In censuring the academic committee for apparently being (i) __________ in appointing a chancellor, the university president mistook (ii) __________ for procrastination—the committee had been guilty of nothing more than a scrupulous vetting of all candidates.
|Blank (i)||Blank (ii)|
|(A) biased||(D) prevarication|
|(B) dilatory||(E) deliberation|
|(C) overzealous||(F) vacillation|
Ans : (B) dilatory, (E) deliberation
“Censuring” indicates that the university president is upset with the committee because he believes it procrastinated. Therefore, the first blank is a synonym for procrastinating. (B) dilatory, which means “slow to take action,” works well. For the second, you want a more positive word than dilatory, one that’s also a match with “scrupulous vetting” (a careful checking). (E) deliberation works well.
Many imagine philosophers appareled in togas, walking about the Greek agora, (i) ___________ questions of great import; yet philosophy (ii) __________ today, only we have traded the agora for the Internet: many online venues exist in which the intellectually curious discuss the very same questions that once reverberated through the open air of Athens’ marketplaces.
|Blank (i)||Blank (ii)|
|(A) holding forth on||(D) continues to be imperiled|
|(B) disproving||(E) is very much alive|
|(C) dismissing||(F) remains esoteric|
Ans : (A) holding forth on, (E) is very much alive
The best way to attack this question is read up to the second blank, since there isn’t enough context before the semicolon to be able to solve the first blank. Up until this point, any of the three words would work. Even then, you’ll have to read to the part that discusses how philosophy’s place today is similar to its role in ancient Greece (“only we have traded the agora for the Internet”; “the very same questions . . .”).
Therefore, the second blank is (E).
The first blank, then, becomes slightly clearer. People imagine philosophy as something that applies to the ancient times. (B) and (C) imply that philosophy is ignoring these questions. (Also, (B) disproving is fishy: do you “disprove questions”?)
But notice the end of the sentence “once reverberated through . . . marketplace.”
Clearly the image of philosophers in ancient Greece (“appareled in togas”) was likely to (A) hold forth on, or discuss at length, the questions of philosophy.
Managers who categorically squelch insights from low-tiered employees run the obvious hazard of (i)_______ creativity; conversely, these very same managers are more likely to (ii) ________ any ideas that flow down from the top brass.
|Blank (i)||Blank (ii)|
|(A) fomenting||(D) unquestioningly embrace|
|(B) smothering||(E) arbitrarily denounce|
|(C) sparking||(F) conditionally approve|
Ans :- (B) smothering, (D) unquestioningly embrace
Assuming you don’t know what “squelch” means, a good way to attack the first blank is noticing that “run the obvious hazard” indicates that the first blank is negative. (C), therefore, is clearly out. (A) is a slightly negative word, but mostly because “foment” typically precedes a word that’s negative, such as “unrest” or “agitation.” You really wouldn’t “foment” creativity, which is a positive trait. That leaves us with (B), which is a synonym with “squelch,” meaning “to suppress.”
For the second blank, notice the word “conversely” indicates that what follows is the opposite of the first part in the sentence. Here, these same managers do the opposite of smother—(D) unquestioningly embrace—whatever those who are higher up in the hierarchy say. (F) is wrong because (F), while positive, is too soft; “conditional” implies something that isn’t 100 percent but rather weakened slightly; in this case the “approval” isn’t very strong.
Writing well is not so much a matter of inspiration as it is (i) ___________ ; just as the scientist toils away in an attic, or the athlete trains even in inhospitable conditions, a writer too must be (ii) __________ .
|Blank (i)||Blank (ii)|
|(A) forethought||(D) candid|
|(B) perseverance||(E) yielding|
|(C) carelessness||(F) tenacious|
Ans : perseverance, tenacious
The first clue in this sentence is “not . . . a mater of inspiration.” We need words like (A) or (B). To know which one, we have to read the part of the sentence that comes after the semicolon. “Toil away” and “train . . . inhospitable conditions” is consistent with (B), which means “to not give up, despite adversity.”
The second blank is consistent with the first blank. The basic structure is as follows:
Writing is not quality A, it’s quality B. Examples of quality B. A writer is similar to these examples, showing (once again) writer has quality B.
(F), which means “not giving up,” is similar to (B). (D), which means honest and direct, doesn’t match the context. (E), which means “giving in,” is the opposite of the answer.
The bias for ___________ has crept into the current school of physics: superstring theory provides such an all-encompassing—yet tidy—packaging of current streams of thought—quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of relativity, among them—that many scientists have been beguiled by the simplicity of the theory into blithely discounting the paucity of data.
This is a very tough and convoluted question. One of the first words to jump out is “all-encompassing.” That alone biases us toward us (A). However, the rest of the sentence isn’t just about thoroughness. The “yet tidy” is an important idea that runs throughout the sentence: the idea of “simplicity of theory.” So the bias is toward something that seems simple, yet all-encompassing. The word elegance (C) doesn’t just connote fine evening attire. A very different definition relates to the scientific method.
When a theory is able to account for some phenomenon in a simple yet compelling manner, it’s said to be “elegant.” One example of elegance in theories is evolution.
Whether or not it’s consistent with a particular person’s beliefs, evolution provides a simple way of explaining how two things as different as a whale and a horse can have arisen from some very different ancestor: the process of natural selection.
