Cracking the GRE Premium (2015)

Part II How to Crack the Verbal Section

Chapter 4 Text Completions

If you took the SAT, you probably remember sentence completion questions. Well, they’re back, retooled and renamed for the GRE. Text Completion questions test your ability to figure out which word or words best complete a given sentence or group of sentences. On the GRE, the sentence can have one, two, or even three blanks that you must fill. This chapter will show you The Princeton Review approach to Text Completions, a tried-and-true approach that will help you focus on exactly the parts of the sentences that you’ll need to figure out the best answer. Along the way we’ll provide you with some valuable tips on using Process of Elimination to help you when you don’t know all the vocabulary on a question.


On each Verbal section of the GRE you can expect to see about six Text Completions. Text Completion questions on the GRE will have one, two, or three blanks. One-blank Text Completions will have five answer choices, while two- and three-blank questions will have three choices for each blank.

Text Completion Directions

On the test, the directions will look something like the italicized blurb below. Make sure you learn them now so you don’t waste time reading them on test day.

For the following questions, select one entry for each blank from the corresponding column of choices. Fill all blanks in the way that best completes the text.

Some blanks are designed to test vocabulary, and others are designed to test comprehension. The vocabulary blanks have hard words; the context blanks often include prepositions and trigger words.

The blanks may operate independently or in conjunction with each other. If they operate in conjunction, the word you select for one blank will affect the meaning of the sentence, and therefore the word that might fit in another blank. This is a big help! When you find the word for one blank, it can help you determine all of the others.

Text Completion questions
often use difficult
vocabulary words. Make
sure you look up any
words you don’t know.

The first thing to note is that every answer choice will fit grammatically into the sentence, and quite a few of them will make a degree of sense.

The answer choices represent ETS’s suggestions for what to put into the blank. The answer choices have been carefully selected and tested by thousands of students for their ability to tempt you into the wrong answer. As a test taker, don’t trust their suggestions and certainly don’t rely on them. It may seem like these questions are all about vocabulary, but the battle is generally won or lost before you ever get to the answer choices.

The “best” answer is what
ETS says is the “best”

The next step is to find the story. This step is what you should invest your time on for text completion questions. You must stay with the sentence or passage until the story that is being told is crystal clear in your head. If you go to the answer choices before the story is clear to you, the choices may change your perception of what the story should be. Don’t even give them the chance. Stay with the passage until it is clear, or walk away and do a different question.

The answer choices represent ETS’s suggestions for what to put into the blank. They are carefully selected to mislead you. Don’t use them.

Here’s an example:

Robert Ingersoll, although virtually unknown today, was ____________ orator of the nineteenth century; people traveled hundreds of miles to hear his eloquent speeches.

Here’s How to Crack It

1.    Set up your scratch paper with a column of answer choices, A through E.

2.    Cover up the answer choices. That’s right, literally take your hand, put it on the screen, and cover up your answer choices.

3.    Find the story. Who or what is this sentence about, and what are we told about this person or thing? In this case the sentence is about Robert Ingersoll. What are we told about him? He was some kind of orator, but we don’t know what kind because that is the blank. What else are we told about him? The sentence is like a small reading composition passage, and you can use only things you are specifically told in the text. From this sentence, we know two things about him. Robert Ingersoll is virtually unknown today but, in the nineteenth century, people traveled hundreds of miles to hear his eloquent speeches. That’s what we know.

4.    Speak for yourself. Use the information you’re given in the sentence to come up with your own word for the blank. Be as literal as you can. If you can recycle part of the sentence, feel free to do so. In this case we can say that Robert Ingersoll was a well-known orator of the nineteenth century. Notice that we basically recycled the part of the sentence that stated that Robert Ingersoll is virtually unknown today.

5.    Use Process of Elimination. Only when you have come up with your own word from the blank are you protected against the mind games in the answer choices. You now know exactly what the blank needs, and you therefore have a way of evaluating the answer choices. Use your word as a filter to eliminate wrong answers. Use your scratch paper to track your progress. Don’t get hung up on any individual answer choice at this stage. If you’re not sure, just give it the maybe and move on. You are looking for a word that means something similar to well-known.

