The critical reading section is the toughest section for students to master on the SAT. This is because it relies on so many skills that are taught to varying degrees in English classes. So what then is the best way to prepare for this difficult section? No matter how well-read and word-wise a student is, improvements will always lay a better foundation for the critical reading section.
Students in my vocabulary building programs spend half their time learning new words and half their time reviewing words they already “know”. Knowing a word’s definition is only part of what is needed on the SAT. Students must also know the correct usage of a word and alternative meanings.
All of this simply takes time. Time to learn a word and forget it and then go back to it again and learn it more solidly. Time to see it in different contexts. So go out and get a vocabulary book and get started. It doesn’t really matter which book you use. I recommend books that use the words in example sentences and that provide exercises to get students to start using the words. Here is a list of some of the books that I have found useful to get you started.
And remember, this is one skill that is clearly translatable to success in college!
A list of books to get you started:
- Kaplan Word Power by Kaplan
- Direct Hits Core Vocabulary of the SAT: Volumes 1 and 2 by by Larry Krieger and Ted Griffith
- Gruber’s SAT Word Master: The Most Effective Way to Learn the Most Important SAT Vocabulary Words by Gary Gruber
- Hot Words for the SAT by Linda Carnevale