(Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.)

So here we are on Part 3, finally: we’re almost done ! The last link is:


As I previously mentioned, I advise getting a headstart on the vocabulary practise for the SAT or ACT in the middle grades. The reading passages on those exams can be really intense.  Being able to juggle numerous complex texts in relatively little time is a coveted skill. High standardized test scores=greater scholarship/grant opportunities and a lower college debt burden.

Alternatively, students can practice for the SAT by first taking the PSAT.  Many students will take the PSAT as practice in their sophomore high school year and later on as juniors.  Only the junior year scores will count towards the National Merit Scholarships.

Why Vocabulary Matters 

Ok..pretty intense, huh? 🙂 The PSAT serves as an initial screen for picking eventual National Merit Scholarship winners. Those who qualify after taking the PSAT are designated semi-finalists (usually about 50,000 students out of about 1.5 million competitors) in September. In late September, more than two-thirds (about 34,000 students) will receive Letters of Commendation. These don’t go on to compete for finalist status but may become candidates for scholarships from corporations and businesses. The remaining 16,000 will receive letters designating them as finalists for the National Merit Scholarship. Out of the 16,000, approximately 7,600 students will be chosen National Merit Scholars.  (The National Achievement Scholarship program is the National Merit Scholarship for African-American students).

So, what does this have to do with vocabulary?

A great and impressive command of vocabulary enables your student to perform better in all standardized tests.  Essay and critical reading scores will be higher and this will boost overall scores. I know many colleges are telling students not to worry about SAT/ACT scores, but for those who want or need those scholarships and grants, I’m afraid those scores will make a very big difference. Our daughter applied to some colleges which declared that SAT/ACT scores would not be considered. However, we submitted them anyway. When it came time to compete for internal scholarships tied to the college, guess what? Those scores decided how much grant money our daughter was eligible for.

So, yes, don’t believe the hype. Start your students on increasing their command of the language using these free online tools as soon as you can.

How to use the website 

When you get to the link above, click on the red link titled ‘Word Lists.’ The Intermediate Word List has 10 lists and is suitable for ages 16+. This is probably enough for those taking the SAT. Depending on your student, you can start earlier. Caution: don’t push your child if he’s not ready. Let him dip his toes in and try it out. What I did was try one or two lists at a time. The Advanced Word List has 5 lists and is supposedly for 18+ and for those taking tests like the MAT or GRE. You can decide where your student fits in because every student is unique and their readiness for these words depends on how much and what they have been reading. These are not wimpy words; some of them are difficult and all have been in past SAT or GRE exams. Note that these word lists work very well for the current SAT and ACT format, and personally, I think they will more than adequately prepare students for the Common Core compliant new SAT and ACT coming in 2015 and 2016.

On the left hand side of the website, you can click on ‘vocabulary tests’ for 11 vocabulary tests. Majortests sells a PDF Ebook for $4.95 to go with the vocabulary tests. I did not buy the book, but still used the free vocabulary tests. They were challenging and really gave an idea of where a student’s vocabulary had to be in order to excel in the standardized tests. But for $4.95 some of you may decide to get the book. (It will be one less thing you will have to worry about as the tests go along with the Ebook.) You can also try the antonym, analogy, grammar, critical reading and sentence completion tests. All the tests are free.

Here’s the 8 week prep plan using majortests to prepare for the SAT : www.majortests.com/sat/8-week-sat-prep-plan.pdf. This will save you time.  Your student just needs to follow the plan. You can also tweak it and use it as a template for your own plan and use your own prep books in the list where appropriate. I recommend one of the prep books be the official prep study guide for the SAT by College Board.

Sources cited and informative links:




Did you like this post?  Be sure to Read Part 1 and Part 2!

About Shireen

HI, I'm a first generation home-schooling mother and wife. My husband and I have two kids whom we homeschooled from K-12. Both are now in college. Home-schooling high school was a great challenge and my aim is to encourage and support other home-schooling mothers and wives in their journeys. I endeavour to also provide lesson plans and ideas for all grades . It is my aim that my thorough vetting of lesson plans, curriculum, and info about college applications will help make life easier for other mothers as they tend to their families and lives. In my spare time (when I have any) I like to drum out some music on the piano or make something good to eat.

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