7 ways to learn your vocab for the SAT

woman with headphonesLearning new vocabulary is a major part of preparing for standardized tests. It’ll be even more crucial if you choose to take the SAT instead of the ACT. The key to learning effectively is to find what works for you. Here are tools that might be able to help you:


Search for free SAT vocabulary lists online. You can search online for SAT word lists such as this one on majortests.com. If you already know how you want to learn vocabulary, this is probably the best way to go.


Get a book. If you don’t really know where to start, get a book. Not only will these books provide you with a great list of words, but they’ll include many useful tips and tricks for the best ways to build them into your vocabulary. General test prep books will likely have vocab lists, but it’s probably best to get a book dedicated to helping you learn the words.


>>Check out the top rated SAT and ACT study guides


Flashcards. This might not be the most exciting way to learn vocabulary, but if it works for you, then stick with it. You can either buy premade cards or create your own using a free word list you find online. Make a point to learn five or ten new words a day. Review words you’ve already committed to memory and separate them into piles of words you know by heart, words you still need to work on, and ones you don’t know at all. Be sure to occasionally review the pile of words you know by heart and move them to a different pile if you’re forgetting it.


Subscribe to a word of the day. Take it one day at a time by learning one word a day, like Peterson’s Word of the Day. You won’t get overwhelmed at looking over a long list, and it will come right to your inbox. Just make sure you continue practicing it so you don’t learn it and forget it.


Learn through videos. If you’re a visual learner, videos might be the way to go. Vocabvideos.com has hundreds of videos dedicated to helping you learn your vocab.


Audiobooks.  If you don’t take notes in class but you still remember what the teacher said, you might like learning vocab through audio CDs. Upload the CDs to your computer and transfer them to your iPod or other mp3 player to take them wherever you go.


This is probably more of your “traditional” SAT vocab prep in a CD: SAT Words to Go: Vocabulary Building for Super Busy Students.


I’ve heard this one might be a little bizarre (and maybe not one you’d want to listen to with your mom around), but hey, who says learning new vocabulary has to be boring? Check out Not Too Scary Vocabulary: For the SAT & Other Standardized Tests.


iPhone apps. Yep, there’s an app for that. Adapster seems to have the most innovative apps to help you learn SAT vocabulary on the go. Kaplan, PrincetonReview, and others also have their own apps out.

If you take a test prep course like Kaplan, you’ll learn even more ways to make those vocab words stick. Good luck!


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