Cracking the GRE Premium Edition (2016)

Part II
How to Crack the Verbal Section

3The Geography of 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 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 transition 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. While
practicing, 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. So do not look at the answer choices until you have your own idea about what should go into the blank(s)!

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

2.Pick a blank, and ask, “Who or what is the blank describing?” Before you start looking to put something into the blank, take a moment to make sure that you understand what the blank is talking about. If it’s not crystal clear, consider what part of speech the blank represents. If the word for the blank is a noun or a verb, it may be more difficult to determine, but a little careful scrutiny can yield the answer. In this sentence, the blank describes the type of orator that Robert Ingersoll was.

3.Ask, “What in the sentence gives insight into that?” Now that you know what the blank describes, find the information in the sentence that tells you something about that topic. ETS never writes a sentence in which the blank could be filled based on your own opinions. They always include some piece of information that gives you insight into the topic of the blank. We call this piece of information the Clue. Find it. In this sentence, you know that although Ingersoll is virtually unknown today, in the past people traveled hundreds of miles to hear him talk. The contrast transition although indicates that the blank is an opposite of virtually unknown, which is supported if people traveled hundreds of miles.

4.Speak for yourself. Use the information you’ve found 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 phrase 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 to eliminate wrong answers. You are looking for a word that means something similar to well-known.

  • Does domineeringmean the same thing as well-known?No. Eliminate it.
  • Does eminentmean the same thing as well-known?Possibly. Leave it in.
  • Does unobjectionablemean the same thing as well-known?No. Cross it off.
  • Does conventionalmean the same thing as well-known?No. Cross it off.
  • Does execrablemean the same thing as well-known?No. Cross it off.

Eliminate only those answer choices that are clearly wrong. If you’re not sure about an answer choice, leave it alone. If you’ve done the previous steps correctly, there will be only one choice that can work. The correct answer is (B).

What If You’re Stuck Between Two Answer Choices?

Mark the question and walk away. Do a couple of 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, or you may not know the definition of a word—even a seemingly familiar one. The only way to reset your brain is to distract it by doing a few other questions and then coming back to the question later.

The clue tells you exactly what the blank means.
Only one answer choice will match.

Let’s break down an example:

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

Who or what does the blank describe? The type of playwright Sophocles was. What in the sentence gives you insight into that? Not sure? That’s because this sentence does not contain a 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.

Just like before, the blank describes the type of playwright Sophocles was. This time, however, there’s the additional insight that he completed 123 plays, which was double that of anyone else at his time. Now it’s easy to fill in the blank with your own word. Sophocles was a productive 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.

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 correct answer choice.

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, make sure you’re asking the questions from the method:

1.Who or what is the blank describing?

2.What in the sentence gives insight into that?

More on the Clue

As you may have realized by now, finding the correct answer on a Text Completion question depends on your ability to find the clue. To put it another way, there is a word or group of words in the sentence that gives you insight into the correct answer to the question. 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 correct 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.

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

Who or what is the blank
describing? What in the
sentence gives insight
into that?

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

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

Who or what is the blank describing? How historians view the presidency of John Adams. What in the sentence gives insight into that? His one term was marked by crisis and conflict. Use marked by crisis and conflict as a phrase for that blank. Now look at the answer choices.

  • Does expediencymean the same thing as, or is it similar to, marked by crisis and conflict? No. Eliminate (A).
  • Does indulgencemean the same thing as, or is it similar to, marked by crisis and conflict? No. Eliminate (B).
  • Does calamitymean the same thing as, or is it similar to, marked by crisis and conflict? Hmm, possibly. Leave it in.
  • Does regencymean the same thing as, or is it similar to, marked by crisis and conflict? No. Eliminate (D).
  • Does sovereigntymean the same thing as, or is it similar to, marked by crisis and conflict? No. Eliminate (E).

You’re done. The correct answer is (C).

Now try using this technique in the practice drill on the next page.

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 waste time 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.

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

On a sheet of a scratch paper, write down 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.

Be systematic! Ask yourself
these questions.
Who or what is the blank
describing? What in the
sentence gives insight
into that?

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.

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 know that these very low temperatures are bad for living creatures. 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 transition word Although.

Transition words 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 sentences is going to have a happy ending. One is not. Sensitize yourself to transition words. They always play an important role in the sentence, and they always impact the meaning of the word in the blank.

