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Which Vocab list performed best on the 08 PSATs?

dark knightdark knight 716 replies59 posts. Member
edited October 2008 in SAT Preparation
I did not take either of the 08 PSATs. However, I did carefully study the CC threads on both of these PSATs. The threads are not totally conclusive. There is still some debate about a few questions. It is possible that a few new words will be added when the tests are released. Based upon the CC threads there were 21 key words on this year's two PSATs:

Wed PSAT: alleviate, lucid, unencumbered, demagogue, effusive, supercilious, belie, deft, paragon, frugality, futile, audacity, and plasticity

Sat PSAT: gerrymander, innocuous, redundancy, anathema, atypical, tempered, chicanery, nonchalant

Here's how the best known vocab lists/books performed on the 08 PSATs:

1. Direct Hits Vocabulary: 18 hits; one hit per 20.2 words
2. Testmaster's: 9 hits; one hit per 28.2 words
3. Rocket Review Core Words: 7 hits; one hit per 46.1 words
4. Princeton Review's Hit Parade: 5 hits; one hit per 50.6 words
5. Barron's Hot Words: 4 hits; one hit per 99 words
6. Kaplan's Score Raising Dictionary: 10 hits; one hit per 100 words
7. Barron's 3500 Word Mini-Dictionary: 18 hits; one hit per 194.4 words
8. Gruber's 3400 Word Mini-Dictionary: 17 hits; one hit per 200 words
9. Kaplan's 400 Word List: 2 hits; one hit per 250 words
edited October 2008
36 replies
Post edited by dark knight on
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Replies to: Which Vocab list performed best on the 08 PSATs?

  • dark knightdark knight 716 replies59 posts. Member
    1. As many posters said, "DH was god." The only three words DH did not have were
    unencumbered, paragon and frugal. DH also had a significant number of indirect hits.
    It will be interesting to get the final totals when the tests are released.
    2. Barron's 3,500 word Mini Dictionary had 18 hits and Gruber's 3,400 Word Mini
    Dictionary had 17 hits. That's good but you had to study 200 words to get a hit.
    So how efficient are these lists?
    3. Kaplan's 500 Word List is easily one of the worst lists ever compiled. It was the
    bottom performer on the March, May, and June 08 SATs and has retained that
    title on the 08 PSATs with just 2 hits.
    4. It is interesting to note that none of the lists had unencumbered.
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  • ChoklitRainChoklitRain 2528 replies97 posts- Senior Member
    How about instead of relying on lists for "hits" we all read books and have solid vocabularies? Anyone who has no vocab base and tries to use a list as a shortcut is gambling on test day.
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  • bsDBer2010bsDBer2010 418 replies31 postsRegistered User Member
    i disagree...i read a lot and have a very good vocabulary, but the sat still stumps me at times.

    these lists help make up the difference (taking latin, i can digest vocab lists very well)
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  • MIT 012MIT 012 353 replies6 postsRegistered User Member
    Dk that was cool analysis! I am passing this pearl along to my sib.

    ChoklitRain at some point one tends to need these lists to close the
    inevitable gap on a CR 800 despite having a nice ranging vocabulary.
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  • ChoklitRainChoklitRain 2528 replies97 posts- Senior Member
    ^ maybe I'm weird because I don't
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  • lovetotextlovetotext 57 replies3 posts- Junior Member
    Great analysis DK. Gerrymander is not in the Scarlet Letter or Great Gatsby or any other novel or short story we read in class. I would not have gotten Gerrymander right without Direct Hits. DH rocks!
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  • spiralcloudspiralcloud 754 replies133 postsRegistered User Member
    I said this earlier, but what helped me most with the vocab was reading the CC summary reports:

    thats how I got at least four of my hits on the Sat PSAT

    anyway, other SAT hits that you didn't mention were:
    desolate (obviously, an easy hit)
    and fail...redundancy (actually, I'm not so sure if that was right)
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  • dark knightdark knight 716 replies59 posts. Member
    ^I agree with you. The CC summary compilations for each SAT and PSAT are an extremely valuable resource. I believe that Direct Hits is successful because 90 percent or more of their words are taken from the CC compilations. In contrast, the Kaplan list is a dismal failure because so few of its words come from the CC compilations.

    Both innocuous and redundancy are on my list in post 1. I was aware of desolate but left it out because it is a very easy level 2 word. Opinions???
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  • FauxNomFauxNom 1185 replies35 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Too bad I don't have more time to hang out on CC: my D and all her friends missed gerrymandering (only word that stumped her yesterday). If only I'd known about these lists. Anyone have a link? Thanks!
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  • dark knightdark knight 716 replies59 posts. Member
    ^The CC compilations are summary posts that are usually at the end of a thread on a specific test. You would have to use CC search to find the thread and then find the summary post. I did vocabulary summaries and reports for the March, May, June and October PSATs. The most efficient way to proceed is to go to Amazon and order Direct Hits Vocabulary. As many CC posts have declared, you won't be disappointed. DH has clearly spent a lot of time compiling the words from CC and then adding really great pop culture and academic examples.
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  • hitseekerhitseeker 30 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    ^I agree with Dark Knight. Direct Hits is awesome. As everyone knows its word list is fantastic. In addition, the examples rock. For example, DH had a really good explanation on the origin of gerrymander. Believe it or not the book is actually interesting.
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  • meadow36meadow36 5494 replies126 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    for the PSAT I studied Mystery Tutor's Projected PSAT list: 11 Hits 16.45 hits per word

    It triumphs all :)

    Plus, the I got the all the SC right and only studied up to gerrymander in my car...lol So lucky:)

    For gerrymander this the description I read:

    gerrymandering: manipulating the boundaries of a political district to ensure a favorable mix of voters in the district (related to "salamander" because it was first used to describe a district that had been redrawn so bizarrely it looked like a salamander on the map)
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  • pandagur 1pandagur 1 26 replies0 posts- New Member
    Great post Dark Knight. DH has been the top performing vocab book on every SAT and PSAT since the January 08 SAT. I just took a look at the Mystery Tutor site and vocab list. Very interesting site. I listened to a couple of the free modules and liked them. It is important to note that the Mystery Word list only applied to this year's PSAT. Mystery did get 11 hits which is good but DH scored 18 hits. Also DH continues to have a large number of indirect hits ie wrong answers that help with process of elimination.
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  • meadow36meadow36 5494 replies126 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^yeah so for the SAT I would use Direct Hits but for MysteryTutor for PSAT.
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  • hopefullygoodhopefullygood 45 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Amazing work DK - I luv DH! It really is more than just a great list. Examples are outstanding. SC and CR practice exercises are also really good.
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  • lovetotextlovetotext 57 replies3 posts- Junior Member
    DK can U post some examples of Kaplan words that illustrate why their list is so bad.
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  • dark knightdark knight 716 replies59 posts. Member
    ^Direct Hits, PR and RR are all careful to select words that have been used on real SATs. Kaplan does not. Here are some words from the Kaplan list that have a very low probability of being on an SAT: ballast, aerie, algorithm, bovine, bursar, consanguineous, diluvial, effluvia and lilliputian.
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  • notebookgirlnotebookgirl 4 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    Should I try to learn the words I missed on the PSAT in case they show up again on the SAT?
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  • hpa10hpa10 1898 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^Yes. 10char
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  • dark knightdark knight 716 replies59 posts. Member
    By popular request here are some more of the Kaplan words you will not see on the November SAT: palimpsest. pathogenic, peculate, peregrinate, rostrum, seraphic, and zephyr.
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