What the Instructions Don’t Say
The directions for SCs are pretty clear. You need to read
a sentence and select the answer choice that best completes
the sentence. That means you need to find the answer choice that
is the best of all the possible choices, not just an answer choice that can complete
The SC directions do include a mention of that subtle,
yet crucial, fact, but they leave out three other key facts. Here
are the three key facts and why you need to know them:
||WHAT IT IS
||WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
||Almost every SC contains all the information
you need to define the word that fits in the blank.
||You can use the context of the sentence to
figure out what the missing words mean. You don’t need to look at
the answer choices first.
||Every answer choice makes the sentence grammatically correct.
||You won’t be able to look at grammar to try
to figure out the right answer. Only meaning matters.
||SCs appear in order of difficulty within a
timed section. The first third is easy, the second third moderately
difficult, and the last third difficult.
||If a question is easy or moderate, you can
usually trust your first instincts. If you’re on a difficult question,
take a second to look out for SAT trickery before moving on.