•  Does domineering mean the same thing as well-known? No. Eliminate it.

•  Does eminent mean the same thing as well-known? Possibly. Leave it in.

•  Does unobjectionable mean the same thing as well-known? No. Cross it off.

•  Does conventional mean the same thing as well-known? No. Cross it off.

•  Does execrable mean the same thing as well-known? No. Cross it off.

Now check your scratch paper. You have four crossed-off answer choices and a maybe. This is why it doesn’t pay to get too hung up on an answer choice in the first pass. If it could work, leave it in. If you’re not sure, give it the maybe. Eliminate only those answer choices that are clearly wrong. Since eminent is the only choice left, select it as your answer. The best answer is choice (B).

What If You’re Stuck Between Two Answer Choices?

Mark the question and walk away. Do two other questions and then come back. As always on the GRE, the minute you encounter the least resistance, walk away and come back. There can be only one correct answer to a Text Completion question. If two answers look correct, you may have misread something. The only way to reset your brain is to distract it by doing a few other questions and coming back.

Finding the Clue

Next, check your proof. The correct answer will always have proof in the passage. The proof is the part of the text that tells you what goes into the blank. We call this the clue. All Text Completion questions have them. The clue is like an arrow that points to one answer choice and one answer choice only. If you are stuck between two, the clue will break the tie.

The clue is like an arrow that points to one answer choice and one answer choice only.

Let’s break down an example:

Sophocles, who wrote the play Oedipus Rex, was one of the most _________ playwrights of ancient Greece.

What’s your word for the blank? Not sure? That’s because this sentence has no clue. Now try it again:

Sophocles, who wrote the play Oedipus Rex, was one of the most _________ playwrights of ancient Greece, completing 123 plays in his lifetime—double that of any of his contemporaries.

Now find the story. Who is the main character? Sophocles. What are we told about him? He wrote 123 plays—double that of any of his other contemporaries. Now it’s easy to fill in the blank with your own word. Sophocles was a productive, bountiful, or copious playwright. He wrote lots of plays. When you go to the answer choices, you know you are looking for something that means the same thing or similar to productive or lots of plays, because your clue is, “completing 123 plays in his lifetime—double that of any of his contemporaries.”

Sophocles was certainly one of the most famous playwrights of ancient Greece. While this may be true, your clue talks about the number of plays he wrote. It says nothing about how well known he was or is. While you might assume that a playwright who wrote so many plays must surely be famous, keep it literal. Assumptions will get you into trouble. The clue points to one answer choice and one answer choice only. Only prolific describes the number of plays written. The other four answer choices may fit the sentence, but none is the best answer choice.

More on the Clue

As you might have seen by now, finding the best answer on a Text Completion question depends on your ability to find the clue. Putting it another way, there is a word or group of words in the sentence that basically tells you what the right answer is. All you have to do is find the clue and then know enough vocabulary to figure out the answer choice that matches the clue. Why would ETS put the answer to a question right in front of you? It has to, or otherwise it could reasonably be argued that there is more than one “best” answer to a question. ETS couldn’t have that—it would be deluged with complaints and challenges.

One important consequence of this fact is that the clue is everything when it comes to Text Completions. Find the clue and the correct answer will follow from it.

In some sentences, the clue will be fairly obvious, while in others, the clue will be harder to spot. If you’re having difficulty finding the clue, ask yourself the following questions:

1.    Who or what is the blank referring to?

2.    What other information is provided about this subject?

The answer to these questions is the clue. Let’s try finding the clue in the following Text Completion question.

Because his one presidential term was marked by crisis and conflict, many historians consider the presidency of John Adams ___________.

What is the blank
referring to? What other
information is provided
about it?

Don’t go to the answer
choices until you’ve come
up with your own word for
the blank!

