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 18 – 22 in Essential define and illustrate 50 of the top 100 Level 5 words tested on the SAT. Here are 15 practice sentence completion questions that will test your ability recognize and use these words. Essential provides a 6 chapter tutorial on sentence completions that includes 3 full practice tests.

1. The Kenroku-en Garden in Japan leaves an ____ impression on visitors,
so that once seen it is impossible to forget.

(A) ambivalent
(B) indelible
(C) innocuous
(D) insipid
(E) ephemeral

2. Certain people alternate between opposing moods; either they are
____ or they are ____.

(A) magnanimous .. munificent
(B) diffident .. self-effacing
(C) petulant .. capricious
(D) taciturn .. aloof
(E) frank .. disingenuous

3. Advertisements for the popular candidate for governor have become
____, so prevalent are they on billboards and posters throughout the

(A) enigmatic
(B) anomalous
(C) metaphorical
(D) ubiquitous
(E) pernicious

4. Juhee criticized the recently announced government edict as ____,
just another failure of politicians to use foresight to identify future

(A) cryptic
(B) redundant
(C) discerning
(D) acerbic
(E) myopic

5. At the science museum we observed a group of tourists who were being
led by a ____ tour guide who made little effort to ____ the visitors.

(A) charismatic .. enlighten
(B) draconian .. control
(C) belligerent .. antagonize
(D) soporific .. edify
(E) loquacious .. engage

6. The defense lawyer was admired for her ____, she always conducted
herself with great personal and professional integrity.

(A) verbosity
(B) diffidence
(C) symbolism
(D) rectitude
(E) profligacy

7. Paleontologists believe that a huge meteor struck the Yucatan Peninsula
65 million years ago producing a ____ cloud of dust and ash that lowered
global temperatures and triggered the mass extinction of dinosaurs and
other animals.

(A) redundant
(B) infinitesimal
(C) tenuous
(D) ravenous
(E) prodigious
8. Misplacing a high school student’s prom dress mortified Wendi, and
then forgetting to remove a conspicuous stain only increased her ____.

(A) exultation
(B) chagrin
(C) credibility
(D) ubiquity
(E) aplomb

9. Moving west to start a new life is ____ part of the American experience
that remains solidly established even though parts of California and
other western states have become overcrowded.

(A) a vacillating
(B) a fleeting
(C) a pernicious
(D) an inconsequential
(E) an entrenched

10. The writer is a sarcastic and often ____ writer who makes telling points
by gleefully ____ human follies.

(A) subtle .. personifying
(B) acerbic .. satirizing
(C) altruistic .. eulogizing
(D) officious .. underscoring
(E) lugubrious .. elucidating

11. Pope Leo X grew increasingly ____ during the debates about Martin
Luther’s criticism of the Church; the papal advisors had never seen
the pontiff so irate.

(A) apoplectic
(B) soporific
(C) ethereal
(D) disingenuous
(E) licentious

12. Because Jefferson’s opening lines in the Declaration of Independence
are not narrowly focused on ____ political disputes, they seem as
influential and ____ today as they did over two hundred years ago.

(A) ephemeral .. enduring
(B) universal .. momentary
(C) ubiquitous .. venal
(D) entrenched .. irrelevant
(E) anachronistic .. transient

13. Because Napoleon was such a powerful and ____ ruler, his defeat at the
Battle of Waterloo was ____, marking a momentous change of course
from an age of democratic revolutions to a period of conservative

(A) marginal .. an amalgam
(B) charismatic .. a triviality
(C) crucial .. an anomaly
(D) pivotal .. a watershed
(E) lugubrious .. an anachronism

14. Postmodern architect Michael Graves successfully ____ traditional and
modernist elements thereby combining features from a variety of styles.

(A) aggrandizes
(B) habituates
(C) amalgamates
(D) disassociates
(E) marginalizes

15. Paradoxically, the personnel manager was both ____ and ____: she
uncritically accepted each job applicant’s personal anecdotes but often
expressed doubts about a candidate’s ability to perform key tasks.

(A) credulous .. skeptical
(B) discerning .. perspicacious
(C) reverent .. irreverent
(D) theoretical .. empirical
(E) merciless .. ruthless


1. B The key definitional phrase “impossible to forget” leads you to
INDELIBLE (Word 233).
2. E The key phrase “alternate between opposing moods” signals that
that the answers will be a pair of antonyms. Only FRANK (Word 7) ..
DISINGENUOUS (Word 232) meets this test.
3. D The key definitional word “prevalent” leads you to UBIQUITOUS
(Word 217).
4. E The key definitional phrase “failure of politicians to use forsight”
leads you to MYOPIC (Word 224).
5. D The question asks you to find two words that are logically
connected. The key phrase “little effort” tells you that the second
word will have a negative relationship with the first word. Only
choice (D) SOPORIFIC (Word 221) .. EDIFY (Word 226) meets these
tests since a SOPORIFIC tour guide would not EDIFY the visitors.
6. D The key definitional phrase “great personal and professional
integrity” leads you to RECTITUDE (Word 219).
7. E Since the cloud of dust and ash “lowered global temperatures
and triggered the mass extinction of dinosaurs and other animals,”
it must have been very large. This facts leads you to PRODIGIOUS
(Word 222).
8. B The key definitional word “mortified” leads you to CHAGRIN
(Word 249).
9. E The key definitional phrase “remains solidly established” leads you
to ENTRENCHED (Word 239).
10. B The first word should be consistent with the key word “sarcastic.”
The second work should be consistent with “gleefully” portraying
“human follies.” Only ACERBIC (Word 227) .. SATIRIZING
(Word 38) meets these two tests.
11. A The key definitional phrase “so irate” leads you to describe Pope
Leo X as APOPLECTIC (Word 225).
12. A Since Thomas Jefferson’s opening lines are “not narrowly focused”
and still seem “influential” you should look for a pair of logically
related antonyms. Both answer choices (A) and (B) meet this
test. However, you can eliminate (B) since UNIVERSAL does not
mean “narrowly focused.” The correct answer is therefore
13. D The first word must be consistent with the key word “powerful” and
the second word must be consistent with the key definitional phrase
“a momentous change of course.” Only choice (D) PIVOTAL ..
WATERSHED (Word 216) meets these tests.
14. C The key definitional phrase “combining features” leads you to
15. A The key reversal word “PARADOXICALLY” signals that you should
look for a pair of answers that are antonyms. The key definitional
phrases “uncritically accepted” and “expressed doubt” lead you to
CREDULOUS (Word 204) .. SKEPTICAL (Word 64).

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