Words You Know, But Don't Know You Know


One effective tactic used by the SAT is to haul out words you don't know. Another is to take words you do know and dress them up in clever disguises. If you don't think you know a word, then for the moment, you don't. And that's good enough for the SAT.


Here's an example: Do you know the word opaque? It's an adjective and means “not allowing light to pass through.” A pane of glass that's completely painted is opaque. You may see this word on your SAT. Or you may see the word opacity. It's the same word, but in the noun form. It doesn't have the “que” at the end, and you may just not be sure if it's the word you know. So you might leave it alone. One more victory for the testmakers.


Another example is the word dissolution. It's one of those words that can cause you to go blank at just the wrong time, even though it's just the noun form of dissolve. Try to remember this little pattern in the language: