Jamie Goodwin

Preparing for Vocabulary for Praxis Core Reading

Disparage. Efface. Hackneyed. Impetuous. Marred. Sagacious. Sycophant. Vilify. If you saw any of these words on the reading section, would you know what they mean? In some of the questions on the exam, you may need to answer a question about the meaning of the word. You may also need to know what the word means in order to answer a question about the passage. If you’re worried about the vocabulary on the exam, here are a few things that you can do to help you prepare to conquer any questions with words that you don’t know.

Look for Context Clues

Read the entire passage before answering questions about it. If you come across a word that you don’t know, use the rest of the sentence or passage to use context clues to help you figure it out. There are 4 types of context clues that you can use:

    1. Definitions- The word is defined within the sentence or in a nearby sentence.
    2. Synonyms- Synonyms, or words that mean the same thing, are used to help define the unknown word.
    3. Antonyms- The sentence uses an antonym or describes the opposite of what the word means in order to help you know the definition of the unknown word.
    4. Examples- Examples are given to help define the meaning of the word.

Take Practice Tests

While taking practice tests, use context clues to figure out what the vocabulary words could mean. Practice looking for context clues. When you come across a question that asks you to define the meaning of a word, go back to the sentence and determine whether there are any definitions, synonyms, antonyms, or examples used to tell you. As you practice looking for these clues, you’ll see a pattern that will help you feel better prepared to take on these types of questions on the exam.

Make Vocabulary Flashcards

If you’re still looking for ways to prepare to conquer the vocabulary on the exam, make a list of words from practice tests that you don’t know. If you’re working with a study group, have them make a list with you. For more words to practice, check out middle and high school textbooks. This is where many of the words come from for the Praxis Core. Then, make flashcards to go over the words. As you quiz yourself, make a pile of words that you know and another pile for words that you don’t. Then, you can focus on the words that you need to review.

After practicing these types of questions for the reading section, learning how to identify context clues, and making flashcards for words that you don’t know, you can feel better prepared to take on any vocabulary words that the exam throws at you.


  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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