(Sentence Completion) — Since the homecoming king and queen candidates had only a minute for speeches and their peers wanted to hear something meaningful, the student government advisor warned candidates that they had better keep their speeches _________ or face the wrath of an alienated crowd that finds the speeches irrelevant.
EXPLANATION — Your key clues are the fact that the students “wanted to hear something meaningful” and that the worst situation would be to have an alienated crowd. How do you alienate a crowd? Say something meaningless that is irrelevant. The speech better not be long, especially sophisticated or wordy (eliminate A, B, C and D). The speech should be to the point and relevant, or germane. Although the speech may be some of these other qualities, the text supports choice E the most. This is one of the questions where you may just need to know what the right answer is and what the definition of “germane” is, but the process of elimination will help and the SAT sometimes will have questions where exact definitions are your lifesaver.
(Sentence Completion) — Most of the family was disgusted when Billy proved his _________ nature at Thanksgiving dinner, when he ate the entire table full of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce all by himself.
EXPLANATION — Based on the clues in this sentence, Billy is unable to control himself. He has to have more and eats with no limits. A person like this is called a “glutton.” Billy is certainly selfish and may be famished (starved), but there is no specific evidence to support this as much as there is to support “gluttonous.” In other words, “gluttonous” is the most precise answer. A selfish person could have demanded different items or stolen the food instead of eating it like a glutton does. A famished person is hungry and therefore justified to eat a lot, but then his family should not be disgusted. Billy is an excessive eater, or a gluttonous individual. There is no indication of Billy’s charity or attention to detail, so eliminate D and E respectively. Choice C is correct.
(Sentence Completion) — Since the ladder was rusty and _________, lending itself to an accident, everyone urged Danny to resist his natural _________ that encouraged him to recklessly climb that ladder anyway.
EXPLANATION — If the ladder is rusty and can lead to an accident, it probably is not safe. Rather it is a safety hazard and could be precarious, dangerous and vulnerable. Yet Danny is naturally a bold and adventurous boy because he is ready to climb the ladder anyway. Therefore, he must resist his own audacity, or boldness, not his courage or cowardice. “Audacity” is the best fit here. Choice B is correct.
(Sentence Completion) — As the sailor tranquilly floated aboard the ship he attempted to capture the _________ scene in a romantic poem.
EXPLANATION — Based on the clues “tranquilly” (calmly) and “floated” you know that there is a sense of peace and calmness that the sailor is trying to send. Although the scene is romantic, there is no sexual charge or mentions to make the poem lustful. In spite of the sailor being at sea (like any sailor), it would be vague and even repetitive to say that this was a marine scene. There is no indication of sea-sickness or storms, so the scene may not be nauseous or turbulent. Rather, the romantic and tranquil scene can be described as “halcyon,” or simply “calm.” Choice C is correct.
(Sentence Completion) — The Food and Drug Administration _________ the ingredients of the pharmaceutical’s new release and quickly _________ the claims about the guaranteed efficacy of the “miracle drug” with counterclaims and empirical data.
EXPLANATION — If a government agency, like the FDA, was informed of a new drug then they check out its claims. Therefore, the FDA could scrutinize, probe or inspect the drug. However, if this is a “miracle drug” that the FDA has counterclaims against, the FDA probably does not support it. Therefore, the FDA would have debunked the claims made by the pharmaceutical company rather than proving or defending such claims. Choice D is correct.
(Sentence Completion) — Fortunately the local college just received a _______ grant from an affluent alumnus that will finance the ________ new culture studies building with state-of-the-art technology and valuable artifacts that will draw attention from the world’s most acclaimed anthropologists.
EXPLANATION — Clearly the grant must have been generous because it came from a wealthy donor (affluent alumnus), and it is providing such a grand new center. Therefore, the gift could be described as either generous or munificent (both mean that the gift was “liberal”...worth a lot of money!). Now would the new center be lavish or eminent based on the given description? Certainly it could be lavish based on the useful amenities; however, “eminent” is more appropriate here because this culture center is prominent and attracts a lot of professional attention. Choice E is the best answer.
