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 13 – 14 in Essential define and illustrate the top twenty SAT words that with an interesting history. Here are 10 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. Elizabeth Blackwell’s career demonstrates her ____, her steadfast refusal
to allow male doctors to deter her goal of becoming the first woman in the
United States to earn a medical degree.

(A) versatility
(B) pomposity
(C) inscrutability
(D) indomitability
(E) reciprocity

2. Although frequently used in the 1920s to describe fashionable men and
women, the terms “sheik” and “sheba” are now considered ____ because
they are out-of-date and no longer used.

(A) derogatory
(B) discerning
(C) revealing
(D) artful
(E) antediluvian

3. Chloe’s behavior was so ____ that it is was offensive to many: few people
liked her because she was excessively ____.

(A) narcissistic .. self-effacing
(B) moribund .. exuberant
(C) maudlin .. emotional
(D) cavalier .. unpretentious
(E) quixotic .. pragmatic

4. Because their previous supervisor had been especially ____ and
understanding, the staff members were resentful of the ____ rules
imposed by the new director.

(A) dictatorial .. unwarranted
(B) lenient .. draconian
(C) rigid .. cavalier
(D) jovial .. didactic
(E) irritable .. trivial

5. Prone to being excessively self-absorbed, Marvin displayed the chief
characteristics of a ____ personality.

(A) narcissistic
(B) moribund
(C) quixotic
(D) laconic
(E) mercurial

6. As a college professor at Princeton, Woodrow Wilson gained a well-
deserved reputation for ____: his carefully researched lectures
demonstrated unrivalled knowledge and scholarship.

(A) erudition
(B) narcissism
(C) sophistry
(D) hubris
(E) unscrupulousness

7. A model of ____ conversation, President Coolidge was renowned for
his ____ statements.

(A) voluble .. terse
(B) duplicitous .. forthright
(C) prescient .. myopic
(D) jovial .. somber
(E) laconic .. succinct

8. Tana’s behavior was so ____ that it offended many of her colleagues: few
people liked her because she was extremely haughty and overbearing.

(A) erudite
(B) urbane
(C) exuberant
(D) cavalier
(E) earnest

9. The popular historian Will Durant once said that a large number of
factors led him to write his acclaimed Story of Civilization; that is,
the causes were ____.

(A) exorbitant
(B) didactic
(C) myriad
(D) anecdotal
(E) redundant

10. Once a very lucrative business, the candy shop was now ____ and
on the verge of bankruptcy as more and more of its customers
switched to healthy food choices.

(A) protean
(B) prolific
(C) voluptuous
(D) nefarious
(E) moribund


1. D The key definitional phrase “steadfast refusal to allow doctors to
deter” leads you to choose INDOMITABILITY (Word 133) as the
best word to describe Elizabeth Blackwell’s career.
2. E The key phrase “out-of-date and no longer used” leads you to
3. C The key phrase “offensive to many” signals that you should
look for a pair of related negative words that describe an “excessive”
behavior. Only choice (C) MAUDLIN (Word 139) .. EMOTIONAL
meets this test.
4. B The key word “understanding” indicates that you should look
for a related positive first word. Both LENIENT and JOVIAL
meet this test. The key words “resentful” and “rules imposed”
indicate that you should look for a negative second word that
contrasts with your first word. Only LENIENT .. DRACONIAN
(Word 135) meet these criteria.
5. A The key definitional phrase “excessively self-absorbed” leads you
to NARCISSISTIC (Word 122).
6. A The key definitional phrases “carefully researched lectures” and
“unrivalled knowledge and scholarship” lead you to ERUDITION
(Word 140).
7. E This sentence asks you to find two words that for a logical
definition. Only LACONIC (Word 127) .. SUCCINCT (Word 16)
meet this test.
8. D The key definitional phrase “extremely haughty and overbearing”
led you to describe Tana as CAVALIER (Word 131).
9. C The key definitional phrase “a large number of factors” leads you
to MYRIAD (Word 121).
10. E The key phrases “once a very lucrative business” and “on the verge
of bankruptcy” tell you that the candy shop is rapidly approaching
its demise. The candy shop is therefore MORIBUND (Word 123).

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