Unit 43: Complete the Text

On the SAT, several of the questions will ask you to “complete the text” where they will provide you with a passage followed by a blank, and you must choose the best answer choice to fill in the blank.

Here is an example of the type of question you might see on the digital SAT:

Recent studies in nutritional science have revealed that while fad diets often promise quick weight loss, they may not be effective in the long term. Many of these diets focus on drastically reducing calorie intake or eliminating certain food groups, which can lead to temporary weight loss. However, researchers have found that such restrictions are usually unsustainable. Consequently, _______

Which choice most logically completes the text?

A) many people return to their original weight or gain more once they stop following these diets.
B) it’s important to focus on a balanced diet for better health outcomes.
C) these diets have become increasingly popular worldwide due to their immediate results.
D) regular exercise is more important than diet in managing weight.

These questions can be tricky because they involve deciphering between answer choices that may seem like they are saying similar things. To effectively answer “complete the text” problems, it is important to take the time to carefully read the passage and all of the answer choices.

Strategy:

  1. Understand the Context: Read the given text thoroughly to understand its overall theme, argument, or narrative flow.
  2. Identify the Logical Flow: Determine the direction or conclusion the text is leading towards. Pay attention to transitional words and phrases that might indicate contrast, continuation, or conclusion.
  3. Analyze Each Choice: Consider how each choice logically fits or continues the thought of the preceding text. Does it align with the tone, theme, and direction of the argument or narrative?
    • The correct answer should be consistent with the information and tone presented in the text. It shouldn’t introduce unrelated or contradictory ideas.
    • Discard choices that deviate from the logical flow, contradict the text, or seem out of place in terms of tone or content.

Let’s walk through these steps with the example we mentioned above.

  1. Understand the Context: The text discusses the ineffectiveness of fad diets in long-term weight management.
  2. Identify the Logical Flow: The text establishes that fad diets are unsustainable, implying a lack of long-term success.
  3. Analyze Each Choice: Consider how each option relates to the sustainability of fad diets and their long-term effects.
    • A) provides a direct consequence of unsustainable diets; other choices either introduce new ideas or don’t directly follow from the text.
    • A) logically extends the idea that unsustainability leads to regaining weight.
    • B), C), and D) do not directly address the long-term impact of fad diets as the text does.

By following these steps, we can see that A) is the most logical completion, as it directly follows from the text’s focus on the unsustainability of fad diets and their long-term consequences.