The College Board recently announced a shift in how the SAT will gauge students’ talent for vocabulary. The days when a commitment to flash cards could get young people a good score are coming to an end in 2015. Starting in 2016, students won’t be asked about obscure, 10-dollar words with fill-in-the-blank questions; they’ll be asked about “high utility” words, much more common terms with multiple meanings that can only be identified by looking at the word’s context.
But as they say in teaching, it is better to show than to tell. Here, we’ve put together a quiz of old- and new-style vocab questions, using current practice materials and examples of future questions that the College Board released this week. See which you find most challenging and whether you find any merit in criticisms that the test-maker is “dumbing down” the exam: