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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

SAT essay questions require you to think carefully about  a situation and take a stand.  Take a look at this current event that concerns the adoption of Russian children by American citizens.  What are the major issues at stake here?  How could this current event serve as an excellent example for SAT questions involving the relationship of the government to individuals, power, change, or the role of feelings in decision making?  All of these themes have been part of SAT questions before, so make sure to note the facts involved if this issue interests you.

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover the answer choices before you read the sentence so that you do not jump to an incorrect conclusion.  Read the sentence carefully and focus on the blank that seems easier.  Make a prediction for that blank, and then eliminate any answer choices that do not match that prediction.  Use the same process for the other blank. 

That the edelweiss appears to be ------- is an illusion: the flower actually is incredibly -------, able to survive in extreme temperatures.

The sentence defines the second blank after a comma.  You know that you are looking for a word that means “able to survive” in difficult circumstances.  If no word immediately comes to mind, use the words in the sentence as your prediction and look down at your answer choices.

(A) hardy . . malleable
(B) fragile . . resilient
(C) durable . . resistant
(D) stunning . . slight
(E) unique . . tenacious

(A)  Does malleable mean able to survive?  If you are not sure, keep this answer choice.  (B)  Resilient matches your prediction, so keep it.  (C) Resistant does not match even though it may seem to at first.  Resistant to what?  You would have to use the phrase “resistant to destruction” for this to match.  The single word alone does not express the meaning of your prediction, so eliminate this answer choice.  (D)  The word slight does not match your prediction.  Think of a slight difference.  That is not a very strong difference, so this word will not mean strong and able to survive.  Eliminate it.  (E)  The Latin root “ten” means hold.  Someone who is tenacious will hold on even in adverse circumstances.  This matches your prediction, so keep it. 

You are now ready to look at the first blank.  Paraphrase the sentence to make the logic clear to yourself:  “The flower appears one way, but it is actually able to survive.”  You need a word to contrast the second blank that meant “able to survive.”  Predict a word such as weak or frail and look down at the remaining answer choices.

(A) hardy . . malleable
(B) fragile . . resilient
(E) unique . . tenacious

(A) The word hardy is the opposite of weak, so eliminate this choice.  (B) Fragile matches your prediction.  (C) The word unique has nothing to do with the ability to survive.  It cannot contrast the ability to survive, and it does not mean weak.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (B).

Words used in this SC:
Hardy: having rugged physical strength
Malleable: able to be shaped, flexible
Fragile: easily broken or destroyed
Resilient: able to endure adversity
Durable: able to resist decay
Resistant: one who resists or counters
Stunning: shocking or exceptionally beautiful
Slight: small, weak, gentle, or insignificant
Unique: one of a kind, unparalleled
Tenacious: persistent, holding fast, tough


On sat.collegeboard.org, 74% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover your answer choices before reading the sentence.  Then read the entire sentence carefully.  Use the context clues in the sentence to predict what belongs in the blank.  Compare your prediction to each answer choice, asking yourself whether the choice matches your prediction.  If the answer is no, eliminate that choice.  Be sure to look at all the answer choices before selecting your answer.

Cormac McCarthy has a reputation for being one of the most ------- figures in literature; for many years, few people knew what the writer looked like or where he lived.

The definition of the word that belongs in the blank is in this sentence right after the semi-colon.  What word would you use to describe someone who few recognize or know much about?  There are many words that might come to mind: unsociable, solitary, withdrawn.  Use the word that comes to mind as your prediction and look down at your answer choices.

(A) overbearing
(B) sedate
(C) sociable
(D) celebrated
(E) reclusive

(A)  This does not match your prediction.  You know nothing about how this person interacts with others because he doesn’t interact with others.  Eliminate this choice.  (B)  This answer is meant to distract you because the Latin root “sed” can mean “apart.”  However, another meaning of the Latin root, the one that is used here is “calm.”  This does not match your prediction, so you can eliminate it.  (C)  This is the opposite of your prediction!  Eliminate it!  (D)  This answer may be tempting because the author is described as “most” something and people seem to want to know him.  Still, there is no indication that people appreciate this person’s writing.  Stick to your original prediction.  The sentence clearly indicates that this person is unsociable, so the word celebrated will not be the answer.  Eliminate it.  (E)  You may know the related word “recluse.”  This answer matches perfectly.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Overbearing: demanding, bossy
Sedate: calm, composed
Sociable: friendly, congenial
Celebrated: famous, widely praised
Reclusive: preferring privacy and isolation


On sat.collegeboard.org, 77% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Finding a balance in life can be difficult.  When is it most important to make money?  When is it most important to spend time with family?  Read this article about how stores and restaurants are staying open during the holidays.  Try to think about this issue from a variety of perspectives.  Be sure to realize that many people observe holidays, religious or otherwise, that are not recognized by major companies in the United States.  If this topic interests you, write down the facts involved and use it as a current event for your SAT essay.

