Tips to Successful SAT Sentence Completion

sat sentence completionSentence completion is a very important part of the SAT and it can be a confusing one. You may look at the five possible answers and wonder which words you are going to fill in the blanks with.

SAT Sentence Completion Tips

When you first look at the sentence, it can look intimidating. The sentence may have two blanks and the possible answers don’t make it any less frustrating. There are two words in each answer and you have to choose the right pair. Unfortunately, this does not mean that getting one word right is going to result in the other one being right. The first word in one set may be acceptable when the second isn’t and the second word in another answer set can be acceptable when the first word isn’t. This requires you to take both words into consideration rather than just one to get the right answer.

Making the Best Guess

If you have to make the best guess, the ideal way to do so is to use your own words when filling in the blanks and do this before you look at the answers. Ask yourself, “How would I fill in the blanks in my own words?” The only challenge with this technique is that it is difficult to determine if the first blank is a positive or negative word. If you cannot determine the context by looking at the first blank, then look at the second blank.

The half of the sentence containing the second blank may have the contextual clue that you need to identify the correct second word in one of the answer options. The context of the second half of the sentence can indicate whether or not you need to use a positive or negative word. If it is in need of a negative word, then you will be able to eliminate options with words that you know are not negative.

Once you have eliminated answer sets, look at what you have left. This means it is time to decipher the first blank. Chances are the second word being a negative would not lead to a positive first word. This is especially true if the sentence is criticizing something. If the first blank is going to be a positive and the second a negative, then the context of the first half of the sentence will relay that a positive word is needed. This means you will look for the answer set containing a positive and negative word.

Just remember when dealing with sentence completion questions that have two blanks, two or more choices may seem correct at first, but the trick is in finding the right pair. If the sentence has one blank, then the process of elimination is not as involved.

Image source: The Reston Review

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