Note: There is a copious and commodious amount of information here
including vocabulary resources, but also (towards the bottom) links to
blogs, websites and other resources that are useful.  Enjoy!

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SAT / ACT Standard Tests Comparison


ACT (with Essay)

As Described by the Test Creators and Publishers as…

“assessing how well students analyze and solve problems”
“a measure of  critical thinking skills”

“not an aptitude or IQ test”

            Overall Scoring Each section scored between 200 and 800 for summery scores out of 1600
Essay scored separately
Each section scored between l and 36
Composite score is weighted average of section scores.
Essay subscore of 0 — 12
Writing score not included in composite score

Total  Length

4 hours, 15 minutes

3 hours, 45 minutes

Types of Sections

(Time in Minutes)

1 Reading (65)
1 Language (35)
2 Math (80)
1 with calculator (55)
1 without calculator (25)
1 Essay (50)

1 English (45)
1 Math (60)
1 Reading (40)
1 Science (35)
1 Essay (30)

            Content Reading, Language Skills, Math: Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic
Essay recommended
No Science
Mostly Multiple Choice with some ‘grid in’ responses
English language skills
Math: Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry
Essay recommended
All multiple choice

Sections Scoring Structure

All Sections Scored All Sections Scored

Question Scoring Structure

No Penalty for Incorrect Answer No Penalty for Incorrect Answer

Calculator Use

Yes, scientific graphing calculator except no Math section Yes, scientific graphing calculator

Cumulative Test
Score Reporting

Each score report includes complete score history for all tests taken including SAT
Some colleges may use highest score in each section (up to 5 most recent test)  to create composite score
Releases a separate record for each test date requested
Some colleges may choose to average scores from different test dates to create composite

Students Prefer???

“Type A”?, more organized, logic based, analytical “Type B”?, more information based, able to work more quickly



