SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 210: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 210

6. Because the pandas had already been weakened by the disease and drought, a harsh winter would have had ------ consequences for them.

A. preventive
B. regressive
C. catastrophic
D. unforeseen
E. moderate

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Catastrophic" means involving a disastrous or tragic event. The first half of the sentence, beginning with the word "because" and ending with a comma, sets up an explanation for the pandas' vulnerability. The second half of the sentence elaborates on the consequences that a harsh winter would have had on a struggling population. If one were to insert the term "catastrophic" into the text, the sentence would read "Because the pandas had already been weakened by disease and drought, a harsh winter would have had catastrophic consequences for them." The term "catastrophic" supports the fact that a difficult winter would be distastrous for a group of pandas that is already suffering from disease and drought.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Preventive" means intended to prevent or protect. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Because the pandas had already been weakened by disease and drought, a harsh winter would have had preventive consequences for them." The term "preventive" therefore suggests that a harsh winter would have protected the pandas when, in fact, the opposite is true.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Regressive" means tending to return or revert. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Because the pandas had already been weakened by disease and drought, a harsh winter would have had regressive consequences for them." Although the term "regressive" carries negative connotations that seem appropriate in this context, environmental hardships would not have necessarily caused a population to revert to earlier behaviors.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Unforeseen" means unexpected. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Because the pandas had already been weakened by disease and drought, a harsh winter would have had unforeseen consequences for them." Since the pandas are already weakened, the consequences of the harsh winter are easy to predict, so they can't be described as unforeseen.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Moderate" means not excessive or extreme. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Because the pandas had already been weakened by disease and drought, a harsh winter would have had moderate consequences for them." This sentence is illogical because a harsh winter would have had severe, rather than moderate, consequences for a group of "weakened" pandas.

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