Improving Your Vocabulary

[Note: Vocab will not be heavily tested on the new redesigned SAT. These tips, however, also come in handy for LIFE.]

Ideally, we would all have rich vocabularies, and the Sentence Completion section of the SAT wouldn’t be so daunting.  Unfortunately, for most of us, the extent of our linguistic abilities tends to be lacking.  If you take private tutoring instruction with me, we will talk about all the shortcuts to mastering the vocabulary section of the SAT, but in the meanwhile, you can be putting in some of the hard work that it takes to build your vocabulary. 

  1. Read more.  Especially things you wouldn’t ordinarily read.  The Wall Street Journal, for example, is a good place to start.  Find the words you don’t know, and then look them up.  You can do this with books, too.  Try your hand at War and Peace, and stop as you go to learn new vocabulary.

  2. Create flashcards.  Or better yet, get someone to do it for you.  Have you heard of Just type “SAT words” in the search box and you can get flashcards printed up for you.  Any google search of the same words will also lead you to a plethora of vocabulary resources.  Get together with a friend and practice your flashcards together.

  3. Know your roots.  I’m not talking about your family heritage, unless maybe if your heritage is of Latin or Greek nature.  I’m talking about root words and word parts.  Do you know that ‘omni’ means ‘all’?  Or that ‘bio’ means ‘life’?  If not, you may want to look into some root word/suffix/prefix resources.  I will post some here in another blog entry, so stay tuned. 

If you’re doing all this and you’re still not mastering the vocabulary section on the SAT, let’s schedule some sessions and I’ll give the other shortcuts to beating this section.