This is the first entry in a four (4) part series in which I’ll discuss the best steps to tackle the vocabulary on the SAT test. If you are anything like me, you probably scoff at the idea of looking up a new word in the dictionary when you come across it. Who has time for that? You might think you’ve heard it before, but I’ve got news for you.
Vocabulary Prep for the SAT Test — Lesson 1 (transcript)
Picture yourself a teenager, at home one night with a ton of homework to do. It’s late you just had dinner, you’re feeling tired, you’ve had a rough afternoon, and now you’ve got a bunch of homework to do. You grab your history book and you start reading and you got like five pages to read, you’re blowing through the text, and you come across a word that you’ve never seen before. What do you do?
What you’re supposed to do and what you’ve been taught to do since childhood is put your book down, pick up your dictionary and look up that word, maybe write a little note for yourself after you’ve learned the definition, understand the word and context, understand the passage a little bit better as a whole, and cruise on through your homework that night.
Let me guess that that’s probably not what you would really do if put in that situation. If you’re anything like I was when I was a kid, what you do is you would just skip the word and keep moving. I think the reasoning that you might use to justify that is this:
You say to yourself I’m seventeen years old, I’m a pretty well functioning young adult, I have a driver’s license, I’ve been out, I’ve traveled, I’ve gone to dinner with friends, and I’ve done a bunch of stuff. I’ve never seen this word before so how important could it possibly be? Again, I function well in society, this is a word that is probably some remote obscure history word that I’m never going to hear again for the rest of my life anyway; I’m not going to bother stopping to look this word up and even if I did have the time, it doesn’t make any kind of sense.
Let me tell you something, on a certain level I agree with you 100% because I used to do the same thing. At times when you truly are under a lot of time pressure, it may not actually make sense to stop and look up a word. You’re going to slow yourself down and you’re not going to get to all your homework. If you fall into that thinking of often skipping words because you don’t feel like taking the time because you feel like you’re smart enough and you’ve never seen this word and it’s not that important, you’re like me but do me a favor — ultimately you’re going to struggle on a test like the SAT without a really good vocabulary. You’re going to struggle like I did when I was younger. If you fall into this category, do me a favor — watch part 2 on this series of vocabulary and I want to slowly start to change your mind.
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