Direct Hits Toughest Vocabulary of the SAT: 4th Edition Paperback – Dec 1 2011
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What I really like about this book is that it isn't overwhelming. The size of the book itself is compact and could be easily taken anywhere. Anytime you can break down a word and show its use in a context that most highschoolers would understand is great! A great example of this is with the word "myriad"
MYRIAD: Many; numerous
In "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," MYRIAD problems test Harry during his sixth year at Hogwarts.
It then continues to demonstrate what some of these challenges were and reuses the word MYRIAD in the final sentence.
The book also has a fast review with quick definitions towards the end and 35 practice questions at the end.
I think that students reading this book are more likely to remember these words due to the popular subjects that they are incorporated in. It makes these vocabulary words more relevant to their experiences in their lifetimes. It is also a good book to keep around for any person as a way to increase and improve their own vocabulary in their own lives.
Did I just say "enjoy" in connection with learning vocabulary? Yes, I did, and I meant it. Both books are divided into three main sections: several chapters of vocabulary, a fast review section, and a test (with answers following). There is also a useful Index so you can mark words that may require extra study after you take the exam.
Volume One covers the core vocabulary in six chapters. Volume Two covers toughest terms in five chapters. What sets both of these books apart from standard vocabulary builders is that these make learning fun. SAT applicants will connect with the contemporary references that augment the traditional definitions. These books give valuable hooks that help you remember what each word means.
What most of us forget is that vocabulary adeptness isn't just a skill useful to ace entrance exams. A strong and confident use of words marks us as educated, thoughtful people. Being able to speak well and understand others helps us move up the career ladder and aids us in clearly communicating our ideas.
However, even if your purpose is simply to pass the SAT, you cannot go wrong in getting these books. Despite their compact size, they pack a wallop (my apologies to the authors but sometimes you simply have to use a common phrase to describe the impact, ahem, of a good book - or, in this case, two good books).
Volume 1 covers 220 core SAT vocabulary, dividing them into distinct sections. Chapters 1 and 2 cover 100 terms that are considered "high frequency" words that are necessary to score well on the Critical Reading portion of the SAT. These are the core vocabulary divided by the Educational Test Service (ETS) into five levels of difficulty. Studying these is important because levels 3 and 4 are missed by half of those taking the SAT. Study and master these are you are already ahead of the game.
Chapter 3 covers 30 words used to describe people who have achieved a certain fame or infamy. Chapter 4 provides a solid foundation of 25 "history-based" words that help students understand the history of words that form our language. Prefixes are the focus of Chapter 5, but unlike boring lists, this book divides prefixes into five sets which makes learning them much easier. Chapter 6 covers a crucial skill set on most college entrance exams: words that describe an author's attitude or the tone of a reading passage.
Volume 2 presents the toughest vocabulary that exam takers will encounter. The chapter numbers follow consecutively from Volume 1: Chapter 7 covers rhetorical and literary terms; Chapter 8 handles terms from the scientific and social science fields; Chapter 9 helps you understand words with multiple meanings; Chapters 10 and 11 tackle the toughest words on the SAT, those dreaded Level 5 terms.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading through these books because of their logical presentation and contemporary approach to defining vocabulary. I believe these books can help transform an average reader into either a lover of words or at least someone who will appreciate what language can do to clarify, amplify, and even simplify our ability to communicate effectively with one another.
Then, a friend recommended Direct Hits (DH) to me. Of course, I was initially skeptical about how "4 words on my SAT today came from DH." But he lent me his copies of the books and I gave them a try.
I took my SAT once and only once. That's because I got a perfect 2400 on my first try, not missing a single sentence completion question. And, like my friend, I saw 4 words from Direct Hits on that December 2010 SAT (as well as 3 DH words on my October 2010 PSAT).
This 2-volume series of SAT vocabulary books is, hands-down, the best out there. I highly recommend it to anyone studying for the SAT and the PSAT (or even to those who just want to learn new words with fun and interesting examples).
These books really are fun, relevant, and very effective to study with. The word list has expanded, and the books also offer more memory tips and information about roots. Purchase both of the Direct Hits books (core and toughest vocab)!! They are all essential, and very useful words to know anyway, especially for someone entering college.
I can testify that three years after learning these words, I still recall most of them. I am currently using the 4th edition for GRE studying. If you don't have any of the direct hits books, of course get the new fourth edition. It is more expansive, thorough, and up-to-date than the others. That said, differences between editions 2 and 3, then 3 to 4, are slight. They are all improvements, though, and you can't go wrong buying these books.
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