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover up the answer choices before reading the sentence so that wrong answers will not affect your thought process.  Read the sentence carefully and use context clues to predict a word to fill the blank.  Match your prediction to the correct answer choice, eliminating any word that does not match.  Be sure to look at all of the answer choices before selecting your answer.

He felt like a ------- at the meeting when his coworkers failed to acknowledge either his ideas for or his opinions of the new business plan.

How does a person feel when his ideas are not acknowledged?  This person probably feels worthless or undervalued.  You don’t have to come up with an exact word to fill the blank; you can simply predict that he felt like a “worthless person.”  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) magnate
(B) cohort
(C) nonentity
(D) bigwig
(E) lackey

(A) The Latin root “magn” means great or large – think of the word magnificent.  This is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (B) The Latin prefix “co” means together, but this person feels undervalued by others, a very isolating feeling.  Eliminate this choice.  (C) An entity is just something.  If this person feels like a “nonentity,” he feels completely worthless.  This answer choice matches your prediction.  Keep it.  (D) Even if you don’t know what a “bigwig” is, you know that the person in the sentence feels “small” rather than big.  Eliminate this choice.  (E) This looks like a good choice because it seems to contain the word “lack.”  However, you may have watched a movie in which a mob boss has a lackey.  The lackey runs around doing menial things for his boss, which does not really match your prediction.  Instead of trying to talk yourself into this answer, eliminate it.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Magnate: Powerful person, usually in industry
Cohort: A person supporting the same thing, an accomplice
Nonentity: an unimportant person or thing
Bigwig: an important person
Lackey: a servant or servile follower


On sat.collegeboard.org, 62% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Teachers and parents are often so caught up in trying to prepare teens for the future that they don’t realize that teens have a lot to contribute in the present.  Your life is happening now; instead of waiting for the future, get out there and make a difference with the talents that you have.  Here is the story of one teen, Jack Andraka, who created a method to detect pancreatic cancer.  (And yes, this would make a great current event example for your SAT essay!)

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Cover up the answer choices until you have read the sentence and made a prediction to fill the blank.  Then match your prediction to the correct answer and eliminate any words that do not match.  Make sure to examine all of the answer choices as possibilities. 

The salmon's extraordinary ability to smell a single drop of its home river in almost two million gallons of seawater is only one of the fish's many ------- skills.

Ask yourself, what kind of skill does this fish have?  It is extraordinary!  You can use words that are in the sentence to save yourself time.  This extraordinary ability is just one of the many extraordinary skills that the fish has.  Predict the word “extraordinary” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) sinuous
(B) encumbered
(C) colossal
(D) prodigious
(E) furtive

(A) The Latin prefix “sinu-“ has something to do with drawing a line.  Think of the graph of sine from your math classes: it is curvy.  Curvy doesn’t match your prediction of extraordinary, so eliminate this choice.  (B)Encumber is a negative word:  Too many shopping bags encumber a person.  You are looking for a positive word, so eliminate this choice.  (C) Colossal has something to do with big, so this might be a tempting answer.  However, it actually means big as in large, not big as in a big idea.  Eliminate this choice. (D)  The prefix “pro” from prodigious means for or forward, and is often used with positive words.  Think of the related word, prodigy.  Are prodigies extraordinary?  Yes, so keep this choice.  The Latin prefix “furt” means “steal,” so you can identify this as a negative word.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Sinuous: curvy and graceful or indirect and devious
Encumbered: weighed down with a burden
Colossal: extremely large, gigantic
Prodigious: extraordinary, wonderful, enormous
Furtive: stealthy, exhibiting guilty or evasive secrecy


On sat.collegeboard.org, 56% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day:

Are you able to memorize and analyze sports statistics even though other numbers leave your head in an instant?  You can use athletes and important events from the world of sports in your SAT essay as one excellent historical or current event example.  However, this example must be intellectual; be able to explain why the player or event is important and what kind of conclusions you can draw from this example in a wider context than sports.  Make sure you can draw out the themes of the example and then name specific statistics to back up your claims.  One current event that would make an excellent essay example is freshman Johnny Manziel's acceptance of the Heisman.  No freshman has ever won the award before.  Read more about this topic here.

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover your answer choices so that they do not prejudice your thoughts as you read the sentence carefully.  Then make a prediction for the easier blank and check it against the answer choices.  Eliminate any word that does not match your prediction.  Do the same for the other blank.  Always make sure to look at all the choices, even if one matches your prediction exactly.

Not wanting to come across as -------, the award-winning biologist ------- her many impressive accomplishments as she addressed the team of scientists.

Think about this sentence logically.  If someone has a lot of awards, how will others perceive that person?  Awards are a good thing unless someone becomes too proud and haughty.  Since the first blank has to do with what the award-winner does not want to be, predict the word “haughty” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) egotistical . . downplayed
(B) experienced . . explored
(C) celebrated . . highlighted
(D) arrogant . . evoked
(E) incompetent . . omitted

(A) Egotistical matches your prediction.  Keep it.  (B)  Experience is a good thing, people want to be seen as experienced.  It does not match your prediction, so eliminate it.  (C) Celebrated is a very positive word, but you are looking for a negative trait.  Eliminate it.  (D) Arrogant and haughty are synonyms.  Keep it.  (E) Incompetent is a negative thing, but you already know that the biologist is award-winning.  Her problem is not looking incompetent, it is looking too proud.

Look now at the second blank.  If this biologist does not want to be seen as too proud, is she going to enumerate or list out all of her accomplishments?  No!  She is going to avoid emphasizing them.  Predict a word such as “minimize” and look down at your remaining answer choices.

(A) egotistical . . downplayed
(D) arrogant . . evoked

(A) Downplayed matches your prediction.  (D) Evoked is the opposite of your prediction.

The correct answer is (A).

Words used in this SC:
Egotistical: vain, selfish, boastful, proud
Downplayed: reduced emphasis on
Arrogant: having excessive pride in oneself, conceited
Evoked: called up
Incompetent: unskilled
Omitted: left out


On sat.collegeboard.org, 67% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

If, like many students, you have tests and projects standing between you and a winter break, don’t stress out!  Too much stress can negatively impact your efforts to study.  Take a look at this list of tips to clear your mind.

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Do not look at the answers until you have read the sentence carefully and predicted a word to fill the blank.  Once you have a prediction, match it to the correct answer and use it to quickly eliminate any answers that do not match.  Look at all of the answer choices, even if the first one seems to fit.

The party guests were enthralled by the host's ------- anecdotes, which were full of engaging and provocative details.

There are two types of sentence completion questions: vocab-based and logic-based.  You know that this one is a straightforward vocabulary question because the definition of the omitted word is in the sentence.  Your task is to find a word that means “full of engaging and provocative details.”  Predict a word such as “interesting” and look down at the answer choices.

(A) piquant
(B) obtrusive
(C) insipid
(D) discursive
(E) forthright

(A) Does piquant mean interesting?  If you do not know anything about the word, keep it.  (B) Does obtrusive mean interesting?  No, but obtrusive sounds like a negative word.  Eliminate it if you think you may have heard it in a negative context before.  Remember, the guests were enthralled by the stories – the answer must be positive!  (C) This word also seems negative, but you are looking for a positive word.  This word is actually the opposite of your prediction.  (D) Discursive sounds kind of like the words discourse or discuss.  This probably has something to do with speech, but it doesn’t sound particularly good, so go ahead and eliminate it.  (E) You can be “forthright” without being interesting, so eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (A).

Words used in this SC:
Enthralled: charmed or captivated
Anecdotes: short stories, often humorous
Piquant: engaging, stimulating, interesting
Obtrusive: protruding, noticeable in a displeasing way
Insipid: flavorless, boring
Discursive: rambling
Forthright: straightforward, direct


On sat.collegeboard.org, 52% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Never look at the answer choices before reading the sentence; they will only distract you.  Instead, read the sentence carefully.  If there are two blanks, focus on the easier one.  Make a prediction for that blank and eliminate any answer choice that does not match.  Then do the same with the remaining blank.

Budget cuts prompted the town's officials to cancel the annual parade, but the subsequent ------- from residents was so great that the event was -------.