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

Change Direction

Same Direction











in contrast






; (semicolon)


: (colon)

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 Transitions

On a sheet of scratch paper, write down the clue and transition word in each of 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 transition words. For example, a same-direction transition and a change-direction transition will cancel each other out, while two change-direction transition words in the same sentence will also negate each other. Look at the following examples:

In this sentence, there is one change-direction transition, although, and one same-direction transition, 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 transition words cancel each other out.

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


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

The place to invest your time on Text Completion questions is in finding the clues and transition words. Do not look at the answer choices until you have a crystal clear idea of what word you should put in the blank. 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 call it a maybe and move on.

Because there are words missing, the word for the blank may not be immediately clear. If you are having trouble, 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 Mark and
Move if the sentence is
not immediately clear.


  • Cover your answer choices.
  • Ask: “Who or what is the blank describing?”
  • Ask: “What in the sentence gives insight into that?”
  • Identify clues and note the direction of transition words.
  • Come up with your own word for the blank.
  • Walk away if the sentence is not clear.
  • Eliminate answer choices that don’t match your word.
  • If you are stuck between two choices, walk away.

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.
  • 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.

Online Video Tutorials

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

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 know what the blank is describing, find the clue, identify the transition words, 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.

Tricky Vocab and POE

If you encounter a vocab
word you don’t know,
break out the POE!
Applying these POE
strategies in tricky vocab
situations will help you
choose the correct answer.

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 energy 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 blank is describing the prisoner’s appearance. 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!).

Never eliminate words
that you don’t know.

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 (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. From math, we might know that this word has to do with going around the edge of something. 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.

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


As mentioned earlier, 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:Cover the answer choices and use the method. The first blank describes how the states have reacted to federal efforts. The second blank describes some element of local governments on which they feel infringed.

Step 2:Determine what the sentence says about the blanks. The part of the sentence that gives insight into the first blank is undue infringement. The part of the sentence that gives insight into the second blank is that attempts to regulate standards are some sort of imposition.

Step 3:Come up with your own words for the blanks. If the states feel that the federal efforts are an undue infringement, they would react to those efforts with negativity, so use that as the word for the first blank. If the states feel imposed on by efforts to regulate standards, they feel infringed on their right to govern themselves, so use that as the phrase for the second blank.

Step 4:Use Process of Elimination. Eliminate receptivity and compromise, since they don’t match negativity. Even if you’re not sure what intransigence means, it must be correct! Eliminate comportment, which means how you carry yourself, since it does not match right to govern themselvesLegislation is close, but not close enough, so eliminate it. The correct answers are intransigence and autonomy.

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.

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, which describes what musicians do to their songs with computers. The clue is modify and the transition 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 does delineate, which means to outline or to depict. That leaves us with recast for the second blank.

Now, look at the first blank, which describes the relationship popular musicians have to the new…technologies. The clue here is use, which can be recycled as used as a word for the first blank. Eliminate synthesized and alleviated, since they don’t match used, which leaves incorporated for the first blank.

Finally, look at the third blank, which describes the relationship some traditionalists have to the new technologies. The transition word though indicates that the third blank is an opposite of the previous two sentences. So, the clue is use again, but this time it’s an opposite, so use don’t like as a word for the third blank. Eliminate revel in and retaliate at, leaving balk at for the third blank.

The correct answer is incorporated, recast, balk at. That’s it!


Some two- and three-blank Text Completions hinge on the use of transition 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 blanks in this sentence are the insight for each other, so the key here is to match the relationship between the words.

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. Since the sentence tells us that Jenkins engenders strong reactions, and the first blank describes a type of painting while the second blank describes a type of reaction, the blanks must have similar meanings. So, go through each answer choice for the first blank and check to see if a similar word exists for the second blank. Eliminate anything that doesn’t create a matching pair. If the first word is ominous, the second word must describe a strong negative reaction. Discouragement doesn’t quite make sense, so eliminate this choice. Discomposure is possible, so give it the maybe. 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 discouragement and discomposureResoluteness does not really follow from accomplished, so eliminate it as well.

Now try innovative. With this as your first word, we need a strong positive for the second word, so you can eliminate discouragement and discomposureResoluteness does not really follow from innovative, so eliminate it as well.

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.

The answer is ominous and discomposure. If you’re systematic with this type of Text Completion, you won’t have any trouble. Relationships between the blank questions are very rare, so just remember how to handle them in case one does show up on the actual test.

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.

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.

Study vocabulary
every single day.

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(s), using the clues and transition words in the sentence.

○To find the clue, ask “Who or what is the blank describing? What in the sentence gives insight into that?”

○Transition 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, ask the questions, 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.