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5 Ways to Boost Your SAT Vocabulary

April 16, 2010 By: Category: College entrance exams

Today we have a guest post from Jennifer Cohen, the President and Chief Word-Nerd at SAT Vocabulary Prep.

Learning vocabulary often doesn’t come easy, and most students prepping for the SAT need at least some vocabulary review.  This is especially true for those hoping to score high and apply to the most competitive schools.  Thankfully, vocabulary prep does not have to be painful.  Here are five ways to make sure you know what “adroit” means on test day:


Photo by cheese roc 

  1. Start early!  This is the most important thing you can do to make learning vocabulary easy.  I generally don’t recommend starting focused SAT prep until the summer before your junior year, but vocabulary is the exception to this rule.  Start in eighth grade, or even earlier.  Words will be easier to learn when you work at your own pace.  Don’t be that person who’s cramming with flashcards the night before the test!
  2. Read anything and everything.  Reading is the best way to prepare for the critical reading portion of the SAT as a whole, and it’s great for your vocabulary too.  Read newspapers, read novels, read magazines, read cereal boxes…OK, maybe not that last one.  The key is to challenge yourself.  Reading Dr. Seuss isn’t going to help, but reading the New York Times will.  When you encounter a word you don’t know, look it up!
  3. Practice your newly learned words.  When you pick up a new word, be sure to use it!  Lay it on your friends, your parents and your teachers.  You just might teach them something, and you’ll reinforce the word in your mind.
  4. Do the daily crossword.  Do it regularly and you’ll find the same tough words appear over and over…”sere” is a good example.  You’ll learn those commonly seen words and what they mean quickly.
  5. Use!  Of course I’m biased, but Word-Nerd is the most efficient way to learn over 1500 of the most commonly tested SAT vocabulary words.  The site reinforces your learning, and the database is updated frequently to keep up with new words seen on recent tests.  But if you don’t use Word-Nerd, just be sure to use something.  The vocabulary you may be learning in high school isn’t enough.

So that’s it!  Get on it, and learn some big words.  By the way, “adroit” means skillful or clever.