Studying vocabulary for the SAT, GMAT, TOEFL, or any of these standardized tests is a waste of time. There I said it. Why is studying vocab a waste of time you ask? I'll give you not one, but three reasons:
1. There are more than 750,000 words in the English language according to AskOxford.com. Can any of these words be on your test? Yes. Do you really have time to learn the definitions of all of them? No.
2. Vocabulary is not directly tested. With the exception of a few questions on the SAT and TOEFL, there aren't really any questions that ask you "what does this word mean?". These questions are usually asked is indirect ways. Basically, the question makes it seem like you need to know the definition of a word to get the answer right. Well, you actually don't. You can always use context clues--the other words in the sentence or paragraph--to help you figure out the answer.
3. You have more important things to do with your time (and I don't mean watching TV). Considering that you should spend three months or less studying (not cramming) for the test, there are other concepts to learn that relate directly to the test. Suck at probability? Well, it's on the SAT and GMAT. Use your time to improve it. Can't write an essay to save your life? Well, you have to write one not matter which test you take so learn how.
Teachers, test prep companies, and the test maker do not want you to know that learning vocabulary for tests, like the SAT and GMAT, is useless. Why not? Is there some global conspiracy to get students to read and study hard? Of course not. Vocabulary is easy to teach. Vocabulary flash cards fill books. Vocabulary adds to the mystery of the test. Focus on the important stuff and leave vocabulary out of it.
Note: The only exception to this discussion is the GRE. GRE verbal, as it is currently designed, is heavily vocabulary based. Rather than learning 1,000 new words that may not be tested, focus on learning Latin and Greek roots. You'll get more mileage out of your studying.
Want to find out what you should be studying? Email APPLY ME and we'll help you figure out!