List of 1000 SAT Vocabulary Words with Latin and Greek Roots

ACT and SAT Test Prep, PSAT, SAT Prep, SAT Reading, Tutoring, Uncategorized
No Comments

This is a PDF document that you are welcome to download, link to, or print out with 1,000 of the most common SAT Vocab words.  Along with the words and definitions, the list provides Latin and Greek Roots along with the use of the words in a sentence.  These are the same words that are featured on the SAT Vocab Flashcards here on  I hope this helps you do well on the the SAT and PSAT tests!  Teachers and tutors are welcome to use this for their classes and tutoring sessions. 


SAT Vocabulary List



How to Use Your PSAT & NMSQT Results

ACT and SAT Test Prep, National Merit, PSAT
No Comments

Most schools will pass back the PSAT/NMSQT results to students soon, if they haven’t done so already.  How can you use these results most effectively?

Be sure you receive your test booklet and score sheet – all guidance counselors should have this material available.  The test booklet will be the same one you actually used when you took the actual test, so you can see any problem-solving approaches you may have written down on the math section.  The score sheet will tell you for each and every question if you missed it, and if you did miss it, what the correct answer was. 

Go through all the questions you missed to learn from your mistakes and to see if there were any patterns in what you missed.  There is simply no diagnostic test better than an actual test, so don’t let the opportunity to learn from missed questions go to waste.  When I tutor students, I love having the opportunity to work through the PSAT with them to help them look for trends in their though processes on which they can improve. 

You can also use the PSAT results to see if you would prefer to focus more on the SAT or ACT going forward.  How?  Take a look at the percentiles of your performance on the PSAT, which juniors take, and the PLAN, which sophomores take.  The PSAT corresponds to the SAT and the PLAN corresponds to the ACT.  If the percentiles are relatively similar – say within about 10-15 points of each other – you may as well try both the SAT and ACT.  If one is clearly a better fit for you, however, then you may not want to waste your time taking both exams.  Focus on whichever test will give you the better opportunity to showcase your talents and abilities since colleges all across the country will accept either test.

Should you Recheck and Double-Check your Answers on the ACT and SAT?

ACT and SAT Test Prep, ACT Prep, PSAT, SAT Prep
No Comments

One of the major obstacles to top test performance on exams like the ACT and SAT is when test-takers want  to finish with tons of time to spare so that they can go back and double check all of their answers.  While this may be a good technique on other types of tests, it can lead to serious issues on the ACT and SAT.  Here are the reasons why:

1.       If you don’t understand the question the first time, you likely won’t understand it the second time.  The questions on the ACT and SAT are very, very well written.  If you misread a word or two, you will often find that you will miss the point of the entire question – the wording is just too intricate.  You will be much better off if you take the time to read the questions really well rather than rushing through them so that you have time at the end of the test to go back and double check them.  Reading them once well is far preferable to reading them 3-4 times poorly. 

2.       You can’t easily plug in answers.  The math section is one on which you would think you could go back and effortlessly double check your answers by plugging the answers back into the equations.  Unfortunately, it is quite rare that the SAT and ACT will give you an equation into which you can easily plug in answers.  Usually, the difficulty in answering these test questions is found in attempting to set up the problem in the first place.  Because of this, you would be better off devoting more time to understanding and setting up the problem rather than skimming through the questions so that you have time at the end to recheck. 

3.       The ACT and SAT are tough to finish – don’t make them more difficult than they already are.  By setting the unreasonable expectation that you should not only finish the questions  but should have time to recheck your answers, you will set yourself up for failure.  Rushing through the test will contribute to careless mistakes as well as increased test anxiety.    

4.       You will often simply convince yourself you were right rather than do anything productive.  A multiple choice test is different from  fill-in and essay tests in that you are always able to put something down as an answer.  This makes it very easy for you to want to spend your time going back to make yourself believe you picked the correct answer.  Many people do this because it helps with their test anxiety.  Spending time convincing yourself that you were correct will make you feel better during the test, but will do nothing to help improve your score. 

5.       You will often change things that you had correct.  The incorrect answers, or distractors, on ACT and SAT questions are extremely persuasive.  Time spent analyzing answers after you have made a solid attempt usually just persuades you that you picked the wrong answer.  Instead of going back and changing answers around, spend your time making sure that your answer is correct the first time. 

