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SAT Vocabulary 4,336 views

Teacher/Instructor Eva Holtz
Eva Holtz

Harvard University
Perfect scores on the SAT and 4 SATIIs

Eva is a certified admissions counselor and the founder of PrepPoint, a premier test prep company in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to share some vocabulary tips with you for a couple of reasons, first of all, the SAT vocabulary is extremely challenging and on the plus side, if you do invest the time in learning some more vocab that will have a guaranteed pay off on test day, you'll know more words, you'll answer more questions correctly and in addition you'll be more confident which will help your performance and you'll be able to move more quickly which gives you time for the questions you really need to think through and I have three types to share with you so let's talk about those.
The first trick I want to talk about is pretty straight forward, it's just using your knowledge of foreign language either to decode words on test day or to learn words before test day. Let me give you a couple of examples and I want you to try to memorize them as we go. There will be a pop quiz at the end of this bit.
So, here are three examples; facile means easy and effortless and you might recognize the word 'facio' from Spanish or French class. Then we have terrestrial related to the earth. You might recognize a word like tiara or tail and lastly arboreal is related to trees like 'arbo' in Spanish or 'arbre' in French. If you take it Japanese that's totally awesome but I'm sorry I'm not going to be much use to you here.
The second tip, use imagery which means associate a picture with the vocabulary word. Let me give you some concrete examples and try to memorize these two for the pop quiz coming up. Temporal means related to time so why don't you picture this. The word looks kind of like temples at the side of your head so picture a guy with clocks because it's related to time right here. So when you see the word temporal you'll picture a guy rubbing his temples and there are clocks there because temporal means related to time. That's word number one.
Word number two, 'abridge-' to shorten. I want you to see the word bridge there and think of some people trying to shorten a bridge and the more vivid the imagery, the easier it is to remember so maybe if you try to picture some people trying to shorten a bridge and of course they can because the bridge is a certain length and they're having trouble so abridge means to shorten. Try to remember that.
The last one, conflagration is a huge fire. The word conflagration has the word flag in it. So picture a flag burning. When you see conflagration, see the word flag, when you see the word flag see a picture of a flag burning. Conflagration means a big fire. So remember those three images and the last trick let's look at it; mnemonics.
Now, imagery is related to this. It's the idea of making up a stupid story or picture to remember something. If you want to make up a phrase or a sentence or maybe a rhyme that involves the word you're trying to learn. Three more examples to add to your list of words to remember for the pop quiz.
Preclude means to make something impossible. I'll break it down into two parts; 'pre' and 'clude'. I think of preclude as meaning prevent and exclude, preclude. Prevent and exclude. If I prevent something and I exclude it I'm making it impossible, so preclude means making possible, remember that.
Penchant means a liking for something like I have a real penchant for sushi. Now, it looks kind of like the word pendant that kind of necklace so see the word pendant there next to the word pension and think 'I really like your necklace' so when you see penchant you automatically think, 'I really like their pendant' and you know penchant means liking in that way.
Lastly, laudable means deserving praise. When I see laudable, I turn it into the word applaud-able like, "Oh, that was great. You deserve praise. That was fantastic." Now, let's tie all this together with a pop quiz and see if those nine terms stuck with you. You may want to freeze this and see whether you know the definitions. More or less for these words; temporal, abridge, conflagration, preclude, penchant, laudable, facile, terrestrial and arboreal. Give it a try. The answer is coming up. Here it goes. So, how many of those did you remember? I suspect it's more than you might have expected so try these three tricks in order to memorize words more quickly and remember them longer term. Let's do a wrap-up.
So bottom line vocabulary study is pretty straightforward. The vocabulary on the SAT is tough but studying has a good pay off that's guaranteed and we went over three tricks to help you using a foreign language experience using imagery and using mnemonics. Of course this is just a brief preview and you have to make this to your own. So as you go through and study SAT vocabulary as you'll hopefully do, try to draw in your own foreign language experience, make up your own images and your own mnemonics and try and do as a material that makes sense to you so if you're somebody who learns best with flash cards, that's great. Go grab some flash cards. You might even want to add your images or a mnemonics to them so you can study better that way or if you've already learned to say some vocabulary in English class from last year and you've kind of forgotten it, maybe you want to go back to those words. You've already them once so they're kind of familiar and will be faster to learn again especially if you add in some foreign language experience, some imagery and some mnemonics.