In the 1950s, the country’s inhabitants were ___ : most of them

In the 1950s, the country’s inhabitants were ___ : most of them knew very little about foreign countries.

  1. partisan
  2. erudite
  3. insular
  4. cosmopolitan
  5. imperturbable

So, you were trying to be a good test taker and practice for the GRE with PowerPrep online. Buuuut then you had some questions about the verbal section—specifically the second Verbal section of Practice Test 1. Those Text completion questions can be kind of tricky, even if they’re only one blank questions—but never fear, PrepScholar has got your back!

First, let’s take a look to see if there are any clues as to how the word in our blank relates to the rest of the sentence. We should immediately note the use of a colon after our blank. A colon generally signals an explanation, elaboration, or example, so the information in the second part of our sentence likely will hold clues as to what it supposed to fit into our blank.

Our blank should describe “the country’s inhabitants,” and all we know about them is that they “knew very little about foreign countries. We might suppose, then, that the country’s inhabitants were isolated or insulated or something else that means “cut off from the outside world.

Now that we have an idea of what our blank should say, we can start looking at our answers. It’s important that we try to form our own idea of what would fit in the blank before looking at our answers. This way we won’t get caught up trying to test out answers to see if they work. Instead we can match an answer.

partisan

We have probably heard this word before in the context of politics—something that is “bi-partisan” is something that both parties are working on. So something that is “partisan” might be something that only one party wants. In other words, “partisan” means “biased” or “prejudicial.” We cannot assume that just because the country’s citizens didn’t know much about the outside world that they were somehow biased—it could be true, but we just don’t have enough information to say that. Eliminate A.

erudite

 

If we aren’t sure about this word, we might skip this answer. BUT maybe we remember that the popular Divergent book and film franchise. In it, the “erudite” faction is the one full of the more intellectually inclined. “Erudite” describes someone or something scholarly. This word does not fit our prediction, so we can eliminate B.

insular

 

If we aren’t sure about this word, again we might skip it. BUT it definitely looks like our predicted word “insulated.” That’s not a great reason to choose an answer since we know the GRE often uses words with misleading roots, but it’s also not not a good reason to keep it around. Let’s check out D and E before we decide about C.

cosmopolitan

 

No, not the drink. The adjective “cosmopolitan” describes someone wordly or with international sophistication, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’re looking for in our blank, a common text completion trap. We can eliminate D.

imperturbable

 

Hmm. If we aren’t sure about this word or C, it might be better to guess the one that looked like our prediction. In fact, “imperturbable” describes someone who cannot be perturbed or bothered. In other words, “imperturbable” describes someone or something marked by extreme calm, which has nothing to do with the context of our sentence, so we can eliminate E.

“Insular,” on the other hand, can describe something relating to an island or something characteristic of isolated people. This word fits our prediction and our context beautifully. Let’s test it out in the sentence.

“In the 1950s, the country’s inhabitants were insular: most of them knew very little about foreign countries.”

Yes! This word works. E is the correct answer.

 

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