If you are using my ‘index card’ system… this fits right in.
(if you’re not.. ASK about it.. it WORKS!)
ABSTRACT                         theoretical, not concrete
ACQUIESCE                       to agree without protesting
ADULATION                        flattery, admiration
ADVERSARY                      opponent
ADVOCATE                        urge, plead for, represent
AFFIRMATION                     confirmation, postivie assertion
ALTRUISTIC                        unselfish, concerned for others
AMBIGUOUS                      unclear, doubtful in meaning
AMBIVALENCE                   having contradictory or conflicting attitudes
AMORPHOUS                     irregular, not regularly shaped
ANARCHIST                        a person who seeks to overturn established government
ANOMALY                          irregularity, not normal
APATHY                             lack of caring, indifference
APOCRYPHAL                    untrue, false, made up
ARBITRARY                        capricious, random
ARTICULATE                       effective, distinct
ASCENDANCY                   controlling influence, domination
ASTUTE                              wise, shwed, keen
ATROPHY                           wasting away
AUDACIOUS                       daring, bold
AUSTERE                           severely simple, stern
BANAL                               trite, trivial, commonplace
BEGUILE                            mislead, trick, delude
BENEVOLENT                    generous, charitable, giving
BEQUEATH                        to leave by a will, hand down
BLIGHTED                          suffering from disease or decay
BREVITY                            conciseness, shortness
CAJOLE                             coax, wheedle
CAPRICIOUS                      unpredictable, fickle
CENSORIOUS                     critical, finding fault
CENSURE                          blame, criticize
CLEMENCY                        leniency, mild temper
COERCION                         use of force to get someone to obey
COMPLIANCE                     readiness to yield, conformity
CONCILIATORY                   reconciling, soothing
CONCISE                            brief, compact, especially in speak or writing
CONDONE                          overlook, forgive, excuse
CONVERGE                        approach, come together
CONVICTION                       judgment of guilt, a strongly held belief
CORROBORATE                 confirm, support
CREDULITY                        gullibility, belief based on minimal evidence
CRITERION             a standard used to judge
CRYPTIC                            mysterious, hidden, secret
CURSORY                          casual, hastily done
DAUNT                               intimidate, frighten
DEBILITATE                        weaken, enfeeble
DELINEATE                        portray, describe
DEPRAVITY                        extreme corruption, wickedness
DEPRECATE                      express disapproval, protest against
DISCREPANCY                   lack of consistency
DESSICATE                        dry up
DETERRENT                       something that discourages, hindrance
DEPOSE                            dethrone, remove from office
DIMINUTION                        lessening, reduction in size
DISCERNING                      mentally quick and observant
DISCORDANT                     not harmonious, conflicting
DISDAIN                             view with scorn or contempt
DISINCLINATION                 unwillingness
DISPARAGE                       belittle
DISPARITY                         difference, condition of inequality
DISPERSE                         scatter, spread
DISSEMINATE                    distribute, spread, scatter
DISSONANCE                     discord, not harmonious sounding
DISTEND                            expand, swell
DIVERGENT                       differing, deviating
DOGMATIC                         opinionated, doctrinal
DUPLICITY                          hypocritical, two sided
ECLECTIC                           drawn from many different sources
EFFACE                             rub out, erase
ELABORATION                   addition of details
ELOQUENCE                      expressive manner of speak
ELUSIVE                            evasive, baffling, hard to grasp
EMACIATED                       thin, wasted
EMBELLISH                        adorn, ornament
EMULATE                           imitate, rival
ENERVATE                         weaken
ENGENDER                        cause, produce
ENIGMA                             puzzle, mystery, difficult to solve
EPHEMERAL                      short lived
EQUIVOCAL                       ambiguous, misleading intentionally
ESOTERIC                          hard to understand, secret, known only by a few
EULOGY                             expression of praise, usually at a funeral
EUPHEMISM                      mild expression that replaces an unpleasant one
EXACERBATE                    worsen, embitter
EXEMPLARY                      a model, perfect example
EXHAUSTIVE                      thorough, comprehensive
EXONERATE                      acquit, exculpate, free
EXPEDIENT                        suitable, practical, fitting
EXPLICIT                            totally clear, definite, out in the open
EXTOL                                praise highly, glorify
EXTRICATE                        free, disentangle
FALLACIOUS                      false, misleading
FANATICISM                       excessive zeal, extreme devotion
FASTIDIOUS                       difficult to please, picky
FERVOR                             glowing ardor, intensity of feeling
FLAGRANT                         blatant, outrageous, conspicuous
FLORID                              flowery, ruddy, fancy
FRIVILOUS                         lacking seriousness, carefree, self indulgent
GRAVITY                            seriousness
GREGARIOUS                    sociable
GUILE                                 deceit, trick
HACKNEYED                      commonplace, trite
HAMPER                            obstruct
HAUGHTINESS                   pride, arrogance, conceit
HEDONIST                          one who aims for pleasure
HERESY                             opinion contrary to the common belief
HOMOGENEOUS                of the same kind, similar
HYPOCRITICAL                   deceiving, pretending to think one way but act another
HYPOTHETICAL                  based on theory only, on paper
IMMUTABLE                       unchangeable
IMPLICATION                      a suggestion or hint
IMPLICIT                             understood but not stated directly
IMPECUNIOUS                    poor, without money
INANE                                meaningless, silly
INCEPTION             start, beginning
INCIDENTAL                       not essential, minor
INCITE                                arouse to action
INCONGRUOUS                  not fitting, out of place
INCONTROVERTIBLE          indisputable, undeniable
INCORRIGIBLE                    not correctable
INDEFATIGABLE                 tireless
INDELIBLE                          not able to be erased
INDICT                                charge (as with a crime)
INDOLENT                          lazy
INFAMOUS                         notoriously bad
INGENIOUS                        cleaver, resourceful
INHERENT                          firmly established, of one’s nature
INNATE                               inborn
INNOCUOUS                       harmless
INSIPID                               dull, pointless, lacking flavor
INSTIGATE                          urge, start, provoke
INSUPERABLE                   insurmountable, unbeatable
INTRACTABLE                    unruly, stubborn, unyielding
IRONIC                               resulting in an unexpected outcome
IRRESOLUTE                      uncertain, wavering
IRREPROACHABLE            blameless, impeccable
JOCULAR                           funny, said in jest
LACONIC                            brief and to the point
LAMPOON                          satire, ridicule
LAUD                                 praise
LETHARGIC                        drowsy, dull
LEVITY                               not serious, light
LURID                                 clear, graphic, gruesome, unhidden negatives
MAGNANIMOUS                 generous, great hearted, giving in great degree
METICULOUS                     painstaking, excessively careful
MISERLY                            cheap, unwilling to spend money
MITIGATE                           appease, moderate, make easier
MOROSE                            ill-humored, sullen, melancholy
MUNDANE                          germane, commonplace, not exciting
NOTORIETY                        ill fame, disrepute
NULLIFY                             to make invalid
NURTURE                           nourish, foster, raise up
OBDURATE                        very stubborn
OBLIVION                           obscurity
OPAQUE                            not clear, not transparent, dark
OSTENTATIOUS                  showy, pretentious, attracting attention
PACIFIST                            lover of peace, antiwar
PARTISAN                          one sided, prejudiced, committed to one side only
PERFUNCTORY                  superficial, ,unenthusiastic
PERIPHERAL                      marginal, on the outside
PERVASIVE                       pervading, spread everywhere, complete
PHILANTHROPIST               great giver, especially money
PEITY                                 religious devotion
PLACTATE                          pacify, conciliate
PONDEROUS                     thoughtful, “heavy”
PRAGMATIC                       practical
PRECLUDE                        make impossible, eliminate
PRECOCIOUS                     advanced, ahead of a normal pacing
PREDILECTION                   partiality, preference
PREVALENT                       widespread, accepted all over
PROFANE                          violate, desecrate, curse
PROFOUND                        deep, not superficial, complete
PROFUSION                       overabundance, lavish expense
PROLIFIC                            abundantly fruitful, of great quantity
PROXIMITY             nearness
QUANDARY                        dilemma, problem
REBUFF                             snub, beat back
RECLUSE                           hermit, loner, antisocial
RECTIFY                             set right, correct
REDUNDANT                      repetitious, superfluous,  wordy
REFUTE                             disprove
RELEGATE                         banish to an inferior position, demote
RENOUNCE                        abandon, disown, repudiate
REPREHENSIBLE               deserving blame
RETICENCE                        quite, shy, uncommunicative, silent
RETRACT                           withdraw, take back
RESLENDENT                    dazzling, glorious, brilliant
SANCTION                          approve, ratify
SATIRICAL                          mocking
SAVORY                            tasty, attractive
SCRUPULOUS                    conscientious, thorough
SERVILE                            slavish, clinging, not independent
SOMBER                            gloomy, depressing, dark
SOPORIFIC             sleep inducing
SPURIOUS                         false, forged, bogus
STAGNANT             still, motionless, stale
STEADFAST                       loyal, unswerving
STOIC                                 unemotional, impassive
STUPEFY                           make numb, stun
SUCCINCT                          to the point, terse, compact
SUPERRFLUOUS                extra, excessive, unnecessary
SURREPTITIOUS                 secret, furtive, sneaky, hidden
SYCOPHANT                      servile flatterer, one who says or does what another wants
TERSE                               short, concise, to the point, abrupt
TORPOR                             dormancy, lethargy, sluggishness
TREPIDATION                     fear, nervous apprehension
TURBULENCE                     state of agitation, unsettled
UNKEMPT                          disheveled, sloppy
UNOBTRUSIVE                   inconspicuous, not blatant, hidden
VACILLATE                         change, fluctuate, waver
VENERATE                         revere, adore
VIABLE                               practical, workable, capable of maintaining life
VILLIFY                               slander, talk badly
VIRTUOSO                          highly skilled artist
VIRULENT                           hostile, poisonous
ZEALOT                              fanatic, overly enthusiastic person

