"Flowers for Algernon" Vocabulary Study Guide

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Vocabulary and Definitions

The short story, “Flowers for Algernon” has two sections. The lists below correspond with each section and are listed in the order that they appear in the story, not alphabetically.

Section One List

  1. Rorschach Test - a psychological test in which the subject describes what they see in a series of inkblots on cards.
  2. Thematic Apperception Test - given to a subject to assess personality, in which the subject looks at a series of pictures and creates stories and explanations based upon the images.
  3. motivation - (n.) a person’s reason for doing something
  4. I.Q. - (n.) intelligence quotient. A measurement of human intelligence
  5. subconscious - (adj.) mental operations not present in the conscious
  6. conscious - (n) a person’s thoughts, feelings and ideas; a person’s mind

Section Two List

  1. deceive - (v.) - make someone believe what is not true
  2. refute - (v.) provide evidence or proof to prove a statement untrue or false
  3. intellectual - (adj.) showing great intelligence; scholarly
  4. naivety - (n.) the state of being childlike or simple
  5. deterioration - (n.) the process of breaking down or becoming worse
  6. introspective - (adj.) to look inward to oneself; thoughtful

Vocabulary Study Tips

Studying for a vocabulary quiz can be a daunting task, especially when you have words that involve scientific terms like the word list from “Flowers for Algernon”. You may be tempted to only read the word and memorize the definition, but that method does not always guarantee the best score on a vocabulary test. Here are a few methods you can implement to extend your knowledge of the assigned vocabulary words:

1. Read the words within the context of the story. Go back to the short story, “Flowers for Algernon” and find the word within the text. Read the sentences surrounding the word. What is going on in the sentence? What context clues can you uncover that help you define the word?

2. Write meaningful sentences for each word. Teachers will often assign students to write new sentences for vocabulary words. This activity is pointless if you do not truly understand the word, but will extend your knowledge if you take the time to ensure that your sentence uses the word meaningfully. You can ensure that your sentence content is legitimate by looking up synonyms to the words prior to writing your sentences. Take note of the vocabulary word’s part of speech and make sure you use the word correctly in the sentence. Creating new and meaningful sentences will help you build your understanding of each word and is a great method for studying for any vocabulary test.

3. Create flashcards and review with a friend. Isn’t everything better when we have a friend at our side? Studying is never on the top of our “to do” list, but when you involve friends in the process, it can make the dull task much more enjoyable. Create flashcards with definitions, synonyms and meaningful sentences for each word on the back of each card. Have your friend read the synonyms and definitions and have you guess which word they are holding. You could also have them read you the meaningful sentence and leave out the vocabulary word. Whichever method you wish to employ, studying with a friend is a painless way to prepare for a vocabulary exam!

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This post is part of the series: “Flowers for Algernon”: Study Guide

One common book assigned to high school students is “Flowers for Algernon”. Need help understanding the text? We’ve got all the information you need to know in this study guide.

  1. “Flowers for Algernon” Short Story Vocabulary
  2. “Flowers for Algernon”: Study Questions