribbles all over my sister's walls. 

A. indelible
B. fallacious
C. altruistic
D. inept
E. ambivalent

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.  A permanent marker would leave permanent marks on the walls, so use that as a prediction and check the answer choices.

A. The word “indelible” come from the Latin roots “in,” meaning “not or the opposite of,” and “delebilis,” meaning “able to be destroyed.”  Something indelible cannot be destroyed or removed.  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it.

B.  “Fallacious” means “deceptive or misleading.”  A useful trick for remembering the meaning of “fallacious” is to think about the word “false” which sounds similar and means something similar.   This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C. "Debilitate" comes from the Latin "debilitare," meaning "to weaken."  To debilitate someone or something is to make that person or thing weak and potentially infirm.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D. An “altruistic” person is likely to donate money, do charity work, and share readily with others.  “Altruism” is “unselfish concern for others.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

E. The word "ambivalent" was coined in 1910 by Swiss psychologist Eugen Bleuler.  As a psychological term, "ambivalent" means "having conflicting meanings," but it can also mean "having several possible meanings."  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is A.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary. Dan Harper. 2013. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.

Words used in this SC:

indelible: permanent
fallacious: deceptive or misleading
altruistic: unselfishly concerned about the welfare of others
inept: awkward or unskilled
ambivalent: having several possible meanings
 

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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 defendant's story seemed highly -------, especially since she had no witnesses to ------- her alibi.

A. innocuous . . vindicate
B. auspicious . . substantiate
C. inept . . debilitate
D. reticent . . scrutinize
E. implausible . . corroborate

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 two-blank sentence completions like this one, start with the easier blank first, which, in this case, is the second one.  What would this defendant need a witness to do?  To confirm or support her alibi.  Using "confirm/support" as a prediction, let's look at the choices for the second blank.

A.  "Vindicate," like many SAT words, has a Latin origin.  It comes from "vindicare," which means "to set free, lay claim to, assert, or avenge."  Today, the word is no longer associated with laying claim or achieving revenge; it means "to clear of guilt or blame" or "to prove to be right."  The second meaning of vindicate matches somewhat with our prediction, so keep this choice for now.

B.  "Substantiate" is easy to remember because it sounds like "substance."  To substantiate something is to give substance to, to prove, or to establish that thing.  This matches fairly well with our prediction, so keep this choice for now.

C. "Debilitate" comes from the Latin "debilitare," meaning "to weaken."  To debilitate someone or something is to make that person or thing weak and potentially infirm.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D. "Scrutinize" means "to examine closely."  To help you remember this word, you could think of someone squinting their eyes to look at something very closely.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E. "Corroborate" comes from the Latin "corroborare," meaning "to strengthen."  To corroborate something is to support it with evidence.  This matches fairly well with our prediction, so keep this choice for now.

Now look at the second blank.  If the defendant has no witnesses to confirm her alibi, then her story would be weak or difficult to believe.  Using this as a prediction, let's look at the remaining options for the second blank.

A. “Innocuous” comes from the Latin roots “in” (not) and “nocuus” (to harm) and means “harmless or inoffensive.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

B. "Auspicious" sounds a little like "suspicious," but it means nearly the opposite.  Something auspicious is favorable or promising of success.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E. The word "implausible" comes from the same Latin root (plaudere) as the word "applaud," though the two words have very different meanings today.  Something implausible is unlikely to be true or hard to believe.  (FYI, something plausible is reasonable or probable).  This choice matches our prediction, so E must be correct.

The correct answer is E.

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

Words used in this SC:

innocuous: harmless
vindicate: to clear of guilt or blame
auspicious: favorable or promising success
substantiate: to give substance to, to prove, or to establish
inept: awkward or unskilled
debilitate: to diminish strength
reticent: quiet and reserved
scrutinize: to examine closely
implausible: 1) unlikely to be true or 2) hard to believe
corroborate: to support with evidence or authority

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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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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Seeing the ------- bicycle, which was over 80 years old now, made the elderly man feel ------- for the carefree days of his youth. 

A. recalcitrant . . abstemious
B. precursory . . cynical
C. arcane . . somber
D. hackneyed . . tenacious
E. antiquated . . nostalgic

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.  In two-blank sentence completions like this one, predict the easier blank first.  The first blank in this sentence is easier because there are more direct context clues, so we will start there.  If a bicycle is over 80 years old, what word would you use to describe that bicycle?  Probably "old," "rusted," "disused," something along those lines.  With those predictions in mind, let's look at the answer choices for the first blank.

