Your Ultimate Guide to Sat Words

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Hagar Samir

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16 April, 2023

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8 mins read

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University Life

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Getting into the college of your choice is something most students dream of almost every day. Of course, we understand how overwhelming the process of applying to college is; that is why it is important to try and gather all the information you need in one place for you to find it easier to apply! There are certain fixed steps that all students must take in order to apply successfully and hopefully get in.

One of the most important steps is the SAT. The SAT is a step almost all colleges require before completing your application, so it’s crucial that you prepare yourself for it.

Don’t worry, though! It’s not a complicated task, nor is it impossible! It just requires some preparation beforehand for you to be able to master the exam. So, we’ve gathered all the information you will need to know before you take the SAT here, especially the most common SAT words, so you don’t have to search in a lot of places!

Your Ultimate Guide to Sat Words

First things first, let us walk you through what the SAT is and why it is so important for you to take it if you’re planning on attending college! 

What is the SAT?

The SAT is a test used by almost all colleges and universities to make admission decisions. It is a standardised exam that aims at measuring the students’ knowledge of maths, reading, and writing. The main goal of this test is to help universities see if the student is fit enough to study there or not. 

It is a three-hour multiple-choice test that is created and administered by the college board. There are three sections in the SAT: critical reading, mathematics, and writing. Each section has a maximum score of 800 points. 

Sat Words

What are the SAT words and vocab?

They are some of the most popular words that usually appear in the SAT that you have to know. Since this test has been around ever since 1901, there has been a group of words that are frequently used and that most students should memorise. 

In addition, while writing during the SAT, it is advised to use these words, as they show the college board that you’re smart, insightful, and have a wide range of vocabulary! This will help a lot in deciding whether you’ve actually prepared yourself for the exam or not. 

In most cases, these words appear in vocabulary questions of multiple choice ones, where you’ll be tested on whether you know these words or not. An important tip while studying is that you bear in mind the context of the sentence, not just the meaning; the aim of the SAT is to see if the student understands the full sentence or not. So, while choosing, choose the suitable meaning for the context!

Most Common SAT Vocabulary Words

The following list contains the most important and commonly used words in the SAT.

  • Abstract: Does not represent actual reality.

  • Abandon: Cease to help or desert. 

  • Abate: Become less active and less in amount.

  • Abet: Encourage or assist someone to commit something.

  • Abysmal: Very bad.

  • Accede: Agree to a demand or a request. 

  • Accordingly: In accordance.

  • Acquisition: The process of gaining a skill. 

  • Adapt: To accommodate to a certain situation. 

  • Advocate: To promote and defend something. 

  • Ambiguous: Vague or unclear. 

  • Apex: Highest point.

  • Authenticity: The quality of being real. 

  • Benevolent: To be kind and generous.

  • Berate: To scold or criticise someone for something.

  • Bias: To not be objective.

  • Bolster: To support something.

  • Braggart: A person who brags about achievements.

  • Brawl: A very intense fight.

  • Burnish: To polish by rubbing.

  • Brevity: To be terse.

  • Candid: To be Direct and blunt.

  • Capitalize: To use something to your advantage. 

  • Clinical: To be emotionally unattached to something.

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  • Comparable: To be open for comparison.

  • Cache: A collection of similar items stored in a secret place.

  • Cacophony: A very harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.

  • Catalyst: Substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction.

  • Censorious: Severely critical and judgmental of others.

  • Complement: To complete something.

  • Conceive: To come up with something.

  • Condone: To allow something to happen.

  • Controversial: Debatable.

  • Culmination: The climax.

  • Deference: To respect or regard.

  • Dearth: Scarcity or lack of something.

  • Demagogue: A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires rather than reason.

  • Devise: To come up with a plan.

  • Diluvial: To relate to a flood.

  • Dispassionate: Not influenced by strong emotion.

  • Dominion: Power and authority.

  • Dubious: Doubtful. 

  • Eccentric: Odd.

  • Effluvia: An unpleasant or harmful odour.

  • Emphatic: Expressive.

  • Emulate: Match or surpass.

  • Epochal: Extremely significant.

  • Expound: Explain or present.

