The last candidate interviewed conducted herself with commendable ____ even when badgered with questions that had drawn unseemly outbursts from all the other interviewees.
F. presence of mind
Correct Answer: D,E
The candidate must have kept calm in a situation where others had become annoyed. In other words she behaved with ‘propriety’ and ‘decorum’ (both of which mean good, correct behavior) when others were ‘unseemly’. Note that ‘unseemly’ (unsuitable, inappropriate) is an important clue. [pertinacity = persistence; adroitness = skill; alacrity = speed and eagerness]
The book is an attempt on the part of the eminent scholar to reconcile the ____ experience and theoretical underpinnings of certain everyday phenomena.
Correct Answer: B,D
The clue is in the word ‘reconcile’. In order to reconcile (bring together opposing ideas/people etc) there should be two opposing items. Since one item of the pair is ‘theoretical underpinnings’ the word used to describe ‘experience’ must be the opposite of ‘theoretical’. Hence, ‘empirical’ (found by experiment or experience) and ‘practical’ are the best choices. [arcane = obscure; obtuse = slow to understand, mentally dull]
The teacher’s mercurial mood changes and ____ approach to grading made the students uneasy; they never knew what would please him or what would earn good marks.
Correct Answer: D,E
The second half of the sentence confirms that the teacher’s approach to grading is unpredictable. Hence, ‘whimsical’ fits the sentence as it describes something fickle or changeable and rather random. ‘Ambivalent’ with its suggestion of something wavering and uncertain is the second correct answer. ‘Authoritarian’ and ‘strict’ are synonyms but do not fit the meaning of the sentence. [hidebound = fixed and rigid; tardy = slow]
This new staging of King Lear is not a production in which every aspect falls neatly into place throughout; however, the drama does ____ at certain points to give the audience memorable and thought-provoking moments.
Correct Answer: A,B
The clue is in the word ‘however’ which indicates opposition of ideas. If the drama does not always come together well as indicated in the first part of the sentence, it might come together well (coalesce, crystallize) at some points. Note the use of ‘crystallize’ in a metaphorical sense.
After hours of acrimonious arguments the negotiations reached a(n) _____ ; neither side was willing to compromise.
Correct Answer: B,E
Since no one is willing to compromise a deadlock had been reached. ‘Impasse’ is another word for deadlock. Note that the clue comes in the part after the semicolon. Without that last part any of the answers would seem suitable.
The ____ tone of the biography is entirely unexpected since both the biographer in her previous works and her subject in all that he has written have valued levity over solemnity.
Correct Answer: A,F
Since the writer and her subject favor levity (humor), it would be unexpected if the tome of the biography were too serious. ‘Lugubrious’ (mournful) and ‘melancholy’ (sad) convey this idea best. Note that ‘jaunty’ and ‘jocose’ are nearly synonymous but their meaning of ‘playful’ would not fit.
The devotion to the syllabus and testing regime has become so extreme that most school students close their minds to anything ____ to the needs of the examination.
Correct Answer: C,F
If devotion to the examination is so strong, students will not consider anything outside the syllabus. Hence, they close their minds to anything non-essential or ‘extraneous’. ‘Peripheral’ also conveys the same idea of not central.
The study’s ____ conclusion is that during the first half of the 20th Century improved standards of personal hygiene reduced the risk of an individual’s contracting poliomyelitis, yet tended to make the disease more lethal to communities.
Correct Answer: B,E
Any of the words taken individually might make a logical sentence. However, since the conclusion is surprising in that the risk to the individual reduces as the risk to the community increases, the work ‘paradoxical’ is a good choice. ‘Anomalous’ gives a similar suggestion of the unexpectedness of the results, although ‘anomalous’ is most often defined as ‘not fitting into the expected pattern’.
Animal welfare charities have found that extensive advertising, especially over the Christmas period, can actually drive down the volume of donations as people who view images of maltreated pets more than a few times rapidly become ____ .
Correct Answer: A,D
If the volume of donations goes down as people view more and more images of ill-treated pets, it is likely that the images are no longer having any effect on the viewers. Thus we can say that the viewers have ceased to react, or have become ‘inured’ or ‘hardened’ to the emotional appeal of the images. [inured = habituated, hardened; overwrought = over-emotional, over-excited]
Mannering’s personal diary, a record of ____ preoccupations and domestic details, belies the depth of thought for which he was renowned in the academic world.
Correct Answer: B,C
The clue is in the word ‘belies’ which means ‘contradicts’. Hence, the diary contains matter that suggests the opposite of what is true in the academic part of Mannering’s life. Sine he is known for deep thought, the diary must contain matter that is the opposite of ‘deep’. ‘Mundane’ and ‘petty’ are the correct answers because ‘mundane’ suggests something boring or ordinary and ‘petty’ suggests something minor or trivial. Note that this is one case where the correct answers are not exactly synonymous. [Erudite = learned, knowledgeable; untoward = unexpected]