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SAT Vocabulary Practice

by Jana Sosnowski

Studying for the vocabulary section of the SAT can be daunting for most students, as even condensed lists often include over 1,000 words for practice. Even with the elimination of the analogies section, vocabulary is still highlighted in the reading comprehension and sentence completion sections of the SAT. Young people have several options to increase retention of vocabulary -- from traditional review books to apps for smartphones.

Using Lists and Making Flashcards

Companies focusing on standardized testing review, like Kaplan and Princeton Review, publish lists of the most common words on the SAT. Additionally, organizations like the Council of African American Parents publish lists of common SAT words, which are available for parent or student download. With lists of words, students can make traditional index card flashcards to review vocabulary definitions. Another option for flashcards is purchasing a pre-made set, such as the one published by Barron's that includes 500 flash cards.

Smartphone Applications and Websites

Electronic review of vocabulary words via phone apps and websites can be as simple as flashcards, but they also involve games and progress tracking. The SAT Vocab Flashcards, published by Harvard Student Agencies, provides a virtual set of flashcards for review. Additionally, the MindSnacks app "SAT Vocab" includes nine games that review 500 vocabulary words. The Princeton Review also publishes an iPhone application, "SAT Vocab Challenge," that includes timed challenges and quizzes that test knowledge of definitions, connotation, synonyms and antonyms. This app also includes an index of words that plays pronunciation of the words and displays the part of speech. A log keeps track of words learned. Brainscape offers a review of words online and via phone application that tests knowledge of five sets of vocabulary words.

Review Books and Practice Questions

Test prep books also provide lists of vocabulary words for review. Kaplan publishes "SAT Vocabulary Prep Level 1," which includes 500 words along with definitions, parts of speech, pronunciation guides and sample sentences. McGraw-Hill also publishes a guide with 400 SAT vocabulary words, and the College Board published an official SAT study guide, which includes 11 full-length practice tests and a practice DVD. Additionally, students can access sample practice questions in reading on the College Board website.

Scored Practice Tests and Other Resources

The College Board also offers students the ability to take a full-length SAT exam that is scored immediately. Students can subscribe to a review course administered by the College Board and complete tests online for practice in all SAT subjects. The Princeton Review also offers a full-length online practice test and free in-person practice tests based on the student's location. The Princeton Review also matches students with tutors who provide personal instruction in SAT vocabulary.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

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