  • Exploit: To use selfishly for profit.

  • Facile: Appearing comprehensive by ignoring the complexities of the situation.

  • Feasibility: The possibility of something.

  • Fictive: Created by imagination.

  • Foreseeable: Can be predicted. 

  • Fundamental: The most important part.

  • Flippant: Not showing a serious attitude.

  • Gauche: Lacking grace.

  • Gregarious: Outgoing or social.

  • Grotto: Small cave or cave-like structure.

  • Hedonist: A person who believes the pursuit of pleasure is the most important aspect of life.

  • Heretical: Practicing religious heresy.

  • Hubris: Excessive pride.

  • Hypocrite: A person who says one thing and does another.

  • Ignoble: Not honourable in character.

  • Imbibe: Drink alcohol.

  • Imperious: Assuming power without justification.

  • Importunate: Persistent.

  • Imposition: An unnecessary burden.

  • Jettison: Throw or drop for an aeroplane or ship.

  • Jocular: Humorous or playful.

  • Junta: Military group that rules after taking by force.

  • Kismet: Destiny.

  • Lexicon: Vocabulary of a person.

  • Licentious: Immoral.

  • Limber: Flexible.

  • Loquacious: Talkative.

  • Lucrative: Someone who is capable of making a lot of money.

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  • Malapropism: Mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding word.

  • Malfeasance: Wrongdoing.

  • Mawkish: Sentimental in a sickening way.

  • Misnomer: Wrong or false name in the designation.

  • Modicum: Small or minimal portion.

  • Mote: Tiny piece of a substance.

  • Necromancy: Practice of communicating with the dead.

  • Nihilism: Rejection of religion.

  • Nomenclature: The choosing of names for things.

  • Novel: Fictitious prose narrative.

  • Obfuscate: To confuse.

  • Olfactory: Of or relating to the sense of smell.

  • Opprobrious: Compressing scorn.

  • Ostracize: Exclude from a society or group.

  • Palatial: Resembling a palace.

  • Pandemic: Disease prevalent over an entire country or multiple countries.

  • Paramount: More important than anything else.

  • Patrician: An aristocrat.

  • Polyglot: Knowing or using several languages.

  • Prestidigitation: Magic tricks performed for entertainment.

  • Provincial: Of or concerning a province or country.

  • Rancour: Bitterness or resentfulness.

  • Rarefy: To make or become more dense or solid.

  • Recapitulate: Summarize and state again the main points.

  • Refute: Prove to be wrong or false.

  • Repose: A state of rest.

  • Resilient: Able to withstand.

  • Revile: Criticize in an abusive manner.

  • Rife: Of common occurrence.

  • Sanctimonious: Making a show of being morally superior.

  • Scrupulous: Diligent attention to detail.

  • Sedition: Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel.

  • Sinecure: Position requiring little or no work.

  • Stint: Supply an inadequate amount of something.

  • Sybarite: Self-indulgent person.

  • Tawdry: Showy but cheap.

  • Tenacious: Keep a firm hold on something.

  • Terse: Sparing in the use of words.

  • Tout: Attempt to sell something by aggressively pestering.

  • Trounce: Defeat heavily in a contest.

  • Tutelage: Authority over someone or something.

  • Unconscionable: Not right or reasonable.

  • Untoward: Unexpected.

  • Usury: Lending money at unlawful rates.

  • Vehemently: Showing strong feelings.

  • Veritable: Using as an intensifier.

  • Vital: very important or necessary.

  • Warrant: To prove to be reasonable.

  • Vilify: Write or speak in an abusively disparaging way.

  • Vociferous: Vehement.

  • Wan: Pale with the appearance of illness.

  • Wield: Hold and use a weapon or a tool.

  • Winsome: Attractive appearance or character.

  • Wry: Using dry or mocking humour.

  • Xenophobe: Fear or dislike for people of different countries.

  • Yeoman: A man holding and cultivating a field.

  • Yen: Japanese monetary unit.

  • Yield: To surrender to.

  • Yowl: A very loud wailing cry.

  • Zenith: Peak.

  • Zephyr: Soft, gentle breeze.

