SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 253: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 253

4. The challenge facing the public health officials is to ------- an outbreak of disease and then ------- that school children are immunized.

A. Foster… provide
B. Predict… allege
C. Sustain… question
D. Effect… ascertain
E. Anticipate… ensure

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Anticipate" means to foresee, and "ensure" means to make certain. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The challenge facing public health officials is to anticipate an outbreak of disease and then ensure that schoolchildren are immunized." The phrase "and then" indicates that there is a connection between the challenge facing health officials and their role in immunizing schoolchildren, or protecting them from the spread of disease. Foreseeing an outbreak and preemptively making sure that the children are immunized against it aptly describes the challenge.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Foster" means to encourage, and "provide" means to make available. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The challenge facing public health officials is to foster an outbreak of disease and then provide that schoolchildren are immunized." Although public health officials might provide immunizations to schoolchildren, it does not make sense to say that they encourage the initial outbreak of disease.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Predict" means to declare in advance, and "allege" means to assert with out proof. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The challenge facing public health officials is to predict an outbreak of disease and then allege that schoolchildren are immunized." Although it makes sense for health officials to predict an outbreak, their challenge would be the responsibility of protecting the children with immunization, not merely asserting without proof that the children have been immunized.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Sustain" means to support, and "question" means to make something a point of debate. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The challenge facing public health officials is to sustain an outbreak of disease and then question that schoolchildren are immunized." It is the job of public health officials to protect the public from sudden eruptions of disease, not to sustain, or nourish, such crises and then question the immunization of schoolchildren.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Effect" means to make happen, and "ascertain" means to determine. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The challenge facing public health officials is to effect an outbreak of disease and then ascertain that schoolchildren are immunized." Although public health officials may ascertain, or determine, that schoolchildren are immunized against disease, they do not make such outbreaks happen.

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