When you think of the SAT, the first thing that probably pops into your head is vocabulary (right after “stress,” of course). That makes sense because knowing a wide range of particular words is a big deal for the SAT test. Yet, it might seem tricky to figure out which terms to learn. Some of them aren’t used in everyday conversations. Still, if you spend time researching and understanding this SAT-specific vocabulary, it’ll definitely help you to score better.
To help you on this journey, we’ve put together useful tips for learning and remembering a needed vocabulary, along with a list of words you’ll encounter on your SAT exam.
The Importance of SAT Vocabulary Words
SAT vocabulary is more than just a collection of words; it’s a key component of the exam that can impact your overall score. Understanding and mastering SAT vocabulary words is essential for success in the reading and writing sections. They are a big portion of your SAT score.
If you believe SAT vocabulary is super hard, here’s some good news: all the words are actually of medium difficulty. They are mostly tested in the context of reading passages, where you’ll see them used in whole paragraphs, not just in isolated sentences. This will give you more context to understand the meaning, making it easier for you even if you don’t know the word.
How to Master SAT Vocabulary? Best Ways to Learn and Remember New Words
Learning words is one thing; sending them to a long-term memory is another. Often, students grasp new words quickly, but they vanish from their memory with the same speed. So, how can you make sure you don’t forget important words when facing them on your SAT exam? The proven approaches are:
- Contextual learning. One of the most effective ways to learn new words is by encountering them in context. Learn how and when you can apply it. Otherwise, you will quickly forget the definition: your brain likes to link things. Let it do that!
- Flashcards and word lists. A classic approach to vocabulary building. Create a word list, put it on the flashcards (real ones or online), and learn them. Besides, there are countless apps that will provide you with a ready-to-use list of the SAT vocabulary.
- Practice tests. Regularly taking SAT practice tests is essential for your progress. These trainings often include challenging vocabulary, exposing you to real test conditions and questions. In other words, rehearse your SAT exam!
- Mnemonic tricks. Mnemonic refers to helping your brain remember things through patterns. Known since Ancient Greek, associations or vivid mental images can make it easier to memorize complex words. Besides, it’s a good way to test and improve your imagination.
- Gamify your learning. Remember how easy it was to engage in some activities in childhood once you were a part of the game? Well, as adults, we are not that different, at least in terms of engagement. So make your learning fun, get together with friends, and the process, as well as the results, will surprise you.
- Read a lot. Reading is the best way to get proficient in different aspects of language. Besides, this way, you can build a vocabulary that will give you a lot of benefits for the SAT exams in general.
- Write the new words down. It is a basic yet important tip. Memorizing words is way easier if you write them down. Apparently, our brains create new pathways and absorb information differently if we put it on the page. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
- Befriend dictionary. Not only is it the best way to find new, exciting words to expand your lexicon, but it is also a great booster for your understanding of how vocabulary works. Some dictionaries are heavy:) Still, the impact on your knowledge will be the same.
- No random words. It is easy to get carried away when immersed in new terms. Isn’t it exciting? You don’t have to answer that. But if your goal is to prepare for the SAT, prioritize only the words you can find in your exam. Leave the random advanced vocabulary learning for later after you pass your test successfully.
SAT Vocabulary List: 92 Top Words You Need to Know
Many students are anxious because they think they need to “guess” what words will be in their SAT exams. But there’s good news: the SAT word list doesn’t change a lot from year to year. Plus, we’ve made a list of these words for you. So, no need to stress! Let’s get straight to the list instead.
- Abandon – give up completely
- Abate – lessen
- Abject – entirely without pride or dignity
- Aberration – deviation from the norm
- Beguile – charm or enchant
- Berate – scold or criticize
- Bereft – deprived or lacking
- Blandishment – a flattering statement used to persuade someone
- Bias – prejudice
- Bombastic – inflated
- Bovine – cow-like
- Braggart — a person who boasts about achievements
- Cacophony – a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds
- Catalyst – a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction
- Cavort – dance around excitedly
- Censorious – critical of others
- Circumlocution – using many words, particularly in an evasive way
- Circumscribe – restrict within limits
- Clamor – a loud and confused noise
- Clout – influence or power
- Demur – show reluctance; raise objections
- Denigrate – disparage
- Despot – a tyrant
- Diaphanous – light and translucent
- Dirge – song of lament for the dead
- Discomfit – make someone uncomfortable
- Disparate – different from one another
- Disrepute – state of disgrace
- Eclectic – wide-ranging
- Edict – an official order
- Ebullient – cheerful and lively
- Epicureanism – pleasure is the most important aspect of life
- Effluvia – unpleasant odor
- Fortuitous – happening by chance
- Fractious – irritable and difficult to control
- Garrulous – talkative
- Grandiloquent – pompous or extravagant in language, style, or manner
- Gratuitous – uncalled for; unnecessary
- Grotto – small cave or cave-like structure
- Hapless – unfortunate
- Injunction – a court-ordered command
- Inoculate – to vaccinate against a disease
- Insidious – slowly harmful or sneaky
- Instigate – to provoke action
- Insurgent – a rebel against authority
- Interlocutor – a conversation participant
- Illusion – magic tricks performed for entertainment
- Litigant – a person involved in a lawsuit
- Maelstrom – a powerful storm or chaotic situation
- Maudlin – overly sentimental or self-pitying
- Maverick – an independent-minded nonconformist
- Mawkish – overly sentimental in a sickly way
- Maxim – a concise statement of truth or principle
- Mendacious – inclined to lie
- Meretricious – attractive but lacking value
- Pandemic – disease prevalent over an entire country
- Paradigm – a typical example or model
- Pariah – an outcast
- Paucity – scarcity; a lack of
- Pejorative – expressing strong disapproval
- Penchant – a strong liking or tendency
- Penurious – extremely poor
- Pert – attractive and confident
- Pernicious – harmful or destructive
- Precision – attention to detail
- Prestidigitation – Magic tricks performed for entertainment
- Recalcitrant – stubbornly uncooperative
- Relegate – demote to a lower position
- Remiss – negligent or careless
- Reprieve – cancellation of punishment
- Reprobate – morally unprincipled person
- Rescind – revoke or cancel
- Ribald – improper or lewd
- Rife – widespread or prevalent
- Sedition – conduct or speech inciting people to rebel
- Sinecure – position requiring little or no work
- Toady – a sycophant or flatterer
- Torpid – lethargic; sluggish
- Travesty – a mockery or parody
- Trenchant – sharp and forceful in expression
- Trounce – defeat decisively
- Truculent – aggressively argumentative
- Turpitude – moral wickedness or depravity
- Ubiquitous – found everywhere
- Umbrage – offense or annoyance
- Usury – lending money at unlawful rates
- Vituperate – strongly blame or insult someone
- Vociferous – outspoken and vehement in speech
- Wanton – deliberate and unprovoked; sexually unrestrained
- Winsome – attractive or charming
- Yield – surrender or give way to pressure
- Yoke – tie two things together
Use these words in some of the learning methods we offered earlier. Either flashcards or contextual learning will benefit you a lot.
Mastering SAT vocabulary words is a significant step toward your success in the exam. Remember that building your lexicon takes time and consistent effort. Don’t get discouraged if progress seems slow at first; that’s normal. With dedication and the right resources, you can conquer the SAT vocabulary section and boost your overall score. To improve your SAT practice, consider getting a tutor who can resolve any doubts you have. With additional help, you can structure your learning time better and get the results you want.
As you prepare for the SAT exams, keep in mind that your efforts will pay off not only in terms of test scores but also in your overall language proficiency. A strong vocabulary will give its benefits in college and beyond.