Here’s How to Crack It

First find the story. Who or what is the main idea? The presidency of John Adams. What are we told about his presidency? It was marked by crisis and conflict. In that case, how would historians view it? (Hint: Use your clue.) Clearly, his presidency was problematic at best. Use the wordproblematic and compare it to the answer choices, marking your progress on your scratch paper as you go.

·        Does expediency mean the same thing as, or is it similar to, problematic or worse than problematic? No. Eliminate (A).

·        Does indulgence mean the same thing as, or is it similar to, problematic or worse than problematic? No. Eliminate (B).

·        Does calamity mean the same thing as, or is it similar to, problematic or worse than problematic? Hmm, possibly. Leave it in.

·        Does regency mean the same thing as, or is it similar to, problematic or worse than problematic? No. Eliminate (D).

·        Does sovereignty mean the same thing as, or is it similar to, problematic or worse than problematic? No. Eliminate (E).

You’ve got one answer choice left on your scratch paper. No need for further work. You’re done. The best answer is choice (C).

Now try using this technique to find the clue on the questions in the following practice drill.

A Quick Word About Your Words

Once you’ve found the clue in a sentence, you’ve done most of the heavy lifting. Don’t strain yourself trying to come up with the perfect GRE word for the blank. Simple, everyday words are perfectly okay, as long as they get the main idea of the word across. You can also use a phrase as your “word.” Really, just think of your job as filling in the definition of the word that goes in the blank. ETS will supply the big vocabulary words in the answer choices. So, you’re not trying to guess the answer. You’re just trying to come up with a word or phrase that will help you to find the answer.

Or, to make your life even easier, recycle! Many times, the clue itself can be recycled into your word for the blank.

Practice: Finding the Clue

Underline the clue in each of the following sentences. Then, think of your own word for the blank and write it down. Answers can be found in Part V.

1 of 8

The ____________relationships in his life haunted Eugene O’Neill and are often reflected in the harrowing nature of many of his plays.

Be systematic! Ask yourself
these questions.
To whom or what is the
blank referring? What
other info is provided
about that subject?

2 of 8

Mount Godwin-Austen, more commonly known as K2, is the second highest mountain in the world, with its ____________peaks reaching more than 28,000 feet high.

3 of 8

A wind-chill warning is issued when the temperature is projected to reach minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the point at which the cold has ____________ effects on living creatures.

4 of 8

Divers still stumble across unexploded shells, 70-year-old ____________from World War II, in the waters outside Tokyo.

5 of 8

Although some people use the terms interchangeably, mastodons and mammoths were quite ____________; mammoths were hairy with long tusks, while mastodons had low-slung bodies and flatter skulls.

6 of 8

The mayor was definitely ____________; he crafted his policies not with an eye toward their political consequences but instead toward their practical effects.

7 of 8

The first-year law student was amazed at the sheer ____________ of the material he had to read for his classes; he imagined that he would have to read for hours and hours each day to finish it all.

8 of 8

Our word “ghoul” is ____________ from the Arabic word “Algol,” the name for the Demon Star, a star in the constellation Perseus.


In some cases, you might not be able to come up with a word, but you might know whether the word you’re looking for is positive or negative. Look again at question 3 from the previous practice exercise:

A wind-chill warning is issued when the temperature is projected to reach minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the point at which the cold has ____________ effects on living creatures.

You might not have been able to think of a word that fit in the blank, but you probably guessed that these very low temperatures don’t help living creatures in any way. So you can eliminate any answer choices that contain positive or beneficial adjectives, right off the bat. Every little bit helps!

However, don’t rely on positive/negative connotations unless you have no other option. ETS is, unfortunately, wise to the idea that test-takers think in terms of needing a positive or negative word. So, you may know that you need a positive word but when you look at the answers you discover that they are all positive words. So, it’s better to recycle the clue if at all possible.


Let’s take a second look at the mastodon sentence from the clue drill.

Although some people use the terms interchangeably, mastodons and mammoths were quite _______; mammoths were hairy with long tusks, while mastodons had low-slung bodies and flatter skulls.

