Vocabulary based questions appear on the SAT in the form of Sentence Completions. Sentence Completion questions omit either one or two words from a sentence, and ask you to choose from a list of possible word choices to complete the sentence. Because Sentence Completions appear in order of difficulty from easiest at the beginning to hardest at the end, the hardest of these questions lie at the end of each Sentence Completion question group.
Don’t get stuck on hard Sentence Completions and waste time that should be spent on Passage Reading. Hard sentence completion questions are some of the most challenging questions on the entire SAT. The sentences are difficult to interpret and the vocabulary answer choices are even tougher. What’s more, hard Sentence Completion questions usually include trick answers (known as ‘attractors’) that sound like the correct answer, but in reality mean something completely different than the word the question is looking for.
Beware! Hard Sentence Completion questions can mess up your entire Critical Reading score. The temptation here is to waste valuable time pondering vocabulary words you don’t know, only to then desperately guess at the attractors. When you do this, not only are you likely to answer these hard questions incorrectly (and lose points!), but also, and even more importantly, you lose the precious time you need to answer the later Passage Reading questions that make up the bulk of your Critical Reading score.
Skip hard Sentence Completion questions and come back to them at the end if you have time. If you do not know the word the Sentence Completion question is looking for, or cannot confidently eliminate at least THREE answer choices, skip the question. Remember, it is far more important to finish the Critical Reading section than to waste too much time trying to answer some of the hardest questions on the whole test – especially if you can’t even eliminate most of the incorrect words.
Adapted from my SAT training guide: SAT Unlocked.