262 SAT Vocab Words You Must Know



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A lot of students immediately think of vocabulary when they hear the word SAT. But are SAT vocab words really that important for doing well on the test? Kind of.

If you’re aiming for a high score, you’ll definitely want to spend some time learning key SAT words.

In this guide, we give you a comprehensive list of 262 of the most common SAT vocabulary words. We also explain how vocab is tested on the SAT, what types of questions you’ll see, and how to get the most out of your vocab prep.

How Is Vocabulary Tested on the SAT?


The SAT underwent

a significant redesign in 2016

, and since then vocabulary has become a

far less important

part of the test. This is because there are fewer vocabulary questions on the current SAT than there were on the old SAT.


That said,

it’ll still benefit you to study vocab,

especially if you’re aiming for a high or


perfect score


.

All SAT words are about

medium difficulty

and are

tested in the context of reading passages,

so you’ll get not just a sentence but an entire paragraph or passage to work with.

Context clues make memorizing SAT vocab words less important on the current SAT than it was on the old SAT, back when you had to memorize dozens of obscure words and answer questions that dealt with isolated sentences (

these were called Sentence Completion problems

).

This made vocab questions particularly hard since you were given minimal context with which to solve them.

What Do SAT Vocabulary Questions Look Like?


Purely vocabulary-based questions don’t make up a large part of the SAT.

Based on our analysis of


official SAT practice tests


,


13% of the Reading section (or about seven questions) ask you to match a word with its correct meaning.


We call these


Words in Context

questions.


For these questions, you’ll need to know alternative meanings of relatively common words, such as “directly” and “hold.” While you might


come across slightly more difficult SAT words, you generally shouldn’t see any as hard as those on the old SAT.

Here’s an example of a Reading vocabulary question (with the relevant part of the passage shown):

In addition to Words in Context questions, you’ll get

questions that require you to pick a single word or phrase in order to paraphrase or clarify part of a passage.


With these questions, you must understand what

all

the SAT vocab words mean so that you can choose the right answer.

Here are some examples of these questions:

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A sample SAT question with single vocab words as answer choices.

(Source:

Official SAT Practice Test #1

)



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A sample SAT question with phrases as answer choices.

(Source:

Official SAT Practice Test #2

)



In these examples,

you’ll need to know the definitions of a variety of SAT vocabulary words,

such as “substantiated,” “freewheeling,” and “scandalous,” so that you can select the right answer choice.

Are There Any Vocab Questions on SAT Writing?


Aside from the Reading section, are there any SAT vocab questions on the Writing and Language section? The quick answer is

yes—you

will

see vocab questions on Writing and Language.

While most questions in this section focus on

grammar

, transitions, and tense, you’ll also get some vocab questions that ask you to replace SAT words in a passage; we call these

Precision

questions.

In total, you’ll get three Precision questions, making up


about 7% of the SAT Writing section.

Here’s an example of a Precision question (with the relevant part of the passage shown):

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262 SAT Vocab Words You’re Bound to See on Test Day


Now that you know what kinds of vocab questions are on the SAT, let’s go over

the 262 words and definitions we suggest memorizing

if you want to get high scores on SAT Reading and Writing.

To compile this list, we dug through all

official SAT practice tests

, looking at both the Reading and Writing sections (and not just the questions but the answer choices and passages, too).

We also looked at SAT words from other online vocab lists.

Though you don’t need to memorize

all

the words below, familiarizing yourself with most of them should help you better identify the tones of passages and make you more efficient at interpreting and answering questions correctly on SAT Reading and Writing.

Below, we give you each word, its part of speech, its definition, and an example sentence (or more if the word has multiple definitions/parts of speech). All words are listed in alphabetical order.


Word

Definition

Example Sentence
Abate

v.

to become less active, less intense, or less in amount
As I began my speech, my feelings of nervousness quickly

abated.
Abstract

adj.

existing purely in the mind; not representing actual reality
Julie had trouble understanding the appeal of the

abstract

painting.
Abysmal

adj.

extremely bad
I got an

abysmal

grade on my research paper!
Accordingly

adv.

in accordance with
All students must behave

accordingly.
Acquisition

n.

the act of gaining a skill or possession of something
Language

acquisition

is easier for kids than it is for adults.
Adapt

v.

to make suit a new purpose

v.

to accommodate oneself to a new condition, setting, or situation
The US has

adapted

many foreign foods to better suit the tastes of Americans.
Dogs are known for their ability to quickly

adapt

to their environments.
Adept

adj.

having knowledge or skill (usu. in a particular area)
Beth loves playing the piano, but she’s especially

adept

at the violin.
Adequate

adj.

having sufficient qualifications to meet a specific task or purpose
Though his resume was

adequate,

the company doubted whether he’d be a good fit.
Advent

n.

the arrival or creation of something (usu. historic)
The world has never been the same since the

advent

of the light bulb.
Adversarial

adj.

relating to hostile opposition
An

adversarial

attitude will make you many enemies in life.
Advocate

n.





someone who promotes or defends something

v.

to defend or promote something (usu. a belief, theory, opinion, etc.)

