The SAT Prep Black Book
SAT Sentence Completion
“Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together.”
- William Hazlitt
Overview and Important Reminders for SAT Sentence Completion
When talking about the Reading section of the SAT, most tutors and courses prefer to start with the Sentence Completion questions. This is because most people hold two incorrect beliefs about the SAT Critical Reading section:
oThey think that students will improve significantly if they simply memorize enough vocabulary words, and
othey think that improvement on the Passage-Based Reading questions is impossible for most students, because they don’t realize how those questions work.
But, as usual, we do things differently in the Black Book. You’ll notice that I started with a discussion of Passage-Based Reading questions. There are also two reasons for this:
oThe central concept that we use in solving Passage-Based Reading questions, which is the idea that the correct answer must restate something directly in the passage, still applies to the Sentence Completion questions, and
omany years of experience have taught me that most students have an easier time grasping that idea in the Passage-Based Reading questions than they do in the Sentence Completion questions.
There are two main types of Sentence Completion questions, and they’re very similar to each other. The first type is the Single-Blank question, and the second is the Double-Blank question. The only difference between them is that the first type asks you to fill in one blank, and the second type asks you to fill in two blanks. You use basically the same process to answer either question type, but the two-blank questions sometimes allow room for a little more creativity on your part.
In this section, we’ll go over the ways that natural test-takers find the answers to Sentence Completion questions, including an explanation of why memorizing vocabulary is generally not the best way to prepare.
More importantly, we’ll talk about what you should actually do if you want to improve your performance on these questions.