A. "Recalcitrant" literally translates from French as "kicking back."  The word is typically used today to mean "stubbornly defiant or resistant of authority."  Think of a stubborn mule that does not want to go anywhere and kicks you when you try to make it move.  This word does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B. "Precursory" comes from the Latin "praecursor," which means "forerunner."  The word still means the same thing today; something "precursory" is something that comes before or leads to something else.  For instance, land line telephones were the precursors to cell phones.  This word somewhat matches our prediction, though not exactly.  We should keep this choice for now and check the second blank later.

C. The word “arcane” shares a common root with the word “ark” (perhaps best known from 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.

D. The word "hackneyed" has a complicated origin.  It comes from the Old English "Hacan ieg," or "Hook Island," an area of land that is a part of contemporary London.  Horses were once kept on Hook Island, so the term "hackney" came to refer to a horse that could be rented out for hire.  "Hackneyed" meant "kept for hire," but it eventually developed a new meaning, "unoriginal or trite."  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E.  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 matches our prediction, so keep this choice.

Now, focus on the second blank.  This man is feeling (something) for the carefree days of his youth.  He is probably feeling a sense of longing for his youth.  Using that as our prediction, let's look at the remaining choices.

B. The word "cynical," which means "distrustful of human nature," refers back to a school of Greek philosophy, the Cynics, who believed that people must reject indulgent pleasures and luxury and live a simple life.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E. "Nostalgia" means "homesickness or a wistful yearning for the past."  The term comes from the Greek words "nostos," or "homecoming," and "algia," or "distress."  This choice matches our prediction, so E must be the correct answer.

The correct answer is E.

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

Words used in this SC:

recalcitrant: stubbornly defiant and resistant of authority
abstemious: not eating or drinking too much
precursory: preliminary, coming before something else
cynical: distrustful, especially of human nature
arcane: mysterious or understood by only a few
somber: gloomy and melancholy
hackneyed: unoriginal or trite
tenacious: persistent
antiquated: outdated or related to the past
nostalgic: 1) homesick or 2) feeling a wistful yearning for the past

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Jared is ------- around strangers, but when he is alone with family and friends, he becomes lively and loquacious.

A. disingenuous
B. erudite
C. verbose
D. dispassionate
E. reticent

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.  Jared is lively and loquacious (excessively talkative) around his friends and family, but he acts differently around strangers.  Our prediction should be the opposite of lively and loquacious, something like "shy and quiet."  Using that as our prediction, let's look at each of the answer choices.

A. "Disingenuous" means "insincere or calculating."  To help yourself remember the meaning of this word, think that "disingenuous" means "not genuine."  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B.  If you read the Divergent books, you may already recognize the word "erudite," which means "intellectual or learned." In the book series, "Erudite" is the name of a faction of people who believe that intelligence is the most important trait one can have.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

C.  "Verbose," "verb," and "verbal" all come from the Latin word "verbum," which means "word."  "Verbose" means "wordy" and can be used to describe a piece of writing, spoken words, or a person.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D.  "Dispassionate" means "neutral or not affected by emotions."  Think, "dispassionate = not passionate/not emotional." 

E.  "Reticent" comes from the Latin verb "reticiere," which means "to be silent."  Someone who is "reticent" is quiet and reserved.  This matches our prediction, so E is the correct answer. 

The correct answer is E.

Words used in this SC:

disingenuous: insincere or calculating
erudite: 1) intellectual or 2) learned
verbose: wordy
dispassionate: 1) neutral or 2) not affected by emotions
reticent: quiet and reserved

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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.

The salesman offered the woman a lower interest rate to ------- her to purchase the car, but the woman remained -------, waffling over whether she could commit to such a large purchase without talking to her family first.

A. extol . . vicarious
B. incline . . ineffable
C. induce . . irresolute
D. discern . . prolific
E. baffle . . dubious

Knowsys Method

Start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract or bias you.  Then read the sentence and use context clues to determine what the answer should be.  In two-blank sentence completions, start with the easier blank first.  In this case, the second blank is easier because you have more contextual clues to use.  If this woman is waffling (unable to make a decision), then you would describe her as "uncertain."  Using that as our prediction, we will look at all of the second blanks first. 

