Leisure Reading for GRE & SAT Vocabulary Preparation

Posted by Sujata Singhal on 7/15/13 9:24 AM

verbal study skills

In this post, I'll explore how you can tranform your leisure reading into a productive test prep activity.

Perhaps you have already started and devoured the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, more popularly referred to as A Game of Thrones.  The latter is the name of the first book in the series and also the popular HBO drama adapted from it.  Perhaps it’s not your cup of tea.  If A Game of Thrones is your thing, or you have been curious about the series but feel you must put it off until after you take your SAT or GRE, then stop that thought. 

As an SAT tutor and a GRE tutor, I stopped that thought thinking I had too much tutoring and lesson planning to do, and I am so glad I did.  Not only is it an interesting story so far, but I also have found that I can practice active reading comprehension and verbal study skills, and cull a set of word lists to give to both GRE and SAT students to study. 

I am on the very first part of the series of A Game of Thrones, and I can say as bona fide test preparation dork extraordinaire that this book is not only chalk full of those random words that always seem to show up on both tests, but reading the book can actually be a good source of practice in the reading comprehension category. 

While the story might be so good, using active reading in this kind of book makes the characters feel that much richer and it can be very rewarding.

Another great verbal tip if to create mini-summaries of what you just read and then share thesewith your friends who may also be A Game of Throne fanatics.  I feel that I am just a bit more hip with my little summaries all primed and actively ready to spit out of my working memory with my friends these days. 

And then there are the words. 

The words – awe, how I love words the share with others and to enrich my own abilities to write and read better.  In one chapter alone, I compiled the following words to my mental lexicon: bawdy, squire, brook, stead, marshal and sardonic.   I leave you with the definition of each as used in the first book, A Game of Thrones.  Some of these definitions are first, some second, and others third definitions.  I took the definitions from both www.thefreedictionary.com and www.merriam-webster.com.

Bawdy: suggestive, coarse or obscene language

Squire: a man who attends or escorts a woman

Brook: to put up with, tolerate

Stead: the place, position or function properly or customarily occupied by another

Marshal: to enlist and organize

Sardonic: scornfully or cynically mocking

If you apply study skills and active habits during your leisure reading, you will also boost your standardized test preparation! Why? It will become much more natural to summarize information when it comes down to reading a wordy or dry passage on the GRE or SAT. 

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Tags: study skills, SAT, GRE