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Reason Prep’s SAT Vocabulary List

This is a 750+ word list of the most important vocabulary on the SAT. This list was generated primarily through a careful analysis of words that have appeared on real SAT & PSAT Reading and Writing tests. I’ve also added in other words that appeared often on Old SAT Reading sections. This list should help you with Reading passages and questions, obviously, but also diction and idiom questions on the Writing & Language Test.

While this list was designed for SAT students, ACT students can also work through this list if you have the extra time and energy. Expanding your lexicon is good for everyone!

Download New SAT Vocab List

Note that base words can appear in different forms in standard usage, for example: magnanimity, magnanimous; cynical, cynicism, cynic, cynically; zealot, zealous, overzealous; etc. I have combined these definitions into one “base word” that can help you figure out the definitions of the others (for example, only “cynical” is listed below).

I did not include definitions because 1) it’s a lot of work for me to write 750+ definitions and 2) it’s better for you to get the definitions yourself. It’s part of the learning process J I recommend using Easy Define (http://www.easydefine.com/) for getting the definitions of these words. Just copy/paste each column and you’ll get the list of definitions.

Words that look like this have multiple shades of meaning, so be thorough when looking up definitions!

Go here for strategies for learning this vocab: http://rprep.co/satvocab

I will update this list as the College Board releases more tests.

How to Study Vocabulary

Instructions for finding the definitions of the words are given above. See below for methods & apps for learning these words.

Frequency – I recommend two study sessions, 10-15 minutes each per day, preferably every day though an occasional skipped day is fine. Increase the frequency to 3-4 sessions if you really have to cram short term.

Number of New Words Per Day – If you have >3 months until your next SAT, 10-15 new words per day is a fine pace, especially since you likely already know many of these words. Otherwise, divide 750 by the number of days you have until the test – this is approximately how many new words you’ll need to learn per day. As the days go by, you’ll have to add new words while also reviewing words you’ve already learned to ensure they stick with you. (Note: Anki, a program I discuss below, staggers word frequency for you automatically!)

Study Methods

There is a panoply of apps, websites, and the like that can help you learn words. Here are my favs:

  • Index Cards – This is a good option if you prefer the “old school” method, but it will require you to write down all the words and definitions yourself.
  • Quizlet A solid website & mobile app for setting up your vocab lists. Be careful when searching for my vocab list on this site – these lists are almost solely Old SAT lists. Better to make your own.
  • Anki If you want to go hardcore with your studying, use this program. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but the benefits are immense: Anki staggers word frequency to ensure you’re focusing on your weakest words while periodically reviewing your strong words. Super high efficiency studying!

Watch this video for some more explanation on the options available and how to use the Vocab List:

Robert Schombs

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!

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46 comments on “Reason Prep’s SAT Vocabulary List”

  1. Mhmaud

    Oh Man!! you are genius.I am from Bangladesh and credit card is not so available here.If i had credit card I would have been your student surely.I am giving you thanks deepest portion of my heart.

    Reply
  2. Peter

    This list is a very thorough SAT vocab list.

    Reply
  3. Pablo

    When you mean by learning the words, you mean putting them inside your head and knowing the definitions and how to use them?

    Reply
  4. Pablo

    I will be subscribing next week to the member’s area. I already watched all your free videos from maths, reading, and writing. However, I see TONS of videos and this is obviously good but how could I mantain a balance for studying and watching all the videos? It will take me extremely much time looking all the videos.

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      Watching all the videos is certainly not a requirement. Instead, you need to watch the videos that are the most helpful for you. The diagnostic tests help with this – they tell you which videos to watch, for example. So you definitely want to do a lot of practice but supplement your studies with the videos that will improve your weaknesses the most.

      Reply
  5. Aigerim

    what will it be if I will learn only the translation in my own language? Will it help me, or it is better to learn the meaning of the word???

    Reply
  6. Mohamed Hashish

    IMPRESSIVE

    Reply
  7. Bundleofhate

    I think I’m in love with you. This is really helpful thanks

    Reply
  8. dasani

    Do you have to have college board or is any prep book fine? Also when do you think that someone should start with the practice tests?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      I don’t recommend any prep book besides the official College Board’s Blue Book, especially for practice material. You always want to use official tests for practice sections & tests. So definitely pick up the Blue Book if you don’t have it already. You should start with full tests after you’ve reviewed all the concepts for all three sections as much as you can AND when you are getting close to your target score in a full practice section. I explain this approach in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KWDo9c6CW4

      Reply
  9. G

    I’m having trouble differentiating between two words on your vocab list. I checked several sources and they all say that a connoisseur is an authority in a certain field while a dilettante is an amateur in a certain field. I see these as antonyms but the online dictionaries I checked all have them as close synonyms. Can you explain to me how these two words are similar?

