ISEE Lower Level Verbal : Conjunctions and Sentence Logic in Phrase-Based Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Lower Level Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

After years of __________, the aging boxer was finally dethroned by a young heavyweight from New York City.

Possible Answers:

winning about half of his matches

underwhelming performance

reigning as the undefeated national champion

being vanquished in the early rounds

Correct answer:

reigning as the undefeated national champion

Explanation:

The key to completing this sentence is the word "dethroned." To "dethrone" an individual is to unseat or remove him from a position of power, so the aging boxer must have not only have won matches, but also held some sort of title. Two of the choices ("underwhelming performance" and "being vanquished in the early rounds") imply that the boxer tended to lose or perform badly, so these can be eliminated right away. The choice in which he won about half of his matches makes slightly more sense, but you wouldn't be able to "dethrone" someone who only won half of the time, since that kind of record would not have given the boxer a title or figurative "throne." The last remaining choice, in which the boxer was a reigning champion, is the only sensible answer.

Example Question #22 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Since Maggie despised strenuous physical activity, she neither __________ nor exercised on her own.

Possible Answers:

had a close relationship with her older siblings

allowed herself any time for relaxation

participated in a school sport

joined the after-school book club

Correct answer:

participated in a school sport

Explanation:

Our only information about Maggie can be found in the first part of this sentence, where we learn that she "despises strenuous physical activity." To "despise" something is to hate it or even view it with disgust, and "strenuous physical activity" means "intense exercise." In short, Maggie hates exercise. However, properly completing this sentence involves noticing another key aspect: the word "neither." This word tells us that we're looking for an activity that Maggie would not enjoy. The only choice that involves exercise is the one that mentions school sports, which is certainly an activity that Maggie would not like and is therefore the correct answer.

Example Question #23 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Allie's younger brother, a skeptical boy, __________ when she told him that the old farmhouse was haunted.

Possible Answers:

immediately became terrified

thoroughly believed his sister

rushed to his mother for protection

laughed and dismissed her comments completely

Correct answer:

laughed and dismissed her comments completely

Explanation:

To properly complete this sentence, you must know the meaning of the word "skeptical." A "skeptical" person is one who questions what he or she is told instead of believing it immediately; in other words, he is doubtful instead of gullible. Since Allie's brother is skeptical, he would certainly not believe Allie's statement about a haunted house without further evidence. Of the answer choices, two involve becoming afraid, which would not happen to a boy who doubted that Allie was telling the truth. A third choice, in which Allie's brother "thoroughly believed his sister," is the opposite of what a skeptical person would do. The only possible choice remaining is that the boy "laughed and dismissed (his sister's) comments completely," which makes perfect sense in this context.

Example Question #24 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

History has shown that pacifists have often achieved more progress than __________.

Possible Answers:

demonstrators who feel that unity is preferable to hostile conflict

people who advocate for peace instead of war

nonviolent individuals

activists who try to reach their goals using violence and force

Correct answer:

activists who try to reach their goals using violence and force

Explanation:

The keywords "more . . . than" tell us that we are looking for a group that contrasts with pacifists. In other words, since pacifists have achieved more progress than a certain group, this group must be different from the pacifists in some way that makes them less successful. First, however, we need to know that the word "pacifist" means someone who is against war and favors peaceful, nonviolent means of inspiring change. Looking at the answer choices, we see that the "nonviolent individuals," the "demonstrators" who prefer unity over conflict, and "people who advocate for peace instead of war" are all synonymous with pacifists. The only answer choice that provides contrast is that which describes the violent activists, and this selection is therefore our answer.

Example Question #25 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

For the end-of-the-year project, each student had to compose a five-page essay about his ancestors, so Damian wrote about __________.

Possible Answers:

his great-grandparents, who emigrated from Spain

Mr. Gladys, the eighty-year-old man who lived next door

his uncle, whom he idolized

his brother's baby son, who was his youngest relation

Correct answer:

his great-grandparents, who emigrated from Spain

Explanation:

If you know the meaning of the word "ancestor," you'll be able to complete this sentence easily. Your ancestors are the relatives who preceded you in your family lineage, like your grandparents, their parents, and their parents before them. Note that this word generally refers to significantly distant relatives, so although your father came before you in your family line, he would be unlikely to be referred to as your ancestor. In any case, the only choice that includes older, direct relations is the one that involves Damian's great-grandparents, so that is the correct answer.

Example Question #21 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The artist wanted to make a profit, so he __________.

Possible Answers:

copied art he saw in museums

painted pictures that his clients enjoyed

painted pictures that were fulfilling

painted pictures that pleased his family

tried a news style of painting

Correct answer:

painted pictures that his clients enjoyed

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is "profit." "Profit" means money made from doing or selling something after costs have been accounted for. If it cost you one dollar to make a glass of lemonade and you sold that glass of lemonade for three dollars, you would make a profit of two dollars. In order to make money, the artist had to sell his work. Painting art that his clients enjoyed would be the best way to make sales and make a profit. 

If the artist painted pictures that were fulfilling, it doesn't mean his clients would want to buy them.

If the artist painted pictures that his family liked, it wouldn't necessarily please his clients, the people who buy his paintings. 

If the artist copied art that he saw in museums, it wouldn't guarantee that his clients would like the art that was in museums. 

If the artist tried a new style, it doesn't that he necessarily would be good at it and create art clients would buy.

Example Question #27 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The humble owner __________.

Possible Answers:

brought a surprise for his entire staff

discovered a way to save his company

created a new business

didn't take credit for his incredible work

hired his best friend

Correct answer:

didn't take credit for his incredible work

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is "humble," which means modest or not making a big deal out of your abilities or work. In this case, it makes sense that the humble owner wouldn't take credit for his work.  

Humble doesn't have anything to do with being friendly or hiring your friends.

Being humble wouldn't be the reason you discovered a way to save the company.

Being generous by giving surprises doesn't mean that you are also humble.

Humbleness doesn't make you creative or encourage you to start a new business.

Example Question #28 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

His calculation was inaccurate, and, therefore, he __________.

Possible Answers:

received full credit for the answer

passed the class without distress

aced the test with flying colors

reviewed the section to check for errors

gave the wrong answer on the test

Correct answer:

gave the wrong answer on the test

Explanation:

Because his calculation was "inaccurate" (not accurate or incorrect), the subject would have written down the wrong answer for the question.  

We don't know if he or she would have aced the test based on that one question, but if they wrote down a wrong answer, he or she cannot have aced the test.

The student wouldn't have received full credit for his or her answer if the calculation was inaccurate. 

We don't know if the student would have passed the class or not based on one test question.

Having the wrong calculation wouldn't cause the student to review the section. He would be reviewing the section to check for errors. 

Example Question #29 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The class emphasized individual study, with goals that included __________.

Possible Answers:

learning strict self-discipline

listening to in-depth lectures without asking questions

helping the students find their own areas of interest

reading passages directly from a textbook

Correct answer:

helping the students find their own areas of interest

Explanation:

The only information that we are given about this class is that it "emphasizes," or strongly focuses on, individual study. In other words, the students must be encouraged to learn about the subject matter in their own way. We are looking for an answer that describes a flexible, personalized approach, not a strict cookie-cutter teaching style. Of the choices here, the only one that works here is the one about helping students find their own specific interests.

Example Question #21 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or phrase that best completes the following sentence.

Even the team captain, who never seemed to become fatigued, needed to __________ after three hours of practice.

Possible Answers:

refill the water cooler

score one final goal

show the younger players proper technique

consult with the assistant coach

stop and rest for a few minutes

Correct answer:

stop and rest for a few minutes

Explanation:

What do we know about the team captain? Only that he or she "never seemed to become fatigued." To answer this question, the first helpful piece of information to consider is the meaning of the word "fatigued," which simply means tired or exhausted. In other words, the team captain never seemed to get tired. However, a vital clue is the word "even" at the beginning of the sentence. Here, "even" implies that everyone including the team captain must've reacted to the three-hour practice in the same way, specifically one that would be unusual for the captain him- or herself. The only sensible answer is "stop and rest for a few minutes," an activity that would be remarkable for someone who rarely became tired at all.

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