SAT Writing Practice Problems: Vocabulary in Context

By Ron Woldoff

You’ll encounter a few vocabulary-in-context questions in the SAT Writing and Language section. As in the following practice questions, you’ll have to decide on the best word to use based on the surrounding text.

Practice questions

Question 1 is based on the following information.

The following text is an excerpt from Dendroclimatic Studies: Tree Growth and Climate Change in Northern Forests, by Rosanne D’Arrigo, Nicole Davi, Gordon Jacoby, Rob Wilson, and Greg Wiles (Wiley-Blackwell).

The research described (1) here in adheres to the basic principles of dendrochronology, as outlined in introductory and general texts by Stokes and Smiley (1968), Fritts (1976), Schwein- gruber (1988), Cook and Kairiukstis (1990), Speer (2012), and others.

  1. Regarding the underlined passage
    A. NO CHANGE
    B. herein
    C. heron
    D. heroine

    Question 2 is based on the following information.

    The following passage is an excerpt from Sherlock Holmes For Dummies, by Steven Doyle and David A. Crowder (Wiley).

    In the timeline of the Sherlockian (2) cannon, Sherlock Holmes was officially dead from 1891 to 1894. In reality, ten years passed before Doyle decided to officially reverse the death sentence and bring Holmes back to life.

  2. Regarding the underlined word
    A. NO CHANGE
    B. canon
    C. maxim
    D. axiom

Answers and explanations

  1. The correct answer is Choice (B).
    As used, herein is one word meaning “here in this writing.” The other answer choices don’t fit: here in isn’t the proper use of words in this context, heron is a large bird, and heroine is a female hero.
  2. The correct answer is Choice (B).
    The definition of canon is “a collection of sacred books.” The other words have meanings that don’t fit: cannon is a weapon, and maxim and axiom both refer to a truth that is self-evident.