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Below is our free PCAT Verbal Ability practice test. The PCAT Verbal Ability section has 40 questions that must be answered within 25 minutes. The first 25 questions are analogy questions, where you will need to complete an analogy that is given. The remaining 15 questions are sentence completions, where you will need to choose the one or two words that will correctly complete the sentence. Start your test prep now with our free PCAT Verbal practice questions.
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COY : DIFFIDENCE :: DISINGENUOUS :
Question 1 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship is one of characterization or definition. Someone who is “coy” is characterized by shyness or “diffidence.” Someone who is “disingenuous” is characterized by “insincerity.”
PURCHASE : RECEIPT :: CITIZENSHIP :
Question 2 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The relationship is one of function through verification or validation. A “receipt” verifies or validates a purchase, and a passport verifies or validates the passport holder’s citizenship.
SHADOW : TRACK :: EAVESDROP :
Question 3 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The relationship is one of characterization or definition. To “shadow” is to secretly follow, or “track” an individual. To “eavesdrop” means to listen in on, or “snoop,” in an effort to secretly learn information.
DILETTANTE : EXPERT :: IGNORAMUS :
Question 4 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The relationship is one of contrast. A “dilettante” is by definition a person lacking skill or expertise in a subject. Similarly, an “ignoramus” is one who lacks knowledge or eruditeness.
ARBITER : DISPUTE :: REFEREE :
Question 5 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship is one of association and function. An arbiter is a person called upon to settle a dispute. Similarly, a referee is called upon to decide or settle a contest.
TRUISM : TRITE :: OMEN :
Question 6 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The relationship is one of characteristic. An attribute of a “truism” is that it is “trite,” or unoriginal. Similarly, an attribute of an “omen” is that it is “portentous,” or premonitory of a future event.
CUPIDITY : AVARICIOUS :: WANTONNESS :
Question 7 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship is one of similarity. A person characterized by “cupidity” is “avaricious,” or greedy. Someone characterized by “wantonness” is characterized as “lascivious,” or lewd.
ARTLESS: CHICANERY :: URBANE :
Question 8 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The relationship is one of characteristic or lack of quality. An “artless” individual lacks guile, and exhibits no “chicanery.” Likewise, an “urbane” individual is someone who is very cultured, or stated otherwise, lacks “uncouthness.”
VINDICTIVE : REVENGE :: MERCENARY :
Question 9 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship is one of classification or extension. A “vindictive” person is motivated by revenge, and a “mercenary” is motivated by money, or “lucre.”
AFFINITY : KINSHIP :: PENURY :
Question 10 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The relationship is one of characteristic or definition. “Affinity” describes a similarity across structure or type, indicating “kinship.” “Penury” is indicative of severe poverty, or “destitution.”
PROTEST : QUIBBLE :: EMBEZZLE :
Question 11 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship is one of intensity. To “quibble” is to protest in a small, minor way. To “pilfer” is to “embezzle” or steal small amounts at a time.
MACARONIC : LANGUAGES :: PIED :
Question 12 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The relationship is one of composition. Something “macaronic” is made up of many languages. Something “pied” is made up of many colors.
BEVY : QUAIL :: MURDER :
Question 13 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship is one of classification or class membership. A “bevy” is a group of quail, and a “murder” is a group of crows.
BUFFER : SHOCK :: UNGUENT :
Question 14 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship is one of association or purpose. A “buffer” is something used to reduce “shock.” An “unguent” is something used to reduce “irritation.”
MISANTHROPE : PHILANTHROPIST :: GARRULOUS :
Question 15 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship is one of opposites or contrast. A “misanthrope” is one who dislikes human society and a “philanthropist” is one who performs charitable acts of kindness towards people. Similarly, someone who is “garrulous” is very talkative, which contrasts with “laconic,” or given to few words.
ABSTRACT : ARTICLE :: SYNOPSIS :
Question 16 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship between the words is that of an explication or summary. An “abstract” is a summary of an article, and a “synopsis” is a summary of a play.
LAGGARD : SWIFT :: WASTREL :
Question 17 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The relationship between the words is one of lack or absence. A “laggard” does not possess the quality of being “swift.” Similarly, a “wastrel” does not possess the quality of being “frugal.”
LUGUBRIOUS : DISCONSOLATE :: TIMID :
Question 18 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The relationship between the words is one of intensity. The word “disconsolate” is a more extreme version of “lugubrious,” though both mean “sad.” Likewise, “craven” is a more extreme version of “timid.”
