Tip #7 to Get a Top SAT Critical Reading Score
Some say that to build your vocabulary, you must munch your toast with The New York Times and take Shakespeare to the beach. These are great suggestions that will certainly benefit you in many ways, but even without The New York Times and Shakespeare you are already constantly surrounded by great vocabulary. So to build your vocab, you can also use what's already in front of you. Let's start with movies. Movies contain a ton of SAT vocab words.
Here' a great example from the movie Juno (Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2007):
Juno: No, this is not a food baby all right? I've taken like three pregnancy tests, and I'm forshizz up the spout.
Leah: How did you even generate enough pee for three pregnancy tests? That's amazing. . . .
Juno: I don't know, I drank like, ten tons of Sunny D. Anyway dude, I'm telling you I'm pregnant and you're acting shockingly cavalier.
What did Juno mean by "cavalier"? You can get it from the words around it. Juno is telling Leah that she's pregnant, which she is clearly upset about, and Leah doubts it and jokes around. Then Juno calls Leah "cavalier," so it must mean something like "too jokey" or "doubtful" or "not getting the seriousness here." And it does; "cavalier" means "too casual." Obviously, you might not memorize every new vocab word that comes at you while you munch popcorn, but if you keep your ears open, you'll pick up some of them.
Let's look at this question:
Solution: What word do we want for the _____? Pluck a word right from the sentence if possible: "indisputable" works best. If you can't pluck, just say, "OK, the word should be 'good' proof." Then go to the choices and use the process of elimination.
- incontrovertible—Yup, "incontrovertible" means "indisputable." Skill 9 Preview: These are great words to break apart, "in" means "not," and "controvertible" looks like "controversy," so "incontrovertible" means "nocontroversy" or "definite."
terminable—Nope, "terminable" means "ending," like The Terminator. supple—Nope, "supple" means "flexible." imminent—Nope, "imminent" means "looming."
- pertinent—Maybe, "pertinent" means "relevant." It's the second-best answer, but choice A is better.
If you didn't know these words, don't fret, you soon will!
- Correct answer: A
Let's take a look at some of the most important cinematic moments of all time and the SAT vocab we can learn from them. I'll give a quote from a movie, and you see if you can identify the movie and an approximate definition of the bold SAT vocabulary word.
- Galadriel: . . . in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret a master ring to control all others. And into this ring he poured all his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life.
- El Guapo: Many pinatas?
- The Emperor: [laughing] Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your rebel fleet? Yes, I assure you, we are quite safe from your friends here.
- Bruce Wayne: Have you told anyone I'm coming back?
- Evan: It's not just making them smaller. They completely reshaped them. They make them more supple, symmetrical.
- Elizabeth: Captain Barbossa, I am here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royal.
- Red: Oh, Andy loved geology, I guess it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time.
- John Beckwith: [about Chaz] He lived with his mom til he was forty! She tried to poison his oatmeal!
- The Architect: You have many questions, and although the process has altered your consciousness, you remain irrevocably human. Ergo, some of my answers you will understand, and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant.
- Ballard: You're asking for one of us to disobey a direct order.
- Homer Simpson: Okay, epiphany, epiphany . . . oh I know! Bananas are an excellent source of potassium! [gets slapped]
- Soldier: Where'd you get the coconuts?
- Murtogg: Someone's got to make sure that this dock stays off-limits to civilians.
- Brooks: [to Andy] Son, six wardens have been through here in my tenure, and I've learned one immutable, universal truth.
- C-3PO: I am fluent in over six million forms of communication, and can readily . . .
- The Architect: Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly, which despite my sincerest efforts I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control. Which has led you, inexorably, here.
- Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society. . . . Come to see the violence inherent in the system! I'm being repressed!
- V: Of course you can. I'm not questioning your powers of observation, I'm merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.
- Ferris: I do have a test today. That wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who cares if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists. It still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter.
- The Architect: You are here because Zion is about to be destroyed. Its every living inhabitant terminated, its entire existence eradicated.
- V: But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.
- Albus Dumbledore: Cornelius, I implore you to see reason. The evidence that the Dark Lord has returned is incontrovertible.
- Virginia "Pepper" Potts: What do you want me to do with this?
- Kumar Patel: I fear that I will always be / A lonely number like root three / . . . I wish instead I were a nine / For nine could thwart this evil trick, / with just some quick arithmetic.
"Malice" means ______
Jefe: Oh yes, many!
El Guapo: Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?
Jefe: A what?
El Guapo: A "plethora."
Jefe: Oh yes, you have a plethora.
"Plethora" means _____
"Imminent" means _____
Alfred Pennyworth: I just couldn't figure the legal ramifications of bringing you back from the dead.
Bruce Wayne: Dead?
Alfred Pennyworth: You've been gone seven years.
"Ramifications" means _______
Seth: I gotta catch a glimpse of these warlocks. Let's make a move.
"Supple" means _____
Barbossa: There are a lot of long words in there, Miss; we're naught but humble pirates. What is it that you want?
Elizabeth: I want you to leave and never come back.
Barbossa: I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means "no."
"Negotiate" means _______
"Cessation" means _______
"Hostilities" means _______
"Naught" means _______
"Humble" means _______
"Disinclined" means _______
"Meticulous" means _______
Jeremy Grey: Erroneous! Erroneous! Erroneous on both accounts!
"Erroneous" means _______
"Altered" means _______
"Irrevocably" means _______
"Ergo" means _______
"Concordantly" means _____
"Pertinent" means _______
"Irrelevant" means _______
Morpheus: That's right, I am. But we all well know that the reason that most of us are here is because of our . . . affinity for disobedience.
"Affinity" means _______
"Epiphany" means _______
King Arthur: We found them.
Soldier: Found them? In Mercia? The coconut's tropical!
King Arthur: What do you mean?
Soldier: Well, this is a temperate zone
King Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land.
"Temperate" means _______ 12
Jack Sparrow: It's a fine goal, to be sure. But it seems to me . . . that a ship like that one, makes this one here seem a bit superfluous, really.
Murtogg: Oh, the Dauntless is the power in these waters, true enough. But there's no ship as can match the Interceptor for speed.
Jack Sparrow: I've heard of one, supposed to be very fast, nigh uncatchable: The Black Pearl.
"Superfluous" means _______
"Nigh" means _______
"Tenure" means _______
"Immutable" means _______
EV-9D9: Splendid! We have been without an interpreter since our master got angry with our last protocol droid and disintegrated him.
"Protocol" means ______
"Inherent" means _______
"Eventuality" means _______
"Anomaly" means _______
"Assiduously" means _______
"Inexorably" means _______
"Exploiting" means _______
"Imperialist" means _______
"Dogma" means _______
"Perpetuates" means _____
"Inherent" means _______
"Repressed" means _______
"Paradox" means _______
"Socialism" means _______
"Fascist" means _______
"Anarchist" means _______
"Condone" means _______
"-ism" means ______
"Terminated" means _______
"Auspicious" means _______
"Sobriquet" means _______
Cornelius Fudge: He is not back!
"Implore" means ______
"Incontrovertible" means _______
Tony Stark: That? Destroy it. Incinerate it.
Virginia "Pepper" Potts: You don't want to keep it?
Tony Stark: Pepper, I've been called many things. Nostalgic is not one of them.
"Incinerate" means _______
"Nostalgic" means _______
"Thwart" means ______
This is a great way to learn and review vocabulary. Watch for vocab in your favorite movies and add new ones to my list at www.BrianLeaf.com/superbadvocab. I'll include new quotes in future editions of this book.
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