New Year, New Words!

As we jump into 2021, it’s a great time to think about bolstering your vocabulary! Not only does both the ACT and SAT test your breadth of knowledge on words, but having an extensive lexicon will improve your communication and comprehension skills. Every good mechanic has a big toolbox. A mechanic uses just the right tool to tune up an engine to make it stronger and more powerful. Vocabulary is like a sturdy tool in your toolbox, just like punctuation, grammar, and style that can “power-up” your writing.

We use writing everyday to communicate ideas, feelings, and opinions to those around us. Sometimes we are successful, and other times, we are not quite able to express what we really mean.  Having a good vocabulary helps us say exactly what we intend to.  It also helps us convey more detail more concisely. 

There are several ways to work on learning new vocabulary and their definitions. 

Flashcards are a great way to memorize new terminology. Use a technique called the waterfall method. Taking 40-50 flashcards, work through the pile by placing them into 2 piles: the Know pile and the Don’t Know pile. Then work through the Don’t Know pile again, placing the cards either in the Know pile or making a new Don’t Know pile. Keep working through your pile, until you have mastered all of the cards. (Here are the top 262 words found in SAT tests.)

For those who prefer to use technology, there are websites and apps to help with learning vocabulary. has pre-made flashcards you can use to learn common SAT words. 

If you enjoy playing games, try With timed games, you can test your skill matching words and their meanings. This website also has games to improve your skill on all high school subjects, such as biology, chemistry, and english based on grade-level.

Words, Words, Words (WINR Games, Inc) is an Android free app that utilizes flashcards and quizzes for vocabulary. It also includes audio so students can learn how to pronounce the words as well as spell them. 

Easel (Learnbat, Inc) is an Apple app that allows students to take practice SAT and Algebra questions by using a blank canvas. If you get stuck on a problem, there is a ‘show me’ help button that will walk you through the answer. There are both free and paid app options.

If you have other websites or apps that you’ve found to be helpful in learning new words and their meaning, share with me on WeChat!


Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI – International Education and Homestay