I am an


advocate




for free higher education.
Environmental protesters often

advocate

for cleaner energy practices.
Aesthetic

adj.

relating to beauty or refined taste
The

aesthetic

decorations at the wedding reception made you feel as if you were a character in a fairy tale.
Afford

v.

to be able to buy

v.

to be able to spare
He’s saving money so he can

afford

to buy a new car.
I can’t

afford

to lose any more pencils!
Agitate

v.

to promote something (usu. a cause)
They’re

agitating

for better health care.
Allow

v.

to permit or consent to
US law

allows

citizens to speak freely.
Allude

v.

to make a secretive mention of something
She

alluded

to the problem at hand but didn’t say anything more about it.
Altercation

n.

a noisy argument or confrontation
Greg got into an

altercation

with a stranger at the bar.
Ambiguous

adj.

unclear or vague in meaning
Her

ambiguous

statement made me question whether she could be trusted.
Ambitious

adj.

having a powerful desire for success or achievement
Penny is so

ambitious,

she wants to be president someday.
Ambivalence

n.

the state of being uncertain or stuck between two or more options
His

ambivalence

prevented him from immediately signing the contract.
Analogous

adj.

similar but not identical
Green onions are considered

analogous

to spring onions.
Annihilate

v.

to destroy or cause devastating destruction
The dictator sent orders to

annihilate

the group of rebels.
Anomaly

n.

something different from the norm
This result is an

anomaly

and very rarely happens.
Anticipate

v.

assume to be likely to happen
The party was just as fun as I had

anticipated

it would be.
Antipathy

n.

a strong feeling of dislike
Her

antipathy

toward the professor was obvious: she rolled her eyes whenever he entered the classroom.
Apex

n.

the highest point of something
The spring play was the

apex

of our school year.
Apprehension

n.

fearful expectation of something
Her

apprehension

to leave her house resulted in her missing the train.
Articulate

v.

to clearly express in words
She

articulated

her opinion on the price of the house.
Artificial

adj.

something made; not occurring naturally
Many candies use

artificial

flavors to make them taste fruity.
Assertion

n.

a strong declaration
His

assertion

that sharks are mammals made everyone laugh.
Austere

adj.

extremely plain

adj.

stern and forbidding

adj.

relating to self-denial
He lived in a small,

austere

cabin in the middle of the woods.
My boss had an

austere

expression on her face.
An

austere

lifestyle, like that of monks, isn’t for everybody.
Authenticity

n.

the quality of being real and true instead of fake and contrived
The police officer doubted the

authenticity

of the suspect’s story.
Avenue

n.

an intangible path or approach to something
The company has decided to pursue other

avenues.
Avid

adj.

actively interested in or enthusiastic about something
Gerald is an

avid

soccer fan.
Basic

adj.

relating to the foundation or basis of something
You have to start with

basic

Russian before you can move on to the advanced level.
Bear

v.

to have as a characteristic

v.

to have (a child)

v.

to bring forth

v.

to put up with

She

bears

a strong resemblance to your mother.
Judy will

bear

her first child later this year.
My garden is going to

bear

pumpkins this year.
I can’t

bear

her complaining any longer!
Benevolent

adj.

kind, generous
Many cultures believe in

benevolent

spirits.
Bias

n.

a preconception that prevents objectivity
It’s important to avoid

bias

when investigating a crime.
Bittersweet

adj.

tinged with a feeling of sadness
The ending of the romance movie was

bittersweet.
Bolster

v.

to support, strengthen, or fortify
If we work together, we should be able to lift and then

bolster

the couch.
Boost

n.





an increase or growth

v.

to increase or make grow

The


boost




in profits was a welcome change.
In order to

boost

profits, you need to cater to your customers.
Brawl

n.

an intense, loud fight

v.

to fight loudly and disruptively
A

brawl

broke out at school today after one student accused another of cheating.
The two students

brawled

for an hour.
Brevity

n.

the quality of being brief or terse
The

brevity

of their time together made it all the more romantic.
Candid

adj.

direct, blunt
Josh is

candid

about his desire to become an actor.
Candor

n.

the trait of being honest and frank
I admire her

candor,

especially when nobody else bothers to speak up.
Capitalize

v.

to use to your advantage
I’d like to

capitalize

on your math skills by having your work the cash register.
Capture

v.

to trap or take possession of

v.

to successfully represent or imitate

v.

to captivate, mesmerize

v.

to catch or seize
The spy was

captured

by the enemy.
Your painting beautifully

captures

the ephemerality of life.
I was

captured

by her beauty.
The cops

captured

the criminal three days after the incident.
Civic

adj.

relating to the city or citizens
Voting is a

civic

duty.
Clinical

adj.

emotionally unattached (usu. used in medical or scientific setting)
Her

clinical

approach to situations allows her to handle them more effectively.
Clout

n.

special advantage or power
Children of rich and famous people often believe they have a lot of

clout.
Coarse

adj.

indicating a rough texture

adj.

