SAT Reading Practice Problems: Vocabulary in Context

By Ron Woldoff

Vocabulary-in-context questions are usually pretty straightforward on the SAT Reading Comprehension exam. As in the following practice questions, you read a passage, and then identify the meaning of a selected word in the context of the passage.

Note: the following are excerpts from passages; actual passages are much typically longer.

Practice questions

Read the passage and answer Question 1 based on information stated or implied in the passage.

The following passage is an excerpt from Introverts For Dummies, by Joan Pastor, PhD (Wiley).

If your child is far more advanced than other kids her age, her school may suggest moving her up an extra grade. But be aware that gifted innies who are way ahead of the pack intellectually may still need to be around same-age peers to learn social skills. So if this option comes up, consider your child’s overall social and intellectual development and ask yourself if she’s truly ready to study — and play — with older children.

  1. As used here, “pack” most nearly means
    A. a group of dogs
    B. a group of kids
    C. prepare for a trip
    D. worn on one’s back

    Read the passage and answer Question 2 based on information stated or implied in the passage.
    The following passage is an excerpt from Clinical Anatomy For Dummies, by David Terfera, PhD, and Shereen Jegtvig, DC, MS (Wiley).

    Just past the point where the nerve roots merge, each spinal nerve divides into a posterior ramus and an anterior ramus. The posterior ramus innervates the skin and deep back muscles, and the anterior ramus innervates the rest of the trunk and the extremities. The rami (like the spinal nerves) are mixed (contains both sensory and motor fibers). The recurrent meningeal branch of the spinal nerves innervates most of the vertebral column; however, the zygapophysial joints are innervated by the medial branches of the posterior rami.

  2. In context, the word “mixed” means
    A. diverse
    B. combined
    C. assorted
    D. hybrid

Answers and explanations

  1. The correct answer is Choice (B).
    The child is “ahead of the pack” intellectually because she’s more gifted than the other kids.
  2. The correct answer is Choice (B).
    The word refers to the rami containing both (a combination of) sensory and motor fibers. Choice (A) is wrong because diverse refers to the inclusion of all facets. Choice (C) is wrong because assorted refers to a variety. Choice (D) is wrong because hybrid refers to a single item that is a result of two.