The first part of the sentence tells us that many people use the terms mastodon and mammoth interchangeably, and yet clearly the two are quite different. If our clue is interchangeably, the word in the blank will be opposite of the clue. The reason you know this is because of the trigger word, “Although.”

Triggers tell you whether the word for the blank should match the clue or be the opposite of the clue.

Think of it this way:

I won the lottery, and…
I won the lottery, but…

One of these stories is going to have a happy ending. One is not. Sensitize yourself to trigger words. They always play an important role in the story being told, and they always impact the meaning of the word in the blank.

Here are some of the most important Text Completion trigger words.

Note the colon and the semicolon in the preceding chart. A colon or a semicolon divides a sentence into two completely separate sentences; on Text Completion questions, you can expect both of these sentences to say the exact same thing. If that sentence has a blank in it, whatever is missing from one part of the sentence will be present in the other.

Practice: Clues and Triggers

Underline the clues and circle the triggers in the following sentences; then come up with your own word for the blanks. Recycle the clues if possible. Answers can be found in Part V.

1 of 8

The star receiver is widely regarded as one of the top talents in the game, but his ____________ performance as a rookie almost ended his career.

2 of 8

The prime minister received international ____________for her work; she brokered a diplomatic solution to a potential crisis.

3 of 8

While it is often assumed that drinking alcohol is detrimental to one’s health, many studies have shown the ____________ effects of having a glass or two of wine daily.

4 of 8

Despite the increasing technological connectivity of the modern world, many cultures still remain ____________from the global society.

5 of 8

Although many cultures view the toad as a symbol of ugliness and clumsiness, the Chinese revere the toad as a ____________symbol.

6 of 8

Stock analysts often use holiday sales to gauge future stock prices; thus, retail performance can be an important ____________of market trends.

7 of 8

It is somewhat ironic that while the population at large tends to have a negative view of the legal profession, individuals rarely display such ____________ to their lawyers.

8 of 8

Methyl bromide is a pesticide that has devastating effects on insects; however, some believe it has the same ____________to humans.

You probably noticed that sentences can have multiple triggers. For example, a same-direction and a change-direction trigger will cancel each other out, while two change-direction triggers in the same sentence will also negate each other. Look at the following examples:

In this sentence, there is one change-direction trigger, although, and one same-direction trigger, also. But the clue is that the fish is extremely poisonous and rare. We wouldn’t want to use words like nonpoisonous or common for the blank—the triggers cancel each other out.

In this sentence, there are two change-direction triggers. The clue is “negative view,” and the word for the blank would also have to be something negative. Thus, the two change-direction triggers cancel out.


Now you’re ready to put all your techniques together. In the following drill, find the clue and any triggers. Come up with your own word for the blank, and then use POE to pick the best answer.

Remember to use your scratch paper. The place to invest your time on Text Completion questions is in finding the story, the clues, and the triggers. Do not look at the answer choices until you have a crystal clear idea of the story being told. Your first pass through the answer choices should take ten seconds or so. Don’t get hung up on any of the answer choices. Either you know the word and it works, you know the word and it doesn’t work, or you don’t know the word. If you’re not sure, or the word only kind of works, just give it the maybe and move on.

Practice your scratch
paper technique.

Because there are words missing, the story being told in the sentence may not be immediately clear. If you are having trouble bringing the story into focus, do not continue to push. You may have misread the sentence. Further time spent at this point is time wasted. Click the Mark button; then do a few other problems and come back. Trace your finger across the screen and make sure to read every word. If it is still not clear, walk away again.

Remember to skip and
come back if the sentence
is not immediately clear.


·        Cover your answer choices.

·        Find the story being told.

·        Identify clues and note the direction of triggers.

·        Walk away if the sentence is not clear.

·        Come up with your own word for the blank.

·        Work quickly through the answer choices, using your scratch paper to keep track of which ones are in and which ones are out.

·        If you are stuck between two choices, walk away.

·        Ask yourself the question “Does the clue point to my answer choice and my answer choice only?”

Premium Portal

Head to the Premium
Portal to watch videos and
review these strategies
and techniques.

