I’m a rising junior, and plan to take the old SAT in December and January this fall/winter. I’ve been doing well in math and writing, but struggling with the vocabulary aspect of the sentence completions of the reading section.
Would you guys recommend studying word lists – and if so, which – or just prefix/roots?
I have quite a while until I take the test, but I’m not sure what will be the most effective use of my time. There has been a lot of debate about this kind of thing, but nothing decisive as of late. I have a Direct Hits from 2011 (not sure if it will still be effective, but I plan on learning all the words in there), and the SAT Blue Book. Willing to explore other material, as well.
Thanks in advance!
EDIT: I meant to put this in the SAT Preparation section, but I can’t delete this post and won’t repost it (don’t want to create duplicates). Awaiting advice!
Also a rising junior here. I already took my SAT, and while I only got a 780 on the CR, I did get all the vocab questions right so I may be able to help you.
I read the Direct Hits 2011 edition then realized I could read the new one for free with some Amazon book subscription, so I checked the new one out. There were like 30 more words IIRC. If you read the 2011 edition you’ll be good; just make sure you read volume I and volume II - Personally, I found volume II the most helpful because it has level 5 vocabulary in it. Direct Hits also includes the prefixes/roots. I’d recommend memorizing all the vocab words in this book.
It’s very important that you don’t overwhelm yourself with vocab. If you try memorizing 100 words a day, you’re going to burn yourself out and give up. You also probably won’t even remember the definitions of half the words. Since you have time, I’d recommend memorizing just 10 words a day. Also, study smart - don’t waste time on words you already know. Explore each word in depth - Read up on its etymology, write 3-4 sentences with it, etc. Once you’ve done this with every word, quiz yourself and review them all. In a little over a month and a half you’ll have memorized both Direct Hits volumes.
Additionally, if you’re not lazy, it will help a lot to READ. I’ve never really been much of a reader but before the SAT, to practice, I started reading more books. Look up the words you don’t know. I encountered a lot of words which were new to me and I was able to reinforce my knowledge of the words which were in Direct Hits. Reading advanced material will also help you understand and interpret the CR passages better.
here are some great websites for SAT vocab:
Books: princeton review 1600+ vocab words
You should make flashcards. If you hate writing, you could use quizlet for online flashcards. And quizlet has a ton of premade SAT flashcards. You should make an account and search “elite SAT vocab.” there will legitly be 2000 flashcard vocab words that help a ton. Good luck on the SAT!
I used the Princeton Review vocab flash cards (about 500 words) and whatever I found on the internet and got an 800 on my first attempt. Good luck!
Direct Hits, Core and Toughest, Larry Kreiger’s The Insider’s Guide to SAT Vocab.
2 great books that I used. I didn’t get an 800 on CR but I only missed 1 vocab (I used to miss at least 10 every time).
Also, look up ANY words that you don’t understand on any of the official practice tests you take from the blue book.
You should get 90% of the sentence completion correct with those couple of books (like me I got 18/19 sentence completion on the actual thing) . If you want to consistently not miss any on the vocab, then you may need more books like the ones people mentioned above.
There’s more to answering sentence completion questions than vocab. The Black Book and the Critical Reader each describes a good approach for answering these questions that is separate from knowing all the meanings.
Thank you all for the advice. I really appreciate it.