PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #161 : Sentence Completions

The image of the apple was starkly visible in the __________ of the painting, standing out from the coffee shop portrayed behind it.

Possible Answers:

details

foreground

stillness

scenery

background

Correct answer:

foreground

Explanation:

The contrast expressed in this sentence is between the apple and the coffee shop, which is apparently behind the apple (as implied by “portrayed behind it [the apple]”). When something sits “in front” of other things so as to be very visible, it is said to be in the “foreground,” literally the “front ground” of the image, view, or painting.

Example Question #162 : Sentence Completions

After ten years of __________, oil was again plenteously available since many new wells had been drilled.

Possible Answers:

ethanol

depression

poverty

eco-fuel

scarcity

Correct answer:

scarcity

Explanation:

The key phrase in this sentence is “once again plenteously available.” It indicates that for a time (i.e. the past ten years), oil was not available in great quantities. When a resource (or any other thing) is “scarce” it is in very limited supply. “Scarcity” is the state of something being “scarce.”

Example Question #163 : Sentence Completions

Timothy acted with __________, never being dissuaded by others from any task to which he set himself.

Possible Answers:

arrogance

stubbornness

inanity

determination

deafness

Correct answer:

determination

Explanation:

When people try to “dissuade” someone from doing something, they attempt to convince that person not to undertake the given task. Since Timothy was never dissuaded by the arguments of others, he could be said to be “resolute,” that is, firm in purpose. The word determination best expresses this. When someone “determines” something, he or she finds the exact meaning or plan for that thing. A determined person has decided on his or her plan and does not give up in pursuit of it.

Example Question #69 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Peter introduced a carefully crafted ___________ into his argument, subtly changing the meaning of one word in the hopes of confusing those trying to follow his reasoning.

Possible Answers:

equivocation

falsification

contrivance

lie

trickery

Correct answer:

equivocation

Explanation:

The subordinate clause beginning with “subtly” is the key to getting this sentence correct. The implication of this clause is that Peter changed the meaning of a word in the middle of making an argument. Perhaps he changed “payment” from its general sense to a specific use of payment that had legal repercussions. Without noticing, he would thus have shifted the argument from a question of “payment” to “paying in a specific legal circumstance.” Equivocation is generally used to describe this kind of loose use of language. In ancient and medieval logic, a “purely equivocal term” would be a word like “bank,” which describes both the edge of a river and the institution into which you put money. With such a word, you certainly could equivocate—change meanings—though it would not be very subtle!

Example Question #161 : Sentence Completions

The executive officer sometimes forgot how many __________ were made available to his department; this led him to be unfairly impatient with the slowness of other groups that had far fewer employees and supplies.

Possible Answers:

drones

servants

instruments

employees

resources

Correct answer:

resources

Explanation:

The parallel in this sentence is between the man things that the officer has and the “far fewer employees and supplies” available to the other groups. Note also that the sentence implies that he is impatient because the other groups are not as efficient as his group, which apparently is better endowed. Resources are those materials and people available for someone to accomplish a given task. This is the best option for this sentence, as all the other options are too specific.           

Example Question #162 : Sentence Completions

In praise of the speaker’s talk, the crowd gave him a resounding __________.

Possible Answers:

hauteur

acceptance

ovulation

yelp

ovation

Correct answer:

ovation

Explanation:

The two key words in this sentence are “praise” and “resounding.” The sentence implies that the crowd greatly praised the speaker. When someone gives an “ovation,” he or she does just that. Often this signifies that the praise is in the way of applause. We often speak of “standing ovations” when a crowd stands up at the end of a show in order to applaud. Do not be tricked by “ovulation,” which has nothing to do with this sentence. That word has to do with the release of an egg in the female reproductive system.

Example Question #72 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

The light rainfall left the wooden rowboat glistening, the water giving a slight reflective __________ on the oars stacked on its sides.

Possible Answers:

sheen

feel

texture

quantity

color

Correct answer:

sheen

Explanation:

We can infer that because the rainfall left the rowboat "glistening" and that the noun that will go in the blank will be described by the adjectives "slight" and "reflective," we need to pick out a word that has something to do with shininess, and in particular, slight shininess. While "color" may look like a potentially correct answer, it wouldn't make sense in the blank, because the sentence isn't talking about "color," but shininess. "Sheen," however, is a noun that means "a soft luster on a surface," and because "sheen" best describes the slight shininess that the rowboat acquires after being rained on, "sheen" is the correct answer.

Example Question #163 : Sentence Completions

Select the answer choice that best completes the blank in the sentence.

The government was held in __________ until the issue of healthcare was resolved.

Possible Answers:

ambience

affinity

alacrity

abeyance

affirmation

Correct answer:

abeyance

Explanation:

The choice that makes the most sense is abeyance: a temporary state of suspended action.

Example Question #164 : Sentence Completions

Select the answer choice that best completes the blank in the sentence.

The assassination of the country’s political leaders led to a period of __________ and turmoil.

Possible Answers:

anarchy

antipathy

apathy

probity

piety

Correct answer:

anarchy

Explanation:

The choice that makes the most sense is anarchy: a state of disorder due to the absence of a governing body.

Example Question #165 : Sentence Completions

Select the answer choice that best completes the blank in the sentence.

The __________ of the mind seems to wane significantly after a child has passed a certain age.

Possible Answers:

platitude

precept

plasticity

posterity

pique

Correct answer:

plasticity

Explanation:

The choice that makes the most sense is plasticity: ability to be easily shaped or molded.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors