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The Top 100 Study Words for
Standardized Tests like the SAT® or ACT®
Ordered by Importance of Study
Based on the SAT® as redesigned for tests taken after January of 2016
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These maps are drawn with north to the top unless otherwise indicated.
I write and illustrate children’s books.
Pictures of flooding help to illustrate the problem of global warming.
She wouldn’t make a direct statement, but she implied that she supported our position.
The nurse accompanied the old woman everywhere.
It is easier to learn things that seem relevant to your life.
How can you revise that paragraph to improve the expression of ideas?
Ideas contained in passages for this test, some of which are excerpted or adapted from published material, do not necessarily represent the opinions of the College Board.
My family’s Thanksgiving tradition is to gather together and eat turkey.
Contrast winter in Panama with winter in Alaska.
establishcreate or start

other common meaning(s)
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  — as in:  establish a positive tone.
Which word choice best maintains the tone established in the first paragraph?
The passage is primarily about establishing the relationship between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperature.
She got a job with an established firm.
Think carefully. This is a consequential decision.
For the purpose of discussion, let’s accept that the hypothesis that she is guilty is true. What would we have expected her to do after the incident?
The study will test the hypothesis that a good marriage is more important than a higher income when measuring happiness.
Each passage below is followed by a number of questions.
The sprinkler head needs to be fixed so it directs water away from the house.
I walked directly to work.
This flower does best in direct sunlight.
I left them with direct instructions.
The contrast in their leadership styles is striking. Olivia motivated people with fear. Isabella motivated them with praise.
demonstrateto show

other common meaning(s)
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  — as in:  It demonstrates my point.
The salesperson demonstrated features of both phones so I could compare them.
The students demonstrated against hate speech.
I’m evaluating colleges and deciding which I want to apply to.
I don’t know how to interpret her smile.
Can she interpret Spanish to English for us?
Rather than record the songs herself, she likes to write them and let other musicians interpret them.
Does the sentence contradict the main claim of the essay?
She acknowledged that she might have forgotten.
She is at the convention in Las Vegas.
Eskimos have many words that correspond to the English word snow. For example, there are different words for "snow on the ground", "fresh snow on the ground", "soft snow on the ground", "a crust of snow on the ground" and so forth.
It was once conventional wisdom that the earth was flat.
The European Convention on Human Rights binds about 50 European countries.
The class was hard. Nevertheless, it was my favorite.
She said she was quoted out of context and that anyone who read her full speech would know it.
Which of the following facts can you infer from the first paragraph?
Please convey my gratitude for her hospitality.
My parents came here from Mexico in 1975. They worked very hard to convey their ethics and values to my sister and me.
I was ordered to convey the princess to London.
On the SAT test, some questions direct you to look at an underlined or numbered portion of a passage.
She directed the move.
College is quite a contrast to high school.
Let’s think of at least three alternatives before we decide what to do.
The narrator in the play, Our Town talks to characters in the play as well as to the audience.
The satellite dish focuses the signal into a relatively narrow beam.
focusconcentrate or look at

other common meaning(s)
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  — as in:  Turn your focus to question #2.
I find that studying in the library helps me to focus.
I have to give the camera a little while to focus before I shoot the picture.
The bridge collapse brought aging infrastructure into focus as a political issue.
Since we’re running out of time, let’s narrow our focus to just what needs to be done tomorrow.
She attributed this quotation to Shakespeare.
She described his physical attributes.
The responses to my plan were negative.
Higher interest rates negatively affected home sales.
The pregnancy test was negative.
The company has a negative cash flow.
Don’t be so negative. We’ll find a way to make this work.
We have sufficient supplies.
A child who was abused with have a different perspective of family life than one raised in a nurturing home.
She loses perspective and continually wants to change the plan in a manner that depends on the most recent complaint.
The previous owner of the book highlighted with a yellow marker, so I’m using a green one.
The main purpose of this passage is to highlight the degree of income inequality.
Your mileage may vary.
She gave us explicit instructions.
The computer has a filter that blocks explicit photos and pornography.
I am genuinely sorry for what I did.
The discovery could yield a more effective treatment for diabetes.
The country vowed not to yield to pressure from its larger neighbors.
Did the author mention multiple companies primarily to demonstrate diversity of solutions or to show that interest in the industry is widespread?
The sentence should be deleted because it introduces information that is irrelevant to the passage.
Most college application deadlines are in January and February. However, early admission deadlines are around November and some scholarships require even earlier deadlines.
However hard he tried, he couldn’t do it.
However we do it, someone is going to be unhappy.
She advocates stricter gun control.
She is a passionate advocate for children’s welfare.
He alluded to Susan without mentioning her name.
When I listened to her speech I agreed with her, but then I heard his counterargument and now I’m leaning towards his position.
Lower interest rates positively affected home sales.
Responses to my plan were positive.
I’m positive I’ve seen her before.
The pregnancy test was positive.
With a positive attitude and some effort, I’m sure we can make this work.
The company has a positive cash flow.
The defending World Champions dominated their unranked opponent.
Did you factor maintenance costs into your budget?
During the course of the first paragraph, the narrator’s focus shifts from factors making her unhappy to identification of alternatives.
It is a growing social phenomenon on high school campuses.
It’s a surprise phenomenon at the box office.
Diversity has strengthened our Board of Directors.
The college wants a diverse student body.
They worked hard to diversify the student body.
These clothes aren’t appropriate for work.
Violent conflict has broken out again in the Middle East.
Every building within a two miles of the center of the earthquake sustained damage.
sustainto continue through time

other common meaning(s)
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  — as in:  sustained through the ages
For twenty years, the company has sustained its leading position in creating special effects for films.
We sustained ourselves on bread and water.
most teenagers are surprisingly conformist within a subgroup
Polling indicates the public is ambivalent on the subject. Their opinions change depending upon the latest headlines.
I will not permit the defendant to make a mockery of this trial.
Martinez and his colleagues identified 21 distinct emotions made by the human face.
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