The Essential 500 Words provides you with definitions and illustrations of 500 key words frequently tested on the SAT. These words will help you become a more articulate writer and speaker. The Essential 500 Words is more than just a vocabulary book. In order to achieve a high score on the SAT it is not enough to simply learn vocabulary words. You must also know how to apply them to sentence completion questions. Chapters 11 – 12 in Essential define and illustrate the top twenty SAT words that begin with a prefix. Here are 7 practice sentence completion questions that will test your ability recognize and use these words. Essential includes a 6 chapter tutorial on sentence completions that includes 3 full practice tests.

1. The shoppers were visibly stunned by what they considered the ____
prices; everyone agreed that the new handbags and shoes were
unreasonably expensive.

(A) malicious
(B) debased
(C) unerring
(D) unpretentious
(E) exorbitant

2. Critics initially feared that the urban renewal project would have a ____
effect, replacing long-established tightly knit neighborhoods with
impersonal high-rise apartments.

(A) didactic
(B) nostalgic
(C) deleterious
(D) indiscernible
(E) subtle

3. The company’s once ____ managers had to reevaluate their pessimistic
forecasts when a sudden surge in sales prompted a new more ____

(A) gloomy .. pessimistic
(B) despondent .. sanguine
(C) exuberant .. wistful
(D) wary .. skeptical
(E) pompous .. condescending

4. The entrepreneur had a well-deserved reputation for ____ having
overcome a series of adversities that included a personal bankruptcy
and a deep national recession.

(A) despondency
(B) reciprocation
(C) resilience
(D) succinctness
(E) reticence

5. The chief executive officer’s ____ business tactics ____ board members
who insisted that company policies and practices be a model of
professional integrity.

(A) unscrupulous .. troubled
(B) unerring .. exasperated
(C) unwarranted .. mollified
(D) prescient .. unnerved
(E) pragmatic .. incensed

6. Modest and unassuming, Chris is the model of an ____ person who
carefully avoided the limelight.

(A) unscrupulous
(B) unsavory
(C) undaunted
(D) unpretentious
(E) uncouth

7. Many contemporary theologians argue that people today are
overwhelmed by a profound spiritual unease, ____ that is engendered
by the social anxieties and uncertainties of modern life.

(A) an exuberance
(B) a lightheartedness
(C) a whimsicality
(D) a malaise
(E) a redundancy


1. E The key definitional phrase “unreasonably expensive” leads you to
EXORBITANT (Word 105).
2. C The key phrase “replacing long-established tightly knit
neighborhoods with impersonal high-rise apartments” tells you
to look for a negative answer that means harmful. Only
DELETERIOUS (Word 101) meets this test.
3. B The key phrase “pessimistic forcasts” tells you to look for a negative
first word. GLOOMY, DESPONDENT, and WARY all meet this test.
The key phrase “a sudden surge in sales” is good news that tells you
to look for a positive second word. Only SANGUINE meets this test.
The correct answer is therefore DESPONDENT (Word 103) ..
SANGUINE (Word 51).
4. C The key definitional phrase “having overcome adversities” leads
you to RESILENCE (Word 107).
5. A This question asks you to find a pair of answers that are logically
connected. Also note that the answers must be negative words that
would upset board members who “insist that company policies be
a model of professional integrity.” Only answer choice (A) meets
these tests since UNSCRUPULOUS (Word 119) business tactics
would violate standards of professional integrity and thus
TROUBLE the board members.
6. D The key definitional phrase “modest and unassuming” leads you to
7. D The key definitional phrase “profound spiritual unease” leads you
to MALAISE (Word 109).

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