Do Not:

·        Stay with a sentence that you cannot fill in your own word for.

·        Go to the answer choices and start plugging them in.

·        Go to the answer choices until you have come up with your own word for the blank.

·        Select an answer until you have a mark on your page next to each answer choice.

·        Eliminate an answer choice unless you know exactly what that word means and have a good reason.

If your hand is not moving, you are getting caught thinking. Walk away and do a different question.

Text Completions Drill

Answers can be found in Part V.

1 of 6

Despite the smile that spread from ear to ear, her eyes relayed a certain ____________.

2 of 6

While grizzly bears have long, flat, and somewhat blunt claws, black bears have short, curved and ____________ claws.

3 of 6

One of social science’s major themes is that of stability versus change; to what extent are individual personalities ____________ or different over time?

4 of 6

The Erie Canal’s completion caused _________ economic ripples; property values and industrial output along its route rose exponentially.

5 of 6

Voters have become so inured to the fickle nature of politicians that they responded to the levy of a new tax with ____________.

6 of 6

It is desirable to expand the yield of a harvest only when ____________ additions in time, exertion, and other variable factors of production are not also required.


Sometimes you might do everything right—you might find the clue, identify the triggers, and come up with a great word for the blank—but you will still be stymied by the vocabulary that ETS uses in the answer choices and have no idea what any of the words means.

In these situations, it is important to make use of POE strategies:

1.    Never Eliminate a Word You Don’t Know. If you have any doubts about the meaning of a word, do not eliminate it! Never get rid of an answer that just doesn’t “sound good” in the sentence.

2.    Spend Your Time Working with the Words You Do Know. Focus your energies on the words you do know, trying to match them with the clues in the sentence.

3.    Use Positive/Negative Associations if Necessary. Be aggressive. If you know you need a positive word, eliminate any negative words.

Take a look at the following example:

Years of confinement in a sunless cell had left the prisoner wan and weakened, with a shockingly ____________ appearance.

Here’s How to Crack It

The clue in this sentence is “wan and weakened,” so we need to look for a word in the answer choices that means something like “wan and weakened.” However, the answer choices are a vocabulary hater’s nightmare (or a pleasant dream, for the word lovers in the audience!).

Let’s go through them. Choice (A) is a tough one—if you’re not sure of what this word means, you can’t eliminate it. Just leave it, and we’ll worry about it later. You might know that choice (B) means to be loud and noisy; if so, you can eliminate this choice. The third choice is another difficult word, so let’s move on to the fourth word. You might be aware that singular doesn’t mean weak or wan; it means being one-of-a-kind or unique, so you can safely eliminate this choice. The final choice is circumscribed. Looking at this word, we might note it has the root scribe in it, which has to do with writing and drawing. Once again, it doesn’t seem to match our clue so we can eliminate it. That leaves us with just two choices. At this point, you’ve done all you can do, so go ahead and pick one of the two. The important thing is to use careful POE to increase your odds.

Never eliminate words
that you don’t know.

By the way, the correct answer is etiolated, which means to cause to appear pale or sickly.


Remember that we said earlier that not all Text Completion questions on the GRE have just one blank: ETS will ratchet up the difficulty level of Text Completion questions by presenting you with sentences that have as many as two or three blanks.

Multiple blanks aren’t
that big of a deal. Use the
same approach as you do
for single blanks.

However, the techniques you’ve learned in this chapter constitute the basic approach to all types of Text Completions, no matter how fancy. Here’s an example:

Federal efforts to regulate standards on educational achievements have been met by (i) ____________ from the states; local governments feel that government imposition represents an undue infringement on their (ii) ____________.

Here’s How to Crack It

Step 1:

Engage the hand. Make a column on your scratch paper for blank i and blank ii.

Step 2:

Cover the answer choices and find the story. We have a semicolon that divides the sentence into two separate but equal parts. The first part says that the states have reacted in a particular way to federal regulation, but we don’t know what that way is, so let’s check the second part. In the second part we’re told that the local governments feel that the regulation is an “undue infringement” and an “imposition.”