A. "Vicarious" comes from the Latin "'vicarius," which means "substitute."  The word "vicarious" is used today to indicate that you are experiencing something through someone else.  For instance, if your friend is going on a tour of Europe, you might ask him or her to take lots of pictures so that you can experience the trip vicariously.  This word does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.


B. "Ineffable" comes from the Latin "ineffabilis," which means "unutterable."  Something "ineffable" is impossible to put into words.  This word does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.   


C. Did you make any New Year's resolutions this year?  If so, you are probably "resolute" about achieving them.  "Resolute" means "determined or certain," so "irresolute" means the opposite, "uncertain."  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it for now.


D. “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.


E. "Dubious" is easy to remember because it sounds like what it means.  If you are feeling "dubious," then you are feeling doubtful.  If something is "dubious," then it is suspicious and not to be trusted.  This choice matches our prediction fairly well, so keep it for now. 

Now look back at the sentence and predict what should belong in the first blank.  A salesman would want his customer to make a purchase, so he is probably offering the lower interest rate to persuade the customer.  Using "persuade" as our prediction, let's look at the choices we have not yet eliminated.

C. "Induce" comes from the Latin "inducere," which means "lead in or persuade."  "Induce" means much the same thing today; it means "to persuade, influence, or cause."  This choice matches our prediction, so C is most likely the correct answer, but we need to check E to be sure.

E. To "baffle" is "to confuse or to frustrate."  This is the opposite of what the salesman in the question would want to do, so eliminate this choice. 

The correct answer is C.


Words used in this SC:

extol: to praise highly
vicarious: learned, understood, or realized through second-hand experience
incline: 1) to persuade, or 2) to bow or bend
ineffable: indescribable or unspeakable
induce: to persuade, influence, or cause
irresolute: uncertain
discern: 1) to understand,2) to see, or 3) to recognize as different
prolific: fertile or highly productive
baffle: to confuse or to frustrate
dubious: doubtful or uncertain

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Although is it best known as a seasoning for food, garlic is said to have many ------- properties; it can supposedly reduce blood pressure, treat colds, and even relieve athlete’s foot.  

A.  altruistic
B.  mundane
C.  garish
D.  futile
E.  curative

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.  In this sentence, you are told that garlic can treat blood pressure, colds, and athlete’s foot.  So, what sort of properties would you say that garlic has?  Probably healing properties.  Using “healing” as a prediction, let’s look at the answer choices.  

A.  An “altruistic” person is likely to donate money, do charity work, and share readily with others.  “Altruism” is “unselfish concern for others.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B.  “Mundane” comes from the Latin “mundus,” which means “universe or world.”  “Mundane” can have one of two meanings: it can mean “of this world (not spiritual or supernatural)” or “commonplace and ordinary.”  The more common meaning is the second.  Neither meaning matches our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C.  The sound of the word “garish” is well suited to its meaning.  Something “garish” is “tastelessly showy or excessively elaborate.”  The term has a negative connotation, so if you call you neighbor’s holiday decorations “garish,” that means that not only are those decorations elaborate, but you find them tacky.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

D.  “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 is almost the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate it.

E.  “Curative” is easy to remember because it means “tending to cure.”  Think “cure – ative.”  This choice matches our prediction, so E is the correct answer.

The correct answer is E.  

Words used in this SC:

altruism: unselfish concern for others  
mundane: commonplace and ordinary
garish: tastelessly showy or excessively elaborate
futile: useless, hopeless, or ineffective
curative: tending to cure

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Poisonous coral snakes and ------- milk snakes have similar color patterns and markings, so it is important to learn how to ------- these two varieties from one another.  

A.  docile . . depict
B.  succulent . . disparage
C.  trenchant . . finagle
D.  innocuous . . discern
E.  pugnacious . . incline

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.  In two-blank sentence completions, start with the blank that is easier.  The first blank is easier in this sentence, so we will start there.  These two snakes look similar but are different from one another.  If coral snakes are poisonous, it is likely that the other snake mentioned in the sentence is not poisonous, or harmless.   Using “harmless” as our prediction, let’s look at the answer choices.