Vocabulary List 2: Words by Category

One way to learn vocabulary is by grouping words that have similar meanings.   If you are using my ‘index card’ system… this fits right in.  (if you’re not.. ASK about it.. it WORKS!)

 Unoriginal/Lacking in Substance: Prosaic, Pedestrian, Banal, Cliché, Trite, Hackneyed, Vapid, Vacuous, Quotidian, Mundane, Insipid, Derivative

Stubborn – Obstinate, Obdurate, Intransigent, Intractable, Tenacious
Brief – Fleeting, Ephemeral, Transitory, Cursory, Transient
Beyond normal human understanding – Esoteric, Recondite, Abstruse, Arcane
To Make Better/Relieve Pain – Ameliorate, Alleviate, Assuage, Palliate, Mitigate
Varied, Diverse – Heterogeneous, Eclectic, Motley, Multifarious
Talkative/Outgoing – Loquacious, Garrulous, Gregarious
Using few words – Laconic, Terse, Perfunctory, Spare
To Insult – Impugn, Disparage, Deprecate, Malign, Censure (also means punish), Decry, Vilify, Vituperate
To Praise/Hold in high regard – Tout, Extol, Revere, Laud
Generosity – Munificence, Magnanimity, Largess, Greed – Avarice, Cupidity
Inclination toward – Penchant, Proclivity, Predilection, Affinity
Prevent – Forestall, Preclude, Thwart
Highly decorated – Florid, Ornate, Baroque
Indigent – Poor, Penurious, Impecunious
Shy – Reticent, Aloof, Diffident, Reticent
Hardworking – Assiduous, Diligent, Sedulous
Cheerful – Jovial, Jocund, Mirthful
Overjoyed – Exultant, Elated, Jubilant, Ebulliant
Lazy – Indolent, Slothful
Arrogant – Condescending, Supercilious
Complicated – Byzantine, Convoluted
Clear – Lucid, Perspicuous
Harsh, Burning – Caustic, Vitriolic
Sickeningly Sweet – Cloying, Treacly, Maudlin, Mawkish
Mystery – Enigma, Conundrum
Unpredictable – Mercurial, Capricious
Narrow-Minded – Provincial, Insular, Parochial
Broad-Minded – Cosmopolitan
Small Amount – Paucity, Dearth
Large Amount – Myriad, Copious, Plethora
Fake – Spurious, Specious
Suspicious of – Wary of, Chary of Fraud, Trickery – Charlatanism, Chicanery
Naive – Ingenuous, Guileless
Calm – Phlegmatic, Placid
Easily Angered – Irascible, Cantankerous
Violent – Bellicose, Pugnacious
Supplementary, not of central importance – Ancillary, Peripheral Irrelevant,
Unimportant – Picayune
Trivial Free from blame, find innocent – Exonerate, Exculpate, Vindicate
credit:  by Erica Meltzer

