Test Prep: SAT and ACT Vocab

If you plan to take the SAT, ACT, or both, you’ll need to work on improving or brushing up on your vocabulary. While the ACT essay section is optional, the SAT has a required essay portion: wowing graders with your clever word choice and impressive command of English words can score you bonus points. Additionally, both standardized tests have substantial critical reading sections and reading comprehension questions, and these portions of both tests will measure your ability to understand complicated sentences. Without a large, diverse vocabulary, it will be difficult to excel on these parts of the exams.

Test Prep: Tips to Build Up Your Vocabulary for the SAT and ACT

Since having a strong vocabulary is so important, how can busy high school students find the time to learn new words? Thankfully, there are some simple ways to make sure that your vocabulary grows each day. First, try to make time to read! One of the easiest ways to become familiar with new words is to spend some time each day reading. Whenever you come across something that you don’t recognize, look it up in the dictionary! Or, if that is too time-consuming, get a dictionary app for your phone. Don't just skip over words you’re unfamiliar with.

For the more technology-oriented students, there are many online flashcard sites and apps that let you create flashcards with words that you want to memorize. For a more exciting approach, you may want to consider Free Rice. Free Rice quizzes you on vocabulary words and donates ten grains of rice to the United Nations’ Food Bank for each correct answer you give, so you can build up your vocabulary and feel good about your accomplishments at the same time. Another option is to use flash cards that use colorful, graphic illustrations to create fun visual associations between words and their meanings. For instance, try the free vocabularly learning tool at www.vividvocab.com/

If you want a more substantial overhaul of your vocabulary, consider working with a writing tutor before the exam. An expert writing tutor can help you learn and practice using important vocabulary words that may show up on the exams. A writing tutor can also help you practice using these words in sentences, and this will ensure that you recognize your vocab words on test day.

After the Test

Even after you’ve gotten satisfactory grades on the ACT and/or SAT, don't stop developing your vocabulary! Having a strong command of the English language will bolster your verbal skills and writing abilities, and as writing is an integral part of the business world, you’re helping your future self improve every time you learn a word.