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Look for pairs


However, you may not always entirely understand the sentence, so you may not feel confident about the word you come up with to fit the blank. In these instances, you can still use process of elimination.


It can be daunting to think of finding two correct answers out of six. However, by using a simple processof- elimination strategy, you can instead usually decide between one answer out of two.


How? ETS gives us the answer. They ask you to produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning. In other words, you are looking for answers that are synonymous or closely related to each other. So, you can confidently eliminate any answer choices that don't match up with any of the other answer choices the lone rangers.


Eliminate carefully, however. Alike does not necessarily mean identical. If you think two answer choices are related, it's best not to eliminate them for now.


Frequently (though not always), for each question there will be two sets of synonyms and two lone rangers. By eliminating the lone rangers, you have essentially narrowed it down to two options one set of synonyms or another.

Example 1:


Despite receiving approbation for his work several times that year, Tim felt ________ about his job in the floundering economy.


  1. confident
  2. anxious
  3. apprehensive
  4. stoic
  5. amenable
  6. secure


(A) confident is close in meaning to (F) secure, and (B) anxious is similar to (C) apprehensive. Thus, we can eliminate answer choices (D) and (E), which have no synonyms among the other choices.

These two remaining groups will often be antonyms. If you still cant figure out which set is the correct one, heres where your knowledge of transitional words comes in handy.


Example 2:


The editor found the articles so ________ that he hesitated to print them.


  1. positive
  2. circuitous
  3. provocative
  4. inflammatory
  5. improbable
  6. archaic


In this example, there are myriad words that could fit the blank, so coming up with your own word may not be the most effective strategy. However, we can look for pairs of similar words among the answer choices to give us some guidance. (A) positive does not have any related words among the other choices, so we can eliminate it as a lone ranger. (B) circuitous is also a lone ranger (though if you are unsure of the definition, dont eliminate this one yet). (C) provocative and (D) inflammatory are closely related, so we'll hang onto that set of synonyms. (E) improbable, though it suits the sentence, does not have a related word, so it can be eliminated. So can (F), archaic. In this example, there is only one set of synonyms. Let's put both of the words back into the sentence to make sure they make sense and give the sentence similar meaning. They do, so we can feel confident about choosing (C) and (D).

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