Room acoustics design criteria are determined according to the

Room acoustics design criteria are determined according to the room’s intended use. Music, for example, is best (i)______ in spaces that are reverberant, a condition that generally makes speech less (ii)_______. Acoustics suitable for both speech and music can sometimes be created in the same space, although the result is never perfect, each having to be (iii)______ to some extent.

Blank (i)

  1. controlled
  2. appreciated
  3. employed

Blank (ii)

  1. abrasive
  2. intelligible
  3. ubiquitous

Blank (iii)

  1. compromised
  2. eliminated
  3. considered

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 on Practice Test 1. Those three-blank text completion questions are the WORST—but never fear, PrepScholar has got your back!

Alright, so this might seem a bit intimidating, but that’s no reason we should change our approach. First, we should read through these sentences to get an idea of what we do know and how our blanks might relate to our paragraph.

The first sentence, we should note, is already completed. Usually, the test makers don’t give us any random extra information, so we can still expect that this first sentence should give us some clues. Apparently, rooms are designed to be acoustically suitable for their purpose. The next sentence tells us that it is an “example” of this. Apparently music is best some action in rooms that are reverberant, which makes speech, a different purpose a room might be designed for, less of something. The third sentence tells us that rooms CAN be build for both, but the second clause begins with “although,” which tells us that there will be some kind of contrast, perhaps a caveat: in order for acoustics to be desgined for both, the result isn’t perfect and both must be something-ed.

Alright, so we know that our second sentence should express an example of how room acoustics might be designed to their intended use. Therefore, our first blank should express something about how music is best heard in a space that is reverberant (this maybe isn’t the BEST prediction, but it’s certainly serviceable. The second blank, by contrast, should suggest that speech is less heard in these spaces (again, not a great prediction, but it’ll work). Let’s see what our answers have to offer.


Hmm. This might seem to work, but there’s nothing that suggests that our space actually needs to be able to affect music in any way—and how does on “control” music? We want it to just be clear that music is at its best in this type of environment, so answer A doesn’t quite seem to work.


Yeah, people definitely can appreciate, or enjoy, music, and that might even be more possible in an environment in which they can better hear it. B seems like it could be a good answer, but let’s check out C before making a commitment.


Our first sentence doesn’t suggest that there are certain environments in which music can best be “employed,” or used but, rather, that some spaces might be built to better accommodate music. This answer doesn’t make as much sense in context as B, so we can eliminate C.

Ok, so things are looking good for B for blank (i), what about the second blank?


Hmm. We want our blank to reflect that speech does not sound as good in an environment where music can be easily appreciated. To say speech is like “abrasive,” or grating, in such an environment would make it sound as though speech is better in this environment. We can eliminate D.


Wait. Reread—that didn’t say “intelligent.” “Intelligible” means “easily understood.” So to say that speech is “less easily understood” in a space that is reverberant would contrast with the ideas that music can be “appreciated” in such a space. We know from our first sentence that we need this sentence to be an example of how different “intended uses” require different spaces, so the contrast between “best appreciated” and “less intelligible” would be logical. E seems like a good answer.


If we don’t know this word, it might be a good one to learn for the GRE. “Ubiquitous” means seemingly everywhere at once. While it might make sense to say that music seems to “surround” us in a place with good acoustics, there’s no evidence in this sentence or the previous one that we necessarily are meant to feel that sound—music or speech—is ubiquitous. F doesn’t fit the context, so we can eliminate it.

Ok, so far so good. We gathered from the word “although” that our last sentence should contain a shift in ideas. So, on the one hand a space can be build for both music and speech, BUT our third blank should tell us why the result isn’t perfect. Well, if generally spaces are built for one or the other, we can guess that to build a space for BOTH, one might have to make some concessions or compromises. Let’s see if there’s an answer that matches.


Wait. This perfectly matches our prediction! Let’s keep G.


If we “eliminate” speech and music, what is the space built for? This answer doesn’t really make sense in context, so we can eliminate “eliminated.”


Hmm. This is a bit tricky—both speech and music WOULD have to be “considered” in building a space designed to accommodate both types of sound. BUT, this answer doesn’t explain why the results wouldn’t be perfect—if both things were well considered, shouldn’t the space turn out to be more successful. We can eliminate I because it doesn’t create the contrast we’re looking for.

Let’s test these answers.

“Room acoustics design criteria are determined according to the roomÕs intended use. Music, for example, is best (i) appreciated in spaces that are reverberant, a condition that generally makes speech less (ii) intelligible. Acoustics suitable for both speech and music can sometimes be created in the same space, although the result is never perfect, each having to be (iii) compromised to some extent.”

Yes, now the paragraph better elaborates on the first sentence about how rooms are generally designed to accommodate the type of sound that they will be used to house. B, E, and G are correct.


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