Breaking Down the SAT: Sentence Completion

Sat Sentence Completion

The sentence completion portion of the SAT is designed to test your vocabulary and reading comprehension through the use of contextual clues. The section will provide you with a series of incomplete sentences where the test taker is responsible for filling in the missing word or words from the choices provided. A multiple choice consisting of five potential answers will be supplied for each question.

Approximately one-fourth of the critical reading section of the SAT is comprised of sentence completion questions. Furthermore, each of these questions must be answered within the span of a minute in order to allow for enough time to complete the test. As a result, it is vital that students familiarize themselves with the format so they can answer as quickly and competently as possibly.One strategy for answering these types of questions is to fill in your own words to complete the sentence. This allows your mind to quickly understand the context of the sentence and the type of word that would be appropriate. Once you have selected your own word, you can also answer the question simply by locating the proper synonym. If there are multiple answers that seem synonymous with the word you chose, read the sentence with both words and confirm which makes more sense. Another tactic is to pay close attention to specific words or phrases that alter the context, such as “however” and “in addition.” These words serve as clues to whether the word contrasts or complements the preceding statement. For instance, the following is an example of a common type of sentence completion question taken from B Line Test Prep’s free SAT online course:Although H.P. Lovecraft wrote many of the world’s most influential horror stories, during his lifetime he was ____.A) famous
B) unrivaled
C) obscure
D) renowned
E) masterfulExamining this sentence, we can see that there is a clue at the very beginning. The word “although” indicates there will be a contrast or unexpected outcome at the end of the sentence. As the first portion of the sentence lauds Lovecraft as an influential writer, we can surmise that during his lifetime he was anything but. Using the stratagem listed above, we can fill in the blank with the words “not influential” or “not very good.” Shuffling through the potential answers, all seem to imply the opposite save for C) obscure.

Like most sections of the SAT, the sentence completion section is ordered from the least to most difficult question. Therefore it is imperative you move quickly through the early portions in order to allow for enough time to complete the test. You can take advantage of an SAT prep to further acclimate yourself to the questions and time constraints in order to better prepare you for the actual exam.


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