lacking refinement or sophistication
The horse’s mane was

coarse,

as if it had never been washed.
The queen’s

coarse

way of speaking surprised the other members of royalty.
Coincide

v.

to happen at the same time
It wasn’t until after I booked my ticket that I realized the concert

coincided

with my finals.
Commission

n.

the use of payment to request something (e.g., a service or product)
This painting was

commissioned

by a rich merchant in 1589.
Comparable

adj.

able to be compared
This novel is

comparable

to

Huckleberry Finn.
Competent

adj.

sufficiently qualified
We need to hire a

competent

web developer to create a good website for our company.
Complacent

adj.

satisfied, with no desire to change or improve
Though he had never won any awards or even been published, he was

complacent

with his life as a poet.
Complement

v.

to make perfect or complete
This wine perfectly

complements

this platter of gourmet cheese.
Concede

v.

to be forced to agree or surrender

v.

to admit to a transgression
With no chance of winning the battle, the army at last

conceded.
Dan

conceded

to pranking his sister.
Conceive

v.

to imagine or come up with
The plan to build the city was originally

conceived

in the early 1900s.
Condone

v. t

o overlook, approve, or allow
She couldn’t

condone

her daughter’s rebellious behavior.
Conducive

adj.

able to bring about or be suitable for
The noisy students hardly made the campus library

conducive

to studying.
Conduct

v.

to control or manage

v.

to behave a certain way
The group

conducted

their research abroad last year.
Be sure to

conduct

yourself accordingly.
Confide

v.

to share something secretive with someone
She

confided

all of her biggest secrets in her best friend.
Confine

v.

to put limits on; to restrict
We are going to

confine

the use of this drinking fountain.
Consensus

n.

overall agreement
After weeks of debating, the panel finally came to a

consensus.
Constitute

v.

to form or compose (part of) something
The desire for equality

constituted

the civil rights movement.
Contemplate

v.

to think deeply about
She

contemplated

telling her teacher about the cheating student.
Contend

v.

to maintain or assert (an opinion)
The president

contends

that the US government will not negotiate with terrorists.
Contradict

v.

to be in contrast with
The camera footage

contradicts

his alibi.
Controversial

adj.

highly debatable and causing contention
Millions of viewers watched the

controversial

debate take place.
Conventional

adj.

abiding by accepted standards
She lives a

conventional

life in the suburbs.
Convey

v.

to pass on or transfer (information)
I have trouble

conveying

my thoughts in French.
Conviction

n.

a firm belief in something
Her religious

convictions

prevent her from eating meat.
Corroborate

v.

to provide evidence for; to back up (a claim)
The note signed by her father

corroborates

her claim that she was absent from class that day.
Counteract

v.

to work in opposition to
This ingredient seems to

counteract

the other ones.
Counterargument

n.

an argument used to criticize or dismantle another argument
Make sure to include a

counterargument

in your essay so that you can show you’ve considered the topic from all perspectives.
Counterproductive

adj.

hindering the achievement of a goal
Bill’s idea to take a shortcut was ultimately

counterproductive:

it took us twice as long to get to the train station.
Culmination

n.

the final act or climax
The

culmination

of the performance was unforgettable.
Cultivate

v.

to foster the growth of
Teachers don’t just pass on new information to students



they

cultivate

their academic potential.
Decree

v.

to declare formally and with authority
The president

decreed

that Halloween would henceforth be a national holiday.
Deference

n.

respect; regard
Her

deference

to the elderly makes her the perfect candidate for an internship at the retirement center.
Deficient

adj.

not enough in degree or amount
I feel as though the sources for my paper are

deficient.
Demonstrate

v.

to do as an example

v.

gives evidence for
Could you

demonstrate

the dance move for me?
This book’s use of words such as “grim” and “bleak”

demonstrates

the author’s mournful tone.
Demur

v.

to object to
She

demurred

at my request to transfer to a different department.
Deplete

v.

to (over)use over time (usu. resources)
The lost campers quickly

depleted

their supply of food.
Desolate

adj.

bare, barren, empty
The moon is one giant,

desolate

landscape.
Devise

v.

to come up with (a plan)
Lana

devised

a plan to make herself famous.
Dilemma

n.

a problem, usually requiring a choice between two options
The main

dilemma

is whether to pay for a commercial or not.
Diligence

n.

conscientiousness; the quality of being committed to a task

Diligence

and confidence will get you far in life.
Diminish

v.

to become smaller in scope or degree
The itchiness of mosquito bites usually starts to

diminish

after a few days.
Dire

adj.

hopeless and dangerous or fearful
When the police didn’t explain what was happening right away, Jane knew that the situation must be

dire.
Discord

n.

disagreement
Disputes over money caused intense

discord

in the family.
Disdain

n.

a lack of respect and strong dislike (toward something or someone)
He looked at me with such

disdain

that I immediately knew the job wouldn’t work out.
Dismay

n.

hopelessness, stress, or consternation

v.

to fill with woe or apprehension
To Nick’s

dismay,

he got an F on the test.
Many were

dismayed

by the town’s implementation of metered parking.
Disparage

v.