Choice (B) doesn’t work because nowhere in the sentence is there a clear indication of an inconsistency. True, the theory is simple and all-encompassing, and it also has very little data. Yet a consistent explanation can be simple and all-encompassing and not be based on much data.
The word in choice (D) means “relating to the nature of beauty.” There’s no mention of the beauty of the theory but rather its simplicity.
(E) artifice means “trickery.” There’s no context to support this interpretation.
An element of _________ on the part of the audience is interwoven into the multi-era saga, for two actors portraying the same character at different phases of life are distinguishable enough that the audience is able to discern differences for which the mere passing of years cannot account.
The key to unraveling this tough question is to break up the sentence into digestible parts, simplifying along the way:
“An element of on the part of the audience . . . saga” = The word in the blank is an inherent quality of the multi-era saga:
“Two actors . . . difference” = the audience can tell how two actors playing the same character differ physically
“passing years . . . account” = these differences are greater than those that naturally happen when a person ages
Therefore, an inherent part of watching the multi-era saga is an element of (C) disbelief, since the audience knows that the same character is actually played by two different people.
(A) is incorrect, as there’s no context suggesting that the audiences are surprised by the fact that two actors are playing the same character.
(B) foreboding means “a sense that something bad will happen.” This negative word isn’t supported by the context.
(D) is incorrect, as the audience isn’t confused since they’re able to tell the difference between two actors playing the same character onscreen.
(E) predictability might describe the situation in general, i.e., the audience will be able to predictably tell the difference between two actors portraying the same character. However, “predictability” doesn’t make sense as the specific word that fits in the blank, since it’s implying that the audience itself is predictable.
The author, mocked by many for his simple, almost childlike prose, can at least not be begrudged the distinction of writing with _________.
The clue is “simple, almost childlike.” The author writes in a very straightforward manner, and, in a way, is mocked by the writer of the sentence. But you’re looking for a positive word, one that relates to straightforward/simple/easy to understand.
This leads you to (E).
That the psychopharmacological journal had already published the findings of the clinician’s experiment rendered ____________ any prior misgivings she’d had regarding the validity of her control group.
The journal had already published her work, so any fears that she’d had over the article not getting published due to questionable validity are no longer applicable.
When something is moot, it’s no longer an issue.
(A) extant means “still in existence.”
(B) moot fits the context.
(C) fallacious means “erroneous.” A misgiving is a feeling, and feelings can’t be incorrect. Information can be incorrect, as can ideas, but feelings can’t. So fallacious doesn’t quite fit in that sense. Beyond that, fallacious is too strong in its meaning.
Since the study was already published, we know that her concerns about the validity don’t mater any more. We don’t know, though, that they’re based on incorrect information.
(D) topical means “relevant to current events.”
(E) retroactive means, in effect, “starting from a point in the past.”
Doesn’t moot just mean “arguable or debatable”? There’s another, related definition of “moot” that’s a little less common. But that’s what they like to test on the GRE the secondary definitions.
moot: “having no practical significance”
In this case, you could paraphrase the sentence to say that her concerns aren’t important anymore since the journal already published the work—even if there was a problem with the control group, it’s too late to change it.
For a writer with a reputation for both prolixity and inscrutability, Thompson, in this slim collection of short stories, may finally be intent on making his ideas more ____________ to a readership looking for quick edification.
“Prolixity” and “inscrutability” convey that this person’s writing is really, really difficult to understand (inscrutable) and is really wordy (prolix). The “finally intent” indicates that Thompson is now making his works easier to read. (C) means “agreeable and satisfactory for.” That means he wants to make his writing easier for those who want quick guidance.
Answer (A) is incorrect because aesthetic, which means “relating to beauty,” doesn’t quite capture the idea that the books have become more accessible to readers. Just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean it’s easier to understand.
Answer (B) is a word that describes a person who is able to know about something before it happens.
(D) is the opposite of the blank.
(E) implies something that goes beyond the normal. The focus of the sentence is the fact that Thompson has made his idea easier to digest. Transcendent leans in the other direction.
Able to coax a palpable sense of menace from the bucolic backwaters of her native Missouri, Micheaux adroitly shows us, in her latest book, that a surface of idyllic charm can __________ a roiling underbelly of intrigue, corruption, and murder.
The clues, “able to coax . . . menace” and “bucolic [rural and pleasant] backwater” show us that the setting of the book might appear pleasant, but just below that surface there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t very nice. Therefore the surface’s “idyllic charm” can cover up/hide/mask these unpleasant things.
(B) Belie means “to disguise, to give a false impression of.” In this case, the idyllic charm gives a false impression, covering what lies underneath.
(A) Subsume means “to include or absorb into.” For instance, the paragraph argument question on the GRE used to exist in its own section, but has since been subsumed into the GRE Verbal. This word is a trap for those who try to make the connection between “underbelly” and “subsume.”
(C) is incorrect. To counteract means “to work against something to neutralize it” (e.g., “the antidote counteracted the poison”). The idyllic charm, however, doesn’t neutralize the menace.
(D) is a good trap if you convince yourself that there’s a temporal contrast between the surface charm and the menacing underbelly. However, though preface means “to introduce something,” there are no clues indicating that the charm introduces the menace.
(E) is incorrect. If A complements B, that means A improves upon B, bringing B closer to perfection. If my blue dress shirt complements my black slacks, that means both are improved by being next to each other. There’s no such positive connotation in the sentence—the notion that “idyllic charm” matches nicely with a little bit of corruption and murder.