Written by: Helen Donohoe
***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.
In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***
Strategies for tackling the sentence completion questions on the critical reading section of SAT
My most recent articles dealt with strategies for tackling the one-blank and two-blank questions. This week let’s incorporate some basic counting as a strategy. There are five multiple choice answers for the one-blank questions, and ten words arranged in pairs for the two-blank questions. For the one-blank questions, if you know the meaning of all five words, the right answer simply falls into place in seconds. If you know four of the five words, there’s a good chance you will be able to identify the right answer quickly. If you know only three, your chances are slimmer – you’ll really have to apply the strategies I have already demonstrated. Two of the words or just one? You’re struggling. You’ll have to apply some heavy duty strategies! Of course, occasionally you get a lucky break: you know only one of the words and it just happens to be the right one. Don’t count on it though!
For the two-blank questions, you must know nine or ten of the words to be sure of choosing the correct pair right away. If you know eight of the words, it will take you a bit longer but you still have a very good chance. Seven words? It’s possible, but you’ll have to work hard at applying the strategies. Six or under, it’s a slog!