When faced with an urgent problem for which there is no immediately obvious solution, we tend to welcome any suggestion, however ____ , that might throw light on the dilemma.
Correct Answer: C,F
If there is no obvious solution we might welcome any suggestion even a vague one. â€˜Flimsyâ€™ and â€˜tentativeâ€™ imply hesitant and not firm. You cannot choose â€˜unusualâ€™ and â€˜outrageousâ€™ because outrageous is so much stronger than unusual that the meaning would not be close
When Smithers took over as chairperson, her colleagues were looking forward to a less confrontational time on the board of governors, since they reasoned that no one else was likely to be as ____ as her predecessor.
Correct Answer: B,D
A word from the earlier part of the sentence fits the meaning of the blank; that word is ‘confrontational’. Once you see that then it should be easy to find ‘bellicose’ and ‘aggressive’ which both imply hostility. [mordant = bitingly sarcastic; complaisant = easy-going; jaundiced = negative in outlook]
He completed the work with unusual ____ ; his need to get out of the office overcame his habitual torpor.
Correct Answer: A,F
If he overcame torpor (inactivity) he must have acted quickly; hence, ‘dispatch’ and ‘celerity’ are the best as they both mean speed. (Note the use of ‘dispatch’ as a noun.)
____ behavior never has the effect its practitioners hope for; the attempt to hide only draws attention to what is hidden.
Correct Answer: B,E
The second part of the sentence tells us we are looking for something that involves ‘hiding’. Since puritanical and prudish are used for attempts to cover or hide what is shameful or immoral, they are the best pair. Covert means hidden or secret, but there is no partner for it. [Misogynistic = involving hatred of women; camouflaging = disguising]
The human mind can often reject the most ____ data in favor of something that, though valueless, at least sounds familiar.
Correct Answer: D,E
The sentence implies that what is rejected has value but is discarded in favor of something valueless that sounds more familiar. Hence we are looking for words that convey ‘valuable’. ‘Germane’ and ‘pertinent’ are best since they both mean relevant. [Anomalous = not fitting a pattern; inconsequential and peripheral = unimportant]
Not only love affects the eye of the beholder; other emotions also ____ the interpretation of the events that we witness.
Correct Answer: D,F
One word from the first part of the sentence seems to be what we need in the blank. The word is ‘affects’. If we see this then we can choose words that will give the meaning ‘affect the interpretation’. Obviously the word ‘impact’ fits. (Note that ‘impact’ is used as a verb here not a noun). For the other word we can consider ‘cloud’ and ‘color’, both of which can be used as verbs. To cloud would imply to obscure and would be negative, whereas to color is not necessarily negative. Hence we are better to take the words ‘impact’ and ‘color’ as they are less restrictive than ‘cloud’.
Punishment for transgressions of the law ceases to have a deterrent effect if the punishment is frequently ____ .
Correct Answer: C,E
He sentence implies that under certain circumstances punishment for crime will not put off potential criminals. The point is to find two words which will point to the same circumstance. If a sentence or punishment is ‘commuted’ it is reduced or even ‘waived’ (not applied), thus providing the answer. [Arbitrary = random; lenient = not strict]
The teacher was so abstracted that she gave a ____ evaluation of what was really an interesting solution to the problem she had set.
Correct Answer: B,E
A person who is abstracted has their mind on something else. As a result of being abstracted the teacher would have given a superficial (perfunctory; cursory) evaluation instead of a thorough evaluation.
It is a waste of time to ____ someone so dimwitted; he is too dull to recognize your barbs.
Correct Answer: B,C
The word ‘barbs’ implies insults. So we might be looking for a word that means ‘insult’. The word ‘disparage’ fits the bill but does not have a similar word in the remaining choices. Of what is left we can focus on ‘lampoon’ and ‘ridicule’ which both mean to mock or deride – which imply making fun of someone to show up faults.
The Countess dressed with a (an) ____ elegance which seemed to proclaim to the world just how distinguished she was.
Correct Answer: A,E
Almost any word might fit the blank so we have to look for the most similar pair of words. ‘Rococo’ means highly elaborate; ‘understated’ means low-key; ‘pronounced’ means obvious and ‘ingenuous’ means naïve. We are left with ‘studied’ and ‘mannered’ which both can have the connotation of deliberate and even pretentious. Note that both words can be used in other contexts too.