ANODYNE : REPRIEVE :: BUTTRESS :
Question 19 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship between the words is characteristic. An “anodyne” provides relief, or “reprieve” from pain, and a “buttress” provides support, or “reinforcement” for a structure.
STOLID : PERTURB :: DAUNTLESS :
Question 20 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship is one of quality. Nothing can “perturb” something that is “stolid.” And in the same manner, nothing can intimidate something that is “dauntless,” or fearless.
CAJOLE : BLANDISHMENTS :: COERCE :
Question 21 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The relationship between the words is one of usage. “Blandishments,” or compliments, are used to “cajole” a person into doing something. In the same way, threats are used to “coerce” or force someone into doing something.
ASSUAGE : SEVERE :: SPECIFY :
Question 22 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship between the words is one of function/reduction. To “assuage” something means to make it less “severe,” And to “specify” something means to make it less “cryptic,” or unclear.
SPEECH : FILIBUSTER :: RACE :
Question 23 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The relationship is one of classification or type. A “filibuster” is a long speech in the same way that a marathon is a long race.
NADIR : ACME :: FOOT :
Question 24 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The relationship is one of contrast or opposites. The “nadir” refers to the lowest point, or bottom, while “acme” refers to the highest point. Similarly, ”foot” refers to the base, while “pinnacle” refers to a highest point.
ANOINT : ORDAIN :: NOMINATE :
Question 25 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The relationship is one of function and definition. To “anoint” means to “ordain” or confer divine or holy office upon someone. To “nominate” means to “propose” or formally enter a candidate for election.
-------- by nature, the poet Emily Dickinson nonetheless kept up a spirited correspondence with a wide circle of friends.
Question 26 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The word “nonetheless” tells us that the unknown word contrasts with “spirited correspondence.” A word such as “reclusive” provides an excellent contrast as it signifies an introverted person.
It seems impossible to separate by any exact line the -------- writings of Plato from the spurious writings. The only external evidence which is of much value comes from Aristotle, and not from the Alexandrian catalogues of a century later, which include -------- forgeries.
Question 27 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The first blank is easier to fill, so let’s focus on that. We need to separate two kinds of writings. In order for the writings to be separable, they must be of a different type. We know that one of the writings is described as “spurious” or fake, so contrastingly, the other writings must be “genuine.” If the Alexandrian catalogues are of no value, they must include “blatant,” or clear, forgeries.
To a viewer uneducated in the tenets of cubism, Pablo Picasso's brush strokes may seem --------, without discernible purpose or reason.
Question 28 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). If Picasso's brush strokes seem "without discernible purpose or reason," then we need a word that encapsulates this phrase. Words like "capricious" or "impulsive" are good predictions for the correct answer. “Whimsical” means "determined by chance or impulse," and is the best answer choice here.
The symphony, while regarded by some critics as self-indulgent, inconsistent, and technically clumsy, found approval with other critics as a reflection of the young composer's real, but still -------- talents.
Question 29 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). Because critics thought the symphony was "self-indulgent, inconsistent, and technically clumsy," we can assume that the symphony revealed the composer's unsatisfactory or inadequate talents. However, because other critics approved of the young composer’s production, it can be concluded that while unrefined, the composer “still” possesses a growing, real talent. “Nascent” describes a burgeoning talent that is showing signs of future potential.
Historians were in general agreement that the king’s refusal to lower taxes was the -------- for the revolution; driven to the brink of starvation by the poor harvest, the peasants were prepared for an insurrection and needed only the spark of the king’s unyielding demands to catalyze their revolt.
Question 30 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The peasants were “prepared for an insurrection” (an uprising) and needed only the “spark of the king’s unyielding demands” for motivation to act. “Unyielding demands” refers to the king’s proclamation, which tells us that the blank will be filled by a word that indicates a catalyst for an uprising. An impetus is a force leading to a response and best fills the blank.
Primary language support in sheltered classrooms (classrooms with integrated language and content instruction) is beneficial because it gives students the opportunity to have concepts -------- or assignments explained in their native language, providing important support for their academic learning as they are taught the subject matter in English. A -------- is that students may come to depend on an aide who speaks or materials written in their native language.
Question 31 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The context clue for the first blank is the “beneficial” and the “or” joining concepts and assignments. The correct word will be similar in meaning to “explained,” which narrows the possible answers to (A) and (B). The second blank precedes a potential negative of the sheltered classroom program. Only (B) and (C) contain words that satisfy this negative connotation, but because the second blank is a description of the program, and not the students, the word “discomfort” is inappropriate. (B) is thus the correct answer.
