PSAT Critical Reading : Adjectives and Adverbs in One-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #71 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The process was quite difficult to perform, for it required not only a number of sequential actions but also ones that had to be done __________.

Possible Answers:

immediately

progressivly

strenuously

assiduously

simultaneously

Correct answer:

simultaneously

Explanation:

The contrast being asserted in this sentence is between “sequential” actions and ones that would be done in a non-sequential manner. A process that is done “sequentially” is one that has a number of steps done one after another. Therefore, the best contrast to this would be a process having steps done at the same time, or “simultaneously.”   The “simul-” portion of the word comes from the Latin meaning “at the same time” and is distantly related to other “sameness” words like “similar” and “similarity.”

Example Question #72 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Being overly confident in their grasp of a subject’s details, young scholars often proclaim their most unsubstantial opinions as though they were __________ certain of them.

Possible Answers:

somewhat

steadily

regularly

relatively

apodictically

Correct answer:

apodictically

Explanation:

Since the young scholars are described as being “overly confident,” the best option will reflect such confidence. They will thus be described as being very certain or as having unwavering certainty. When something is “apodictic,” it is considered to have been completely demonstrated, leaving no room to doubt it. This would well describe the great certainty of the young scholars.           

Example Question #73 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Karen and Dorothy were quite a pair of contrasts, for Karen was always emotional and agitated, while Dorothy had a rather __________ temperament.

Possible Answers:

zestful

stoic

cheerful

sparkling

ebullient

Correct answer:

stoic

Explanation:

The contrast in this sentence is between someone who is said to be generally emotional and someone who is not. Just because Karen is emotional and agitated, one need not believe that she was nasty, sad, depressed, or anything else. The best contrasting term is “stoic,” meaning “undergoing difficulties without showing emotion.” It is often used in the broader sense of implying that a person shows no emotion when it would seem normal to do so. The term is taken from the ancient Greek (and later Roman) philosophical school (the Stoic school of thought) that is often given the simplistic characterization of promoting this kind of outlook on life.

Example Question #74 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The distinction that the teacher was attempting to make were particularly __________, easily overlooked by students who were expecting an immediately evident explanation.

Possible Answers:

complex

arduous

simple

difficult

subtle

Correct answer:

subtle

Explanation:

The best guide for answering this sentence is the expression “easily overlooked,” though the remark about “immediate evidence” is also helpful. When something is easily overlook and not evident with blinding immediacy, it can be said to be “subtle,” meaning that it is either indirect or even (more properly) fine / delicate. Something very “fine” or “subtle” is something small—i.e. not large, blatant, and obvious.

Example Question #723 : One Blank Sentences

Regularly raging irately about almost any topic, Robert had a notoriously __________ personality.

Possible Answers:

tempestuous

disagreeable

perplexed

unfriendly

vexing

Correct answer:

tempestuous

Explanation:

Since the expression “raging irately” is used in the participial clause, the best option will be the word that is as strong as this expression. The word “tempestuous” indicates such a strong temperament, better than the much weaker “disagreeable” and “unfriendly.” The word “tempestuous” literally means “like a storm,” as can be seen in its obvious relation to the word “tempest.”

Example Question #75 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Instead of persecuting the questionable religious group, the state decided that it was best to be _________ until the group showed any aggression toward the broader society.

Possible Answers:

vigilant

aware

tolerant

distant

watchful

Correct answer:

tolerant

Explanation:

Although one might say that the state was going to watch the questionable group, the contrast in this sentence is really with “persecution.” In opposition to that, it would be best to choose “tolerant,” for when one tolerates a group, he or she allows it to exist, even if it seems questionable or even undesirable. The sentence does not speak directly about surveillance and therefore does not merit the choosing of “vigilant,” “aware,” or “watchful.”

Example Question #71 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The telescope observatory had gathered __________ data for years, charting the stars in the hopes of producing an outline of the universe’s history.

Possible Answers:

research

astrological

investigatory

astronomical

scientific

Correct answer:

astronomical

Explanation:

Since the sentence directly mentions star charting, the best answer will be that which describes the data as being related to heavenly bodies or stars. Therefore, the two “astro-” options should stand out immediately. Here, you must be careful not to confuse the two words. Astrology is concerned not with the science of measuring (etc) stars but with the so-claimed “meaning” of stars in the sense of horoscopes and things of that sort. It is astronomy that studies the scientific laws of the stars. This is indicated by the “-nomy” at the end of the word, which is derived from Greek word for “law.” It is found in the word “autonomy,” literally meaning “having a self-given law.”

Example Question #78 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The teacher’s __________ voice often amused the students with its musical and flowing sound.

Possible Answers:

lisping

lilting

soft

raspy

fluent

Correct answer:

lilting

Explanation:

The key words to note are “musical” and “flowing.” The best description of the teacher’s voice will reflect these two parallel descriptions. Probably the most tempting trap answer is “fluent,” which means “flowing.” However, “lilting” better matches the two descriptions mentioned. A lilting sound is one that rises and falls in a pleasant manner. When applied to a voice, it means that it has such a gentle rising and falling. Although it does not directly mean “musical and flowing,” it does, by extension, imply a certain musicality and gentle flow to the voice. In any case, it is much better than “fluent,” which generally is used to describe one’s ability to speak well (often in another language) and only secondarily is used for the more general sense of “to flow;” thus, lilting fits more closely.

Example Question #911 : Sentence Completion

The __________ group was eventually suppressed by the government for its opposition to the nation’s military efforts.

Possible Answers:

dissident

consonant

illegal

dissonant

illicit

Correct answer:

dissident

Explanation:

The key word here is “opposition.” Although the group was suppressed, we do not know anything about its legality. Therefore, the best option is “dissident,” which means “disagreeing” (with someone else). The word literally means “to sit apart from.” The “sitting” portion is reflected in “-sident” and “dis-” portion means “apart from” or “opposed to.”   Do not be fooled by “dissonant,” which means “a clashing sound.”

Example Question #912 : Sentence Completion

The __________ system of the dog is amazingly acute, often able to smell prey at a distance many multiples of the effective distance of humans’ abilities.

Possible Answers:

inhalation

olfactory

pulmonary

gustatory

breathing

Correct answer:

olfactory

Explanation:

The key thing to note is that the sentence describes the dog’s ability to smell, not merely to breathe. Therefore, the options “pulmonary” (relating to the lungs), “inhalation,” and “breathing” are all inadequate. The word “olfactory” means “related to the sense of smell.” The “olfactory system” is comprised of the sense organs and nervous system components related to the sense of smell. It comes from the Latin for “to smell.”

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