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Vocab to Remember

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Vocab to Remember

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[edit section] Inside Sentence Completion Guide

  1. Word Charge
  2. Prefixes and Suffixes
  3. Keywords
  4. > Vocab to Remember
  5. Overview and Review

[edit section] Vocab to Remember

Now we once told you that vocabulary is NOT what the SAT tests, but there are some words that the College Board expects you to know. For some reason, these words appear again and again on the SAT, and it would be to your great benefit to memorize these words. They will appear in around 20-30% of all of the SAT vocab-in-context/sentence completion questions you read.


[edit section] A Vocab List

  • absolve - to forgive
  • affected - something feigned or pretended
  • affinity - attraction to or high likelihood to occur
  • aloof - distant or emotionally disattached
  • ambivalent - having two (often opposing) feelings on the same issue
  • amiable - friendly or loving
  • apocryphal - having questionable legitimacy or authenticity
  • assuage - to soothe
  • auspicious - favorably momentuous (favorable)
  • banal - boring and uninspired
  • benevolent - good or kind
  • bombastic - overly superfluous language
  • castiage - to scold
  • commodious - having house-like qualities; also very roomy
  • complacent - satisfied to the point of ignorance
  • concise - short and blunt
  • condone - to allow
  • copious - abundant
  • dearth - lack
  • diatribe - verbal attack
  • digression - deviation
  • ecstatic - happy
  • elicit - to bring
  • exploit - to take advantage of
  • fetid - foul
  • frugal - cheap
  • germane - relevant to a discussion
  • hyperbole - exaggeration
  • impetuous - property of acting without thought or reason
  • impudent - rude
  • inept - incompetent
  • jocular - humorous
  • lurid - glowing
  • malevolent - evil
  • misanthrope - outcast with dislike of humanity
  • odious - hateful
  • partisan - partial
  • platitude - cliche
  • pragmatic - practical
  • prevaricate - to lie
  • profligate - destitute in morality
  • prudent - cautious and conservative
  • reticent - reserved, held back
  • sanguine - optimistic
  • stalwart - heroic
  • sycophant - "yes man"
  • tacit - clandestine
  • terse - brief and to-the-point
  • transitory - short lasting
  • vapid - un-remarkable
  • voluble - talkative


Now, there are many other words that the SAT may test you on. But as we have previously established, the SAT doesn't much test on vocab. Instead, the SAT is a reasoning test, meaning that it requires you to use your ability of reasoning to perform well. This ability includes the techniques that we have described, such as the use of word charges and/or prefixes and suffixes. It also requires that you are able to correctly assume the context of a particular word. For example, the word "established" (as used above) stems from "to establish," which generally means "to create anew." But there are different meanings of "establish" in context:


The company was established in 1966 by its founder, the late Dean Perry.

We have already established that he is a partisan hack.


In the above sentences, established is used in two different ways: in one, "to establish" something new, and in the other, "to establish" or come to a consensus on a point. There are more striking examples of words that have different meanings in context, but hopefully, you understand the point. Understanding context is key to doing well on the SAT. Consider the following question:


We considered him something of a _________________; he detested all meetings, gatherings, and reunions with other people.


A) misanthrope

B) profligate

C) tyrant

D) degenerate

E) malignant


Now, we know that this question does test your vocab a bit, and expects you to know what a person who detests "all meetings, gatherings... with people." In other words, you are looking for a word that describes someone who dislikes people. Choices C, D, and E can be easily eliminated as you know that these carry an overly generalistic, negative charge. You may describe a petty shoplifter as a "hoodlum," but you would be harder-pressed to label him a "degenerate." In the same way, you should be able to identify words that are too extreme in context.


In our next lesson, we will wrap up some of the ideas that we have covered thus far and sum them up with a formula for success on the Sentence Completion portion of the test. For now, take SAT CR: Sentence Completion Test 4 and see how much you have learned!


[edit section] Additional Resources


[edit section] Inside Sentence Completion Guide

  1. Word Charge
  2. Prefixes and Suffixes
  3. Keywords
  4. > Vocab to Remember
  5. Overview and Review

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