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Working through SAT flashcards isn’t one of the most thrilling things ways to prepare for your SAT. But it’s true that the SAT asks you to know some ridiculous words, and although reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, it’s best used as a supplement since you can never know whether or not you’re going to run into those SAT words in your book.
The best way to make sure you do practice as much SAT-level vocab as possible is by—sorry to say it — vocab flashcards. You can learn the most common SAT vocabulary without flashcards, but getting into the nitty gritty will require a bit more.
Be careful with SAT vocabulary flashcards
If you’re not careful, you’ll end up looking at a word, looking at it’s definition, then going to the next word without ever really soaking in the information you need to. That can go on and on ad nauseam (until you’re puking from boredom) and you’ll barely be better off when you take your SAT. There’s no point in using flashcards like that. Luckily our free SAT flashcards have spaced repetition so your learning is efficient.
Make sure that you have some vocabulary goals
For example, take a break only if you get fifteen words correct in a row. Or have a friend quiz you (again and again, ideally). If there’s no pressure, then you’re bound to just give up and look at the meaning. You have to give yourself a more immediate incentive to learn the words.
Mnemonics for remembering words!
While trying to memorize words, come up with mnemonic sentences. You have to build associations to things already in your head if you want to hold on to new information. This is hands down the best way to remember new vocabulary quickly.
Study SAT vocab everywhere
If you have a smart phone, then get download the Magoosh SAT Flashcard app for iPhone or the Magoosh SAT Flashcard app for Android. If you don’t have a smartphone, then make real cards, but make them small… you want to be able to take them out wherever you go. Cards on key-rings work great. You should be able to review SAT words for a couple minutes at any given time. Waiting for a bus? Yep. Getting a ride home? Yep. Commercial break? There, too.
Vocabulary is a surprisingly important part of the SAT. Don’t neglect it.
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About Lucas Fink
Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.
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