Take Your Exams To The Next Level With Test Prep Vocabulary Tips & Practice

So you have an important test coming up. Standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GED are a major part of the high school, college, and even graduate school experience, but prepping for these tests isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite activity.

Each of these tests serves a different function in the high school and college admissions process, but no matter which one you’re signed up to take, the key is preparation. That means reading up on what the test requires, finding practice questions and word lists, and studying hard. When it comes to the language and vocabulary portions of your tests, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re the test-taker, a parent, a teacher, or a vocabulary lover eager to show off your chops, we’ve created handy word lists for each of the major standardized tests to help you plan, practice, and prepare. Standardized tests measure a number of different academic skills, but they all have one important thing in common: you can use our Dictionary.com learning hub to get set for each test with ready-made word lists, flashcards, quizzes, spelling tests, and even personalized tutoring. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

Jump straight into our world of word lists and explore the variety of test-prep collections we have, as well as other fun topics to amplify your knowledge and writing.

SAT: know the basics

The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is probably the most famous of the standardized college entrance exams. It debuted in 1926, and it gives colleges and universities a way to easily compare applicants based on a standard measure of academic readiness. It has been among the most common college entrance exams for decades, though more and more colleges and universities have been making it optional in recent years.

Registration for the SAT typically opens in April each year, and many students opt to take the exam during the spring or summer before their senior year. This leaves time to get scores and retake the test in the fall, if needed, before college application deadlines lapse.

The test consists of four main sections:

 

  • Math
  • Writing & language
  • Reading
  • Essay

The writing and language portion has a reputation for being tough. Let’s take a closer look at how to prepare for it.

The SAT vocabulary

During the SAT writing and language test, students will be tested on the ability to effectively use grammar and language. In 2016, the SAT underwent a redesign that changed the traditional vocabulary section. Instead of being drilled on word meanings, newer questions may ask test takers to identify words in context, select new words to improve word choice, and identify words with similar or opposite meanings. To ace these questions on the test, it is still important to study common SAT vocabulary. Here are some SAT word lists to help you get started.*

 

While we have labeled these three lists as SAT Word List 1, 2, and 3 for the sake of clarity in this article, note that we have many more SAT test prep sets in our learning hub, hence the mismatch of numbering.

Ready for a challenge? See if your vocabulary is SAT-ready with this quiz!

ACT: know the basics

The ACT, or American College Test, was developed primarily to assess practical knowledge. It’s often taken in tandem with or as an alternative to the SAT, which focuses more on theoretical reasoning skills. Some universities require scores from both the SAT and ACT, others require only one or the other, and some have made entrance exams optional for applicants.

You’ll need to check the admission requirements at your desired school to know which exam to sign up for, but if you plan to take the ACT, the exam is offered in summer, fall, and early spring. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a test date that is at least two months before your application deadlines to give scores plenty of time to be reported. Wondering what’s on the test? Let’s check it out.

The ACT vocabulary

The ACT covers four main subject areas:

 

  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science

You may also opt to include a writing portion, depending on your college or university requirements. The English portion of the exam is 45-minutes long and includes 75 questions. During this portion, you may be asked to read passages and recognize or correct errors in word usage in the text, such as choosing the best word to fit the tone or style or deciding if a word has been used correctly. Studying commonly used ACT vocabulary words can help you prepare for this. Luckily, we have a few lists prepared for your study sessions.

 

Try your hand at this ACT vocabulary quiz once you’ve reviewed our word lists, and see if your skills are ready for action.

GED: know the basics

The GED test is short for the General Educational Development test. This test is a measure of high school educational standards for those who didn’t graduate with a high school diploma. The test covers:

 

  • Math
  • Science
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

The GED can be taken in person or online. Each portion of the test takes about one hour, and you can schedule one test at a time or take all four at once. Ready to start studying? We’re here to help.

The GED vocabulary

The GED does not have a designated vocabulary section; however, the language arts portion of the test does include questions that involve interpreting words and choosing alternatives to words. Additionally, all sections of the test include a number of terms that will need to be studied in order to understand the questions. Studying these terms ahead of time will ensure you interpret the questions accurately and have a better chance of choosing the right answers. Here are some words to know:

 

Now challenge your readiness with our GED vocabulary quiz.

GRE: know the basics

Looking to continue your education in graduate school? Then it’s time for the GRE, or Graduate Records Examination test. The GRE is a multiple-choice, computer-based admissions exam that tests:

 

There are even dedicated exams for those hoping to pursue advanced degrees in business or law.

Do you know the difference between undergraduate and graduate? Learn more about these academic terms.

The GRE vocabulary

The GRE includes a section on verbal reasoning that assesses students’ ability to understand meanings of words and sentences, as well as their understanding of relationships among words and concepts. The questions in this section are multiple choice, and some of them involve reading longer passages. To ace this section, you need a good grasp of the vocabulary used in the reading and in the questions themselves. That’s where we come in. Here are three GRE vocabulary lists to get your studying started on the right foot.

 

Are your word skills up to speed yet with graduate level academics? Review the word lists and then test yourself with this quiz to find out.

Tutoring tailored to the test

When it comes to studying, two brains can be better than one. If you aren’t sure where to start with your studying or you think you may need some extra help, sign up for a flexible, online session with one of our Dictionary.com Academy tutors. Our expert tutors can help with test prep, offer advice on the best ways to study, and give you innovative test taking tips to help everything go smoothly on the big day.

If your student still has some time before they need to think about these exams, there are still many ways to ensure their learning stays strong throughout summer, with these tips.