SSAT and ISEE vocabulary study plan tips
If your child is preparing to take the SSAT or the ISEE this fall, chances are they will need to expand their vocabulary in order to do well on the verbal sections of the tests. The SSAT and the ISEE both test vocabulary words out of context, so the only way to get them correct is to know the meaning of the word. When reading books, children can often figure out the rough meaning of an unknown word through “context clues” provided in the sentence, but that approach is not possible on the SSAT or ISEE verbal sections. Also, the SSAT, in particular, likes to test secondary definitions of words.
Given the thousands of words in the English language, it might seem fanciful or even futile (great vocab words!) to spend time learning lots of words in the hopes that one of those your child reviews will be on the test. However, based on the way the SSAT is scored, getting only 5 more vocabulary words correct can make a real difference in a student’s score. For example, if a student gets a raw score of 35 on the verbal section of the SSAT (by getting 40 questions correct and 20 incorrect, for example), they would score in the 76th percentile. If they were to get a raw score of 41 (by getting 45 correct and 15 incorrect), they would be in the 87th percentile.
Research shows that good vocabulary supports reading development
A robust vocabulary will help with more than high school admissions test scores. Research shows that good vocabulary supports reading development and increases comprehension. Students with low vocabulary scores tend to have low comprehension, while students with satisfactory or high vocabulary scores tend to have satisfactory or high comprehension scores.
“Sort of” -vs- “don’t know” words on the ISEE or SSAT
Obviously, it might be tough to use each of these strategies for every word that a student has to learn, but reviewing word lists and identifying which words a student “sort of” knows versus those they don’t know at all might be a good place to start in deciding where to use these strategies. Kids are more likely to quickly memorize the “sort of” familiar words that they have heard multiple times but don’t yet use themselves. Therefore, we can save the strategies above for the difficult “never heard of that one” words.
If you would like support for your children, as they prepare for the SSAT or the ISEE exam, one of our experienced tutors will be happy to create a vocabulary study plan. Please contact us for more information on taking the SSAT, ISEE, and other academic tutoring needs.