SAT Vocab Prep Using SAT Vocabulary Games

I’m willing to bet that no one particularly enjoys preparing for the SAT at all, but it is one of those mandatory things you have to do if you want to want to keep your options open for college and, ultimately, for your future.

One crucial part of studying for the SAT is learning SAT vocabulary. Vocabulary words are guaranteed to pop up all over the test, on the critical reading portions, on the writing portions, and even in the form of questions and answers. A lot of the time, SAT questions will require straight memorization with questions that ask for analogies, sentence completion, etc. Every SAT preparation book, class, or teacher will emphasize the importance of vocabulary on these standardized tests. In order to do fairly well on the overall test, you have to do some serious SAT vocabulary prep.

Before you start memorizing any vocabulary words, you are going to need to get a hold of quite a few good SAT vocabulary games and lists. You can find these all over the internet and in most SAT prep books. Websites such as The College Board and offer extensive lists of yearly updated SAT vocab prep words. You can find many more lists if you simply google “SAT vocab prep”, or “SAT vocabulary games”. The SAT supposedly sometimes switches vocabulary words out after a few years or puts them on rotation, so you should probably do your SAT vocab prep off of the most recently released lists just to be safe.

Now if you are the kind of person that studies and memorizes things better in a group setting or with a few friends, then here are a few SAT vocabulary games you can play with other people in order to suffer and ease the pain together while you simultaneously boost your vocabulary prior to taking the SAT.

1). Vocabulary Bingo

This variation of bingo is one of many fun SAT vocabulary games. It offers an effective way of doing SAT vocab prep words with your friends. To start off, you are going to need to create your own bingo cards. This can be as simple as drawing a grid onto a sheet of paper. I would recommend a 5×5 grid with twenty-five boxes, but you can really go up to any number of spaces to your own choosing. Next, randomly place one SAT vocabulary word in each box on your grid, and your bingo card is ready.

To actually start playing, one person will need to volunteer to be the caller, who will be supplied with a list of some of the same SAT vocab prep words that are on the bingo cards along with their definitions. The caller’s job is to say a definition of the word, and the players will then attempt to mark off their boards. The goal of SAT vocab prep using bingo is the same as regular bingo: to mark off an entire row on the bingo card.

This game requires that players either have the definitions memorized, or they have at least a very good sense of the connections between the words and definitions. This bingo game actually entails the use of your brain. It is, by far, not the same mindless game that bingo is ordinarily known for being.

2). Vocabulary Pictionary

This SAT vocab prep game requires at least two people. It is essentially the exact same thing as regular Pictionary, but everyone involved in the SAT vocabulary prep game is supplied with a list of about thirty, forty, or even fifty of the same words and their definitions. As in regular Pictionary, each person picks a word and draws the word to the best of their ability. The remaining players must scan through their list and attempt to guess the word that the person drew.

I would recommend utilizing a dry erase board for this game since you probably want to draw as many of the SAT vocab words as you possibly can to maximize the amount of studying you get from it.

Personally, I feel like SAT vocabulary games like Pictionary might not be the most practical method for studying vocabulary, since it takes a good amount of time just to draw and guess one SAT prep word. And the game only works well if all the players are given a list of vocab words along with their definitions. This list might hinder the ability or motivation for people to actually memorize the words and definitions.

SAT vocabulary games like this would be perfect as an introductory method to new SAT vocabulary words. Players could be given lists of words they have not yet studied and play off of that while being acquainted with the new and unfamiliar vocabulary.

Those who are really up for a challenge can review the lists ahead of time and try to play without giving any players the definitions of the words. Vocabulary Pictionary without free definitions might be worth your study time and brain energy.

3). Flash Cards

One of the most time efficient SAT vocabulary games is simply using flash cards. They might seem tedious and lackluster, but they are extremely quick and easy. SAT flashcards are nice because they give you reassurance in the SAT vocabulary words that you do know, and also let you find out which ones you are not so familiar with or just can’t seem to memorize.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the term, flash cards are simply little cards with a vocabulary word on one side, and that word’s definition on the flip side of the card. They are most often seen as note cards. It is relatively easy to craft your own flash cards using note cards and writing in your own SAT prep words and definitions on each side. You may also find ready-made SAT vocabulary flash cards in SAT prep books that you can just rip out and cut for your usage, and online where you can conveniently print them out.

Flash cards were my go-to vocabulary studying technique when I was gearing up to take the SAT. I was fine memorizing and going through them alone, but you can also flip through flash cards with other people and have them test you. I would start off by sifting through the cards one by one to get a feel for the words. Then I would attempt to memorize some of the words’ definitions.

After you feel adequately confident in how many words and definitions you learned through your SAT vocab prep, go back through with just the side containing the word facing up. When you see a word, try saying the definition back to yourself, and then check to see if you got it right. If your definition correctly matched the word, move on to the next flash card. If it didn’t, carefully review the correct definition, and then stick that SAT flash card into a separate “hard” pile reserved for the words you did not memorize.

Pick up that pile of difficult words and go through them again, this time trying to memorize the words you did not know during the previous round. If you know more definitions this time around, you can eliminate the ones you feel good about, but keep the hard ones in a separate pile that you will pick up again. The pile of hard words should continue to diminish after each round you go through. Keep repeating this until you adequately have a grasp on all of the words in your entire pile of flash cards.

There are also many digital SAT vocabulary games that are interactive but you can play by yourself online. The internet is a great resource that will aid you in your SAT vocab prep journey. Do not hesitate to use it to your advantage! So go get to studying those vocabulary words and best of luck on your SATs!

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Ashley Yang

Ashley Yang

Ashley Yang will be entering her junior year at the University of California, Davis in the fall, where she is pursuing a double major in Economics and Communication. Outside of class, she loves to see her friends and family, jam out to T-Swift, make smoothies, and curl up and unwind with a relaxing book. Other interests of hers include ballet and gymnastics, skiing, travel, volunteer work, chick-flick movies, animals, and Christmas.
Ashley Yang

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