Sat Words

How Do I Study and Memorise SAT Words?

We know how scary they look and that they’re a lot! This is why it’s important to have certain methods to help you memorise them better. There are three important tips we can give you in order to help you study effectively and get the most out of these words!

  1. Focus on the words you don’t know

This one seems pretty obvious, right? The aim of this tip is not to look or skim through the words you cannot recognise but to help you understand them in context for you to be able to memorise them. You can start by reading the list of the words we’ve made for you and write down what you don’t know from them. 

After writing them, try to look at them on their own without the other words you already recognise, every time you re-write them, a bunch of words will stick, and you will find yourself memorising more and more words as time goes by!

Not only will you expand your knowledge, but you will also make sure that you remember the old vocabulary. In addition, doing that will help you focus more on what you don’t know only, so you won’t have to waste your time on words you already know by heart!

  1. Take SAT practice tests

Once you’ve studied and memorised a lot of these words, make sure you take a test in order to practice what you’ve studied! By doing that, you will be putting yourself in a timed exam, just like the SAT, which will prepare you for the real thing. Also, if you get a lot of answers wrong, this will be an indicator that you need to spend more time memorising and studying. 

  1. Use a dictionary or a thesaurus 

Using a dictionary or a thesaurus when you’re studying new vocabulary will help you understand these words better. You will get to see different phrasing for the same word, which in return, will lead to your understanding better and memorising these words in no time!

Common Misused Words in SAT Vocabulary

There are some words that a lot of people misuse most of the time. It’s important for you to be aware of them if you’re planning on taking the SAT, as these could result in your losing a lot of marks.

It's vs Its

The confusion here is whether to use the apostrophe or not. So, before using it, ask yourself this, “Is this short for it is, or is it possessive?”. If the answer is the first, then you use “it’s”. However, if it indicates its possessiveness of it, then your answer should be “its”. We use the apostrophe as a replacement for the letter “i” in “is”. 


  •  It’s supposed to rain this afternoon.

  • The school challenges its students to do better.

You’re vs Your

Same thing! We use the apostrophe in ‘you’re’ as a replacement for the “a” in “are”. The aim of this is to create a contraction; when two words are shortened and put together to form one word. Your, on the other hand, is the possessive form of “you”.


  • You’re going to be late again if you don’t hurry!

  • Did you eat all of your food today?

Accept vs Except

This one is also tricky! We see a lot of students confusing these two words together. To accept something is to receive it or allow yourself to have it, while except is to not include something. Misusing these two words together could send a message that you’re not focused, so take care!


  • I accept your apology. 

  • I enjoyed everything about today except for the music. 

Affect vs Effect

If you’re ever confused, remember that to affect something, you have to leave an effect on it. “Affect” is the action itself, while “effect” is the result of the action. So, the action comes before the result, just like “affect” comes before “effect” in the dictionary! 


  • I don’t want to affect your opinion on this matter.

  • Social media has a huge effect on public opinion. 

Of course, there are a lot of other words, including:

  • They're vs Their vs There

  • Access vs Excess

  • Alludes vs Eludes

  • Allusion vs Illusion

  • Cite vs Site vs Sight

  • Conscious vs Conscience

  • Illicit vs Elicit

  • Eminent vs Imminent

  • Empathetic vs Emphatic

  • Fewer vs Less

  • Many vs Much

  • Imitated vs Intimated

  • Ingenuous vs Ingenious

  • Patience vs Patients

  • Perspective vs Prospective

  • Respectfully vs Respectively

  • Than vs Then

  • Wander vs Wonder

The trick while studying is to make sure you practice a lot. It’s also important to prepare yourself for different kinds of questions, where you can be challenged in different ways. Taking practice tests, jogging down what you remember, and taking notes while studying are all great ways to help yourself study effectively. Good luck! 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What words do I need to know for the SAT?

You need to have a wide range of vocabulary in order to do well in the SAT. There is not a fixed list of words that you need to memorise, but the more you know, the better. 

2. How can I memorise my SAT words?

What you can do is start early and experiment with different methods in order to see which one is the best for you. Once you choose a suitable method to memorise your words, start studying to get as many words as possible.


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