Assuming the meaning of an unknown word in SAT Sentences can get you SNOOKERED. (To trick, entice, or trap...what the test designers eat for breakfast.)

Try this sentence...

Commentators on presidential campaigns often claim that relevant debates on issues are damaged by a _____ of condemnations and accusations that precludes ___________ conversations.

A) collection…expendable B) dearth…meaningful
C) blast…defamatory D) reiterative…repetitive
E) babel…reasonable

Try to pick an answer before you read on.

Most students do not know what “precludes” means. Most students assume that “precludes” means something like “to include beforehand”. These students are basing that assumption on “Prefix-Suffix-Roots”, a dangerous thing to do on The SAT. Most students do not realize that “precludes” controls the slot. It is the key to the sentence.

Even though the “global” result of the sentence is negative, does that mean that the second slot is negative? If a student has made the wrong assumption about “precludes”, that student will likely pick © as the answer, especially in the face of “babel”.(A scene of noisy confusion.)

Precludes—to prevent or to make something impossible.

Therefore, the babel of condemnations makes an reasonable conversation impossible. Correct Answer: E

Notice that “precludes” controls the slot and, in effect, switches what seems to be a negative to a positive…”REASONABLE”.
Beware of unknown words, especially adjectives or verbs, that control the slot. These words can SWITCH the expected meaning of the slot from Negative to Positive, or vice versa.

Don't assume. Don't get Snookered.

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    I'm Bob Gilvey, Director of SelectPrep in Caldwell, NJ., a boutique SAT and ACT preparation company providing test preparation services, college admissions consulting, and free SAT practice tests and sample SAT questions. Private 1-on-1 Test Prep in person or on the WEB with SAT live tutoring conferences. We also offer mobile SAT Test Prep on the iPAD and all Android Tablets, including the Kindle Fire. We are strong advocates of e-LEARNING and m-LEARNING.


    June 2012
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