to belittle or speak down to
A good boss is stern but never

disparages

his or her employees.
Dispatch

v.

to send off a message or messenger
The mother

dispatched

her daughter to their neighbor’s house.
Diversification

n.

the act of becoming diverse
Lately, there’s been noticeable

diversification

of students at higher institutions.
Doctrine

n.

a principle, theory, or position, usu. advocated by a religion or gov’t
Devoutly religious people often live their lives according to their

doctrines.
Dominion

n.

power and authority (usu. over a territory)

n.

a legal territory
The country claimed to have

dominion

over parts of Russia.
Puerto Rico is a

dominion

of the US.
Dreary

adj.

sad, gloomy, dull
The gray clouds in the sky made the day feel

dreary.
Dubious

adj.

doubtful, questionable
The man’s claims to the throne were

dubious

since nobody knew where he’d come from.
Eccentric

adj.

peculiar or odd; deviating from the norm
She’s a little

eccentric

but still fun to be around.
Egregious

adj.

extremely bad
After cheating on the exam, Emily began to feel as though she’d made an

egregious

mistake.
Eloquent

adj.

having refined or expressive communication skills (in speaking or writing)
His speech was not only

eloquent

but also extremely compelling.
Eminent

adj.

superior or distinguished; high in position or status
Our town made news when the

eminent

magician came to perform at our local theater.
Emit

v.

to discharge, give forth, or release
Plants consume carbon dioxide and

emit

oxygen.
Emphatic

adj.

very expressive; using emphasis
Her

emphatic

smile told me she was excited to ride the roller coaster.
Empirical

adj.

derived from experience, observation, or an experiment
You need

empirical

evidence to support your claim.
Endow

v.

to equip or bestow (usu. a quality or ability)
According to the myth, the gods

endowed

him with the gift of healing.
Endure

v.

to withstand, sustain, or hold out against
I can’t

endure

this wait any longer. Will Stanford accept or reject me?
Entail

v.

to involve or include
A doctoral program

entails

long nights and a heavy workload.
Entrenched

adj.

firmly established
Her face will forever be

entrenched

in my memory.
Enumerate

v.

to specify or count
I can’t

enumerate

how many times I’ve had to remind my students when their papers are due.
Envy

n.

excessive jealousy

v.

to admire and be jealous of
His

envy

of her is quite obvious.
She

envies

her coworker’s social skills.
Erratic

adj.

having no fixed course; deviating from the norm
The car became

erratic

after slipping on ice.
Establish

v.

to enact

v.

to found (a business, group, school, etc.)
They

established

a law that made it illegal to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.
Our group

established

a new branch in Chicago.
Evoke

v.

to draw forth or call up
Horror movies are great at

evoking

fear.
Exacerbate

v.

to make worse or increase the severity of
The doctor told me not to run as it can

exacerbate

my knee injury.
Excel

v.

to do something extremely well or to be superior in
She was a well-rounded student but

excelled

especially in science.
Exert

v.

to put into use (usu. as effort)
Don’t

exert

all of your energy at once.
Exhilarating

adj.

invigorating, stimulating, or exciting
The music playing at the club was catchy and

exhilarating.
Expend

v.

to use up (as in energy or money)
Be careful not to

expend

all your energy in the first half of a marathon.
Exploit

v.

to use selfishly or for profit
The shoddy company

exploited

its workers by paying them extremely low wages.
Facilitate

v.

to aid the progress of
In grad school, advisors

facilitate

students’ research and offer constructive criticism.
Feasibility

n.

the practicality or possibility of something
The

feasibility

of her project was doubtful; she’d have to go all the way to Antarctica and back before the school year ended.
Ferocity

n.

viciousness, violence
The lion is just one wild animal known for its

ferocity.
Fiscal

adj.

related to (government) money

Fiscal

policy is how the government uses money to influence the economy.
Flourish

v.

to prosper, grow, or make fast progress
After one year, the tiny plants had

flourished

into a breathtaking garden.
Fluctuate

v.

to be unstable; to rise and fall
Stocks can

fluctuate

on a daily basis, making it difficult to determine when to buy or sell one.
Foment

v.

to stir up
The civilians accused their leader of

fomenting

political unrest.
Foreseeable

adj.

capable of being predicted or anticipated
I can’t imagine aliens visiting us in the

foreseeable

future.
Frankly

adv.

directly, clearly
I

frankly

don’t see the point in learning to drive.
Freewheeling

adj.

carefree
His

freewheeling

attitude often got him in trouble at work.
Fundamental

adj.

the most essential or most basic part
A thesis is arguably the most

fundamental

part of an essay.
Galvanizing

adj.

thrilling, exciting, stimulating
The

galvanizing

performance left everyone spellbound.
Geriatric

adj.

relating to old age
I became interested in

geriatric

medicine shortly after my grandfather passed away from cancer.
Hostile

adj.

harmful, dangerous
The voices around the corner sounded angry,

hostile

even.
Hypothetical

adj.

supposed; related to a hypothesis
For my physics homework, I must come up with a

hypothetical

situation.
Ignominious

adj.

