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Chris Lele

Idiomatic Prepositions on the SAT

If you have spent any time studying for the SAT Writing Section, you have probably already developed an intense dislike of idioms: One protests against; one does not protest at.  I know you are already protesting against having to study for the SAT, so I would hate to scare you any more, but below are two ways to learn SAT idioms so that you can confidently handle them test day.


Everybody loves flashcards—well, at least when they are studying for the SAT. Flashcards make memorizing facts easier. Instead of having index cards that end up getting lost—or at least dog-eared and smeared— provides a fun and convenient way to use flashcards on-line. You can make your own flashcards, or in the case with idioms use the premade flashcards. I’d recommend a group that has about 100 of the common SAT idioms. This is great in addition to Magoosh’s Free SAT Flashcards.

Listen to the news

This might not sound like a reasonable thing to do, but the news will always employ the proper use. This will tune your ear to recognize idioms (by the way the idioms section is the only part of the grammar section that you should rely on your ear—sounding out grammar can often get you into trouble).

Try to come up with your own sentence

I could way to make sure you don’t forget idioms is to starting using them. When you are actually confronted with an idiom on a question, try creating your own simply sentence to see if the idiom sounds correct. For instance:

He denied me access to his side of the room.


He denied me access on his side of the room.

The second example sounds a bit off and so the idiom is access to. Using this strategy is fun and effective, and definitely something you shouldn’t protest against.


P.S. Ready to get your highest SAT score? Start here.
About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

One Response to “Idiomatic Prepositions on the SAT”

  1. Kristen says:

    Hi Chris!

    Do you have a list of common idiomatic prepositions? I appreciate your tips!


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