What Are SAT Vocabulary Words?


Quick Answer

SAT vocabulary words number in the hundreds and change every year, but SparkNotes lists the top 250, as of 2015. Examples include annul, disheartened and perspicacity. The list is compiled from the vocabulary sections of past SATs.

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Full Answer

While it's possible to study SAT vocabulary by memorizing words and their definitions. SparkNotes recommends using mnemonics to aid recall. Mnemonics rely on creating a sentence or image to create an association. The more outlandish or absurd the better. For example, to remember that the word "malevolent" means to wish harm unto others, SparkNotes suggests "violent males tend to be malevolent" as a mnemonic.

SparkNotes warns that it is not possible to memorize every single word that may potentially appear in the SAT vocabulary section, and the best way of divining the meaning of an unfamiliar word is to study the word's roots. Memorizing Greek and Latin roots is a common strategy suggested by test prep companies. For example, although the word "antebellum" may be unknown, "ante" means "before" and "bellum" means "the war," allowing the test taker to guess that antebellum means "before the war." Other common roots are bene, contra, mal, inter and script.

Although the pre-2005 SAT placed a great deal of emphasis on SAT vocabulary, Prep Scholar reports that in 2016 the SAT features fewer vocabulary-related questions.

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