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With analogies, you are looking for similar relationships, not similar meanings. Analogy questions do not ask you to look for words that have the same meaning as the word in CAPITAL LETTERS. To answer analogy questions, you must first figure out the relationship between the two words in capital letters. Then look for the pair of words among the answers that has the same relationship.

To answer analogy questions, start by making up a "test sentence" that explains how the two words in capital letters are related. Then plug in the answer choices to see which pair makes the most sense. For example:

    (A) window : close
    (B) spice : season
    (C) cloth : weave
    (D) mask : frighten
    (E) country : vote
A good "test sentence" would be:

Scissors are used to cut.
____ are used to ____.

Plug in the five choices and ask yourself which of the following sentences makes the most sense:

(A) The window is used to close.
(B) The spice is used to season.
(C) The cloth is used to weave.
(D) The mask is used to frighten.
(E) The country is used to vote.

You can clearly see that (B) is the correct answer.

Another example:

    (A) sheer : cliff
    (B) reticent : tact
    (C) inebriated : memory
    (D) trite : speech
    (E) satiated : hunger
A good "test sentence" would be:

Sluggish means without energy.
____ means without ____.

Plug in the five choices and ask yourself which of the following sentences makes the most sense:

(A) Sheer means without cliff.
(B) reticent means without tact.
(C) inebriated means without memory.
(D) trite means without speech.
(E) satiated means without hunger.

(E) is the correct answer.

When you make a "test sentence", remember the following tips:

  1. Try to make a definitional sentence because a definitional sentence can best express the relationship between the two words. "Scissors are used to cut." is better than "Scissors can kill people."

  2. Keep the definitional sentence as short as possible while maintaining a proper relationship. A long sentence tends to confuse you about the relationship. And try to use active verb as well. "A suitcase contains clothes" is better than "A suitcase has clothes".

  3. Make sure you know what parts of speech are being tested. If you don't know whether or not the capitalized pair of words are verbs, nouns or adjectives, look at the answer choices. It's a rule that all the five answer choices must offer the same two parts of speed as the capitalized pair.

  4. If you reverse the order of the stem words when you make your "test sentence", don't forget to reverse the words in the answer choices as well.

  5. Make your "test sentence" as specific as possible. Sometimes when you plug in the answer choices, you find that more than one answer choice fits your sentence. When this happens, simply make your sentence more specific until only one choice fits your sentence.

  6. Be flexible. Every once in a while, the sentence you construct will work perfectly well with the capitalized words, but then will appear not to work with any of the answer choices. In this case, try to rewrite your sentence slightly and see if that helps.
If you want to start practicing now, click here to login "SAT Practice" section. We suggest that you come back to this page and read the content again after you have spent 2 weeks of practicing. You will definitely have a better understanding about the strategies!