Although she probably doesn't actually need those glasses.

Critical Reading: An Arduous Hike

Although she probably doesn't actually need those glasses.
Know your vocabulary!

Here at College Compass we cannot stress how important vocabulary is to doing well on the SAT. If you are having trouble with the Critical Reading section of the SAT, the quickest and most sure way to improve your score is to expand your vocabulary.

SAT Sentence Completion questions are all about vocabulary, and if you are well-enough prepared then there is no reason you should ever miss one. Take a look at this sample Sentence Completion question and the brief solution we have provided; make it a point to add unfamiliar words and their definitions to whatever vocabulary master-list you are using to prepare for the SAT, whether it be flashcards or otherwise.

  1. By the end of the long, arduous hike, Chris was walking with a ­­­______ gait, limping slowly back to the campsite.
    1. halting
    2. robust
    3. constant
    4. prompt
    5. facile

Explanation: The key words in this passage are “arduous” and “limping.” Though arduous gives us an idea of what kind of hike Chris experienced, for the purposes of answering this question arduous is only supplementary; it is a context clue rather than direct evidence of an answer. Of these two key words the more important one is limping because limping actually describes Chris’ gait. We know, then, the correct answer will be whichever word best describes a limp. Of the available answer choices, only “halting” might be used to describe a limp. Thus the answer choice is (b).

You can never have enough vocabulary words; here are the definitions of all the answer choices:

Halting: to be halting is to be generally indecisive or hesitant; it is to be imperfect or defective. Lastly, and most pertinently, halting may be defined as being lame or limping.

Robust: to be robust is to be full of health and strength; it is to be powerfully built and sturdy, well suited for or requiring physical strength. To be robust is also to be rough or crude; it may also refer to a richness or fullness that is often used to describe taste or flavor.

Constant: a thing or person that is persistent or continually occurring. To be constant is to be unchanging in nature, value, or extent; it is essentially to be invariable. Constant may also be used in a positive light; it can be used to describe someone who is steadfast in loyalty or affection.

Prompt: to be on time or punctual, or to be carried out or performed without delay.

Facile: accomplished with very little effort or difficulty. To be facile is to work, act, or speak with ease and fluency; it is to arrive at something without effort or examination, and in that sense facile may denote superficiality. Facile may also be used to refer to something that is readily manifest, something that is manifest in a way as to suggest insincerity and a lack of depth.

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Need more help with the PSAT/SAT or ACT? Visit Test Masters to learn more about how to prepare, and for more information on courses starting in your area. Want more example problems? Click here for an SAT Geometry question!

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