A.  Surprisingly, “docile” shares the same Latin origin as “doctor.”  Both words come from “docere,” which means “teach.”  The modern meaning of “docile” is “easily taught or obedient.”  An animal that is easily taught could be harmless, so keep this choice for now.

B.  “Succulent” is almost onomatopoeic: it means “juicy or tasty.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C.   “Trenchant” means “perceptive or insightful.”  A useful mnemonic to remember this word is that trenches are deep just like insight is (metaphorically) deep.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

D.   “Innocuous” comes from the Latin roots “in” (not) and “nocuus” (to harm) and means “harmless or inoffensive.”  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it for now.  

E. “Pugnacious”  comes from the Latin “pugnare,”  which means “to fight.”  The term “pugnacious” means “quarrelsome or combative,”  which is almost the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

Now, predict what you think should fit in the second blank.  If one snake is poisonous and the other is harmless, it would be important to learn how to distinguish them from each other.  Using “distinguish” as our prediction, let’s look at the choices we still have left.  

A.  The meaning of “depict” is easy to remember.  The word sort of sounds like “picture,” and it means “to describe or give a picture of (something).”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

D.  “Discern” comes from the Latin “dis” (away) and “cernere,” (separate, sift).  It means “to understand, to see, or to recognize as different.”  This matches our prediction, so D is the correct answer.  

The correct answer is D. 


Words used in this SC:
docile: 1) obedient or 2) easily taught or managed
depict: to describe or give a picture of
succulent: moist, tasty, juicy, or inviting
disparage: to criticize disrespectfully
trenchant: very perceptive and insightful
finagle: to get something by indirect means or by trickery
innocuous: harmless
discern: 1) to understand, 2) to see, or 3) to recognize as different
pugnacious: quarrelsome or combative
induce: to persuade, influence, or cause

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

A crowd of birdwatchers gathered to catch a glimpse of ------- bird that had not been spotted in over ten years.  

A. an elusive
B. a lavish
C. a munificent
D. an auspicious
E. a regressive

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 this bird has not been seen in over ten years, it must be difficult to find.  Pick out the answer that best matches this meaning.  

A.  “Elusive” comes from the Latin “eludere,” which means “escape from, make a fool of, or win from at play.”  Something elusive is difficult to find or understand.  This matches our prediction, but check the other choices to be sure.  

B.  “Lavish” comes from a Latin word meaning “to wash,” but it means “extravagant or luxurious.”  This word does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.  

C.  “Munificent” sounds a little like “magnificent,” but it actually means “generous” or “charitable.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

D.  Something “auspicious” is a good omen.  The term comes from the Latin “auspicium,” which refers to predicting the future by observing the flight of birds.  Although this term relates to bird watching, it does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E.  “Regress” is the opposite of “progress:” it means “to move backward.”  “Regressive” does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

A is the correct answer.

Words used in this SC:
elusive: 1) hard to grasp or 2) evasive
lavish: extravagant or luxurious
munificent: very generous
auspicious: favorable or promising success
regressive: tending to move backwards

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

Although she was faced with many obstacles, Ramona remained ------- in pursuit of her goals.  

A.   banal
B.   innocuous
C.   apathetic
D.   resolute
E.   overt

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 Ramona pursues her goals despite the obstacles she faces, then how would you describe her?  She is probably persistent and determined.  Using “determined” as our prediction, let’s look at the choices.  

A.   “Arduous” comes from the Latin word “arduus,” meaning high or steep.  The term can literally refer to something that is difficult to climb, but it can also figuratively refer to anything that is difficult to overcome.   Although the obstacles Ramona faces may be arduous, Ramona herself is not.   Eliminate this choice.  

B.   The Latin word “nocuus” means harmful, so you can probably guess what “innocuous” means.  Something “innocuous” is harmless.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  
 
C.   “Apathetic” comes from two Greek roots: “a,” which means without, and “pathos,” which means “emotion, feeling or suffering.”  Apathy is a lack of feeling or emotion.  This is nearly the opposite of our prediction (someone who is apathetic is probably not determined to achieve a goal), so eliminate this choice.  
 
D.   The word “resolute” means determined.  Here is a helpful way to remember the meaning of this word: when I make New Year’s resolutions, I am resolute that I will achieve these goals.  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it and check the last option.