Step 3:

Come up with your own words for the blanks. For the second column, use the information in the story to come up with your own word. Federal standards would impact a state’s ability to decide standards for itself, so try something like “rights” or “decision making” and jot it down on your scratch paper. For the first blank, if the states feel as though the federal government regulations are an imposition and an infringement, the states would likely resist those regulations. So, use resistance as your word for the first blank.

Step 4:

Use Process of Elimination. Put down an “x” for any answer choice that does not work. Under the first blank, receptivity and compromise are both gone because they don’t match resistance. The middle word stays; even if you don’t know what it means, it doesn’t matter. No need to spend any more time on it than that. For the second blank, the word legislation is tempting, since we’re talking about governments, but it’s meant to be tempting. Our words are rights and decision making, neither of which means legislation, so put an “x” in the middle slot. Comportment means the way you carry yourself. That’s not even related, so give that one an “x” too. Autonomy is the closest to rights or decision making; in fact, it fits quite well. We have an answer. When you’re done, your scratch paper should look something like this:

Let’s try another one.

Don’t try to deal with all
the blanks at once. Take
them one at a time.

Many popular musicians have (i) ____________ new digital technologies that allow them unprecedented control over their music. These musicians use computers to (ii) ____________ and modify their songs, resulting in a level of musical precision often unattainable naturally. Of course, though, as is often the case with new technologies, some traditionalists (iii) ____________these developments.

Can you come up with your
own word for the blank?
Are there other words that
could also work?

Here’s How to Crack It

Don’t be intimidated by the multiple-blank sentences; just try to isolate each blank and apply the strategies we taught you. You don’t have to work the blanks in order: Start with whichever one of the blanks seems easiest to you.

For this one, let’s start with the second blank. The clue is modify and the trigger is and, so we need to find a word that’s similar to modify. Let’s go with alter. Now use POE and look at the answer choices in the second box. Energize doesn’t match our word, so eliminate it. Neither doesdelineate, which means to outline or to depict. That leaves us with recast for the second blank.

You may have noticed that the first blank is related to the second blank. If the musicians are modifying their songs and also have unprecedented control over their modification, we need a word like using or embracing for the first blank. The only answer choice in the first box that’s even close to this word is incorporated.

Finally, we move on to the last blank. The clue here is that we’re dealing with traditionalists. How would traditionalists react to these new technologies? They would probably react negatively, so we need a word like reject or dislike for the third blank.

Look at the choices in the final box. Revel in is a positive sentiment, so we can eliminate it. Retaliate at is definitely negative, but there is nothing in the sentence that indicates that the traditionalists are taking action against those using the new technology, or the new technology itself! Thus,balk at, which means to resist or object to, is the best answer.


Some two- and three-blank Text Completions hinge on the use of trigger words, and don’t contain really strong or obvious clues that you can rely on. For example, look at the following sentence:

Jenkins is an artist known for engendering strong reactions in his viewers; in fact, some of his more (i) ____________paintings have caused viewers extreme (ii) ____________.

Here’s How to Crack It

The minute you recognize that this is a relationship between the blanks question, make your set-up on your scratch paper. It should look like this:

You are not looking at three individual options for the first blank and three individual options for the second blank; you are looking at nine possible combinations, only one of which will work. The first blank will depend entirely on the second blank. We know for sure that the two must work together. In this case, there is nothing to do but Plug In and eliminate. If the first word is ominous, the second word must describe a strong negative reaction. Discouragement doesn’t quite make sense, so cross off aDiscomposure is possible, so give it the maybe and give the A in the first column the maybe, because there is at least one combination with this word that could work. Resoluteness is positive, so you can eliminate it.

Now try accomplished. If this is the first word, we need a strong positive for the second word, so you can eliminate a and bResoluteness does not really follow from accomplished, so cross off c in the second column and B in the first column.

Now try innovative. With this as your first word, we need a strong positive for the second word, so you can eliminate a and bResoluteness does not really follow from innovative, so cross of c in the second column and C in the first column.