One important component of the human visual experience is the ability to use visual information to create a -------- of three-dimensional space. This three-dimensionality depends heavily on the concepts of binocular disparity and stereopsis. Binocular disparity refers to the discrepancy between the visual information of the two retinas, and stereopsis is responsible for our ability to -------- depth from this disparity.
Question 32 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The second blank should contain a verb meaning "tell the difference between," since we must process depth from the information received from the two retinas to create three-dimensionality. The first blank should contain a word similar in meaning to “image” or “model.” Only answer choice (C) satisfies these conditions.
The value of the internet start-up's stock -------- what even the most optimistic analysts predicted; the company's overnight success soon -------- the interest of many more investors.
Question 33 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The context clue “what even the most optimistic analysts predicted” indicates that the first blank must carry a positive connotation. Following this, the second blank must be a word that indicates an increase in interest by additional investors. Answer choice (A) best satisfies these requirements.
A firm believer in old-fashioned courtesy, Miss Post -------- the modern tendency to address new acquaintances by their first names.
Question 34 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). If Miss Post is a firm believer in old-fashioned courtesy, she is not a proponent of the modern approach. It follows that Miss Post would protest against the modern tendency to address new acquaintances by their first names.
The Third World country was in crisis: the article reported a high level of --------, high unemployment rates, and a growing -------- between the quality of life of the upper and lower classes.
Question 35 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The first sentence tells us that the subject of the paragraph is a Third World country with high unemployment rates, so we can infer that the country's population would be mostly living in poverty. The second blank compares the quality of life between the upper and lower classes, so we can predict something like "difference" or "gap."
The witness remained maddeningly calm, even when faced with indisputable evidence of his perjury. But this did not convince the jury that he was --------; on the contrary, the jurors saw his demeanor as indicative of a lack of --------.
Question 36 Explanation:
The correct answer is (C). The sentence describes the jury’s hesitance to believe the witness. Since we're told he was "maddeningly calm" even when presented with proof of his deceit, the jury likely had a negative opinion of him. Consequently, it can be predicted that the jury would doubt his innocence or sincerity. Although the passage utilizes “on the contrary,” which indicates an opposite, the logic is later negated by the “lack of,” so the second blank is of a similar meaning to sincere, innocent, or honest. As a result, probity, or honesty, is best for the second blank.
The textbook -------- the commonly accepted perspective of US history in favor of a more honest viewpoint. The author characterizes the treatment of African-Americans, Native Americans, and other minority groups as a tragic mistake in the country's past. Instead of presenting these horrific injustices in a few -------- paragraphs, she explores the historical issues of racial discord in the US at length.
Question 37 Explanation:
The correct answer is (D). The sentence describes the textbook as disregarding or rejecting the commonly accepted version of US history. The second blank is described as being the opposite of the description occurring after the comma; this is a consequence of the usage of the keyword “instead.” The opposite of speaking at length is speaking directly, or succinctly.
People are involved in the human -------- process in two roles—as both the sources and the receivers of messages. A source initiates a message; a receiver is the intended target of a message. Individuals do not perform these two roles --------. Instead, they are both the sources and the receivers of messages simultaneously and continually.
Question 38 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). The first blank must be filled with a word that relates to the role of humans as sources and receivers of messages. A good candidate here would be “communication.” The second part of the passage describes the actual behavior of individuals participating in the communication process. The key word “instead” clarifies that individuals do not perform the two roles separately, or independently, they perform them simultaneously.
Mark Twain spent three years in the -------- office of the small, local paper; similar to others on the list of American authors that stretches from Benjamin Franklin to William Dean Howells, Twain began his literary career by setting --------.
Question 39 Explanation:
The correct answer is (B). Given the lack of specificity provided in the sentence, it is necessary to focus on a logical answer to the second blank before focusing on the first blank. Of the answer choices given, (A), (C), and (D) all provide answers that result in idiomatically awkward expressions. Typesetting is a logical fit for the second blank, and setting type is a job someone in a printing office would perform.
It remains the consensus among investors on Wall Street that current high oil prices are a temporary -------- and that we shall soon see -------- cheap oil.
aberration; a return to
deviation; a departure from
situation; a movement of
status-quo; a shortage of
Question 40 Explanation:
The correct answer is (A). The key context clue in this sentence is the contrast between the current high oil prices and the future low oil prices. The current prices are described as unusual and it is agreed among investors that the oil prices will soon return to their usual price. Only (A) and (B) convey the abnormality of the current prices. But, (B)’s second phrase does not logically fit in the sentence as the current situation is already a departure from cheap oil.
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