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      Yea I’d say in normal situations they’d be antonyms, but I guess the definition of dilettante has drifted a bit so that the two words overlap in some usages. Strange. Just know the definitions and you’ll be fine.

      Reply
  10. Isabella

    Hi I am Studying your practice methods and was wondering how many points do you think the average person can go up by?

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      It depends on your starting scores, how much time you have until your next test, and how dedicated your practice regimen, but 100+ points per section isn’t a bad goal.

      Reply
  11. Riza

    Just wanted to say you are awesome! Y

    Reply
  12. Aatmiya

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  13. Megrelidze Nikoloz

    Hi Rob I have a Q about he definitions. For example a word from your Vocab list ”buoyancy”
    It has 2 definitions:

    1) the ability or tendency of something to float in water or other fluid.
    2) a cheerful and optimistic attitude or disposition.

    Now, I only added second definition to My “Anki” because I have to learn so many words in a month, I need concise def.

    The reason I chose the second one is, it seems more like what would test ask me of….

    So what do you think, should I do the same with other words or still try to learn all of the def’s?

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      Good question – I’d focus on the single most important definition for most words. But for words like “buoyancy” which have one “obvious” definition (i.e. tendency to float) and one nonobvious secondary definition (cheerful attitude), I’d focus on the secondary definition because the SAT likes to trick you with those apparently “simple” words.

      Reply
  14. Omniya

    I read a lot of stories and i got on my reals 370 how can i increase it to 500 or higher ? how can i improve ? thanks for your recommendation :’))

    Reply
  15. chandrauppuluri

    I am taking my SAT as a 7th grader on the 24th of January and I don’t have a whole lot of vocab knowledge. How do you suggest I learn all of these words so quickly?

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      It won’t be possible to learn all of them, but definitely focus on Level 1-3. You can probably learn those words over the next two weeks, so start making flash cards (or use an app like Anki).

      Reply
  16. T

    i am a little bit confused with the word “grounds of” in the vocal list level one ,can you please explain it to me?

    Reply
  17. xfromny

    Wait I would have to enter the list into anki via my typing?

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      Yes, though you can copy-paste the information into Anki as well – perhaps use a spreadsheet, copy/paste the words, copy/paste the definitions, and then transfer to Anki. If you don’t want to do that, you could use Quizlet – many people have created decks out of my words already, so you could just use those shared decks. However, it’s actually not a terrible idea to make the decks yourself (whether in Anki or Quizlet) – making each card will expose you to every word & its definition, giving you a head start on learning them. Plus you can ensure that the definition is accurate, memorable, etc.

      Reply
  18. Marlen

    hello! i have taken the real SAT in march and I got a 450 in critical reading and a 490 in math and writing. I also got a 8 on the essay. my target score overall is a 1800 and i have seen the video “how to achieve from a 1500 to a 2400 : 1700,1800,1900” my next sat test is in two weeks and i would really like to reach my target score. is there any advice you can offer me that can boost my scores ? this is greatly appreciated 🙂

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      Well that’s not much time to increase your scores by that much, but you can certainly do a lot in the time you have to boost your scores overall. I’d shoot for the 1800 score goal for the long term (perhaps the June or probably October test).

      As for tips, there’s quite a bit I could say, and I share all of that in the videos & content on this site & my channel. I recommend you start here for each subject:

      Math: Math Diagnostic Test (free on site)
      Grammar: Grammar Diagnostic Test (free on site)
      Reading: Focus on the passages – check out the sample videos of the Critical Reading Bootcamp & other videos on my Youtube channel about CR

      Reply
  19. Pedro Belton

    You can use http://www.vocabulary.com to learn words too. The definitions are shorter and easier to learn.

    Reply
  20. Ko Su Yeon

    I’m studying vocals by finding the meaning by myself. But I can’t find the meaning of ‘grounds of’

    Reply
  21. LisaGonzales-Kramer

    Hey Rob, can you tell me your user name on Quizlet to ensure that I use the flashcards from the right list?

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      I don’t have any username on Quizlet, nor did I put up any of the vocab cards there, but if you search for “Reason Prep” you’ll find a ton of people’s lists. Any of those lists should be fine, though I’d skim through them to make sure they look decent before committing to studying them.

      Reply
  22. ConfusedMadMan

    what is the definition of rhetoric and rhetorical??

    Reply
  23. Sanju Baral

    So glad of your efforts, Rob! I am from Nepal and I’d never found anything as helpful as your materials for SAT prep. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  24. Kristine

    I have been stuck in the 660-700 range for my writing section, and I am trying to get to 800 (or as close to 800 as possible). Any recommendations aside from studying your list?

    Reply
    • Rob
      Rob

      Do you mean Reading? If so, keep focusing on Passages because you’re likely missing more than a few questions there.

      If you meant Writing, then you’d want to focus on your Grammar rules – check out the Grammar Diagnostic & Grammar Bootcamp on this site!

      Reply