One of the easiest ways to improve SAT Reading/Writing scores is to improve your vocabulary.  Sign up for's word-a-day service.  It will send you a new word to learn everyday.  Make it a mission to use that word at least once that day.  Even more helpful, create flash cards of the words you find.  They're easy to drill, you can keep them all in one place, and they make for quick study guides.  
Reading is also a great way to improve your vocabulary.  Every day, find something to read that uses a more formal approach to language (Buzzfeed lists don't exactly cut it).  Try "The New York Times" or "The Wall Street Journal."  Hearing language being spoken is NO replacement for reading it.  Reading requires a different kind of concentration and one that can boost those test scores.
One last thing to keep in mind when you're going through your vocabulary lists: pay attention to etymologies. The etymology of the word is the "history" of the word- it's the various parts of the word's pat meanings that are combined to create its new meaning.  For example, the word "dilemma" which means a problem where you have two bad choices to pick from.  This word comes from Greek, it begins with "di-" which corresponds to the Greek word for 2 and "lemma" which corresponds to the Greek word for assumptions/premises... so the etymology of the word shows us that it means "two premises (to choose from)' = dilemma.

Another example is "homicide" (sorry my examples aren't too cheery this morning, just seems these are the ones that jumped into my head :) )  "Homocide" comes from Latin and, like dilemma, it's made up of two parts.  The first is "homo" which means "man", the "-cide" derives from the Latin verb caedere, which means to cut off.  So the combination means "cutting off a man", or "killing a man"
The more etymologies you study, the easier it will be to find patterns in words and that, in turn, will allow you to make educated guesses on words you don't know.  


James C.

Writing Teacher/Professional Author/Playwright/Editor and Tutor

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