Study up with these standardized testing words

2 min read

Make no mistake — standardized testing can be very difficult, especially studying for the vocabulary section. People have come up with very strange ways to study for it, like using nonsense words to stand in for real words to test your memory. Remember “A lep is a ball" anyone?

However, the words you have to know for the SAT and other standardized tests are strange enough, even without adding nonsense words to the mix. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest vocabulary words you can add to your study list for standardized testing.


Prurient means to have an overt interest in sexual matters — a saucy word, but one that pops up often on the SAT. Example: Many video games have a prurient element to them, which makes the ratings system important to parents.


Antipathy means a strong sense of dislike. This is a good word to describe a movie you didn’t like, or just a person who rubs you the wrong way. Example: "What a strange antipathy," thought Pierre. "Yet I used to like him very much."


Didactic is an adjective and means an educational or instructive topic; importantly, it includes the concept of moralizing. Example: The didactic purpose of "1984" can be applied to draw parallels to society today.


Efficacy means effectiveness. Example: The fever-reducing medicine had great efficacy and Brian was back on the playground the very next day after his illness.


Exculpate means to exonerate or vindicate. It’s often seen in legal dramas. Example: After bringing the new evidence to the jury, the accused was exculpated of all crimes.


Maladroit means clumsy, awkward, inept, and is often used to describe a person — and not in a nice way, either. Example: After numerous mishaps on the stockroom floor, the maladroit employee was written up.


Inchoate means rudimentary, or in the beginning stages of a project. Example: The blueprints were inchoate, but with a little more development they had great promise.


Opprobrium means criticism or condemnation, and is very harsh — only the people with the worst sort of scandal deserves this word. Example: The Neo-Nazi group received well-deserved opprobrium in the newspaper account of the rally.


Salubrious means health promoting. It can also be used as wholesome. Example: The salubrious weekend was spent relaxing, hiking and cooking good food.


Sedulous means persevering and constant; it can also mean dedicated and careful. Example: John had a sedulous nature, and you knew any work done by him would be excellent.

All of these words are unique, and in their own way strange, but they are also often found on the SAT exam pretty often. By knowing these words, you have a leg up on the exam, and you'll be able to spice up your conversation. So go forth and study!

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