(Reading Comprehension) — Although citizens often gripe about income taxes, the government provides a number of public goods in exchange for a small portion of citizens’ annual earnings. For major necessities that cannot be provided for by individuals, such as the cost of national security, it is critical to have a federal system that protects society. Furthermore, taxes pay for infrastructure costs such as highway maintenance, bridge construction and water supply. Local property taxes, in large part, fund public education; as a result, education systems vary in quality based in part on how high the area’s property taxes are. An undesirable side effect of the tax system is the free-rider problem, which involves individuals who receive society’s benefits without contributing taxes. The example of how local property taxes affect public education
- strengthens the argument for education reform
- elevates the author’s argument in favor of taxes
- weakens the author’s contention that taxes benefit society
- supports why income taxes are vital
- has nothing to do with the rest of the passage
EXPLANATION — This passage discusses the importance and benefits of paying income taxes. The author digresses (veers off course randomly) when discussing the impact of taxes on the quality of education despite the appeal of such a claim. Therefore, the example about local property taxes impacting education is essentially irrelevant and has nothing to do with the other messages that the author conveys. Choice E is the best option.
(Reading Comprehension) — Which of the following is the author most likely to oppose?
- toll-roads such as expressways
- a scoring curve for a difficult test that a few students studied for
- a corporate executive who receives a significant pension plan for shaping the company
- mail in rebates
- a waitress receiving extra tip money for high quality service
EXPLANATION — Through this passage, the author shows that he is opposed to undeserving people receiving the benefits of the contributing people. You get out what you put in. This is supported by the conclusion sentence. Therefore, the author would be pleased that drivers who pay more get a quicker ride home (choice A), a successful executive is properly compensated (choice C), diligent consumers get cash back for handling tedious mail-in rebate forms (choice D) and a waitress is rewarded for friendly service (choice E). But the author would be outraged if the majority of students did not study but still go away with a higher score than they deserved, piggy-backing on the success of a few studious scholars, so B is right.
(Reading Comprehension) — The Summer Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens, Greece brought together thousands of athletes from 201 countries. Since its inception, the Olympic Games have been about more than bringing athletes together for competitions; the Olympics bring people and cultures together through the magic of sports. People travel from all around the world to support their favorite teams, witness sports history and indulge in the treasures of local culture. In 2004, tourists crowded the various Greek venues such as Karaiskaki Stadium, shoulder to shoulder to view their national stars on the global stage. The 2004 Olympics were monumental for bringing the event back to its birthplace and restoring a lost sense of tradition in a world of heightened international instability. By serving as a form of unification and education, the Olympics provide a stage for international understanding and advancement. The passage LEAST supports which of the following statements about the Summer Olympic Games?
- They teach people about different countries’ idiosyncrasies.
- The most important symbol of the Summer Olympic Games is the gold medal.
- They provide an opportunity for the world to shift its focus from international politics.
- They should be hosted only in countries free of human segregation.
- It is no wonder why they have survived for centuries.
EXPLANATION — The author emphasizes the role of the Olympics in conveying messages of peace and understanding to the world. Rather than the surface purpose of athletic competition, the Olympics are more about international cooperation. Therefore, because the author emphasizes that “the Olympic Games have been about more than bringing athletes together for competitions...” the reader must realize that sports is not the main purpose of the Olympics nowadays. Yet, what is the primary image of victory and supremacy that a country earns at the Olympics? The gold medal. Although the events bring people together, the gold medal is not the Greek olive branch (a symbol of peace-it is intertwined in the logo of the United Nations). Choice B is a statement that the author would not agree with based on this passage. The author does believe that the Olympics teach people about other countries’ special characteristics, so choice A would be agreeable to the author. Based on the author’s statement of how the Olympics bring the word back from “a world of heightened international instability” the author would agree with C and believe that the spirit of unity that the Olympics have would condemn (disapprove of) segregation (choice D). Clearly the author is pleased with the Olympics, so the author would praise the Games by saying “It is no wonder why they have survived for centuries.” Only the spirit of competition and supremacy of the gold medal is not in line with the author’s views, so choice B is correct.
(Reading Comprehension) — What is the purpose of the image of tourists is Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens?
- demonstrate how many people come to the Olympics
- provide an example of a genuine Greek cultural cornerstone
- show how there are different events during the Olympics
- create a physical symbol that represents the Olympic spirit of unity
- support the claim that it takes many venues to support the Games
EXPLANATION — The author’s primary purpose in this passage is to express how the Olympics bring people together. Choice D substantiates why the author would want to create a visual image, so the reader could solidify the concept of unity with a real picture. The other choices speak to topics covered by the author, but because unity is the main focus, only choice D captures the main purpose for including this specific example of tourists standing “shoulder to shoulder.”