Look at the first blank.  Parades are fun community events, so how would people react to hearing that one is canceled?  They would be disappointed or upset.  Predict a word such as “disappointed” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) amazement . . shortened
(B) support . . altered
(C) disapproval . . eradicated
(D) outcry . . reinstated
(E) negligence . . upgraded

(A) People are usually amazed at something good.  Your prediction is negative.  Eliminate this choice.  (B) This is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate this choice.  (C) This matches your prediction.  Keep it.  (D) Disappointed or upset people raise an outcry, so this matches your prediction.  Keep it.  (E)  If you don’t know this word, think about whether it seems positive or negative.  It is a negative word, so keep it.

Now look at the second blank.  Officials try to keep people happy.  If people are disappointed that an event is canceled, officials are going to try to put it back on the calendar.  Predict a word such as “restored.”  If a single word does not come to mind, you can always just use “put back” as your prediction.  Look at your remaining answer choices.

(C) disapproval . . eradicated
(D) outcry . . reinstated
(E) negligence . . upgraded

Bottom of Form
(C) If you don’t know what this word means, keep it.  However, does eradicate have the same root as erase?  Hint:  it does.  (D) This matches your prediction.  Remember that the Latin prefix “re-“ means again, and the officials want to have the parade again.  (E) Can you upgrade something that does not exist?  No.  The parade was canceled, so this answer does not make sense.  Eliminate it.  If you want to guess an answer, pick what you know over what you do not know.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Annual: happening every year
Subsequent: following
Altered: changed
Eradicated: eliminated, destroyed
Outcry: protest
Reinstated: restored, brought back
Negligence: not using appropriate care or attention


On sat.collegeboard.org, 73% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

For sentence completion questions, always cover the answers before reading the sentence.  Most of the answers are wrong, designed to throw you off track.  Read the sentence carefully and predict an answer to fill the blank that you find easier.  Eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction for that blank, then go back and use the same method with the other blank. 

The world, accustomed to ------- whenever governments change hands, expected rioting and bloodshed; but the transition of power was remarkably ------- .

Start with the second blank if it seems easier to you.  Rioting and bloodshed were expected, but then you have a transition word “but” indicating that a contrast is coming.  What is the opposite of rioting and bloodshed? Predict a word such as “peaceful,” and look down at the second part of each answer choice.

(A) turmoil . . chaotic
(B) harmony . . orderly
(C) ceremony . . solemn
(D) violence . . uneventful
(E) splendor . . unpopular

(A)  Chaotic is the opposite of peaceful.  Eliminate this choice.  (B) Orderly things are often peaceful, so keep this choice.  (C) Does solemn mean peaceful?  If you aren’t sure, keep this choice.  (D) Uneventful and peaceful can be synonyms, so keep this choice.  (E) Unpopular does not mean peaceful.  Eliminate this choice.

Now go back to that first blank.  The world is accustomed to something that causes it to expect rioting and bloodshed.  Those are both really negative things.  If a word connecting both of those things does not immediately come to mind, you can actually answer this problem just by predicting "something negative".  Look down at your remaining answer choices.

(B) harmony . . orderly
(C) ceremony . . solemn
(D) violence . . uneventful

(B) Harmony is a positive word, so you can eliminate this choice.  (C) Ceremonies are for any important event, from a birthday party to a funeral, so this word is neutral.  Eliminate this choice.  (D)  Violence is a negative word and it accurately describes rioting and bloodshed. 

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Turmoil: chaos, disorder
Chaotic: confused and disordered
Harmony: agreement
Orderly: neat or systematic
Ceremony: a ritual or gathering
Solemn: serious, somber
Violence: extreme force causing pain
Uneventful: monotonous, without problems or noteworthy events
Splendor: magnificence, grandeur
Unpopular: not favored


On sat.collegeboard.org, 75% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

The cost of college has become a major topic of debate in the news.  Are you worried about financing higher education?  Here is an article stating that the problem might not be as big as the media makes it seem.  Do you agree with this writer’s perspective?

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions 

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover up your answers and read the sentence carefully with an open mind.  Make a prediction to fill the blank, and then match that prediction to the correct answer choice.  Eliminate any answer choice that does not match.  Be sure to look at all of your options, even if the first answer seems correct.

The show’s host was usually genial, but he had a reputation for turning ------- when provoked by guests who challenged his opinions.

This sentence is easy if you know what the word genial means; all you have to do is predict the opposite.  However, you can still use logic to fill in the blank if you have no idea what that word means.  How do you feel when you are provoked and challenged?  Not good. Probably angry.  Use a word such as “upset” as your prediction and look down at the answer choices.

(A) surly
(B) intrusive
(C) lenient
(D) convincing
(E) giddy

(A)  You may know that the Latin root “sur” means over, but that is not going to help you much here.  Overly what?  If you don’t know what this word means, keep it.

