SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 169: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 169

14. Unlike the ------- presentations of the other students in class, Mary Catherine's presentation demonstrated a thorough and mature grasp of the material.

A. astute
B. sophomoric
C. incredulous
D. cloying
E. scintillating

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Sophomoric" means very immature and poorly informed. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Unlike the sophomoric presentations of the other students in class, Mary Catherine's presentation demonstrated a thorough and mature grasp of the material." The term "Unlike" indicates that the presentations of the other students differed from Mary Catherine's in that they did not demonstrate a thorough, or complete, and mature grasp of the material. Presentations that did not demonstrate a mature and complete grasp of the material would most likely be described as "sophomoric," or immature and poorly informed.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Astute" means shrewd or clever. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Unlike the astute presentations of the other students in class, Mary Catherine's presentation demonstrated a thorough and mature grasp of the material." The term "Unlike" indicates that the presentations of the other students differed from Mary Catherine's in that they did not demonstrate a thorough and mature grasp of the material. It is unlikely that presentations that did not demonstrate a thorough, or complete, grasp of the material would be described as "astute," or shrewd and clever.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Incredulous" means skeptical or expressing disbelief. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Unlike the incredulous presentations of the other students in class, Mary Catherine's presentation demonstrated a thorough and mature grasp of the material." Although the students could be "incredulous" themselves, it is illogical to say that the presentations were "incredulous" or skeptical.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Cloying" means excessively sweet and sentimental. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Unlike the cloying presentations of the other students in class, Mary Catherine's presentation demonstrated a thorough and mature grasp of the material." The term "Unlike" indicates that the presentations of the other students differed from Mary Catherine's in that they did not demonstrate a mature and thorough grasp of the material. The term "cloying" is somewhat illogical in this context, because an excessively sweet and sentimental presentation could still demonstrate a mature and complete understanding of the material.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Scintillating" means brilliantly lively and witty. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Unlike the sophomoric presentations of the other students in class, Mary Catherine's presentation demonstrated a thorough and mature grasp of the material." The term "Unlike" indicates that the presentations of the other students differed from Mary Catherine's in that they did not demonstrate a mature and thorough grasp of the material. The term "scintillating" is somewhat illogical in this context, because a brilliantly lively presentation could certainly demonstrate a mature and complete understanding of the material.

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