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Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

100 Vocab Words to Know for the SAT

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Changes to the SAT in recent years have some students thinking they no longer need to study vocabulary in order to earn an impressive score. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to a Princeton Review article, the SAT contains around 10 to 15 words that are unfamiliar to the average student. Moreover, students with strong vocabularies tend to earn higher scores than those with average or middling skills in this area. Read on to discover why vocabulary remains an important factor in SAT prep, along with the 100 words you should know to raise your scores.

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Top 100 Vocabulary Words to Study for the SAT

Reading plenty of fiction and non-fiction is the best way to improve a lackluster vocabulary over time. However, if you’re looking to raise your SAT Reading score quickly, you might want to devote some time to studying vocab. Here is a list of the top 100 SAT vocabulary words of all time, courtesy of Kaplan and the Washington Post:


  1. abbreviate: (v) to shorten, abridge
  2. Abstinence: (n) the act of refraining from pleasurable activity, e.g., eating or drinking
  3. adulation: (n) high praise
  4. adversity: (n) misfortune, an unfavorable turn of events
  5. aesthetic: (adj) pertaining to beauty or the arts
  6. amicable: (adj) friendly, agreeable
  7. anachronistic: (adj) out-of-date, not attributed to the correct historical period
  8. anecdote: (n) short, usually funny account of an event
  9. anonymous: (adj) nameless, without a disclosed identity
  10. antagonist: (n) foe, opponent, adversary
  11. arid: (adj) extremely dry or deathly boring
  12. assiduous: (adj) persistent, hard-working
  13. asylum: (n) sanctuary, shelter, place of refuge
  14. benevolent: (adj) friendly and helpful
  15. camaraderie: (n) trust, sociability amongst friends
  16. censure: (v) to criticize harshly
  17. circuitous: (adj) indirect, taking the longest route
  18. clairvoyant: (adj) exceptionally insightful, able to foresee the future
  19. collaborate: (v) to cooperate, work together
  20. compassion: (n) sympathy, helpfulness or mercy
  21. compromise: (v) to settle a dispute by terms agreeable to both sides
  22. condescending: (adj) possessing an attitude of superiority, patronizing
  23. conditional: (adj) depending on a condition, e.g., in a contract
  24. conformist: (n) person who complies with accepted rules and customs
  25. congregation: (n) a crowd of people, an assembly
  26. convergence: (n) the state of separate elements joining or coming together
  27. deleterious: (adj) harmful, destructive, detrimental
  28. demagogue: (n) leader, rabble-rouser, usually appealing to emotion or prejudice
  29. digression: (n) the act of turning aside, straying from the main point, esp. in a speech or argument
  30. diligent: (adj) careful and hard-working
  31. discredit: (v) to harm the reputation of, dishonor or disgrace
  32. disdain: (v) to regard with scorn or contempt
  33. divergent: (adj) separating, moving in different directions from a particular point
  34. empathy: (n) identification with the feelings of others
  35. emulate: (v) to imitate, follow an example
  36. enervating: (adj) weakening, tiring
  37. enhance: (v) to improve, bring to a greater level of intensity
  38. ephemeral: (adj) momentary, transient, fleeting
  39. evanescent: (adj) quickly fading, short-lived, esp. an image
  40. exasperation: (n) irritation, frustration
  41. exemplary: (adj) outstanding, an example to others
  42. extenuating: (adj) excusing, lessening the seriousness of guilt or crime, e.g., of mitigating factors
  43. florid: (adj) red-colored, flushed; gaudy, ornate
  44. fortuitous: (adj) happening by luck, fortunate
  45. frugal: (adj) thrifty, cheap
  46. hackneyed:(adj) cliched, worn out by overuse
  47. haughty: (adj) arrogant and condescending
  48. hedonist: (n) person who pursues pleasure as a goal
  49. hypothesis: (n) assumption, theory requiring proof
  50. impetuous: (adj) rash, impulsive, acting without thinking
  51. impute: (v) to attribute an action to particular person or group
  52. incompatible: (adj) opposed in nature, not able to live or work together
  53. inconsequential: (adj) unimportant, trivial
  54. inevitable: (adj) certain, unavoidable
  55. integrity: (n) decency, honesty, wholeness
  56. intrepid: (adj) fearless, adventurous
  57. intuitive: (adj) instinctive, untaught
  58. jubilation: (n) joy, celebration, exultation
  59. lobbyist: (n) person who seeks to influence political events
  60. longevity: (n) long life
  61. mundane: (adj) ordinary, commonplace
  62. nonchalant: (adj) calm, casual, seeming unexcited
  63. novice: (n) apprentice, beginner
  64. opulent: (adj) wealthy
  65. orator: (n) lecturer, speaker
  66. ostentatious: (adj) showy, displaying wealth
  67. parched: (adj) dried up, shriveled
  68. perfidious: (adj) faithless, disloyal, untrustworthy
  69. precocious: (adj) unusually advanced or talented at an early age
  70. pretentious: (adj) pretending to be important, intelligent or cultured
  71. procrastinate: (v) to unnecessarily delay, postpone, put off
  72. prosaic: (adj) relating to prose; dull, commonplace
  73. prosperity: (n) wealth or success
  74. provocative: (adj) tending to provoke a response, e.g., anger or disagreement
  75. prudent: (adj) careful, cautious
  76. querulous: (adj) complaining, irritable
  77. rancorous: (adj) bitter, hateful
  78. reclusive: (adj) preferring to live in isolation
  79. reconciliation: (n) the act of agreement after a quarrel, the resolution of a dispute
  80. renovation: (n) repair, making something new again
  81. resilient: (adj) quick to recover, bounce back
  82. restrained: (adj) controlled, repressed, restricted
  83. reverence: (n) worship, profound respect
  84. sagacity: (n) wisdom
  85. scrutinize: (v) to observe carefully
  86. spontaneity: (n) impulsive action, unplanned events
  87. spurious: (adj) lacking authenticity, false
  88. submissive: (adj) tending to meekness, to submit to the will of others
  89. substantiate: (v) to verify, confirm, provide supporting evidence
  90. subtle: (adj) hard to detect or describe; perceptive
  91. superficial: (adj) shallow, lacking in depth
  92. superfluous: (adj) extra, more than enough, redundant
  93. suppress: (v) to end an activity, e.g., to prevent the dissemination of information
  94. surreptitious: (adj) secret, stealthy
  95. tactful: (adj) considerate, skillful in acting to avoid offense to others
  96. tenacious: (adj) determined, keeping a firm grip on
  97. transient: (adj) temporary, short-lived, fleeting
  98. venerable: (adj) respected because of age
  99. vindicate: (v) to clear from blame or suspicion
  100. wary: (adj) careful, cautious


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Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.