Join for FREE,
and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls,
Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky
welcome messages (like this one!)
For most students, the factor most limiting of their capacity to do well on the Sentence Completion questions is vocabulary. As you could probably discern from the previous questions, some of the vocabulary tested on the SAT is not commonplace among most teenagers' conversations. One way to build a robust vocabulary is to read a lot and look up any new words that you encounter. This is a great lifelong habit and will likely yield the most organic lexicon.
However, the most effective way to build a vocabulary that will help you on the SAT is to memorize words from books made especially for the test. Because the English language comprises so many words (hundreds of thousands), there is, of course, no way to ensure that you will know every word that will appear on your administration of the SAT. Nonetheless, rest assured: words on the SAT are not randomly selected from the Oxford English Dictionary; the selections are actually somewhat predictable. Preparatory companies exploit this by compiling word lists that are actually manageable in their brevity but helpful in their coverage.
The most efficient source is Direct Hits Volumes 1 and 2. The books do not include many words, but they are very well-chosen and accompanied by interesting blurbs to help students better remember them. Everyone who takes the SAT should know the words in these books.
Once you have completed Direct Hits, additional vocabulary preparation may not be worth the opportunity cost. But if you are still hungry for more words, there are several extensive lists out there, including this 1,000-word list and this 5,000-word list. (Keep in mind that there will be considerable overlap among these lists.)
One of the best ways to approach these lists is to make one run through the books while writing down all words that are foreign to you and their definitions onto flash cards. From that point, you can go through just the words that you do not know, which helps to save time.
If you have a solid foundational vocabulary before you tackle Direct Hits, you will be well-prepared for the Sentence Completion questions after going through the books; expect to consistently get between 18 and 19 out of 19 on the section. (There are occasionally some difficult words that appear in the passages and their corresponding questions, so this vocabulary preparation will help you there too.)