E.   “Prudent” comes from the Latin word “prudens,” meaning “skilled, sagacious (wise) or cautious.”  This does not fit with our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

The correct answer is D.

Words used in this SC:
arduous: difficult
innocuous: harmless
apathetic: lacking concern or interest
resolute: determined and steady
prudent: very careful

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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

The novel’s ------- conclusion is sure to cause some dissatisfaction among readers who prefer clear-cut endings.

A.   ambiguous
B.   didactic
C.   fallacious
D.   innate
E.   overt

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 readers who prefer clear-cut endings might feel dissatisfied after reading this book, then its ending must unclear or confusing.  With “unclear or confusing” as our prediction, let’s look at the choices.  

A.   You probably know that the Latin prefix “ambi” means “both” or “many” (ambidextrous, ambivalent, etc.).  The other Latin root in “ambiguous” is “agere,” which means “to drive or to lead.”  Put those roots together, and you get a sense of what “ambiguous” means.  Something “ambiguous” is unclear because it could have many possible meanings or lead you in many different directions.   This matches our prediction, so keep it and scan the other choices.  

B.   “Didactic” comes from the Greek word “didaktos,” meaning “taught.”  Something “didactic” is intended to or designed to teach.  Eliminate this choice because it does not match our prediction.

C.   “Fallacious” means “deceptive or misleading.”  A useful trick for remembering the meaning of “fallacious” is to think about the word “false” which sounds similar and means something similar.   This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D.   If you have taken French or Spanish in school, you know that the words for "born" in those languages are “né” and “nacido,” respectively.  It makes sense, then that an “innate” characteristic or ability is something you were born with.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

E.   “Overt” comes from the French word “ouvrir,” which means “to open.”  Something “overt” is out in the open or obvious.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.
 
The correct answer is A.

Words used in this SC:

ambiguous: having several possible meanings
didactic: designed to teach
fallacious: deceptive or misleading
innate: existing from birth
overt: not hidden, obvious

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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 girl had been ------- completing her chores, and now her room had  a ------- appearance, with clothing, shoes, and school supplies strewn all over the floor.  

A.  remiss in . . slovenly
B.  laudatory about . . distinct
C.  lackadaisical while . . dilatory
D.  aloof while . . terse
E.  negligible about . . seditious

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 answers should be.  Start with the blank that seems easier—in this case, the second blank.  If a girl’s clothes, shoes, and school supplies are strewn (scattered) all over her floor, then how would you describe her room?  You would probably call her room messy.  Using “messy” as our prediction, let’s look at the second words in each answer choice.  

A. One helpful tip for remembering the meaning of the word “slovenly” is to think about “slob,” which sounds similar.  “Slovenly” means “messy or careless” and can refer to a person who is messy, or to the state of something that is messy.  This choice fits our prediction, so keep it for now.  

B.  You most likely know the definition of “distinct,” which means “unique, notable, or clear.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.  

C.  When you see the word “dilatory,” think “delay,” because “dilatory” means “characterized by procrastination or delay.”  The girl in the sentence above is “dilatory” because she puts off her chores, but her room cannot be described with this term.  Eliminate this choice.  

D. The word “terse” sounds a little like what it means.  Try saying the word aloud, and notice how it cuts off somewhat abruptly at the end.  Fittingly, “terse” means that something (usually a statement or a written message) is “short to the point of rudeness.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.  

E. The word “seditious” comes from the Latin “seditionem,” which means “civil disorder, strife, or rebellion.”  “Seditious” means “guilty of rebellion or treason.  Eliminate this choice.

Only one of the choices fit, but we need to check the first word of choice A to make sure it works as well.  

A.  “Remiss” comes from the Latin word “remissus,” which can mean “negligent.”  Someone “remiss” is “negligent or lacking a sense of duty.”  This word aptly describes the girl in the original sentence because she neglects her chores.  A is clearly the correct choice.

The correct answer is A.

Words used in this SC:
remiss: negligent or lacking a sense of duty
slovenly: messy or careless
laudatory: full of praise
distinct: unique, notable, or clear
lackadaisical: lacking spirit and enthusiasm
dilatory: characterized by procrastination or delay
aloof: cool and detached
terse: short to the point of rudeness
negligible: small, unimportant, or not worth noticing
seditious: guilty of treason (rebellion against a government)

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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

 

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