10 Ways to Study SAT Vocab (without studying SAT vocab)


Does anything sound less appealing than “studying SAT vocabulary”? It’s like a foreign phrase that translates to “take a nap RIGHT NOW.” Yet, it’s a necessary practice if you want to maximize your SAT scores.

Because this task is universally accepted as a snooze fest, plenty of creative, innovative folks have devised fun activities that will teach you to memorize and recognize these words without ever feeling like you are working at it. Here are just a few ways you can beef up your vocab while preparing dinner, rocking out with your friends, or reading a cool best-seller:

1. Think Different. Reading the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, or planning to? In just a few pages you will come across plenty of SAT words. Check out the CollegePrepExpress blog about paying attention as you read, and check out our SAT Vocab challenge related to the book!
2. Say Hello to my Little Friend. Do you love movie quotes? Name That Movie! A Painless Vocabulary Builder helps you build your standardized test vocab while you try to name the origins of popular movie quotes and questions.
3. Add a Grain of Salt. Assuage your ravenous appetite for learning while you prepare gourmet meals with Cook Your Way Through the SAT, written by Charis Freiman-Mendel as a school assignment! You can also listen to Charis talk about her book in a recent “Prep Talk” with CollegePrepExpress episode, “PSATs are BACK! Standardized Test Planning and Prep.”
4. Get a Tune-Up. Ever notice how it can take painful weeks to learn a classic poem, but a couple of quick listens to memorize song lyrics? Several products, such as Rock the SAT and Vocab Rock give new rhythm to test prep, complete with CDs and study materials.
5. Square Off. An SAT Bingo game puts 125 most-often asked words on a grid, with a prep sheet for pre-game study.
6. Picture This. Visual-thinkers will appreciate pun flashcards, that illustrate words like “adulation” through two men about to fire uponeach other (“a duel nation”), as well as Vocabulary Cartoons.
7. Tease Your Brain. Crossword fans and avid anagramers can boost their word-power through these games as well as word scrambles, brainteasers, magic squares and other puzzles.
8. Vocab in a Flash. One of our favorite free, online options for learning and reviewing SAT words, Quizlet is not only perfect for vocab-building, but can add fun and effectiveness to any topic you need to study!
9. Go viral. You’d rather be on YouTube than studying, anyway, right? Search YouTube for SAT Vocab videos, and you are sure to pick up a few definitions in your travels.
10. Take a Novel Approach. Several works of fiction expressly present SAT vocab through compelling teen lit, including Simon’s Saga, Busted, Vampire Dreams, Rave New World, and more.

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