SAT vocabulary testing is assessed in several sections of this pre-college exam, although none of sections fall under the actual heading of 'vocabulary'. The College Board SAT, which was first introduced in the U.S. in 1901, has undergone name, grading and category changes several times in the past one hundred plus years.
Prior to it currently being named the "SAT Reasoning Test", 2005 was the year it was introduced, these tests were called The College Board (1901), the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test, 1926), and then, in 1990, the SAT was renamed to the Scholastic Assessment Test. This last change was made because of the uncertainty as to the SAT exam actually being able to truly measure intelligence (aptitude).
In 1930, the SAT exam was, for the first time, split into two sections, math and verbal. This format continued until 2004. In 2005 it was reformatted into three sections, math, critical reading and writing. This, incidentally, correlates to "the 3 R's" – reading, writing and arithmetic. Each of these three major sections is divided into three areas. There is also one 'experimental' part, which is not graded and together they’re added for a total of ten. The time given for the test is three and a quarter hours. PSAT exams, which are practice tests, are available for those wishing to bone up with actual tests before tackling the real thing.
SAT vocabulary proficiency comes into play in two sections that make up the SAT exam, critical reading and writing. Adequate reading comprehension depends quite a bit on the reader's ability to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words from the context in which they're found.
The designers of the test know that if a student is going to do well in college that they must have a reasonably good command of English vocabulary. Otherwise, they will be handicapped when it comes to reading through the various textbooks and communicating their thoughts and ideas fluidly.
It's important for high school students planning to take the SAT test to start building their vocabulary early on, as this isn't something you can do overnight. One of the best ways to do this is to read, read, and read. Read fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, online, etc. When you run across words you don't know either look them up immediately or jot them down and look them up later. Spend some time on this EVERY DAY. Make it a habit.
Some other things you can do to improve your English vocabulary skills are:
Engage in various vocabulary activities such as vocabulary games, quizzes and puzzles
Carry a spelling dictionary with you at all times or if you own an iPod Touch/iPhone use our Visual SAT Vocab app
Study lists of PSAT vocabulary words which can easily be obtained online
Study phonics and Greek and Latin root words
Work with an online vocabulary builder
Making a determined effort to improve your SAT vocabulary abilities will bring immediate results that will continue to expand daily. Nothing tells more about a person than the words that come out of their mouth and any vocabulary improvements you make will pay you back many times over during your lifetime. This is definitely a worthwhile ambition and scoring high on this test will get your collegiate life off to a great start!