Tag: sat vocabulary

New SAT—Do I need to study Vocabulary?

Old SATOne of the big changes on the New SAT is the adjustment of the reading section. What used to be critical thinking is now “evidence-based reading.” The New SAT has done away with the sentence completion questions. No more obscure vocabulary, which means no more memorizing extended vocabulary lists… right?


Well… yes and no. Yes, it is no longer necessary to memorize thousands of obscure vocabulary words. However, the New SAT will still be testing vocabulary, only a little bit differently.


The new test will test vocabulary through what they call words in context. What does that mean? Well, according to the new SAT website:

Words in Context questions measure your understanding of how word choice influences meaning, shapes mood and tone, reflects point of view, or lends precision or interest. The Writing and Language portion measures students’ ability to apply knowledge of words, phrases, and language in general in the context of extended prose passages.

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When should you take the SAT?

Vector red Pencil selecting when to startThe New York Times is one of my favorite publications in the world for high quality journalism and as a result, good learning opportunities for kids just by reading the daily.

The newspaper published an interesting article about “When to Take the SAT?” and posed some interesting questions.

They share that kids as young as kindergarten students are keeping track of vocabulary words to help them do well on the standardized exam.  But Kindergarten?  Will a 5 or 6 year old understand the context of SAT words like “propinquity” or “welter?”

Frankly, one of the reasons why they have those terms in their lexicon is that they aren’t mature enough to even handle the context of the terms.  Should a child understand understand that the second definition of the term “welter” means “lie soaked in blood?”  I would say that’s too mature of a term or her or him to recognize or even grasp.  However, the point isn’t whether or not s/he should understand reatively esoteric terms, but that sometimes learning concepts or even ideas can wait until the later stages of a child’s development.  Does reading “1984” in middle school help?  I’m not sure if it’s a great idea given that there are sexual themes that might confuse an adolescent and possibly even teach them that promiscuity is proper or it isn’t wrong.

While we believe that vocabulary is very important to learn at a younger age and we very much welcome the opportunity to teach your children earlier, there may be a limit to how early.  

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Excel on the SAT, Excel in Life

successPersonally, I know what a Harvard or Ivy League education can do for a person: it opens doors – heaps of them.

I have plenty of anecdotes and I share them in education seminars all the time.  However, many people like pure, concrete statistics and I was on the look out for them earlier today.  While searching though, I landed on (Harvard) Professor Steven Pinker‘s article in the New Republic titled “The Trouble with Harvard: The Ivy League is Broken and only  Standardized Tests can fix it.”   It was an interesting read and had more esoteric vocabulary than I’ve seen in a single article in a long time.  Thus, a quizlet list dedicated to it.

Half way through the read though, I found a very interesting find for anyone in the Test Preparation industry:

Camilla Benbow and David Lubinski have tracked a large sample of precocious teenagers identified solely by high performance on the SAT, and found that when they grew up, they not only excelled in academia, technology, medicine, and business, but won outsize recognition for their novels, plays, poems, paintings, sculptures, and productions in dance, music, and theater. A comparison to a Harvard freshman class would be like a match between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals.

Does that mean if you get a 2400 that you’ll become one of the world’s richest on Forbes or win a Nobel Peace prize?  

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