Vocabulary on the ACT and the new SAT

SAT Prep | ACT Prep | SAT Reading | ACT Reading

When the College Board redesigned the SAT this Vocabulary on the ACT and the new SATpast March, the test makers made it known that it was no longer a vocabulary test; they removed the Sentence Completion questions that often featured words like chicanery, iconoclast, and obfuscate. But don't let this fool you: there are still vocabulary words on both the SAT and the ACT.

While it's true that the words aren't as recondite as they once were, they are words that I have had to define to past students in my classes or tutoring sessions. And fortunately for you, I'm working on a big ACT and SAT Reading project, so I have collected all of the vocabulary words from the CURRENT officially-released tests. For the ACT, these are the three tests in The Official ACT Prep Guide as well as the one test at ACT.org. For the SAT, these tests are the six released tests at CollegeBoard.org.

These lists include only the vocabulary words in the questions and answer choices on the Reading section (note that the tests--particularly the SAT--also include vocabulary in their Writing section). Words with an asterisk (*) after them indicate that the word was used in at least one correct answer or in the question itself. Words without asterisks were used in incorrect answers. If a word was used in two or three different questions, I have notated the number of occurrences with (x 2) and (x 3). Some of these multiple-appearance words used other word forms; for example, undermines also appeared as undermining, but I chose a single form for the ease of display. You would be wise to be on the lookout for other forms of all of the words on the lists. Finally, some words, like rash (vb), are used as a different part of speech than their most common meaning, so I've indicated the part of speech that the test is using for the term.

You might see some of these words and think, "Those are easy," but be sure you understand that actual definition of the words as this formal meaning will be used on the test.

SAT VOCABULARY FROM READING TEST QUESTIONS

abstract
acquisition*
adversarial*
advocate* (vb) (x 3)
agitate*
alludes
ambitious
ambivalence (x 2)
anecdote
apprehension (x 2)
assertion
attribute (vb)
authenticated (x 2)
brevity
candor
concedes
condemn*
contemplated
counterproductive
crude
declarations
deference*
depleted
detrimental*
diligence*
disdain
disparagement
dreary*
earnestness
eccentric
eloquent
empirical
enduring* (x 2)
entity
enumerating*
erratically
evoke*
exemplifies
exert*
explicitly*
exploit*
feasibility
ferocity
flourish
foreseeable*
generalization* (x 2)
hasten
hostile
humble (x 2)
imperatives
implications
imposition
imprudent
indignation
indulge
inexorably
inherent
invoked
irrationally (x 2)
irrelevant*
lament*
malicious
malleable*
mediation*
menacing
modest
momentous*
monetary
naïve
nostalgic
novel
obscure
obsolete
ornate
parenthetical
pervasive*
petty*
phenomenon (x 3)
pitiable
plausible
plight
practicality
predecessors
prescribed (adj)
procedural
provocative
qualitative*
quantitative*
rash (adj)
reckless
refutes (x 2)
repeal
replenishing
repudiates*
reservations*
resignation
scandalous
scorn
scrutinized
sculptural
sinister
skepticism (x 2)
solidarity*
static* (adj)
substantiates
subtle
superficially (x 2)
susceptible
sustainable
tactful
transparent*
treacherous
unadorned
undermines* (x 3)
underscore (x 2)
unfounded
weighty
yield (x 3)

 

ACT VOCABULARY FROM READING TEST QUESTIONS

allegory
ascertained
assert
catalyst (x 2)
civic*
combative
composites
condescension*
confer*
contentment
culmination*
cynicism
daunting*
derisive
dispensed*
embellished* (x 2)
epitomized
fastidious
genre
grandeur
idolization*
imperceptible
impertinent
indifference
indignation*
industrious*
interplay*
jurisdiction
lineages
mediocre*
melancholy (x 2)
meticulous* (x 2)
nostalgia
obsolete*
omniscent
pioneering*
preoccupation*
profoundly*
protagonists*
reckless
resentment
resignation*
retrospect*
satire
seclusion
stark
stellar
subtle
subsequently
synonymous
taxonomic
testament
ushered

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at vwood@powerscore.com. And as always, don't forget to check out our ACT courses.

Image: "Taraxacum seed head" courtesy of Ervins Strauhmanis