PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #181 : Sentence Completions

Because of her faith in her __________ to do well in graduate school, Julie had already began to make plans for after graduation. 

Possible Answers:

competence

incompetence

serenity

dissonance

authority

Correct answer:

competence

Explanation:

This question asks for a word that means that Julie had the ability to do well. The word closest in meaning to ability is competence. 

Example Question #268 : One Blank Sentences

Each sentence completion question is made up of a sentence with one or two blanks.  One blank indicates that one word is missing.  Two blanks indicate that two words are missing.  Each sentence is followed by five choices.  Select the one word or pair of words that will best complete the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the solitary figure onstage in Act 5 Scene I and she delivers a(n) _____ in which she mourns the deaths of Lady Macduff and Banquo.

Possible Answers:

epilogue

anecdote

prelude

monologue

prologue

Correct answer:

monologue

Explanation:

Lady Macbeth delivers a monologue or a long speech given by one person that allows the character to express hidden thoughts and emotions.  She indeed expresses her innermost thoughts and the fact that she is distraught due to the recent deaths of Lady Macduff and Banquo. 

Example Question #182 : Sentence Completions

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

My father could make a joke out of anything; no matter what anyone said, he was always ready with a __________ in response.

Possible Answers:

fenestration

cackle

calumny

quip

story

Correct answer:

quip

Explanation:

Since the narrator's father can joke about anything, we should expect that he was always ready with a joke or a wisecrack. "Cackle" is close to the word we're looking for; it means a shrill laugh. However, this would suggest that the narrator's father laughs at other people's jokes, but does not make them himself, and we are specificaly told that "[he] could make a joke out of anything." "Story" doesn't fit, either, because while stories can be funny, they aren't necessarily funny. "Calumny" means a false and injurious remark about someone—not very funny! "Fenestration" refers to the design of windows—that has nothing to do with making jokes! Our best choice is "quip," which means a quick, witty remark.

Example Question #270 : One Blank Sentences

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

On the first day of band practice, a resounding __________ echoed out of the band room, but within a few weeks, the group was playing simple songs that were much more pleasant to listen to.

Possible Answers:

chicanery

melody

harmony

diffidence

cacophony

Correct answer:

cacophony

Explanation:

We can infer that the band didn't sound good initially, so we're looking for a noun that refers to sound, specifically sound that is unpleasant and loud. While "harmony" refers to sound, it refers to sounds that pleasantly agree with each other, so it's not the word we're looking for. Similarly, "melody" refers to sound, but since it refers to a sequence of pleasant musical notes, it's not the correct answer either. "Cacophony," on the other hand, refers to sound, and means a discordant combination of sounds, and is the best answer choice. (The root "phon" tells us that a word has something to do with sound—think "telephone," "phonics," or "symphony.")

Example Question #1121 : Psat Critical Reading

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

The __________ of the neighboring house often worried Ida, for she feared that a flame would dart quickly over the small intervening space, catching her own house on fire.

Possible Answers:

spacing

distance

breadth

interval

propinquity

Correct answer:

propinquity

Explanation:

Although the answer word is a very rare English word, you can still eliminate the other answer choices to arrive at it. Notice that all of the other options deal with “distance” in general. In the sentence, the space between the houses is described as being “small.” Since all of these other terms are rather generic, they are likely incorrect. The word “propinquity” is derived from the Latin for close and therefore means closeness or proximity.

Example Question #271 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

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

As the citizens became increasingly concerned about crime in the town, a group of __________ decided to take up arms to protect the citizens from what they perceived to be the inadequacies of the police coverage.

Possible Answers:

vigilantes

respectables

protestors

officials

vigilants

Correct answer:

vigilantes

Explanation:

Since the group of men were motivated to their action by what they took to be the inadequacies of the local police coverage, it could be said that they have “taken the law into their hands.” When a group of citizens deputes itself to act in the capacity of the legal authorities (but without any official granting of that capacity), that group is called a “vigilante” group, and its members "vigilantes." The word is related to the word “vigilant,” which means watching attentively for dangers, but it adds the negative sense of exercising such attention without legal mandate.

Example Question #81 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

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

Due to the __________ of protein in his diet, Theodore was often sick due to malnutrition.

Possible Answers:

restricting

paucity

curtailment

diminution

reduction

Correct answer:

paucity

Explanation:

The sentence does not say anything about changes in Theodore’s diet. We do not know if his protein intake was reduced or if it always was this low. The only thing that is known is that he was always sick because of insufficient nourishment; therefore, the best word is “paucity,” which means scarce amounts. It is derived from the Latin for few, which can be found in the related Spanish expression “un poco,” meaning a little.

Example Question #101 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

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

People accused the CEO of __________ when he hired his brother to be on the board of directors without making him go through the interview process first.

Possible Answers:

fervor

accentuation

favoritism

nepotism

sedition

Correct answer:

nepotism

Explanation:

Because we know that the CEO hired his brother for an important position without making him first interview at the company, we can infer that we need to pick out a noun that means the giving of preferential treatment. While "favoritism" may sound like it could be the correct answer because the CEO is certainly showing favoritism by hiring his brother, "nepotism" is an even better answer for the sentence's context, as it means using one's position of power to give a friend or relative a job. So, while both "favoritism" and "nepotism" make sense in the blank, "nepotism" is the correct answer because it is more precisely suited to the sentence's context.

Example Question #1122 : Psat Critical Reading

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

Her family tolerates her __________  well, never criticizing her for her shortcomings.

Possible Answers:

ideas

foibles

potential

systems

pessimism

Correct answer:

foibles

Explanation:

We know that the subject's family "never criticiz[es] her for her shortcomings," so we need to pick out a noun that means something like "shortcomings." Since "foible" means a minor shortcoming, "foibles" is the answer choice best suited to the sentence's context and the correct answer.

Example Question #85 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

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

In a moment of unusual __________, the politician stopped speaking half-truths and presented the facts in an honest and forthright manner.

Possible Answers:

verbosity

industry

discussion

chattiness

candor

Correct answer:

candor

Explanation:

Since the politician spoke truthfully, it can be said that he spoke with “candor,” meaning frankness. Often, we use the words “candid” and “candidly.” They are derived from the Latin word for white, which developed over time into these English words insofar as they mean clean or pure in the sense of not being “clouded” by half-truths or outright lies.

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