publicly shameful or humiliating
The politician’s expensive campaign ultimately ended in

ignominious

defeat.
Impart

v.

to transmit, bestow, or disclose
Parents must

impart

common sense to their children.
Impartiality

n.

the equal and objective treatment of opposing views
To ensure

impartiality,

we require everyone to follow these general guidelines.
Imposing

adj.

impressive (esp. in size or appearance)
The old mansion was

imposing

in its huge size and gothic architecture.
Imposition

n.

an unnecessary burden
If it’s not too much of an

imposition,

could you proofread my paper?
Imprudent

adj.

not cautious or prudent; rash
Backpacking abroad can be fun, but don’t be

imprudent

about money.
Incite

v.

to encourage or stir up
Her hateful words

incited

anger in the crowd.
Indifference

n.

apathy, emotional detachment
The girl’s

indifference

toward her brother upset their parents.
Indiscriminately

adv.

randomly; with little or no distinction
Lottery winners are chosen

indiscriminately.
Indulge

v.

to give into; to satisfy or gratify
My friend loves to

indulge

in cheesy romance movies.
Infer

v.

to guess, conclude, or derive by reasoning
You can

infer

from this quotation that the writer didn’t care for “pretty” language.
Innovative

adj.

novel or new (esp. as an idea or invention)
Her invention was incredibly

innovative

and won her multiple awards.
Insatiable

adj.

can’t be satisfied
A vampire’s thirst for blood is said to be

insatiable.
Inversion

n.

a reversal
The culture’s norms were an

inversion

of our own.
Invoke

v.

to call on; to appeal to (e.g., a higher power)
The shaman attempted to

invoke

a demon.
Irreconcilable

adj.

incapable of being in harmony or agreed upon
The couple’s differences were ultimately

irreconcilable,

giving them no choice but to break up.
Lament

v.

to feel sorrow for; to mourn
Susan

lamented

her missed chance at going to Europe with her high school class.
Locomotion

n.

movement
Physics involves the study of

locomotion.
Lucrative

adj.

capable of making a lot of money; profitable
Writing books isn’t a particularly

lucrative

career, unless you’re J.K. Rowling.
Malicious

adj.

harmful, spiteful
The

malicious

spirit drove out the inhabitants from their home.
Malleable

adj.

capable of being molded or changed
Children’s minds are

malleable

but only for so long.
Materialistic

adj.

superficial; focus on material possessions
Many people accuse Americans of being

materialistic.
Melodramatic

adj.

extravagant or exaggerated (as of a melodrama)
The

melodramatic

play was well liked by the audience.
Modest

adj.

simple and humble

adj.

small in size or amount
They moved into a

modest

house in the countryside.
I received a

modest

sum of money for my help at the company event.
Modify

v.

to change, alter, or tweak
Dr. Nguyen

modified

the gene so that it wouldn’t carry the disease.
Momentous

adj.

historically significant
Her win in the election was

momentous.
Novel

adj.

new, innovative
We are looking for

novel

ways to approach the project.
Nuance

n.

a subtle difference in meaning
Body-language experts even understand the

nuances

of facial expressions.
Null

adj.

legally void and ineffective
The government declared their marriage

null.
Objectivity

n.

judgment based on observations instead of emotions or opinions
In scientific research,

objectivity

is of utmost importance.
Obsolete

adj.

no longer used; rare or uncommon
Historians assumed record players would be

obsolete

by now, but in fact they’re making a huge comeback.
Omnipotent

adj.

almighty and all powerful
Gods are

omnipotent

beings who can control human destiny.
Onset

n.

the beginning or early stages
At the

onset

of her career as a lawyer, things were looking up.
Opine

v.

to openly express an opinion
The new employee

opined

at the company meeting.
Ornate

adj.

highly detailed and decorated
That

ornate

silverware must be worth thousands of dollars!
Oust

v.

to remove or force out of (usu. a position or office)
Sick and tired of putting up with his bad moods, the pirates

ousted

their captain.
Paramount

adj.

predominant, superior, most important
Our

paramount

concern is the safety of our employees.
Peculiar

adj.

strange, bizarre
Upon entering the abandoned house, Kate experienced a

peculiar

feeling, as if someone was watching her.
Perish

v.

to die; to pass away
According to the news, nobody

perished

in the fire.
Persecute

v.

to cause suffering to
They will

persecute

anyone who doesn’t agree with their views of the world.
Petulant

adj.

cranky, pouty, irritable

Petulant

children are especially difficult to care for.
Pinnacle

n.

highest level or degree
Many believe that composers such as Beethoven and Mozart represent the

pinnacle

of classical music.
Pitiable

adj.

deserving pity
The frail-looking dog was

pitiable,

so I gave it some food and took it inside to care for it.
Plausible

adj.

reasonable and possibly true
Her story is

plausible,

but that doesn’t mean she’s telling the truth.
Postulate

v.

to assert
The literary critic

postulates

that romanticism and naturalism are actually interconnected.
Potent

adj.

having great influence

adj.

