PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #91 : Sentence Completions

The graduate student was given a __________ in order to pay for his living expenses during his years of research.

Possible Answers:

waiver

draft

contribution

profit

stipend

Correct answer:

stipend

Explanation:

In this sentence, it is really a matter of knowing the vocabulary, though you can likely eliminate several options as being a bit too limited. The most tempting wrong answers are both “contribution” and perhaps (if one thinks too much) “waiver.” Strictly speaking, the latter would imply more than what is said in the sentence. Against the option of “contribution,” the word “stipend” is better, as it means “a fixed salary, payment, or allowance.” “Contribution” is more vague than “stipend,” and therefore is less acceptable.

Example Question #21 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Although the story was an enjoyable read on the whole, it was often rather __________ in portraying eighteenth-century characters often with manners more akin to those of the mid-nineteenth century.

Possible Answers:

ambiguous

anachronistic

imprecise

loose

ridiculous

Correct answer:

anachronistic

Explanation:

If something is “anachronistic,” it does not really belong in its given time period. Sometimes, the adjective can merely mean that something is old-fashioned, but it often is used to indicate the situation when someone describes something in one time period according to the customs or historical contingencies of another period. The prefix “ana-” comes from the Greek preposition meaning “backward” (among other things). The familiar “-chronistic” comes from the Greek word for time and has familiar English derivatives (such as “chronological”).

Example Question #124 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The __________ was the only person in the group with the knowledge to choose the correct wine to pair with the main course.

Possible Answers:

glutton

dilettante

esoteric

armature

epicure

Correct answer:

epicure

Explanation:

While “dilettante” may be related to the sentence and appear a potential choice, it indicates a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as food, but without any real commitment, only dabbling in it. The sentence indicates that the person in question has a knowledge more extensive than the rest of the group, so “epicure” is the more suitable answer choice.

Example Question #25 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The entire family was awoken by a disruptive __________ resonating from the alleyway outside their home.

Possible Answers:

whisper

noise

cacophony

beep

whistle

Correct answer:

cacophony

Explanation:

A "cacophony" is a clamor or harsh noise, which is implied by "disruptive" and "resonating."

Example Question #1031 : Psat Critical Reading

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The room was a veritable __________; the temperature continued to rise to amounts so deadly that plastic began to melt and every animal would pass out within seconds. 

Possible Answers:

inferno

punishment

sauna

persecution

misery

Correct answer:

inferno

Explanation:

The adjective “veritable” is used to intensify noun that it describes. It could be translated “quite truly.” (It is related to words like “verity”, “veridical”, and “verify.” All of these come from the Latin "verus," meaning true.) Since the room was deadly in its heat, it is best called an "inferno," at least metaphorically speaking. An inferno is generally a large fire. The word is related to the late Latin word for “Hell.” It communicates the idea of great amounts of heat and does so without the “health benefits” that are somewhat connoted by “sauna.”

Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

In the sixteenth century, Galileo was convicted of __________ for promoting scientific ideals contrary to the beliefs of the Catholic church.

Possible Answers:

astronomy

cholera

insubordination

banter

heresy

Correct answer:

heresy

Explanation:

"Heresy” is dissent or deviation from the accepted norm, especially in a religious sense.

Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

The Vietnam War is often described as a(n) __________ because it was a situation from which the United States had difficulty withdrawing itself.

Possible Answers:

placebo

skirmish

quagmire 

tradeoff

armistice

Correct answer:

quagmire 

Explanation:

A “quagmire” is a swamp or a conundrum or tricky situation. The swamp is used as a metaphor for a problem or challenge for which one gets "mired in."

Example Question #91 : One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

In most cases, a victim has approximately four hours to locate an __________ before a rattlesnake bite becomes deadly.

Possible Answers:

elixir

antidote

immunization

apothecary

inquiry

Correct answer:

antidote

Explanation:

An ”antidote” is a remedy that reverses the effects of a poison or venom.

Example Question #1 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

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

It is often said that modernity led to a ___________ of the world, removing much of the wonder that was once experienced by the masses and replacing it with the bleak atmosphere of mathematical physics.

Possible Answers:

depression

divinizing

destruction

disenchanting

convolution

Correct answer:

disenchanting

Explanation:

The key to this question is the participial phrase "removing much of the wonder." The implication is that modernity made the world appear "bleak" like equations of physics. By stripping it of its wonder, it made it quite plain and without poetic meaning—at least the sentence claims this. This is not necessarily to destroy the world, and it does not make much sense to say that it depressed the world. (Perhaps it depressed the people.) The word "disenchanted" (or "disenchantment") can be used merely to describe a person who has become disillusioned or has lost interests. It can also describe, in an extended sense, the thing that was disenchanted—the world, which had lost its appearance of being wonderful.

Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

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

In the __________, the idea seemed to be quite excellent, but it just did not seem practical when it came to the actual facts of reality.

Possible Answers:

textbook

aether

sigil

abstract

concrete

Correct answer:

abstract

Explanation:

The general idea of this sentence is that the given plan or idea "looked good on paper," though it did not make much sense when you actually tried to do it. Now, this does not mean it is on physical paper. (Hence, "textbook" is not necessarily called for.) What we mean is that "taken in consideration that ignores the details of reality's facts" the idea seemed excellent. Such consideration is made "in the abstract" (as opposed to the concrete). The word "tractor" comes from a similar Latin base meaning "to pull". To "ab"+"stract" is to "pull away from [the details]". The prefix "ab-" means, of course, "away from" (e.g. "absent").

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