Now look at your scratch paper. At this point, your scratch paper can answer the question for you. There is only one possible combination that could work. Pick ominous and discomposure, and you are done. Your scratch paper should look like this:

If there is no clear clue, look for the relationship between the blanks.


As we’ve seen, using the techniques, including POE, can help you a great deal on a great majority of Text Completion questions. However, on some questions you hit the “vocabulary wall”—the point at which you’re stuck because you don’t know the meaning of the words in the question. The only cure for this predicament is to improve your vocabulary as much as you can before test day. Memorizing the Hit Parade (in Chapter 8) is a good start, but there are myriad other ways of increasing your vocabulary.

Study vocabulary
every single day.

Here’s the moral of the story: As you prepare for your GRE, try to keep learning new words every day, in whatever way works best for you.

You’re In the Home
Stretch (of This Chapter)

You’ve tackled this Text
Completions chapter masterfully!
Complete the Text
Completions Practice Set
and then give yourself a
study break. Grab a snack,
take a walk, and let these
lessons sink in before you
jump into the next chapter.

Text Completions Practice Set

Answers can be found in Part V.

1 of 10

With global interconnectedness on the rise, the conviction of the United States to remain neutral in World War I seemed ever more ____________.

2 of 10

Upon visiting the Middle East in 1850, Gustave Flaubert was so ____________ belly dancing that he wrote, in a letter to his mother, that the dancers alone made his trip worthwhile.

3 of 10

The human race is a very (i) ____________ species, as the facade of calm that covers our anxiety and (ii) ____________ is flimsy and effortlessly ruptured.

4 of 10

The practice of purchasing books was primarily a (i) ____________ of the well-to-do until the late 1800s, when the increased popularity of dime novels, the expansion in the number of bookstores, and the introduction of the paperback made books (ii) ____________ the average man.

5 of 10

Increasingly, the boundaries of congressional seats are drawn in order to protect incumbents, as legislators engineer the demographics of each district such that those already in office can coast to (i) ____________ victory. Of course, there is always the possibility that the incumbent will face a challenge from within his or her own party. Nevertheless, once the primary is over, the general election is (ii) ____________.

6 of 10

While more (i) ____________ professors continue to insist that video games will never be a proper object of study, the rising generation of more heterodox academics is inclined to view such talk as positively (ii) ____________.

7 of 10

Political predictions generally prove fairly accurate when the presumption that the future will be similar to the past is (i) ____________. In periods with substantial (ii) ____________ in the political world, however, predictions can be (iii) ____________ wrong.

8 of 10

Water is one of the few molecules that is less (i) _____________ as a solid than as a (ii) ____________; if you need (iii) ____________, just look at the floating ice in your water glass.

9 of 10

As Molly was (i) ____________ Spanish with her friends before their trip to Chile, she discovered that although she could comprehend her friends, she could not (ii) _____________ her thoughts in the (iii) ____________ language.

10 of 10

People accustomed to thinking that the human lifespan (i) ____________ the outer bounds of animal longevity tend to dismiss tales of musket balls being found in the shells of living turtles. Samantha Romney, however, argues that while such stories may be (ii) ____________, some turtles do indeed exhibit a phenomenon known as “negligible (iii) ____________,” showing no signs of aging even as they pass the two-century mark.


·        In Text Completion questions, come up with your own word for the blank, using the clues and triggers in the sentence.

·        If you can’t find the clue, ask yourself these questions: To whom or what is the blank referring? What other information is provided about that subject?

·        Trigger words tell you whether the word in the blank should be similar to the clue or opposite of the clue.

·        After you’ve come up with your own word for the blank, use POE to eliminate words that aren’t close to your word. Don’t eliminate words if you are unsure of their meanings. Focus on the words you do know.

·        If the sentence has two or three blanks, do the blanks one at a time. Pick the easier (or easiest) blank to start with, find the clue, come up with a word, and use POE. Then repeat for the remaining blanks.

·        Keep studying vocabulary. Make sure to look up any words you don’t know. We recommend flashcards, for easy vocabulary review on-the-go.