having a strong, chemical effect
The bald eagle is a

potent

symbol of the US.
The potion was definitely

potent




it healed my wounds immediately!
Pragmatic

adj.

practical, useful
It’s not necessarily more

pragmatic

to study engineering than it is to study philosophy.
Precedent

n.

an example or subject from earlier in time
This change in law is without historical

precedent.
Predecessor

n.

someone who comes before you (usu. in position or office)
My

predecessor

gave me many tips for running the office.
Prescribe

v.

to command orders

v.

to issue authorization for medications
The directions for our essay

prescribe

a length of at least ten pages.
A doctor must

prescribe

you this medication before you can begin taking it.
Principle

n.

basic truth, assumption, or rule
Remember the universal

principle:

treat others as you want them to treat you.
Prohibit

v.

to command against, to outlaw
Alcohol was

prohibited

in the US in the 1920s.
Prompt

adj.



punctual, on time

n.



a cue to begin something; instructions

v.

to incite, propel, or cause to act
She is always



prompt



when it comes to turning in her homework.
I had to write an essay based on a



prompt.
The possibility of a scholarship

prompted

him to apply to Harvard.
Promulgate

v.

to put into law or formally declare
The ruler will at last

promulgate

an amnesty with the neighboring countries.
Prosecute

v.

to bring criminal action against someone (in a trial)
The suspect was

prosecuted

yesterday.
Provocative

adj.

intending to provoke, inspire, or arouse
Her nude paintings are considered quite

provocative.
Qualitative

adj.

involving qualities of something (features and content)
I noticed a

qualitative

change in her paintings.
Quantitative

adj.

involving quantities (numbers and amounts)
We must conduct a

quantitative

analysis.
Quirk

n.

a strange habit
His biggest

quirk

is his love of old marbles.
Ramify

v.

to split into two or more branches
Cars

ramified

throughout the world in the twentieth century.
Rash

adj.

without attention to danger or risk
Her

rash

decision to pass the car nearly resulted in a crash.
Raw

adj.

unrefined

adj.

not processed; uncooked (as in food)
He’s got

raw

talent as a singer, but he needs to work on his performance skills.
In some countries, such as Japan, it is normal to eat

raw

fish.
Readily

adv.

right away and without difficulty
Water was

readily

available at different points in the race.
Reconsideration

n.

thinking again about a previously made choice
The judges’

reconsideration

of her performance resulted in her victory.
Reform

n.

a change for the better; improvement

v.

to improve via change
The

reform

made it so that only those 18 and older can legally drive.
The government

reformed

its vague policies on marijuana use.
Refute

v.

to prove to be untrue, unfounded, or incorrect
The student

refuted

the professor’s claim in class.
Reinforce

v.

to strengthen or add support to
We can use these pipes to

reinforce

the structure.
Reluctantly

adv.

somewhat unwillingly
Max

reluctantly

agreed to see the horror movie with his friends.
Renounce

v.

to give up (usu. power or a position)

v.

to cast off
Our CEO

renounced

her position yesterday.
He

renounced

his friend after he caught her stealing money from him.
Reproach

v.

to criticize
The mother

reproached

her daughter’s school for making students come in during a blizzard.
Repudiate

v.

to refuse to recognize as true

v.

to cast off
The father

repudiated

his son’s marriage.
She

repudiated

her son once she found out he’d married someone without telling her.
Retention

n.

the act of keeping something
Water

retention

can make you weigh more on certain days.
Satiated

adj.

satisfied (usu. in hunger)
I felt

satiated

after eating a snack.
Savvy

adj.

having practical intelligence or knowledge
My brother is not very

savvy

when it comes to using public transportation.
Scandalous

adj.

morally offensive, often causing damage to one’s reputation
The

scandalous

politician decided it was best to resign from office.
Scorn

v.

to look down on with disdain
It’s difficult for me not to

scorn

those who use improper grammar.
Scrupulous

adj.

paying great attention to detail
I am a

scrupulous

proofreader and never miss an error.
Scrutinize

v.

to examine carefully and critically
The teacher

scrutinized

her students’ essays.
Secrete

v.

to produce or release (a substance)
Trees

secrete

a sticky substance called sap.
Sentiment

n.

opinion

n.

a tender or moving gesture
I am of the

sentiment

that you should never give out your passwords to anyone.
Even though I’m not a big fan of porcelain dolls, I appreciated the

sentiment.
Sheer

adj.

so thin that light can shine through
The curtains on the window were so

sheer

you could clearly see inside the house.
Simple

adj.

easy; not complex

adj.

undecorated
This math problem is so

simple

even a first grader can solve it.
The

simple

beauty of the ocean is what makes it memorable.
Sinister

adj.

ominous, evil
Medieval peasants believed

sinister

demons could harm humans.
Solidarity

n.

the joining of commonalities or common purposes among a group
I stood in

solidarity

with other female students by refusing to wear the school’s sexist uniform.
Sparingly

adv.

insufficiently, meagerly, or in a restricted manner
Due to my condition, I must eat salt

sparingly.
Spawn

v.

to release eggs

v.

