Tips on Building Your Vocabulary



Work Through the SAT High-Frequency Word List to Expand Your College-Level Vocabulary

Take time to acquaint yourself specifically with the sorts of words you must know to do well on the SAT. Follow the procedures outlined below in order to work through the SAT High-Frequency List most profitably.

1. Select a list of 10 words.

2. Allot a definite time each day to study the list.

3. Devote at least half an hour to the list.

4. First go through the list looking at the short, simple-looking words (7 letters at most). Mark those you don’t know. In studying, pay particular attention to them.

5. Go through the list again, looking at the longer words. Pay particular attention to words with more than one meaning and to familiar-looking words that turn out to have unusual definitions that surprise you. Study these secondary definitions.

6. Using the techniques shown in Tip 3, list unusual words on index cards that you can shuffle and review from time to time. (Study no more than 5 cards at a time.)

7. Use the illustrative sentences as models and make up new sentences of your own.

8. In making up new sentences, use familiar examples and be concrete: the junior high school band tuning up sounds discordant; in Beauty and the Beast, until Belle tames him, the Beast has a volatile temper.

For each word in the SAT High-Frequency List, the following is provided:

1. The word (printed in heavy type).

2. Its part of speech (abbreviated).

3. A brief definition.

4. A sentence illustrating the word’s use.

5. Whenever appropriate, related words, together with their parts of speech.

The word list is arranged in alphabetical order.