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How to Improve Your SAT Vocabulary

By Laura Whitmore

Vocabulary on the SAT is making a comeback, as the Digital SAT puts priority on test takers understanding words and their meanings. Roughly 20% of the questions on the newly designed English sections are words in context questions, which entail students selecting the correct word based on a couple of sentences of context clues. Because it is 1/5 of the total test, it is important for students to have a grasp on vocabulary and understand how words are used.

However, who wants to memorize hundreds to thousands of words and their definitions? Not only is it cumbersome, but it is a near impossible endeavor.

The solution?

Since most words in the English language are comprised of Latin and Greek roots, students can break words they are unfamiliar with down into parts to decipher their meaning. Instead of memorizing thousands of vocabulary words, if students have a handle on a couple of hundred roots, prefixes, suffixes, and their meanings, they will do very well on these types of SAT questions.

For example, I may be unfamiliar with the word "misogynist," but knowing the root "mis" means hate and "gyn" means women, then throw an "ist" on the end, which denotes a person, I can deduce that a misogynist is a woman hater!

I have compiled a list of the most common roots, prefixes and suffixes. Check it out here:

Here is a sneak preview of the list...

Hope this is a helpful resource for you! Feel free to make flashcards, or do whatever you need to do to get these down and enhance your lexicon!

As always, happy prepping!


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