Improving Your SAT Vocabulary

Author: Anthony-James Green
Published: February 15, 2012 at 9:46 pm

SAT Vocabulary causes a lot of undue anxiety among students and parents alike. If you want to improve your vocabulary by hundreds of words in no time flat, you just need to understand some basics of brain science.

Your brain remembers things best when they're tied to as many of your senses as possible, when they're emotional, and when they're in story form.

Staring at a traditional flashcard, with a word on the front and a definition on the back, fits none of the above descriptions. It engages only the "text recognition" part of your brain, which is notoriously fickle and unreliable. Flashcards use no emotion, no imagery, no audio, no...anything, really.

So if you want to improve your SAT Vocab, you need to try a much more effective and potent device: Vivid Mnemonics.

When you want to memorize a word, try creating an emotional, vivid, story-based mnemonic out of. Here's an example:

Parsimonious (adj.) - Cheap

Well, that doesn't do much, does it? Now do this:

Imagine an extremely rich man, wearing a topcoat and a Rolex, and driving a Mercedes, sleeping in a cardboard box. This rich man is so PARSIMONIOUS and cheap that he doesn't want to buy himself a house, and thus he's PARTLY HOMELESS. Close your eyes and imagine this PARSIMONIOUS aristocrat in his cardboard box, asleep on the street in front of his Mercedes. He's so PARSIMONIOUS that he's PARTLY HOMELESS! What a cheapskate!

I can promise you that it'll be years before you ever forget the definition of this word. That's because you've engaged your visuals and your emotions, created a story out of the word, and tied it to multiple associations in your own head.

If you want to learn SAT vocabulary words quickly, try doing this with every word that you need to learn. Come up with funny, emotional, visual, rhyming stories and see what happens. If possible, even draw a picture! It'll do wonders for your retention!

To see hundreds of additional examples, you can view free samples at our new website, (, where we use Vivid Vocab to help you memorize all of the most common SAT vocabulary words. You can also get (Free SAT and ACT test prep advice at our website,, and signing up for our newsletter.

Start studying SAT vocab now, and remember: slow and steady wins the race! The more you use these words, and the more time you give yourself to learn them, the sooner you'll improve your score!


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Article Author: Anthony-James Green

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