SAT Skills Insight
Select a score band
Determining the Meaning of Words
Skills needed to score in this band
SKILL 1: Use context clues when selecting missing vocabulary at the sentence level
SKILL 2: Use knowledge of root words, prefixes, and suffixes when selecting missing vocabulary at the sentence level
SKILL 3: Use the context of a sentence or a short section of text to clarify the meaning of unknown words or to select the appropriate meaning of familiar and simple words that have multiple meanings
Use the context of a sentence or a short section of text to clarify the meaning of unknown words or to select the appropriate meaning of familiar and simple words that have multiple meaningsExample
The paragraph below is an excerpt from a longer passage discussing the possibility of locating intelligent life on other planets. The passage has been adapted from a 1999 book on the history of the universe.
A reading passage Line Number Text The consensus within the scientific community seems to
be that we eventually will find not only life in other parts of
the galaxy but also intelligent and technologically advanced
life. I have to say that I disagree. While I believe we will
Line 5 find other forms of life in other solar systems (if not in
our own), I also feel it is extremely unlikely that a large
number of advanced technological civilizations are out
there, waiting to be discovered. The most succinct support
for my view comes from Nobel laureate physicist
Line 10 Enrico Fermi, the man who ran the first nuclear reaction
ever controlled by human beings. Confronted at a 1950
luncheon with scientific arguments for the ubiquity of
technologically advanced civilizations, he supposedly
said, “So where is everybody?”
In line 10, “ran” most nearly means
Skills needed to score in the next band
When you come across an unknown or difficult word in your reading, look at the word to see if it contains a root word that you know.
When you come across an unknown or difficult word in your reading, try to find out if that word is jargon, or the specialized vocabulary of a specific field.
When you come across an unknown word or a word with multiple meanings in your reading, look at the context of the sentence for clues to what the word means.
In your reading, pick out a long sentence and break it down into smaller parts. Think about how the structure of the sentence creates relationships among the ideas in the sentence. Think about how words like but, although, and also create certain relationships.