Studying vocabulary for the SAT may seem like a super slog. Not only do you have to remember tongue-twisting words that you will probably never encounter in life (unless you are an avid reader of The New Yorker) but you will also have to cram them into your head in a very short time. I feel really bad when I think of those students who hear teachers tell them, “Yeah, you are going to have to boost your vocabulary by, like, eh, 3,000 words—in the next month.”
My point of writing this is not to make you feel even worse about having to prep for the SAT. It’s to show you that the common perception of I’d rather walk across hot coals than memorize SAT vocabulary isn’t necessarily true. Of course, learning vocabulary will be tough going, but it can also be fun and, believe it or not, actually helpful in college (and I’m assuming that’s where you want to go if you’re taking the SAT in the first place).
So the good news: you don’t have to learn 3,000 words to do well on the SAT verbal. Even a few hundred words can do the trick—as long as they are high-frequency words. And that’s what I’m here to do: help you have fun learning the important words for the SAT.
So welcome to the SAT Vocab Fridays. Every week I’ll choose about five words, giving a catchy little description to each. At the bottom of the page you will find a link to a youtube video.
Your first day of high school, the first day of the major league season, the first SAT Vocab Fridays post—all of these are big first days of
momentous events, or, what we call, the inaugural day. So this is the inaugural SAT Vocab Friday post, the first of many to come.
By the way, you know when the president takes office and gives that big speech? Well, that’s called his inaugural address.
Now you might be new to the SAT, or to memorizing vocabulary. If you are new at anything—or wet behind the ears, as the saying goes—you are a neophyte. It’s like being a first-timer or rookie. Often we contrast a neophyte to an expert.
A vocabulary neophyte probably wouldn’t know that neo- is the root for new. Even a vocabulary expert might be stumped by phyte-, which means root. Originally, neophyte meant “newly planted”, and referred to those who were new converts to Christianity.
Roller coasters, winning the lottery, scoring the winning touchdown—all are exhilarating events; they make you feel the happy and thrilled to be alive. Add to that list vocabulary Fridays! Actually, that’s an exaggeration. But I promise, this won’t be as painful as you thought.
Speaking of exaggerations, the SAT loves to use big words—in this case a rhetorical device—to mean the same thing as a simpler word.
Hyperbole is SAT-speak for exaggeration. Be on the look out for this word in the Critical Reading section. So from time to time, I’ll indulge in hyperbole. Meaning I’ll exaggerate for the effect of making this more fun to read.
And no matter what, these lessons (hopefully!) will never seem interminable, which means without end. You know, like those three plus hour documentaries that your U.S. History teacher forces you to watch.