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 46 – 47 in Essential define and illustrate 10 key words about Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and 10 key words about Psy and Gangnam Style.  Here are 10 practice sentence completion questions that will test your ability to recognize and use these practice sentence completion questions that will test your ability to recognize words. Essential provides a 6 chapter tutorial on sentence completions that includes 3 full practice tests.

1. Because so many important artistic movements originated there, Paris
was said to be in the ____ of 19th century art.

(A) vanguard
(B) sanctuary
(C) scenario
(D) juxtaposition
(E) forbearance

2. The treaty, instead of promoting ____ and unity, actually ____ tensions
between the two nations.

(A) discord .. inflamed
(B) diplomacy .. alleviated
(C) collegiality .. ameliorated
(D) reconciliation .. exacerbated
(E) amity .. rectified

3. In contrast to the ____ maneuvers of his fellow diplomats, Ambassador
Chavan’s negotiations were always open and aboveboard.

(A) superficial
(B) surreptitious
(C) chaotic
(D) rancorous
(E) pious

4. Controlled explosions are often used to destroy ____ buildings that are
run-down and can no longer be saved.

(A) redundant
(B) chaotic
(C) dilapidated
(D) rancorous
(E) nostalgic

5. Although Rajvi’s podcasts have occasional anecdotes that seem
____ and silly, her overall message is an ____ desire to help his
listeners deal with their personal problems.

(A) trenchant .. solemn
(B) frivolous .. earnest
(C) capricious .. trifling
(D) apprehensive .. impassioned
(E) elusive .. flippant

6. Because the subject of the painting was ____ and often eccentric
local personality, the artist’s choice of a ____ setting seemed

(A) an ostentatious .. pedestrian
(B) an idiosyncratic .. harmonious
(C) a clandestine .. congruous
(D) a quirky .. conventional
(E) a retiring .. anguished

7. Because they distrust people, ____ habitually enjoy ____ human
projects and activities.

(A) innovators .. creating
(B) misanthropists .. deriding
(C) narcissists .. admiring
(D) pundits .. describing
(E) hedonists .. enjoying

8. Although Lucas was usually unapologetic, he pleased his friends and
fans by issuing a ____ apology for his embarrassing antics.

(A) clandestine
(B) divisive
(C) superficial
(D) contrite
(E) tasteless

9. After completing his power-point presentation on the origins of the Cold
War, Professor Binderman emailed his students a carefully prepared list
of ____ points he wanted them to remember.

(A) trivial
(B) rough
(C) inadvertent
(D) salient
(E) archaic

10. Himali’s ____ is astonishing, she is always exuberant and full of vitality.

(A) lethargy
(B) apprehension
(C) ire
(D) anguish
(E) verve


1. A The key phrase “originated there” tells you that Paris was in the
VANGUARD (Word 500) of 19th century art.
2. D The key word “instead” tells you to look for a pair of answers
with contrasting meanings. The key word “unity” leads you to
for the first blank. Knowing that the second blank must be filled
with a negative word that contrasts with your first word leads
you to EXACERBATE. The correct answer is therefore
3. B The key reversal phrase “in contrast to” tells you to look for an
answer that has the opposite meaning of “always open and
aboveboard.” The correct answer is therefore SURREPTITIOUS
(Word 482).
4. C The key definitional phrase “run-down and can no longer be saved”
leads you to DILAPIDATED (Word 494) as the correct answer.
5. B The key word “silly” leads you to either FRIVOLOUS or
CAPRICIOUS for the first blank. The key reversal word “although”
signals that you should look for a contrasting second word. Only
FRIVOLOUS (Word 492) .. EARNEST (Word 55) meet these tests.
6. D The key definitional word ECCENTRIC leads you to either
IDIOSYNCRATRIC or QUIRKY for the first blank. Given these
choices a CONVENTIONAL setting would seem inappropriate.
The correct answer is therefore QUIRKY (Word 498) ..
7. B This question asks you to match a defining characteristic with
a specific type of person. Only choice (B) MISANTHROPISTS
(Word 92) .. DERIDING (Word 497) matches this test.
8. D The key reversal word “although” tells you to look for a word
that is opposite in meaning to the phrase “usually unapologetic.”
The correct answer is therefore CONTRITE (Word 484).
9. D The key phrase “carefully prepared list of” tells you to look for
an answer that means important and prominent. The correct
answer is therefore SALIENT (Word 499).
10. E The key definitional phrase “always exuberant and full of vitality”
leads you to VERVE (Word 491) as the best word to describe Himali.

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