Mastering the SAT Sentence Completion Questions

Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished shows you how to master SAT sentence completion questions.

First: Read the sentence and blanks, and look for clues in the sentence.
Second: Use the sentence clues to help you predict the missing words.
Third: Eliminate unlikely answer choices.
Fourth: Choose the answer choice that best fits the words you are looking for.
Fifth: Jot down all the vocabulary words you didn’t know and memorize them.

Sentence completions on the SAT amount to just under 30 percent of all the critical reading questions you’ll find on the SAT. They’re important, and this is how you handle a sentence completion question.

The first thing you want to do is read the sentence with the blanks and find clues in the sentence. 

“Doug was both blank and blank: he possessed penetrating acuity and was also humble.”

So, in this question, the huge clue is the colon sign. The colon sign acts as an equal sign, and it tells you exactly what you’re going to put in each of these blanks.

In this case, Doug’s penetrating acuity goes in the first blank, and in the second blank, Doug was humble, so we’re going to put humble in the second blank. So we’re basically looking for a word that means acuity, like intelligent for the first blank and humble for the second blank.

Go to all your answer choices and then eliminate any word that does not fit these two words that we’re looking for. 

In choice E, does apologetic come anywhere close to the word intelligent? No, it does not, X that out. In choice D, for the second blank, does imposing come anywhere close to the word humble? Not at all; get rid of choice D. 

Now if you go to choice B, you might not know what the word perspicacious means, but you certainly know that unpretentious is very close to the word humble. Now perspicacious, by the way, actually means having or showing discernment and acuity, so it’s a perfect fit. We’re going to go for choice B here.

Now, the last thing you always want to do with sentence completion questions is jot down all the vocabulary words you didn’t know. In this question alone, there are about ten vocabulary words that you can jot down, find the definitions, make flashcards, and memorize them. The more vocabulary words that you learn, the better you’ll do on sentence completion questions.

So do these things, and I guarantee you’ll improve your score. Good luck.

Did you find this sentence completion technique helpful? How do you tackle sentence completion questions?

Post your tips/comments below.

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