(B)  You may know a word related to intrusive, intrusion.  People often say the words, “Forgive my intrusion,” so you know that this is a negative word.  However, an intrusion is what causes people to be upset, not a synonym for the word “upset.”  It does not match your prediction, so eliminate it.

(C)  You want people to be lenient when you have done wrong, so the word "lenient" is positive.  You are looking for something negative.  Eliminate this answer choice.

(D)  The word convincing is positive, and who would turn convincing when provoked?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Eliminate this answer choice.

(E)  Giddy just does not sound like an angry word.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (A).

This is a good time to talk about the limitations of Latin and Greek roots.  Not all words come from Latin.  The word surly actually comes from the Middle English word “sirly” meaning like a lord (a sir).  Over centuries the meaning changed from lordly to domineering to arrogant to bad-tempered.  Latin roots can help you improve your SAT score, but it is always better to know the definition of a particular word.  This is why the Knowsys program includes common Latin roots, but focuses on commonly tested words. 

Words used in this SC:
Genial: friendly and cheerful
Surly: bad-tempered, unfriendly, irritated
Intrusive: the quality of being unwelcome
Lenient: lax, tolerant, not strict
Convincing: persuasive
Giddy: dizzy or lighthearted


On sat.collegeboard.org, 59% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover up your answer choices before reading the sentence.  Most of them are wrong, and they will distract you and prejudice the way that you read the sentence.  Read the sentence carefully and make a prediction about the kind of answer that you need.  Then you should look at the answer choices and match your prediction to the correct answer choice, eliminating any answers that do not match.  Look at all 5 choices, even if one seems to match right away.

The ------- of drug-resistant strains of bacteria and viruses has ------- researchers’ hopes that permanent victories against many diseases have been achieved.

Take a moment to think about this sentence.  There are two things involved here: drug-resistant bacteria and researchers who want victories against it.  Now think about the relationship between the two blanks.  If something good happens to the bacteria, what happens to the researchers’ hopes?  They are crushed.  If something bad happens to the bacteria, what happens to the researchers?  They are happy!  Basically, you need both a positive word and a negative word to complete this sentence.  That means that you can eliminate any answer choice with two positive words, two negative words, or even any neutral words.  Look down at your answer choices and try to determine whether the words used are positive, negative, or neutral.  Writing a plus or minus sign next to the words can keep you focused and help you quickly see choices to eliminate.  Many times you will not need to know the meaning of a word to eliminate it!

(A) vigor . . corroborated
(B) feebleness . . dashed
(C) proliferation . . blighted
(D) destruction . . disputed
(E) disappearance . . frustrated

(A)  Look at the word vigor.  Remember that the Latin roots vit and viv both mean life.  While you don’t have a perfect match to these roots here, it is okay to connect the beginning letters “vi” with life and mark this as a positive word.  Then look at the word corroborated.  The Latin prefix cor- is like the prefix con-: it means together.  Words that mean together generally give people warm fuzzy feelings, so this word seems positive.  You have two positive words (+, +), so you can eliminate this answer choice.

(B)  Feebleness is negative, and dashing hopes is definitely bad.  You have two negative words (-, -), so you can eliminate this choice.

(C)  The word proliferation should sound very positive to you because it has the Latin root pro (for) in it.  Try to think if you have ever heard the word blighted before.  Blighted crops?  That is a bad thing.  This answer choice contains a positive and a negative word (+, -), so keep it and quickly check the other answer choices.

(D)  The word destruction has the prefix de- in it, meaning down.  Tearing something down is negative.  The word dispute has the prefix dis-, meaning apart or away.  Think of the word disagreement and mark it as negative.  You can eliminate this answer choice because it has two negative words (-, -).

(E)  Disappearances are usually bad for whatever disappeared, and frustration is always a bad feeling. Both of these words are negative (-, -).  Eliminate this answer choice.

The correct answer choice is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Vigor:  active strength and energy, or healthy growth
Corroborated: confirmed, strengthened, supported
Feebleness: weakness
Dashed: broken, often violently (The SAT loves multiple-definition words!)
Proliferation: growth
Blighted: wilting or deteriorating
Destruction: tearing down
Disputed: argued
Disappearance: action of vanishing
Frustrated: disappointed and discontent


On sat.collegeboard.org, 54% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Always cover up your answer choices so that you can approach the sentence with an open mind.  Read the sentence carefully, using context clues to predict what belongs in the blank.  Then you can match your prediction to the correct answer and eliminate any answer choices that do not match.  Be sure to look at all 5 answer choices even if the first one seems to match.

Paradoxically, this successful entrepreneur is sometimes ------- and at other times reclusive.

The word “paradoxically” lets you know that this sentence will contain a contrast.  You don’t really have to know what the word entrepreneur means.  Sometimes this person is one thing and sometimes he is reclusive.  What is the opposite of reclusive?  I like to connect the word “recluse” with the word “hermit;” a recluse shuts himself or herself out of society.  Predict a word such as “outgoing” to fill the blank and look down at your answer choices. 

(A) autonomous
(B) dispassionate
(C) solitary
(D) unthinking
(E) gregarious

(A) The Latin root “auto” means self, so this answer choice will not have anything to do with interacting with others.  Eliminate it.  (B)  Passion does not really have anything to do with being alone or being with others.  You can be passionate in either situation.  Eliminate it.  (C) The Latin root “sol” can mean sun, but it can also mean alone, as in solitary.  This is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (D)  This answer choice is just in case you read the sentence too quickly and thought that you were looking for the opposite of a successful entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs think a lot to be successful, right?  So maybe the opposite would be unthinking.  Before you start trying to justify the answer, notice that it does not match your prediction and eliminate it.  (E)  The Latin root “greg” means group.  Participating in a group would be evidence of outgoing behavior, and it is the opposite of being reclusive.  This perfectly matches your prediction.

Words used in this SC:
Paradoxically: in a self-contradicting manner
Entrepreneur: someone who organizes or starts a business
Reclusive: withdrawn, preferring isolation
Autonomous: self-governing
Dispassionate: not showing or feeling emotion
Solitary: living alone
Unthinking: careless
Gregarious: outgoing and sociable


On sat.collegeboard.org, 65% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

Although most people agree that taking care of the planet is important, individuals and businesses often disagree about the best use of resources.  Clean air also costs money as companies work to find ways to keep their carbon emissions low.  It has been incredibly difficult to motivate care for the environment through legislation, which is one reason that many states and nations are watching California's new plan.  Read about the plan here, and be sure to think about how the broad themes involved in this current event could relate to an SAT essay prompt.

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Cover your answer choices so that you can carefully read the sentence without any kind of bias.  When you see two blanks, select the blank that looks easier and focus on it first.  Make a prediction for that blank and eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction.  Then use the same process with the other blank.

While a “rock” is usually defined as ------- , or a combination, of one or more minerals, geologists often ------- the definition to include such materials as clay, loose sand, and certain limestones.

The first blank is a simple vocabulary question, so look at it first.  The word “or” signifies that an alternative is coming, so the words “a combination” is an alternative to whatever goes in the blank.  You can just use the words “a combination” as your prediction and look down at the options for the first blank.

(A) a conglomeration . . limit
(B) an aggregate . . extend
(C) an element . . eliminate
(D) a blend . . restrict
(E) a product . . provide

(A) If you know your Latin roots, you know that the prefix “con” often means “with” or “together.”  This word could be a combination of things, so keep this answer choice.  (B) Here are more Latin roots: “ag” and “greg.” The first prefix, “ag,” can mean “toward” or “in addition to,” while the second, “greg,” means “group.”  This word probably has to do with combining things.  Keep it.  (C) Think about elements in science.  They are as basic as they can be – they are not a combination of other things.  Eliminate this answer choice.  (D)  The word “blend” requires two things to come together, so it could work too.  (E)  The word product does not immediately bring to mind a combination of things, but in math the product of two numbers is a third.  Keep this answer choice if you are not sure that you can eliminate it.

Now look at the second blank.  This blank requires you to use some logic.  The first definition for the word “rock” was very specific, but now geologists are saying that other things can also be considered rocks.  They are stretching that definition or increasing it.  You might predict the word “broaden” before looking down at your remaining answer choices.

(A) a conglomeration . . limit
(B) an aggregate . . extend
(D) a blend . . restrict
(E) a product . . provide

(A) is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (B) matches your prediction.  (D) is also the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it.  (E) is not specific enough.  An original definition was already provided, what was important in the second blank is that it was changed to add more stuff.  This answer shows no evidence of any kind of change.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (B).

Words used in this SC:
Conglomeration: a cohering mass of different materials
Aggregate: a collection of things into one whole or total
Element: an essential part
Blend: a mixture of two or more things
Product: something created by a process
Extend: to expand or increase
Restrict: to limit or confine


On sat.collegeboard.org, 57% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!