Tips to ace the sentence completion test

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Sentence completion questions test the test-taker's capability in the domains of verbal ability, reasoning, and usage. These questions measure how skilled an individual is in determining the flow of thought, applying the elements of grammar and using appropriate words for the given context.

Structure of Sentence Completion Questions

The common question types include:

  1. Fill in the blanks (single blank)
  2. Fill in the blanks (double blanks)
  3. Cloze Test

The first two types are single sentences with single or double blanks to be filled respectively. In the case of paired blanks, there are two words in each option and both should fit into the theme of the sentence. A cloze test requires the test taker to fill in multiple blanks in an entire paragraph.


Approaches and Strategies for solving Sentence Completion Questions

Before looking at the choices, take a look at the sentence and think of (a) word/words that can complete the sentence. This helps in understanding what the sentence is about, to a certain extent.

Look at all the possible choices before deciding upon a final answer. In double-blank sentences, try filling in one of the blanks and eliminate the answer choices based on that.

Signal words can play a key role in identifying the right choice. These can include

  1. Cause and effect signals – accordingly, so... that. Thus, when...then, etc.
  2. Support signals – furthermore, also, likewise, etc.
  3. Contrast signals – although, despite, in spite of, rather than, etc.


Examples of Sentence Completion

Single Blank Example

  1. As a commerce graduate, Vivekanandan had a healthy apprehension of anything remotely technical. He let his wife handle all the _________ .

(a) Ideas (b) TV antennas (c) Gadgets and Gizmos (d) Cellular phones


Solution: It is mentioned that Vivekanandan had an apprehension of ANYTHING remotely technical. Although choices (b) and (d) fit in according to the context, the correct choice is (c) as it encompasses the other options.

Double Blanks Example

  1. Despite its ________ and safety in treating some of the most incapacitating forms of depression and anxiety, it has not been widely _________ .

(a) security, renounced (b) potency, repudiated (c) ineffectuality, overtaken (d) usefulness, accepted


Solution: The signal word 'despite' indicates that there is a contrast in the sentence. The first blank should be filled with a positive word, as safety (the other keyword) is a positive term. Accordingly, only 'usefulness' from choice (d) can fill in the first blank. The second word too agrees to the given context.

Cloze test example

  1. The ___(i)___ of rabbits as pets has increased immensely over the last few years. Their value as companion animals has ___(ii)___ for several reasons. Rabbits make relatively few demands on an individual’s or a family’s lifestyle. They are quiet and peaceful animals by nature. They do not bark, they do not disturb neighbors, and they easily get along with other small pets if introduced with care. Their exercise ___(iii)___ are few and they respond beautifully to attention and affection if they are handled frequently with gentleness and love. Rabbits are very intelligent, and can be ___(iv)___ very easily. In general, rabbits are ___(v)___ and gentle creatures who will fill your world with more love and joy than you could ever imagine.

(i) (a) fame (b) capabilities (c) popularity (d) incompatibility

(ii) (a) burgeoned (b) waned (c) depreciated (d) descended

(iii) (a) patterns (b) requirements (c) covenant (d) preparation

(iv) (a) habituated (b) subdued (c) reclaimed (d) house-trained

(v) (a) vicious (b) determined (c) docile (d) uncultivated


Solutions: (i) c (ii) a (iii) b (iv)  d (v) c