The Value of Vocabulary Building
For students to perform well in college, they must have a good command of the English language. Studies prove that “English vocabulary level has shown to be strongly related to educational success” (R. Bowker, English Vocabulary Manual (1981). Students with a strong vocabulary are able to express their ideas fluently and do research and book reports easily. Because of this, vocabulary skills are at a premium when taking tests like the SAT.
The key to ensure your good overall score on the SAT is to grow your vocabulary. Here is a list of some 9th grade SAT prep words that are most likely to appear on the exam. Master the right words, the right way, in just three days!
Day 1: Study How the Words are Used in Sentences
Learning SAT vocabulary in context is the best way to learn the words, and this is what you are going to practice in day one. Build your vocabulary by understanding how words are used in sentences. Use the context clues in and around the sentences to guess or estimate the meaning of the words.
- Peril - danger
- The tourist guide was abandoned by the tourists when he described the peril that lay ahead of them. They certainly wouldn’t want to risk their lives.
- Our home library is filled with stories of perilous adventures.
- Sinister - evil; wicked; dishonest; frightening
- I was frightened by the sinister-looking man across the street.
- The sinister plan to cheat was discovered by the teacher.
- Denounce- condemn in public; express strong disapproval.
- The father denounced his son for lying.
- People denounce the government’s wrong-doing.
- Prejudice - an opinion formed without taking time and care. To judge fairly; to harm or injure
- Elimination of prejudice should be among the problems that must be resolved by democratic countries.
- The witness’ weird behavior prejudiced Mark.
- Mundane - concerned with the ordinary
- The president has no time for mundane matters.
- I hate reading biographies, which talk about mundane events.
- Nostalgia - yearning for the past
- A feeling of nostalgia went over me when I saw my favorite childhood toy.
- Giving in to nostalgia, Marie cried for the days of her childhood.
- Omnipotent - all powerful
- A king is omnipotent in his palace.
- The skilled policeman is omnipotent in his town.
- Parsimonious - stingy, cheap
- The rich man disliked being called parsimonious.
- Parsimonious all his life, Alex gave the money he won in the lottery to the church.
- Thwart - to hinder, block
- If you thwart the cruel president of the club, your life will be at risk.
- The inmates who wanted to escape were thwarted by the security guard
Day 2: Review the Parts of Speech
A part of speech explains how a word is used. This makes it necessary for you to understand how a word is used in a given sentence to be able to decipher its exact meaning. On your second day, look at the following sample questions, and try to solve them. Then, review the different parts of speech on your own.
1. Which of the following is an adjective that means counterfeit or fake?
2. What is the correct meaning of the verb transpire in this sentence?: “It later transpired that faulty wiring had been responsible for the fire that killed 100 people."
a. became known
b. kept as a secret
3. Which noun means the condition of increased body weight caused by excessive accumulation of fat?
4. What is the correct meaning of the verb promenade?
a. to go on a leisurely walk
b. to skip, hop and jump
c. to dance
d. to run
Answer key: The letter a is the correct answer for each.
Day 3: Make Your Own Sentences
This is the last day of your three-day vocabulary enrichment. Stay relaxed; you need not memorize all the words listed below. A great strategy to learn these new words is to use them in your own sentences upon understanding their meaning. Feel the words. Allow them to talk to you, and try to internalize them. With this strategy, you will be able to remember the correct meaning of words, and you will be able to recognize them in whatever type of questions they may be asked. Get started with these:
- acumen n. - accuracy, and keenness of judgment
- anachronistic n- out of the context of time, out of chronological order
- abhorrent adj.- disgusting, wrecked, sickening
- asylum n.- shelter, a place of care
- brazen adj.- loud, resonant sound
- cognizance n. – observance, notice
- clairvoyant adj.- having the power to see objects that cannot be perceived by the senses
- conformist n- someone who follows the customs, rules, or styles of the majority
- deduce- to conclude by reasoning
- demagogue n.- leader in ancient times
- evanescent adj.- vanishing
- extenuating adj.- excusing, something that makes the situation better
- fortitude n.- Strength of mind that brings courage
- hedonist n.- devotion to pleasure
- jabberer n.- a person who talks fast
- noxious- harmful
- pantomime n.- communication by gestures and facial expressions
- parched v. to dry
- placid- calm; peaceful
- precocious adj.- early development, gifted or talented beyond one’s years
- progenitor n. - originator, forefather, ancestor in a direct line
- querulous adj.- given to complaining
- reverence n.- an act showing respect
- subtle adj. - hard to understand
- Talisman- good luck charm
- tempest n.- furious agitation, commotion
- vindicate tr. v. - to clear of accusation or suspicion
- wary adj.- on guard, watchful
- vestige n.- trace left behind
- zeitgeist n.- characteristic of a period or generation
Make a commitment to learn all the words listed. After two weeks, review the 9th grade SAT prep words you’ve learned, and test yourself. Always remember that learning vocabulary is never a waste of time. In fact, it is the only way to raise your score on the SAT. Every word learned makes you a more intellectual person.
R. Bowker, English Vocabulary Manual, 1981.