Yet Another Vocabulary List 3

Abate – Subside
Abhor – Loathe
Acumen – Knowledge of, smarts
Adroit – Skillful
Aesthetic – Having to do with beauty of appearance
Amass – Assemble
Ambivalent – Having mixed feelings, uncertain
Anachronism – Out of harmony with the present
Anomaly – Oddity
Aptitude – Ability
Ascetic – One who practice self-denial
Astute – Smart, “with it”
Benevolent – Kindly
Blithe – Carefree
Bombastic – Overblown, inflated
Bucolic – Related to country living
Circuitous – Roundabout, indirect
Circumspect – Careful, Cautious
Clamorous – Noisy
Condone – To overlook bad behavior
Diaphanous – Filmy, sheer
Decorous – Well-Mannered
Dichotomy –  Division into two mutually exclusive groups
Didactic – Intended to teach
Dilatory – Dragging one’s feet, delaying
Dupe – Trick, fool
Effusive – Gushing
Elated – Overjoyed
Eminent – Well-known, respected
Emollient – Balm, intended to soften or soothe
Enervate – Sap of energy, tire out
Epitome – Essence
Equivocal – Vague, Refusing to give a clear answer
Feasible – Doable
Fortuitous – Occurring by (lucky) chance
Germane – Relevant
Guile – Trickery
Harbinger – Warning
Hyperbole – Exaggeration
Iconoclast – Revolutionary, disdain traditions
Idiosyncratic – An (odd) characteristic particular to an individual
Indict – Formally accuse
Ineffable – Inexpressible
Ingenious – Clever
Imminent – About to happen
Innocuous – Harmless
Intrepid – Brave
Irrevocable – Unable to be undone
Lackadaisical – Not caring, indifferent
Latent – Present but not visible
Malleable – Easy to mold, change shape
Mar – Stain or Ruin
Mellifluous – Sweet-Sounding
Mercenary – Soldier for hire
Meticulous – Precise, detail-oriented
Noxious – Foul, harmful
Obliterate – Destroy thoroughly
Obsequious – Servile, used to describe a sycophant
Obtrude – Stick out
Onus – Burden
Ostentatious – Showy, over the top
Paradox – Apparent contradiction
Paradigm – Model
Parsimonious – Stingy, tight-fisted
Pedantic – Knowledgeable but exceedingly boring
Peruse – Inspect closely
Pragmatic – Practical
Prolific – Productive
Propagate – To spread
Protean – Capable of assuming many different forms
Prudent – Practical
Prurient – Titillating
Pulchritude – Beauty
Quandary – Dilemma, difficult situation
Quell – Put a stop to
Quiescent – Quiet
Quixotic – Romantic and impractical
Rancor – Fury
Recidivism – Slipping back into crime or bad behavior/habits
Renege – Go back on one’s word
Scrutinize – Examine very closely
Sporadic – Occurring inconsistently
Solicitous – Caring, Concerned
Superfluous – Excessive
Surreptitious – Secretive]
Sybarite – One who loves luxury
Sycophant – Suck-up
Tedious – Boring
Temporize – Procrastinate
Torpid – Inactive or sluggish
Unequivocal – Decisive
Unwieldy – Awkward, difficult to handle
Visceral – Instinctive, opp. of rational
Watershed – Tipping point
Zenith – High point, apex
Erica’s Writing / Reading Improvement Blog: