Archive for the ‘Tests other than the SAT’ Category

GRE Vocabulary: Mastering the Verbal Section

We know that vocabulary is important on standardized tests like the SAT, and for reading, writing, and speaking well, but it’s also extremely valuable when it comes to other standardized tests such as the GRE. The GRE verbal section requires a great deal of vocabulary knowledge for its four sections. Consider the importance of GRE vocabulary by section below:

  • Sentence Completions: Sentence completion questions assess how well you can determine the logic of a sentence. You are given a sentence with one or two words missing, and you need to select the answer choice with the best words to fill in the blank(s). Vocabulary is the only real outside knowledge that will benefit you on this portion of the test. Any vocabulary intelligence you bring into this section will be beneficial as GRE vocabulary words often populate answer choices and the sentences themselves.
  • Analogies: Knowing GRE vocabulary is also crucial when it comes to the analogies section. Analogies test both your vocabulary and your understanding of word relationships. A simple example would be: CAT : MEOW. You’ll be provided with 5 answer choices consisting of word pairs, and you’ll need to pick the answer choice with a word pair that is related in the same manner as the word pair featured in the question (so the answer to the example could be: COW : MOO). If you don’t know what one or both of the words mean, understanding the nature of the words’ relationship will be difficult.
  • Antonyms:  The Antonyms portion of the GRE verbal section provides you with one word followed by 5 answer choices consisting of words or short phrases. You need to select the answer choice that is the antonym of what’s provided in the question, or the word/phrase that is most nearly opposite in meaning. Knowing what the words mean will naturally help you to know if the words are opposite, similar or not related at all.
  • Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension is important for most standardized tests including the GRE. GRE reading comprehension generally involves subject matter from three main categories: social science, natural science, and the humanities. It’s meant to test your ability to comprehend the passages’ content and make conclusions about it. While vocabulary knowledge may not seem as essential in this section of the test as the rest, it’s still extremely valuable. It’s always easy to be confused by difficult words; a thorough understanding of a word’s meaning is an essential part of all reading comprehension.

For a fun, laid-back way to learn essential GRE vocabulary, give Vocab Videos a shot.

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SAT Test Preparation: How to Make Educated Guesses on College Entrance Exams

So, on multiple choice tests, the right answer is always there. The obvious problem is you may not always know what that correct answer is.  But in some cases, it’s worth taking an educated guess, especially when you can limit your answer choices. Below are a few things you should know that will help you make educated guesses on the SAT and ACT.


  • On the SAT, there are penalties for wrong answers, so avoid random guessing (that is, guessing when you’re completely clueless as to what the correct answer is).
  • Educated guessing, however, is a good option. You only lose ¼ of a point of raw score for wrong answers, but you earn one full point for each right answer. So on the SAT, it’s statistically advantageous to make an educated guess if you can eliminate 1 or 2 (preferably) answers.
  • If you’re investing time on a question, it’s worth taking a risk and making an educated guess. Don’t waste time working on a problem and then not make your best guess.


  • On the ACT, there are no penalties for guessing/wrong answers, so never leave answers blank!
  • Each answer choice (A, B, C, D etc.) shows up about 20-25% of the time as the correct answer; it’s best to be consistent and designate one letter as your guessing answer.
  • As a strategy for picking your optimal guessing answer (because each answer choice does show up roughly 20-25% of the time), look at your scantron’s bubbled-in answers and choose the letter that appears the least.

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Of course, you never want guessing to be your first option. It’s always best to go into a test like the SAT and ACT as prepared as possible, equipped with strategies to help you solve problems and answer as many questions correctly as possible. But there are always those instances where we encounter tough questions that we just can’t figure out, and wasting time trying to work through them usually isn’t worth it. So in some cases, it’s certainly worth taking your best educated guess.

*For a laugh and how NOT to guess, check out this link:

If you enjoyed these suggestions, and for help being prepared with all the vocabulary you’ll need-so you don’t have to guess-CHECK OUT VOCAB VIDEOS!