to call forth or generate
Frogs typically

spawn

in ponds.
The topic

spawned

an ongoing debate among his family members.
Spur

v.

to stimulate or incite
Her bravery

spurred

others to act.
Squalid

adj.

run-down, sordid, or sleazy
The

squalid

cabin needed a new roof and an exterminator.
Stark

adj.

very plain; devoid of any details or features
Looking out at the

stark

landscape, I felt a keen sense of isolation.
Static

adj.

motionless

adj.

changeless
The ball is

static.
Her life has been

static

for the past three years.
Subordinate

adj.

lower in rank

n.

someone lower in rank

v.

to make dependent on or put at a lower rank
The

subordinate

officers work every day.
My

subordinate

will check you in.
You aren’t my boss



you can’t

subordinate

me to the role of receptionist!
Subsequently

adv.

happening later or after something
I

subsequently

went home.
Substantial

adj.

very large in amount or degree
I was shocked to find a

substantial

amount of money beneath the park bench.
Substantiate

v.

to strengthen with new evidence or facts
It is important for scientists to

substantiate

their theories whenever possible.
Subtle

adj.

hard to detect or analyze
I detected in her expression a

subtle

hint of irritation.
Sufficient

adj.

enough; just meeting a requirement
These boxes should be

sufficient

for our move.
Surly

adj.

unfriendly; inclined to anger
The bartender was a

surly

fellow who wasn’t afraid to start a fight.
Surmount

v.

to get on top of or overcome
They managed to

surmount

the language barrier by using a translation app.
Susceptible

adj.

to be vulnerable (to something)
Children are more

susceptible

to certain illnesses than adults are.
Tactful

adj.

skilled at dealing with people
Her

tactful

attitude toward our class made her one of my favorite teachers.
Taut

adj.

pulled tight
The rubberband was

taut

and ready to be fired.
Teeming

adj.

abundantly filled (usu. with living organisms)
Doorknobs are not as clean as they look and are often

teeming

with germs.
Temperament

n.

usual mood or feelings
She had a hostile

temperament,

making her intimidating to most people.
Tentative

adj.

not yet finalized
We haven’t made any official arrangements yet, but the

tentative

location for our wedding is Hawaii.
Transparent

adj.

see-through; so thin that light can shine through

adj.

truthful or easy to perceive
Stained window glass isn’t as

transparent

as regular window glass is.
She was

transparent

about her plans to end her marriage.
Treacherous

adj.

dangerous and unstable
The journey was becoming

treacherous,

but they continued on regardless.
Tremendous

adj.

very large, good, or bad in degree or size

Tremendous

news! You don’t have to repay your loans!
Ubiquitous

adj.

being everywhere at once
Cell phones are

ubiquitous

these days.
Unadorned

adj.

undecorated, plain
Though the dress was cheap and

unadorned,

it was by far her favorite one on the rack.
Undermine

v.

to weaken or subvert (usu. gradually or secretly)
Parents should take care not to constantly

undermine

their children.
Underscore

v.

to emphasize or give additional weight to
This sentence seems to

underscore

the overall meaning of the passage.
Undulate

v.

to move as ripples or in a wavy pattern
Belly dancers are known for their ability to skillfully

undulate

their stomachs.
Unilateral

adj.

one-sided
The

unilateral

decision was deemed unfair by the other party involved.
Unjust

adj.

unfair; not justified
The court’s decision is

unjust




he should not go free.
Unmitigated

adj.

downright, utter, total
My speech was an

unmitigated

disaster!
Unprecedented

adj.

completely new and never having happened before; historic
The number of protestors was

unprecedented.
Unveil

v.

to make visible; to reveal
We plan to

unveil

our plans for the new company project on Sunday.
Urge

n.





desire or impulse

v.

to encourage or persuade

He had the


urge




to tell his parents about his acceptance to Columbia but decided against it.
She

urged

her sister to apply to Stanford.
Validate

v.

to prove or declare valid
Your selfish actions do not

validate

your feelings for me.
Viability

n.

ability to be done in a practical or useful way
The

viability

of the solution is questionable.
Vital

adj.

urgently necessary
It is

vital

that you respond by the deadline.
Vow

v.

to promise
My brother quickly broke his

vow

to never eat chocolate again.
Warrant

v.

to prove to be reasonable
Wanting to look cool in front of your friends doesn’t

warrant

breaking the law.
Yield

n.





production of an amount

v.

to give way to or surrender to

v.

to produce or supply

The farmer’s annual pumpkin


yield




exceeded 10,000.
Cars turning right on red must

yield

to oncoming traffic.
Our experiment

yielded

many unique-looking vegetables.

body_student_reading_library.jpg

How to Study SAT Words Effectively: 3 Essential Tips

Now that you’ve got a huge list of SAT vocabulary words you can work with, what’s the best way to study them? Here are three key tips to help you get the most out of your SAT vocab studies.


#1: Make Flashcards and Use the Waterfall Method

One of the absolute best ways to study SAT vocab words is to

make flashcards.


This lets you control which SAT words you study and even randomizes them so that you don’t accidentally memorize words in a predetermined order.

