ISEE Sentence Completion Practice Questions

Now that you’ve learned some strategies for the sentence completion portion of the ISEE, let’s test your readiness with some practice questions. The practice questions will be broken up into ISEE level–lower, middle, and upper, followed by some questions that are applicable to all levels.

Lower Level Practice Questions

The art collector must have very ___ tastes; he owns pieces from all over the world.
(A) crude
(B) broad
(C) good
(D) old-fashioned

B: The key phrase here is “owns pieces from all over the world,” since it tells us the blank should indicate a wide range of tastes, or choice (B), “broad.”

Since moisture hastens decay, ___ vegetation can often last a long time.
(A) rare
(B) dead
(C) tasty
(D) dried

D: The structural clue word “Since” tells us that the blank must be opposite in meaning to the first portion of the sentence and the key phrase “last a long time” tells us that the blank must mean without moisture, or “dried,” (D).


Middle Level Practice Questions

The speaker ___ on for hours, repeating herself at length and ___ her audience to tears.
(A) prated . . . frightening
(B) simpered . . . forcing
(C) whined . . . provoking
(D) droned . . . boring

D: The speaker repeated herself at length—in other words, she “droned” on for hours, consequently “boring” her audience to tears.

Archaeologists ___ the documents while ___ the remains of a 1,000-year-old Roman fort in what is now northern England.
(A) attached . . . marring
(B) unearthed . . . excavating
(C) diverted . . . mourning
(D) construed . . . surmissing

B: When archeologists dig things up, they “excavate,” sometimes “unearthing” treasures.

Since Ricky’s college interview had gone well, his counselor was ___ to learn that he was ___ about applying for college.
(A) relieved . . . ambivalent
(B) troubled . . . decisive
(C) disappointed . . . unenthusiastic
(D) delighted . . . aghast

C: “Since” is the key word here. Ricky’s interview went well, but his counselor was “disappointed” to learn Ricky was “unenthusiastic” about going to college.


Upper Level Practice Questions

Given the ___ in today’s market, our sale predictions may have been a little ___ .
(A) upturn . . . inexact
(B) boom . . . audacious
(C) instability . . . reckless
(D) stagnation . . . optimistic

D: “Given” and “may have been” tell us that whatever the market is doing, the “predictions” were the opposite. Given the “stagnation” or slowness of the market, predictions were too “optimistic,” or positive.

The film has a ___ effect on viewers, leaving them emotionally ___ and physically spent.
(A) flippant . . . relaxed
(B) normal . . . intact
(C) stern . . . laconic
(D) cathartic . . . drained

D: “And physically spent” clues us that the viewers were also emotionally spent, or “drained.” Something “cathartic” would accomplish this.


All Level Practice Questions

Faced with such a paucity of ___ information about the millionaire’s new husband, the newspaper has ___ printing unsubstantiated rumors.
(A) paramount . . . balked at
(B) reliable . . . resorted to
(C) wealthy . . . refrained from
(D) immediate . . . wavered about

B: “Paucity” means scarcity. “Unsubstantiated” means unproven. So we can assume that the newspaper has very little proven, or “reliable,” information and has relied on, or “resorted to,” rumors.

The bears that frequent the campground are bold and occasionally ___ in their ___ for food.
(A) abundant . . . capacity
(B) emphatic . . . inclination
(C) aggressive . . . quest
(D) unbalanced . . . pressure

C: If the bears are “bold,” it follows logically that they would be “aggressive” in their search, or “quest,” for food.

The firm employed many lackadaisical employees, who had a(n) ___ approach to their work.
(A) creative
(B) independent
(C) unproductive
(D) discontented

C: “Lackadaisical” means showing a lack of interest or spirit, being listless or languid. If the firm employed lackadaisical workers, these workers probably had an “unproductive” approach to their work.

It was Mount Vesuvius that erupted and ___ the city of Pompeii in the year 79 C.E.
(A) desiccated
(B) decimated
(C) erected
(D) detected

B: It’s possible to infer from the information in the sentence that Mount Vesuvius is a volcano. Regular hills and mountains don’t erupt; only volcanoes do. And volcanoes don’t “erect” cities, nor do they “detect” or “desiccate” cities. Indeed, volcanoes are very dangerous because they have the potential to “decimate” cities.