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Text Completion Tips: The Clue Sweeper Exercise

Watch this introductory video to understand how to use clues to master text completion:

Directions: In the following exercise try to complete each of the ten sentences with the best word(s) among the choices given. Note that key words and phrases have been omitted from each sentence, which makes your task more difficult.

Then, continue to the video that provides additional (bolded) clues, answers, and explanations.


1. She was always _________ in social settings, the center of attention.

  1. showy
  2. ostentatious
  3. fashionable
  4. overbearing
  5. gregarious

2. Ecology concerns itself with the movement of ________ through a network.

  1. commodities
  2. matter
  3. substances
  4. nutrients
  5. artifacts

3. There is some _________ the fact that the author of Indian Artisans did not develop her interest in Native American art, for she grew up in an Native American region.

  1. concern about
  2. satisfaction in
  3. doubt about
  4. irony in
  5. presumptuousness in

4. The human is not a passive figure, nor an active one, but what might be called an actively __________ one.

  1. adaptive
  2. selective
  3. inquisitive
  4. receptive
  5. intuitive

5.   This final essay (i) ____________ by irony, bespeaks the (ii) ________   character of the author.

Blank (i)Blank (ii)
A. marredD. ruthless
B. coloredE. vindictive
C. dilutedF. dichotomous

6.   Art deco represented a reaction to the ___________ of Victorian design.

  1. pragmatism
  2. ornateness
  3. rigidity
  4. creativity
  5. simplicity

7.    No matter how the senator’s ideals may appear, the focus is on her ___________.

  1. politics
  2. constituents
  3. opponents
  4. contributors
  5. ambitions

8.   The poet W.H. Auden once wrote that “poetry makes nothing happen.” Is this (i)_________ or (ii)_________ ?

Blank (i)Blank (ii)
A. nihilismD. realism
B. altruismE. hedonism
C. cynicismF. ignorance


9.  Without a (i)___________ map, it can be difficult to make one’s way across (ii)________ terrain.

Blank (i)Blank (ii)
A. roadD. uncharted
B. physicalE. rugged
C. hand drawnF. hostile

10. When shopping, always look for the best (i)________;   don’t be hoodwinked by (ii)_________.

Blank (i)Blank (ii)
A. valuesD. slogans
B. serviceE. marketing
C. ingredientsF. labels


Here are the explanations:

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6 Responses to Text Completion Tips: The Clue Sweeper Exercise

  1. James March 31, 2017 at 11:41 pm #

    When shopping, always look for the best (i)________; don’t be hoodwinked by (ii)_________.

    May I know why is the answer for the first blank is “value” and not “ingredient”?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 1, 2017 at 5:10 am #

      Hi James,

      If we use the word “ingredient” that assumes the only kind of shopping that this applies to is food shopping, but there are many things you could buy that are not “ingredients.” Therefore, we prefer a more general word, and we choose value.

  2. rosie June 5, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Where are the answer for the sentence fills?

    1. She was always _________ in social settings, the center of attention.

    because the video posted here has different answers for text completion.

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette June 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi, Rosie

      The answers video was the wrong one– it should be fixed now, and it has the explanations for all of the questions. Sorry for the confusion, let me know if you have any other questions!


  3. reza July 24, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Does GRE present such type of questions? I’m in doubt. Because, the omitted words may totally divert the sense of the line. So, I think this type of questions need validation.

    • Professor Dave
      Professor Dave July 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm #


      Thank you for your question.

      No, the 10 sentences in Clue Sweeper involve an exercise I wrote to stress the importance of clues that are embedded in actual GRE Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions.

      Sorry for any confusion.

      You can read some posts on this page: about Math and Verbal Reasoning question formats that appear on the New GRE beginning in August 2011.

      I hope this helps.


      Professor Dave Scalise

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