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Chris Lele

Top 25 SAT Vocabulary Words

Note: This post has been updated to reflect changes in the SAT beginning in March 2016 (aka the “New” SAT).

Check this video and this post out for more on how the Redesigned SAT specifically tests vocabulary.

How many of these words do you know? Even though the SAT no longer explicitly tests difficult vocabulary, browsing this list will help you determine just how high your reading level is, which will help you both on the Redesigned SAT and in life. Learning a few new words never hurt anyone :).


  • Esoteric – known only to a select group
  • Ephemeral – short-lived
  • Ambivalent – having mixed feelings
  • Verbose – using too many words
  • Indifferent – expressing no opinions on a matter
  • Empathetic – feeling sympathy because
  • Gregarious – flocking, sociable
  • Revere – respect deeply
  • Exonerate – free from blame
  • Urbane – refined, of the city
  • Enigmatic – mysterious
  • Fastidious – nit-picky, fussing over details
  • Tenacious – not giving in easily
  • Garrulous – talkative
  • Reticent – not saying much
  • Magnanimous – kind-hearted, likely to forgive
  • Belligerent – war-like, inclined to fight
  • Soporific – causing sleep
  • Arcane –difficult to understand
  • Equivocal – vague
  • Curtail – cut short
  • Ebullient – highly enthusiastic
  • Preclude – to prevent from happening
  • Ambiguous – open to more than one interpretation; unclear
  • Indigenous – native to a certain area


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Think you got what it takes?

Below is a Sentence Completion that tests your knowledge of the words below.

One moment he prattled on _____ seemingly unaware that those around him were irked, the next he became ____ and barely said a word.

(A)  gregariously . . unambiguous

(B)  indifferently . . belligerent

(C)  reverentially . . magnanimous

(D) empathetically . . tenacious

(E)  garrulously . . reticent



Answer:  (E).


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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!

2 Responses to “Top 25 SAT Vocabulary Words”

  1. jemima says:

    Why didn’t I run into your site beforee 🙁 this is amazing thank you 🙂

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