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Text Completion Challenge Answers

These are the explanations from last week’s Text Completion Challenge.



1. I must admit that this is quite a toughie for an easy question (it’s probably more of a medium-level question). The clue word here is deleterious, which means harmful. The contrast in the sentence is from the seemingly __________….actually… Therefore, the blank has to be opposite to deleterious. (E) benign works well.


Part of the reason this is a tricky question is the distractor (B) banal, which means commonplace. The contrast is not between products that seemed so commonplace but were actually rare, or some of opposite of commonplace. (B) may make superficial sense, because household products strike as banal, or commonplace.

2. Last decades…breakthroughs indicates that the first blank is (B) forefront. Brink is misleading, since it means that they were about to make breakthroughs but never actually did.

The second blank is a simple contrast between then and now. Now is the victims in its wake, meaning the companies are no longer doing well. (E) matches nicely with this.


1. Prolixity means wordiness and inscrutability means difficulty to understand. Thompson has a reputation for both of these words, but finally intent shows us that there is a reversal (notice it is a slim collection). Therefore, he is making his ideas more accessible (watch out for the opposite (D)).


(C) palatable means easy to digest, figuratively speaking.


2. This is actually a little tougher than a medium, so I apologize if it caused you to bite your nails. A good strategy is breaking down the sentence, a method I discuss in depth in the Magoosh product. What I mean by breaking down the sentence is simplifying the sentence using your own words. For instance:


“Oh, I see, there is lot of difference in writing but because of the despite the range of issues is not that different…hmm…okay so the readers demand the same thing, which is the word I need for the first blank (circumscribed, which means to limit, works well). Many think that each time a newspaper shuts down the variety of news becomes less varied. So the original fact that the media tends to report on a limited issues should reassure those who worry each time a newspaper shuts down.”

Breaking down the sentence helps you think of the “big picture” of the sentence, instead of becoming bogged down in words.


1. Here the clue is familiar and tired formula. The word that matches up best is (B) perfunctory. The sentence structure wasn’t too difficult, but the vocabulary was.

2. This TC is tough because the clue for the first blank is hard to find. Rather signals that there is a contrast with the first blank. In other words, the first blank has to be a word showing that the conditions were not favorable. For instance, look at the following two sentences.


He decided he wanted to take the bus. Rather, he would take a taxi.

He decided he did not want to take the bus. Rather, he would take a taxi.


The first sentence makes no sense with the “rather”. He is taking the bus, so no contrast is needed. The second sentences calls for the rather because it is showing that he choose not thing A but rather thing B.

For the first blank, only (C) inimical works.

Since the early years were not favorable to the Constitution three men had to support, or (E) champion, the constitution. The nation under one document implies that the central government would have an active role. The anti-Federalists, if they had their way, would force the government to (G) cede, or surrender, control.

Very Difficult

1. The word offing is a real doozy. It doesn’t mean things are being gotten rid off (or turned off, as it were) but that things are being planned. Therefore, residents would be (C), which means enthusiastic. The exciting projects will take a long time (inevitably plagued…setbacks), so much of the excitement, or fervor, is likely to diminish. (D) means lessened, and usually modifies some emotional state.

2. This one is tricky because the first blank seems to be (B). If we read on, we’ll notice that there is a contrast in how the actor approaches roles and the type of roles he plays. If (B) were the answer, then the second blank would have to be something like careless. Of course there is the difficult word nebbish to contend with. Nebbish describes somebody who is meek and ineffectual. Another clue for the first blank is suppressed agitation…forth. Taken together, these clues lead us to (C). (D) curiously anemic matches up best with nebbish and contrasts nicely with the agitated actor.

For the final blank, we need a negative word signifying that agitation is ready to burst through. (G) breakthrough is too neutral of a word. Whereas (H) fits nicely with the overall context.

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

9 Responses to Text Completion Challenge Answers

  1. sam November 17, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I’m confused with the explanation of 2nd question in the medium Section. I identified the shift “Despite” and chose the first option correctly “Circumscribed – limited scope”. However explanation for second blank is bit confusing. that fact that media has limited scope should “prove wrong/negate”-“discourage” those who believe that media has unlimited scope and shutdown would cause the reduction in the scope.

