The SAT tests your vocabulary starting from the use of analogy questions, in which your job is to determine the relationship between words in pairs. Analogy questions are essentially vocabulary questions. If you know the meaning of every word in the question, you'll probably get the question right. And the more words you know, the better your chances of narrowing down the choices to the correct one. The SAT also includes "vocabulary-in-context" questions (sentence completions), in which your task is to determine the meaning of words as used in particular sentences. The critical reading section indirectly gauges your vocabulary. Test-takers with a strong vocabulary no doubt hold an advantage when it comes to the questions. The process of building up your vocabulary can be extremely boring and tough, but you've got no other choices but going through this process and fulfill the tough task.
You can learn some new words through practicing at this Web site, or anywhere else, but that is not nearly enough. Practicing is more useful for learning test-taking "skills" - analyzing questions and developing strategies for responding to them - than for improving your vocabulary. You need to get a good vocabulary book and do some solid work.
If you are interested in learning words online, the World Wide Web offers a great resource and lots of different ways to learn words. Here are some vocabulary-building Web sites you may want to explore.
Here are some tips that will help you build a smart vocabulary and boost your SAT verbal test scores.
- Break up the big task into small pieces. Don't try to learn hundreds of words at one time. You'll overload your mental circuits. Try tackling perhaps 20 - 30 words at a time.
- Take breaks. Limit yourself to three or four sessions per day (20-30 words per session), depending on how much time you have to prepare for the test. Take meaningful breaks - at least a few hours - between study sessions.
- Sleep on it. Study a new batch of words just before bedtime. Your mind is more likely to retain information received just prior to sleep. Don't be surprised if you hear a few of these words in your dreams!
- Vocalize as you learn. Saying words aloud or bearing somebody else say them helps you to recall them later. Try reading sample sentences and definitions aloud as well.
- Learn words in the context of a story. You remember new words more easily if you learn them in the context of a brief "story" - an interesting and instructive sentence or short paragraph. If needed, make up your own stories. Try to include at least two or three "test-worthy" words in each story.
- Incorporate new words into everyday conversation. This may seem like hackneyed advice, but it's nevertheless good advice. Use new words as you converse with friends. As you do so, pause to explain what the word means, and ask your friend if he or she knows any similar or contrary words. You're bound to discover even more test-worthy words this way!
- Review, review, and review. It's not enough to "learn" a word once.
Unless you review it, the word will soon vanish from your memory banks.