SATs Are Coming: Pay Attention and Increase Your Vocabulary

With the SATs rapidly approaching on January 28, 2012, students need to be focused on the three bodies of material covered: vocabulary, math, and grammar. One of the best ways to quickly enlarge and deepen your vocabulary is to PAY ATTENTION to what you read and what you hear, noting—as in mentally noting and then writing down—any and every word you don’t know.

Recently I was listening to the audiobook version of the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and was struck how, IN THE FIRST TWO MINUTES, I heard many words I teach over and over again for the SATs.  I immediately thought of all the students who say things like, “SAT vocab is stupid. The only time you you see those words is on the SAT and then never again!”  To those tortured souls I say, check out this list of words that, again, all come up in the FIRST TWO MINUTES of a nationally best-selling book, not some esoteric college text full of words like esoteric:

  • scattershot
  • successor
  • demured
  • extolled
  • petulant
  • captivated
  • ousted (on the 2011 PSAT!)
  • touting

Clearly, not stupid words you only see on the SAT! So for those of you preparing for the big exam at the end of January, or for those of you who are going to take the SSATs, SATs, or GREs at any point, or for those of you who simply want to enrich your vocabulary, PAY ATTENTION.  Any time you see or hear a word you don’t know:

  1. recognize you’re seeing/hearing a new word
  2. write it down
  3. look it up
  4. use it in your own speech as soon as possible to embed it in your brain.
  5. For geeks (and that’s a good thing at CollegePrepExpress), make a Quizlet list and use Quizlet tools to make it part of your working vocabulary.

For more SAT study tips, be sure to listen to the next “Prep Talk” with CollegePrepExpress, 1/18/12: Prepping and Cramming for the Jan. 28 SATs


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