6.       It is unlikely that you will make a gridding error.  The SAT has sections no longer than 35 questions, so you will probably not make bubbling errors on your scantron sheet.  The ACT has longer sections – up to 75 questions on the ACT English – but questions alternate between ABCD and FGHJ in the answer choices, making it highly unlikely that you will get off by one question as you bubble in your answers.  Rather than worrying about a gridding error that is unlikely to happen, focus your mental energy on the much more productive task of answering the questions well. 

When does it make sense to spend time double checking answers?  On School Tests, not Skill-Based Standardized Tests.  Why?  On school tests, you might recall key facts when you give your mind a chance to think through things, use solutions to some questions to help you think of answers to other questions, and plug numbers back into equations to check your answers.  So be certain to modify your approach to checking answers depending on the type of test you are taking.  

Guest Post from Jennifer Karan, Executive Director of the College Board

No Comments

Familiarity Breeds Comfort

By: Jennifer Karan, Executive Director of the SAT Program at the College Board

Every so often I find myself speaking to a high school student who, upon finding out that my work involves the SAT, looks at me in awe.  (At least, I like to think it’s awe). 

And then takes a big step backwards. 

Unfortunately, to them the SAT represents some huge and inscrutable test that they feel they should fear, some Goliath that they are going to have to conquer in their junior or senior year for which nothing can ready them.

Relax, I tell them, the SAT is nothing to be feared; and when the time comes, you will successfully conquer it.  In fact, there are things you are probably doing right now that are preparing you and you don’t even realize it. 

The best preparation for the SAT, I counsel, is to do well in school.  First, make sure you are on the path to completing a core curriculum; then, make sure those courses are truly challenging – don’t take the easy way out.  Study hard and read as much as possible.

There are even little things that students can do early on.  Create an account on the College Board website – it has a bunch of free planning and preparation resources.  One my favorite tools is the SAT Question of the Day, or QOTD for those in the know.  It’s an actual question from a past SAT and it’s a really great way to both become familiar with the exam content as questions come from all three sections as well as get your brain up and running in the morning. 

I have to confess I receive the SAT QOTD each morning in my inbox.  If you don’t want to register for the email, you can visit the site each day and “play”. 

The Question of the Day is a great way for underclassmen to engage with the SAT in a fun and introductory manner and for those who are practicing more seriously to take advantage of all the possible resources.  With a little familiarity the SAT won’t seem intimidating at all.

As Publilius Syrus once said, “Practice is the best of all instructors.” (I know, because I got it in an email this morning.)



How to Increase Your Mental Focus and Endurance When Taking the ACT, SAT, GED or Other Standardized Tests

ACT and SAT Test Prep, ACT Prep, AP, GED, IB, PSAT, SAT Prep, Study Skills, Study Tips, Uncategorized
No Comments

A common concern that students have when they take a major test, like the SAT, ACT or GED, is how they can maintain focus.  Here are 15 things that can help you improve your mental focus when you are taking a test. 

1.       Get Plenty of Sleep.  If you are cramming for a major memorization test, sacrificing a bit of sleep can make sense.  If you are studying for a major conceptual and problem-solving test, however, adequate sleep is essential.  The SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, GED and other major standardized tests uniformly are conceptual and problem-solving tests.  As such, be certain that you are well-rested for test day.  If you are thinking about staying up late to study the night before the SAT or ACT, please don’t!  Get a good night’s sleep instead. 

2.       Caffeine Can Backfire.  Caffeine can be a helpful supplement for students who have attention deficit issues (please talk to your doctor about your personal situation).  For most students though, caffeine can make you jumpy and jittery on test day.  The adrenaline you have pumping through your veins will more than be sufficient to make you alert.  You want to make sure you are not accelerating your thinking such that you make lots of careless errors. 

3.       Don’t Ask Too Much of Yourself.  If you have only score in the 50th percentile on practice tests, do not expect that you will score in the 99th on the actual test!  You will have significant focus issues if you attempt more problems than you should and if you attempt to read faster than you can comfortably do so.  If you give your mind a reasonable task to do, it will comply.  If you don’t, your mind will shut down and think about other things. 

4.       Get Medical Help if Needed.  If you notice that you have quite a bit more difficulty in focusing on tests than your friends do, it couldn’t hurt to have a doctor or psychologist evaluate you.  I once had a student who told me that every time he took a test, he could never stay focused.  I suggested that he see a doctor, since he had never been evaluated for attention issues.  He was able to get some ADHD medicine for his test.  He took the test with his medicine, and did well enough to get in the college of his choice.  It doesn’t hurt to look into this if you never have.  If paying for a medical evaluation is a concern, your school psychologist should be able to do an evaluation on you free of charge. 

