Summer Test Prep: ACT and SAT Vocabulary and Summer TV

SAT Prep | ACT Prep | SAT Reading | ACT Reading

Let’s keep June ACT- and SAT-free, shall we? TVIt just seems unnatural to think about standardized tests right after the school year ends. Next week, after the holiday, you can start thinking about college admissions again, but for now, let’s just concentrate on what’s important: summer. 

One of the best parts of summer is guilty-pleasure TV; shows that are deemed too tawdry for the major network fall line-up are suddenly given the green-light for summer. And thank goodness! Without Kylie Kardashian or Big Brother or Beat Shazam, I might actually have to venture out in the heat and humidity for my summer entertainment. Gasp! So let’s celebrate Summer TV by using ten of the most common test vocabulary words to describe 10 favorite ways to spend the summer in central air. 

1. In What Would You Do?, actors use pretense to reveal how unsuspecting members of the public will react to questionable situations, such as a father body-shaming his child or a teenager bullying another student.

   Pretense: (n.) a false act intending to deceive

   Word Forms: pretension, pretentious, pretentiously

   Antonym Forms: pretenseless, unpretentious

   Related Word: pretend

 2. Kylie Jenner, star of the new Life of Kylie  reality show, has repeatedly refuted all reports that she has had plastic surgery on her lips and insists instead that their noticable growth is the result of products from her makeup line.

   Refute: (vb.) to prove to be false; to deny as true

   Word Forms: refutable, refutably, refutal, refuter

   Antonym Forms: irrefutable, irrefutably

3.  In Pretty Little Liars, Alison DiLaurentis undermined her closest friends by using their secrets against them, which likely led to her disappearance in Season 1.

   Undermine: (vb.) to weaken

   Word Forms: underminingly, underminer

4.  The Rayburn family commits unspeakable acts in order to avoid condemnation for an old family secret in Netflix's 3-season series Bloodline.

   Condemn: (vb.) to express strong disapproval of

   Word Forms: condemningly, condemnable, condemnably, condemnation

   Related Word: damn 

5.  The rash of game show reboots--such as Love Connection, The $100,000 Pyramid, and To Tell the Truth-- is likely due to the nation's nostalgia for a simpler time.

   Nostalgia: (n.) a desire to return to the past

   Word Forms: nostalgic, nostalgically

6.  Jon Taffer, the star of Bar Rescue, renovates the interior of taverns to make them more attractive to customers, but in additon to improving the aesthetic qualities of a bar, he also works with its employees to increase their efficiency and customer service skills.

   Aesthetic: (adj.) relating to beauty

   Word Forms: aesthetically, aesthetics (n.),  aesthete

   Antonym Form: unaesthetic

    Related Word: esthetician

7.  The contestants on American Ninja Warrior must navigate a hostile course with menacing obstacles like the Salmon Ladder, the Wing Nuts, and the Warped Wall.

  Hostile: (adj.) openly opposed; showing ill-will

   Word Forms: hostilely, hostility 

8.  Simon Cowell often expresses ambivalence about his return as a judge on America's Got Talent, citing his busy schedule as one of the sources of his mixed feelings, but he keeps returning to the show each summer.

   Ambivalent: (adj.) having mixed feelings

   Word Forms: ambivalently, ambivalence, ambivalency 

9.  Game of Thrones examines how the quest for power profoundly affects the lives of several families in a fantasy realm.

   Profound: (adj.) deep; intense         

   Word Forms: profoundly, profoundness, profundity

10.  At its heart, Big Brother is a study of human interaction in close confinement, where the motives and intentions of each houseguest are obscure to each other, but are plainly visible to the viewing public.

   Obscure: (adj.) not clearly understood or expressed

   Word Forms: obscure (vb.), obscurely, obscureness, obscuredly, obscurity 


Wishing you a happy Independence Day and a great holiday weekend! We will be open on July 4th from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. Next week on this blog, we'll get back into serious ACT and SAT discussion, but until then, enjoy your summer.

Photo: "Evening watching television" courtesty of