    Can u please elaborate the explanation for this question , its bit tricky

    Thank You

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele November 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

      Hi Sam,

      So this is how the problem is structured:

      Those who worry that less new sources means less variety in news will NOT be discouraged. They will be reassured by this fact–why worry that three news blogs were shut down if they were reporting the same news. In others words, there will be no (lamentable) reduction in the range of news reported.

      Let me know if that helps!

  2. Divya August 12, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I’m sorry but I’m still confused with the second medium level sentence about the media. I had originally chosen ‘reassure’ and fallen for the trap antonym ‘unbounded’, though it didn’t make (economic) sense to me why the media would report on issues unbounded by demands, but within the context of the sentence I thought it worked.

    On reading your explanation, I realized I made that mistake because I had eliminated the “despite variance in quality” as verbiage, in an effort to simplify the sentence, not recognizing the despite as the sentence shifter (how could I be so blind!) So now the 1st blank makes sense to me, an opposition is being set up between the quality of writing, which tends to vary, and the quantity of writing, which is limited (by readers demands). So of course the 1st blank has to be circumscribed.

    So far, so good. But then I get lost in the 2nd half of the sentence which I’d actually got right when I got the 1st blank wrong! I cant even understand the big picture in the 2nd half. 🙁 Your explanation said, “Many think that each time a newspaper shuts down the variety of news doesn’t become less varied.” I’m going over the sentence again and again, but breaking it down and just examining the bit after the 2nd blank, it seems to me the opposite: that many think that each time a newspaper shuts down the variety of news does become less varied. And then I get lost again, in what the sentence is actually trying to say – the big picture! Please help!

    Thank you

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele August 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Oh my gosh! I just realized I made a major typo, one that caused you a lot of unnecessary confusion. My apologies :).

      In the explanation, it should read: “Many think that each time a newspaper shuts down the variety of news DOES become less varied.”

      Therefore, yes, these people will be reassured that because most newspapers tend to report on the same thing (circumscribed) that the shuttering of a newspaper company doesn’t mean the range of news stories is becoming less varied.

      I’m making the correction to the post. Sorry again!

      • Divya August 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

        Oh! That’s ok! lol! Thank you, Chris! 🙂

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele August 13, 2013 at 11:35 am #

          You are welcome!

  3. AQ July 31, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Hi Chris,
    I am having a problem with understanding the actual sentences. I have been working on my vocabulary as you had mentioned in your blogs, but I feel like I am not understanding the actual sentence. I don’t know if anyone else has had that problem before. I am following Manhattan GRE book and Magoosh as my resources.
    I feel like recognizing the vocabulary word may not be a problem for me, but I find myself staring at the sentence to make some sense of it, and even if I look at the explanation it does not make sense to me.
    I am so discouraged.
    I have been reading articles, making flash cards and really understanding the vocabulary.

    Do you have any suggestions for me?

    I would appreciate any help.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 31, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Hi AQ,

      Hmm…this could be any one of a few things. Perhaps it is phrases, meaning that there are certain turns of phrases that you are unsure of. Another possibility is convoluted sentence structure (which GRE TC are infamous for). Perhaps you are reading too fast and not processing the sentence in bits. Or perhaps you are not breaking down the sentence into your own words but are getting snagged on a word or phrase that is confusing.

      I’m guessing it is a combination of all three. Here are a few pointers:

      1. Think of the “big picture” of the sentence. What is it trying to say in general.
      2. Try to attack the sentence a few phrases at a time, and then at the very end put that together in a “big “picture.”

      3. Try writing using complex phrases and convoluted sentences. Doing so will make your brain more adept at parsing the sentence structure in the GRE. Your sentences don’t have to be super eloquent. Just make sure that they are grammatically correct/mirror the grammar you encounter.

      4. Read

      Reading articles from and the like will help you pick up on the type of syntax used by the GRE.

      Let me know how that goes, and I’ll def. keep trouble shooting with you, if need be.

  4. TM June 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Why is confidence part of the equation? Is it supposed to be a indicator for how much of a “guess” a question is? In either case, I feel as if that is a poor proxy for test performance: if one perceives his confidence to be low, but gets all the questions right, then the issue of self-reported confidence shouldn’t matter.

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