5.       Control Where You Take the Test.  Don’t just sign up for any old test-center.  Try to take it at a school or facility where distractions will be kept to a minimum.  If you are distracted by large rooms and lots of noise, take the test at a school with small classrooms.  If you are distracted by having lots of people you know at a test center, sign up to take the test on the other side of town.  In any event, think  about where you should do it.  As long as you plan far enough in advance, you should be able to have plenty of control over where you take your test. 

6.       Declare a Drama Moratorium Leading Up to the Test.  You don’t need to take it to the extreme that one of my students once did – he broke up with his girlfriend a week before the ACT so she wouldn’t be a distraction to him!  You may want to isolate yourself a bit more leading up to a test so that you don’t have the “drama” that your “friends” may often cause.  Plan on going out for a fun evening with everyone after the test is over!

7.       Practice Without Social Media Distractions.  Nowadays, we are almost like cyborgs in how we are constantly connected to our phones, computers and tablets.  If you are practicing for the SAT, ACT or another test with the test in one hand and your phone in another, you are setting yourself up for failure.  Get used to practicing without having the constant interaction of social media so that you don’t experience internet deprivation when you are stuck taking a test for 5 hours. 

8.       Have a Snack During Breaks.  This is one of the easiest yet most helpful things you can do to stay focused during tests.  Most every major test will give you some sort of a break.  Use this time to get your blood sugar up to where it should be by having a healthy snack:  granola bar, banana, energy bar, etc. 

9.       Wear Earplugs.  I have never come across anything saying you can’t use earplugs during major tests.  If you are distracted by the smallest of noises, go ahead and bring earplugs (they only cost a few dollars) and tune out your fellow test-takers.   Just be sure that you are aware of when the test proctor is calling time so that you aren’t ejected from the testing site for continuing work when you shouldn’t. 

10.   Eat Peppermint When Studying and When Test-Taking.  I have heard and read from various sources that eating peppermint while you study and then having peppermint while taking a memorization-based tests can help you remember things because you are connecting key concepts to your primitive sense of smell.  I have not tried this personally, but I have had students do this and say that it is helpful.  If nothing else, it will have a placebo effect, giving you more confidence in your ability to remember things. 

11.   Do Relaxation and Hypnosis Exercises.    Athletes do mental conditioning.  Musical and dramatic performers do too.  Performing well on a standardized test is a major undertaking – why not do some relaxation or hypnosis exercises to help you focus?  If your situation is really bad, you may even consider hiring a professional hypnotist to help you learn to subconsciously tune out distractions and focus on the task at hand while taking a test.  If your lack of focus is more mild, you can do any number of relaxation exercises available in books or online to help you channel your energy when test-taking.  

12.   Get Test Anxiety Under Control if Needed.  If you are always distracted by serious worries about your performance when taking a test, address these concerns ahead of time by thinking through how you will handle your test anxiety.  I have an in-depth guide of suggestions here:

13.   Get Motivated if Needed.  If you are distracted when test-taking because you just don’t care, find motivation.  The best way to do this is to talk to your parents, teachers or older friends who can tell you why doing well on test you are about to take is indeed very important.  I can assure you that they will have some advice that will ring true for you. 

14.   Accept That There is Nothing Else You Can Do During Test Time.  When I go on an airplane ride, I accept that I will not be able to call anyone or use the internet during this time.  I embrace this quiet time, reading or talking with family members.  Use the same mindset when you take a major test.  Let go of any of the other things that could be bugging you during this time because there is absolutely nothing you can do about them during the test.  Given the ever-present media distractions we face, doing a standardized test can in a way be a bit liberating!  (I know that’s a stretch, but some of you may be able to look at it that way. . . )

15.   Build Your Mental Endurance.  If you are about to run a marathon and you haven’t even gone for a run around your neighborhood, you will completely fall apart.  Similarly, if you are going to take a 4 or 5 hour test, it is unlikely that you will be able to focus for this long if you have done nothing to build your test-taking stamina.  If you know you have issues with mental focus, be sure to do some full-length tests leading up to the actual thing. 

I hope you have found this discussion helpful.  If so, please share it with your friends!  Thanks, Brian Stewart

Copyright 2019 | Blog Powered by Wordpress
Website By |