SAT Vocabulary Building by Dr. Steve Baba
You do not need to learn every word in the dictionary to improve your SAT
score. Every bone in your body has a name, but the names of your bones
will not be on the SAT for two reasons. It would give an unfair advantage
to students interested in human anatomy, and the question would be too
difficult. Just as easy questions that everyone can answer will not be on
the test, questions that no one can answer will also not be on the test
for the same reason; they do not measure anything since everyone would get
the same score.
There are about 10,000 words that are likely to show up on the SAT - other
words are too hard or too easy. While 10,000 words is a lot, you probably
know half of the words already. Also, many of the words are related to
each other through common roots such as subsonic and supersonic. If you
know what supersonic means, you should be able to figure out what subsonic
means and vice versa.
Five or ten hours of vocabulary work cannot compare to a lifetime of
studious vocabulary building, but all is not lost. You can review,
remember and clarify words you once knew and learn a few new words. Unless
you have a photographic memory, you will not be able to memorize 1000 new
words from a list in a few hours. What you can do is review words that you
barely remember, and a few of the new words may stick.
If you are tempted to skip vocabulary building because there are too many
words, just remember that you don’t need to know all the words to answer
vocabulary questions correctly. Consider the following sentence completion
Because of his _____ and effort, John Doe was a success.
xyyxxyx (a word you don’t understand)