SAT Vocabulary For Dummies
The vocabulary section of the SAT can be less intimidating if you adopt good study habits ahead of time and use some simple tips to figure out SAT word definitions. Do your best to lodge some of the most common prefixes, roots, and suffixes in your cranium, and you'll have few problems.
How to Figure Out Vocabulary Definitions for the SAT
You can come through the vocabulary section of the SAT with flying colors if you can prepare for the test by grouping words into logical clusters. During the test, you can figure out word definitions from word parts and use context to give you clues to a word's meaning.
Considering connotation clusters
Unless you have a photographic memory, you probably don't remember words in alphabetical order, straight off the pages of a dictionary. You need another way to recall not just one word at a time, but groups of words together. The following suggestions can help:
Group words according to their meanings, such as words about personal appearance, words about intelligence, words about work, and so on.
Remember words as synonyms (erudite, omniscient = knowledgeable) and antonyms (nescient, dolt = ignorant)
Use three or four words instead of one in conversation and personal writing, such as "She was pulchritudinous, comely, and svelte" or "We suffered from lethargy, torpor, and sluggishness on the weekend."
Benefiting from building blocks
Think of the roots, prefixes, suffixes as the building blocks you use to construct your vocabulary. Using these blocks efficiently and effectively helps you to maximize your word gain and minimize your brain strain.
Use prefixes to determine whether a word is positive (eu– = good; pro– = big or much) or negative (caco– = bad; de– = down from, away from, or to put down)
Use roots to get the gist of the word (phon = sound; culp = guilt)
Use suffixes to fine-tune the definition (–ous = full of; –ate = to make)
Put everything together to define hard words: euphonious = full of good sound (good-sounding, like a pleasant voice); exculpate = make away from blame (free from guilt, declare blameless)
Contemplating contextual clues
Very rarely in your life does someone approach you and say, "Quick: What does somnolent mean?" Instead, you encounter words in stories, articles, or speeches. You can remember words by recalling where you read or heard them.
Review words in the context of stories.
Remember where you learned a word by recalling the tale.
Define a word in a way that's close enough by recalling how it was used in an anecdote.
Study Suggestions for SAT Vocabulary
After you're introduced to new SAT vocabulary words, just how are you going to fix them permanently in your brain? Use the ideas in the following list to help:
Put roots, prefixes and suffixes on color-coded (positive, negative) flash cards and memorize them.
Associate words with friends and situations ("Somnolent — sleepy — Sam"; "Vivacious — energetic — Vicky").
Identify similarities between difficult English words and easier words in another language (facilitate in English; facil in Spanish).
Enlist the help of family and friends to use these words around you as much as possible.
Keep a card file of groups of words (happy/sad; fun/boring); add new words as you encounter them in your studies.
Vocabulary Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes for the SAT
Your time with the vocabulary section of the SAT will be easier if you take the time to master some basic prefixes, roots, and suffixes ahead of time. Knowing these word parts can help you determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. Do your best to add the word parts in the following tables to your knowledge base.
|a–, an– = not, without||circum– = around||peri– = around|
|ab– = away from||co–, con–, col–, cor– = with||poly– = many|
|ad– = toward, addition||contra–, counter– = against||post– = after|
|anim– = life, spirit||de–, ex– = out of, away from||pre– = before|
|ante– = before||extra– = beyond, outside||pro– = big, much|
|anti– = opposite||hetero– = other||re–, retro– = back, again|
|auc–, aug– = increase||homo– = same||se– = apart|
|aud–, aur– = hear||hyper– = above||sub–, suc–, suf– = below|
|auto– = self||hypo– = under||super–, sur– = over, above|
|ben–, bon–, eu– = good||il–, im–, in–, ir–, non– = not||syn–, sym– = together, with|
|brev– = short||inter– = between||trans– = across, beyond|
|caco–, dys– = bad, abnormal||intra– = within||ultra–, outr– = beyond|
|ceiv–, cept–, capt– = take||mal–, mis–, ne– = bad||vice– = in place of|
|ambu = walk, move||fract, frag, frai = break||pug = war, fight|
|andro = man||gnos = knowledge||rupt = break|
|anthro = human||grad, gress = to go||sanct = holy|
|bellu, belli = war, fight||greg = group, herd||scien = knowledge|
|carn = flesh||gyn = woman||senti = feeling|
|clam, claim = shout||her, hes = to stick||somn, sop = sleep|
|clin = lean, bend||jac, ject = to throw||son = sound|
|clud, clus, claus = close||loq, log, loc, lix = talk||soph = wise|
|cred = trust, belief||luc, lum, lus = light, clear||spec = look|
|demo– = people||meta, mut = change||term = end, boundary|
|dog, dox = thought, idea||morph = shape||terr = earth|
|duc, duct = to lead, pull||narco = sleep||theo = God|
|ev = time, age||omni = all||ven = come|
|fac = to do, make||oper = work||vid, vis = to see|
|fiss = break, part||pac, plac = peace, calm||voc, voke = call|
|flict = strike||path = feeling||vol = roll, turn|
|fort = strength||phon = sound||xen = stranger|
|–able, –ible = capable of||–cide = to kill||–ist = a person|
|–ate, –ify,–efy, –ize, –ise = make||–cis = cut||–logy, –ology = study|
|–cess, –cede = to go, yield||–ette, –illo = little||–ous = full of|