We recommend using the

waterfall method

to study your flashcards.



With this method, you’ll get to see all the words in your deck, going over the most challenging words more often than the ones you already know or sort of know.


Here’s how to use the waterfall method:


body_vocab1.jpg


Once you’ve made your flashcards, split them up into decks (you can put whatever words you want in these decks) of about

30-50 cards each.

Choose one deck to be your

Starting Stack.


Go through your Starting Stack, looking at each and every card. For the words you know, put them in a

Know It

pile. For the words you

don’t

know, put them in a separate

Struggled

pile as so:


body_vocab2.jpg


Now, pick up your Struggled pile and go through each card in it (leave your Know It pile where it is). Put the cards you know in a second Know It pile and the ones you don’t know in a Struggled pile.


You should now have two Know It piles and one Struggled pile:


body_vocab3.jpg


Repeat this process of picking up your Struggled pile and going through each card until you’re left with about

one to five cards in your Struggled pile:


body_vocab4.jpg


By now you should know most, if not all, cards in your deck.


But it isn’t enough to just go through them once—

you also have to work back up your “waterfall” of cards.


To do this, combine your Struggled pile with your last Know It pile (the pile closest to the Struggled pile). T


his will be your

Working

pile. Go through all the cards in this pile. If there are any words you forgot, go through the entire pile again and again until you’ve learned

all

the definitions in it.


body_vocab5.jpg


Continue this pattern by combining your current Working pile with the next Know It pile. Go through all these cards until you know each one.


body_vocab6.jpg


At the end, you should have made your way all the back to your original Starting Stack.

You now know all the SAT words and their meanings in your deck!



Repeat this waterfall method with the other decks you make so that you can learn even more critical SAT vocab words.

#2: Focus On Words You Don’t Know

If you don’t have time to study the entire list above or only want to learn some SAT words, use our list to

make a new vocab list containing

only

the words you don’t know.

So i

f you know a word or are fairly sure you’ll be able to recognize it on test day, skip it and instead focus on


the words you’ll have the most trouble remembering.


Once you have your list, use the waterfall method to study it.

If you’re not a fan of paper flashcards, you can opt for

digital flashcards.


Anki

is a free software you can download and use to make your own flashcards. The program uses spaced-repetition software (SRS) to show you difficult cards more often than those you know (basically, a digital version of the waterfall method).

#3: Take Official SAT Practice Tests

Since the majority of the words in our list above come from

official SAT practice tests

, once you’ve studied these SAT words, you can put your knowledge to the test by taking a practice test.

This lets


you see whether you truly know the meanings of the words and

whether you’ll be able to get the right answers in the context of a full-length, timed test—just like the real SAT.

If you miss any questions because you forgot the meaning of a word, go back over our SAT vocab words list using your flashcards and the waterfall method.

The Best SAT Vocab Flashcards

If you plan to make your own SAT vocab flashcards from our list, you’ll need at least 300 blank index cards and a system to keep them organized. These

basic cards

are an affordable option that are

also available in fun colors

. You can keep them organized with plastic baggies or rubber bands, or you can get an

organizer

. Alternatively, try these

easy-flip flashcards

that include binder clips.

Though we strongly recommend making your own flashcards, you can also buy pre-made ones. There aren’t a lot of options for the new SAT. We’d recommend going with Barron’s

1100 Words You Need to Know

, a series of exercises to master key words and idioms, or Manhattan’s

GRE flashcards

if you’re looking for a challenge.

Conclusion: The Importance of Studying SAT Vocabulary

Overall, vocabulary words don’t play a huge part on the SAT. That said, you’ll definitely have some questions on both the Reading and Writing sections that test your knowledge of SAT words, so

it’s important to study those most likely to appear on test day.

The best way to study SAT vocabulary is to make flashcards and use the waterfall method. This ensures you know all the words in your deck and aren’t glossing over any difficult ones.

If you don’t want to make flashcards or don’t have time to study the whole list, however, it’s a good idea to pick out the words you don’t know and study just those. With these, you can either make a smaller deck of paper flashcards or opt for digital flashcards.

No matter how you choose to study SAT vocab words, be sure to

test out what you’ve learned in the context of full-length practice tests.

Nearly all the words in our list above come from official SAT practice tests, so you’re guaranteed to come across them in some form!

What’s Next?


Want more tips on how to study SAT vocabulary words?

Check out

our expert tips for memorizing SAT words fast

and learn

why the waterfall method works so well

.


Aiming for a high SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score?

Take a peek at our in-depth guides to

getting a perfect Reading score

and

learning how to read SAT passages

.

Taking the ACT instead? Then you’ll need to know vocab for that test, too.

Learn

what words to expect on the ACT and how to study them

.


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points?

Check out our

best-in-class online SAT prep classes

. We guarantee

your money back

if you don’t improve your SAT score by 160 points or more.

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taught by SAT experts

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Along with expert-led classes, you’ll get personalized homework with thousands of practice problems organized by individual skills so you learn most effectively. We’ll also give you a step-by-step, custom program to follow so you’ll never be confused about what to study next.


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